Posts tagged FoodPreservation

More jars

— 4 pints and one 10-oz jar corn-tomato salsa

— 5 half-pint jars watermelon jelly (I hope…otherwise it’s watermelon…um…flavoring syrup?)  Edit: Yeah, the little leftover bit that I stuck in the fridge doesn’t seem to be setting.  But I bet one of those half-pint jars would nicely flavor a pitcher of seltzer for homemade soda :-)  I wonder what’s up with my pectin problems?  It’s supposed to last more or less indefinitely and I think I put it in at the right time this batch.

— Some experimental slices of watermelon in the dehydrator.  Yes, you can evidently dry watermelon.  It concentrates the sugars and gets intensely sweet.  This concept amuses me.

Note to self: do not clean the kitchen floor in the middle of canning season.  I mean, get the macroscopic gunk and spills off it, but wait to actually scrub until you’re not planning to coat it in corn and watermelon juice the next day.

(And yes, I have the day off again.  I work on Saturday and Sunday this week.  And Labor Day.  I am not exactly thrilled with this plan, but I enjoy food and rent.)

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What To Do With Dried Zucchini

Because that’s one of the most common search terms used to find this blog, and I don’t think any of the other posts really give it a thorough treatment :-)

To make dried zucchini:

— Slice your zucchini into thin rounds or slices — about 1/8 inch works well.  This is most easily done with a mandoline, but you can also use a vegetable peeler, grater, or knife.

— Put slices on dehydrator trays or on parchment paper.  Set them in your electric or solar dehydrator, or in the oven on “warm” (prop the door open a little).  In a good electric dehydrator in reasonably dry weather, they dry in about five hours.  In wet weather and/oror substandard equipment, it may take longer.  Keep them in until they are brittle.  Pay particular attention to the seeds, as they will take longer to dry than the rest of the slice.

— Keep in a sealed container in a cool dry place.  Check them every few days for mold — if it’s been a couple weeks and they don’t mold, they’re probably fine.

What to do with the zucchini:

  • Sprinkle a little salt or other seasonings on them and eat like chips while they’re still very brittle.  If this will be your primary use for the things, you can season the slices before you dry them, so it will stick better.
  • Sprinkle cheese on them and toast until the cheese melts for a tasty snack.
  • You could probably deep-fry them if you were quick enough with a fryer to get them out before they burned, but I have never attempted this.  It would probably be easier to just fry them *instead* of drying.
  • Throw in vegetable soup and cook until they rehydrate.  Rehydrated zucchini slices will be a bit chewier than fresh ones; in many applications, this is an advantage.  They’ll almost never go mushy like fresh squash sometimes does.
  • Rehydrate in warm broth, then use in casseroles or lasagna.
  • Grind or chop them up and use as part of homemade instant soup powder
  • Add powdered dried zucchini to sauces, veggie burgers, or bread for extra vegetabley goodness.

This will, of course, also work with yellow squash or other assorted cucurbits.  Does anyone else do anything nifty with dried squash?

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Preserving summer

Finally, we’re getting enough of a share to preserve!  So far I have:

1/2 gallon or so dried hearty greens

1 gallon dried zucchini

Dried 1 pint fresh raspberries; still in dehydrator

5 6-oz jars raspberry-peach compote (was going to be jam, but I messed up the pectin)

Raspberry-peach popsicles with rice milk

Upcoming: tomato-corn salsa and Doing Something With That Watermelon

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ShrubShrubShrub!

I have made delicious peach shrub! Approximate recipe:

peaches
apple cider vinegar
sugar
spices
vanilla extract

Chop peaches into small pieces and put into a container with lid. Pour over just enough apple cider vinegar to cover the peaches. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours (mine were in there for 5 days, resulting in delightfully pickled peach bits for me to make into chutney at some point).

Strain the vinegar and juice out of the peaches. Poke it with a spoon to get all the juice you can. Measure the liquid and put in a pot with an equal amount of sugar. I used 2 medium peaches, which resulted in 1 cup of liquid. Add spices and vanilla to taste. I added rather a lot of vanilla (at least 1tsp), which worked beautifully. Boil mixture for 5 minutes. Let cool and pour into a bottle; store in the fridge. (With that much vinegar and sugar, it’s quite possibly shelf-stable, and probably cannable, but I’m not going to try.)

Note: When you boil it, it will produce copious amounts of froth. Stir constantly and take it off the heat periodically when it threatens to boil over.

To turn into delicious colonial soft drink, mix the syrup with water, seltzer, or iced tea to taste. Can also be made alcoholic, but that was apparently less common. Instead of or in addition to sugar, you can use honey. Or maple syrup, I assume, but that would give it a rather strong flavor.

I like this even better than the ginger stuff I got in Salem. That had a much more pronounced vinegar taste, which I liked, but was a bit odd. I think the peaches meld more with the vinegar, so that you get peach-apple-sour flavor without it registering as vinegary. The vanilla and spices round it out very nicely. The peaches I used were not meltingly ripe, which I assume would have made the finished product even peachier.

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Pickles!

It is now summer.  It’s official, because we have lots of squash and cucumbers :-)  I made some nice refrigerator pickle spears, seasoned with garlic and fresh fennel fronds…I think they’ll make a slightly lighter, fresher effect than dill.  And we didn’t have any dill.  All but one of the pickling cucumbers fit perfectly in one of the half-gallon glass jars the kimchi comes in.  I plan to make lots of refrigerator pickles.

But we did have sad news from the farm today…the tomatoes have late blight, which is Really Really Bad, especially since the farm’s organic.  They were going to spray with copper as a preventative, but weren’t able to do it in time because of the rain.  They removed the obviously-infested tomatoes and sprayed in hopes of saving the rest of them.  At least the other nightshades seem to be spared.  It’s hit the whole region, so there may not be a lot of tomatoes at the farmer’s market, either.

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Accomplished

— Finished and sent off rough draft of spiritual autobiography

— Made 4 oz delicious bitter etrog-orange marmalade (old-fashioned no-pectin style!)

— Organized fiber stash

To do tonight:

— Make tie for project for J.

— Put flannel sheets on bed. (Mmmm…flannel.)

— Start reading for Cataloging project.

 

So, there’s this election thing coming up.  Those of you who are US citizens of age to vote, please do so.  I would really be very happy if you voted for Obama, but if you do not vote at all, I will fling pointy things in your general direction.  Metaphorically, at least.  And that is all I will say about the election on this forum.  Thbbt.

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Happiness is…

…discovering that you have 12 quart-sized canning jars in a box in the basement that you had forgotten about, and a wonderful-sounding recipe for apple-green tomato chutney.  The chutney is currently in a pot on the stove boiling, and promises to make about 4 quarts.

Update: one of those jars is a Mason commemorative Bicentennial jar!  I have a canning jar that is older than I am!  And, I mean, it’s glass, so it’s not like it’s gone bad or anything.  I may try canning some water in it, though, just to make sure it hasn’t gotten knocked around too much and developed cracks.

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