Peripatetic philomaths…focusing on what's really important, eating ethically and cleanly, fermenting, foraging/wildcrafting, practicing herbalism, and being responsible stewards of our land. Sharing our photos, musings, and learnings. Still seeking our tribe.
If you’ve cut up cauliflower, you know it makes quite a spectacular mess – tiny bits fly out as it’s cut, small as grains of sand. And yet, despite the veggie’s unruliness, I keep eating it. Sometimes, I don’t get to it fast enough, though, and it begins to brown unappealingly. Freezing it would buy time, but how about other ways of extending its “expiration date”? Fermenting is a great way to do just that!
Earlier, we shared how we discovered that the pickled jalapeños we’d purchased were, to our chagrin, full of additives and preservatives. After disposing of them (and recycling the jars – would have kept them, had they been glass), we became acutely aware that we no longer had any of those delicious pops of spice that livened up dishes so well. What to do? Get some jalapeños and ferment them!
Autumn is the season of squash. Sure, squash is available at other times of the year (like the eponymous summer squash and overabundant zucchini), but for sheer variety, fall can’t be beat. All manner of gourds – decorative and edible – beckon from grocery store produce shelves and market tables. Time to get creative and preserve some of these gems!
It’s ‘booch harvest day, and three gorgeous bottles of the good stuff are sitting quietly on a shelf on the fermentation station, working their second ferment magic. Sometimes I have to take a step back and marvel at the various ferments in different stages – I am, after all, a microbe farmer (mad scientist?), too.
Refrigerator crisper drawers invite egregious procrastination. They allow unassuming veggies to hide until they’re past the point of no return – soft, soggy, sometimes slimy. Eww. In my efforts to avoid wasting food, I am occasionally horrified at what I find in there: lettuce that appears to be sporting a coating of pinkish ectoplasm, a severely shriveled and rubberized carrot, a desiccated and scraggly scallion…they haunt the crisper drawer and remind me that wasting food is a character flaw. Today, however, I managed to salvage some of the sorriest specimens and turn them into something tasty.
Why preserve? Fundamentally, it’s about finding ways to extend the “shelf life” of edibles: fermenting, drying, pickling, canning, freezing, and curing are some of the common ways of preserving food. In this case, I made jelly because it’s an economical way to have this delightful treat available even when fresh leaves may not be…like in the dead of winter.Continue reading “Preserve This: Lovely Lemon Balm Jelly”→