Preserving, pickling and fermentation

    

Ingredients

  • About 500gms  medium sized beetroot + 1 and 1/2  teasp. salt for sprinkling over when sliced
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 rounded tablesp. honey
  • 1 teasp. cumin
  • ½ teasp. each of chilli flakes
  • ground black pepper
  • ¼ teasp salt
  • Chopped rind of an orange or lemon

Method

  1. Wash beetroot (no need to peel if young and tender).
  2. Cut into very fine matchstick size pieces.
  3. Put chopped beetroot in a bowl and sprinkle over 1 teasp. salt. Leave for 15 minutes while they release their juices.
  4. Rinse beets and pat dry.
  5. In a small pot, make up a brine with all remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour over finely sliced beetroot, cool, cover and refrigerate at least a day before eating them. Will keep well in fridge for a week.

Option 2

  • Same ingredients as above.
  • After making up the brine, add finely sliced beetroot and simmer everything for 5 minutes. This slightly tenderises the beetroot.
  • Store in fridge.

Option 3

  • Same ingredients as above.
  • Wash beetroot, leaving a small amount of stalks.
  • Put in large pot and cover with cold water. Cover pot.
  • Boil until tender.
  • Peel and cut into 1.5 - 2cm cubes.
  • Make brine as above, (in Recipe 1) but instead of using 1 cup water, use 1 cup beetroot juice.
  • Simmer all ingredients 5 minutes then pour over cut up beetroot.
  • Refrigerate when cool.

Equipment required

  • One large stainless steel pot (say 10L)
  • Preserving jars, well washed and dried and put in the oven to sterilise at 100 degrees C for at least 20 minutes
    • Check jars for any cracks or chips around the top.
  • Seals-sterilised in boiling water in a small bowl
  • Preserving rings-need to be clean but not sterilised

Method

  • Cook up fruit in a large pot.
  • Place clean jars into pre-heated oven to sterilise.
  • Place clean seals in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
  • When fruit is tender add a small amount of honey if required. Bring fruit to the boil again and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully remove one jar from the oven, and place on a clean plate.
  • Fill jar completely to overflowing, using a jug, or a large spoon.
  • Place a sterilised seal on top of the jar using a clean knife to lift out.
    • This knife can be sterilised in with the seals.
  • Screw down firmly with a clean preserving ring.
  • Complete the process one jar at a time.
  • Leave the jars undisturbed for a few hours until completely cool.
  • Remove the preserving rings. Check to see that each jar is fully sealed.
  • Wash each jar carefully, dry and store in a dry, cool place.
  • Label including the date.

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Ingredients

  • 14L water
  • 3.5kg washed, unpeeled, uncored apples (red organic best)
  • 1.25kg liquid honey

Method

  1. Chop and whizz apples in a food processor.
  2. Combine water and apples into a 20L plastic bucket.
  3. Stir well. Cover with a teatowel.
  4. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds or so, twice daily for 10 days.
  5. Strain mixture. Add honey.
  6. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds twice daily for 3 days.
  7. Leave mixture in the plastic bucket and keep it covered with a teatowel.
  8. Mature the apple cider vinegar for 8-9 months.
  9. Strain through a very fine strainer just before bottling.
  10. Dip out the cider vinegar and leave the brown sediment undisturbed at the bottom of the bucket.

I have often wondered what to do with the abundance of cucumbers each year. I had tried preserving them but found they didn’t keep well and were always mushy! A friend shared this idea with me and it really works! In fact we are still using some of last year’s crop; the cucumbers have remained crisp, spicy and delicious. Have a try, and be pleasantly surprised.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 young tender cucumbers
  • ½ teaspoon each of your favourite spices: e.g. ground cumin, garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, cardamom seeds
  • a small handful of pickling spices
  • a few bay leaves
  • 2 rounded tablesp. rich flavoured liquid honey (Wanganui City Gardens)
  • about 2 cups of Apple Cider vinegar. More may be needed to top up jars before putting on seals and screw-on rings.

Equipment needed

  • clean small preserving jars
  • large, deep pot with a lid, that will hold four upright preserving jars with lids
  • a small cloth for base of pot
  • 4 preserving jar seals and ring screw-on rings
  • small pot for heating through cider vinegar, honey and spices

Method

  • Place in a small pot, cider vinegar, honey and some of your favourite spices.
  • Very gently warm this mixture. Do not boil.
  • Fill up each jar with diced cucumber – no need to peel.
  • Carefully pour over the warmed ingredients. Use a clean knife down the sides of each jar to gently ease out air bubbles.
  • Add additional unheated cider vinegar to overflow each jar.
  • Place a clean, not sterilised preserving seal on each jar and lightly screw on a preserving jar ring.
  • Lay out a small clean cloth on the inside of the base of the large pot.
  • Place jars upright in the pot.
  • Fill the pot with warm water so that about 2-3 cm of water covers over the  jars.
  • Place lid on. Heat until water is boiling.
  • Simmer 5 minutes only. This ensures the cucumbers remain crisp and not soggy.
  • Carefully remove jars from pot with strong tongs, and place on a wooden board or similar. Screw each preserving ring tightly.
  • Allow jars to cool and ensure each one has sealed properly.
  • Label each jar with name and date.

Ingredients

  • Grapes – well ripened, sufficient to fill a 10L pot
  • Water – ½ cup per large pot of grapes
  • Honey – 750g per 4L of strained grape juice

Equipment required

  • One large stainless steel pot (say 10L)
  • Preserving jars, well washed and dried and put in the oven to sterilise.100 degrees C for at least 20 minutes.

(Check jars for any cracks or chips around the top)

  • Seals – sterilised in boiling water in a small bowl
  • Preserving rings – need to be clean but not sterilised
  • A cheese cloth straining bag

Method

  • Pick grapes and pluck them off the stems.
  • Wash grapes and put in a large bowl.
  • Crush grapes well using your hands or use a potato masher.
  • Pour crushed grapes into a large pot (crushing is important to increase the yield of juice)
  • Add ½ cup water.
  • Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer until you can’t easily identify individual grape pulp and until the seeds have separated. This could take 30-40 minutes.
  • Once the grapes are cooked sufficiently, ladle them into the cheese cloth straining bag, which is positioned over a large bowl. Most of the juice flows through quickly. Store in fridge overnight.
  • Hang the straining bag overnight, above a bowl to catch a residual amount of juice.
  • After all the juice is strained, measure it by volume as you transfer it into a large pot.
  • Estimate how much honey needed for the total quantity of juice (refer above).
  • Add the honey to the grape juice. Bring juice to the boil. Gently simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Pour the simmering juice into a hot sterilised jar.
  • Fill jar completely to overflowing.
  • Use a sterilized seal to place on the jar.
  • Screw down firmly with a clean preserving ring.
  • Complete the process one jar at a time.
  • Leave the jars undisturbed for a few hours until completely cool.
  • Remove the preserving rings. Check to see that each jar is fully sealed.
  • Wash each jar carefully, dry and store in a dry, cool place.
  • When serving the juice it may be diluted with a little cold water.

Equipment needed

  • A large pot and lid.
    • Any pot is suitable, as long as it’s tall enough to hold your jars, and that it allows the jars and lids to be fully submerged and covered by 2-3cm of water. This is very important.
  • A piece of old linen or a tea towel on the bottom of the pan to stop the jars having direct contact with the bottom of the pot.
  • Preserving jars – small or large. Well cleaned but no need to sterilize.
  • Preserving seals and rings – no sterilizing necessary.
  • Tongs for lifting jars.

Method

  • Choose fruits that are well ripened but not over-ripe or mushy.
  • Remove any blemishes.
  • Where possible, I leave fruits unpeeled (apricots, peaches), just removing the stones.
  • Wash fruit well, cut into halves or quarters, or slice, as preferred.
  • Pack fruit into clean jars.
  • Pour 1 rounded dessertspoon of liquid honey over each jar of fruit. Some very sweet fruits need no honey at all.
  • Fill each jar to overflowing with cooled boiled water.
  • Carefully slide a knife down the inner edge of each jar in a few places to help release any pockets of air. Add a little more water if necessary, so each jar is overflowing.
  • Place a clean seal on each jar.
  • Screw on the preserving ring, fingertip tight, (not too tight).
  • Place a cloth on the base of your empty, large cooking pot.
  • Once all the jars have lids and rings, lower them into your large pot.
  • Cover the jars with cold tap water, at least 2-3 cm above the seals.
    • You need that much to ensure that they won’t become exposed during boiling.
  • Cover the pot with the lid
  • Turn the element to high
  • It takes about an hour from the time I put the jars in the pot to when they are ready to be taken out.

(I have a big pot that holds 7 jars)

If it is longer than this the water changes colour.

  • Lift each jar out of the pot very carefully, on to a clean large plate using sturdy tongs. There can be a little overflow from the jar.
  • Using a dry cloth, screw down the preserving ring more tightly.
  • Place sealed jar on a folded newspaper until completely cool.
    • if you have countertops made from marble, stainless steel or some other surface that stays cool, the paper is really important so that you don’t shock your jars.
  • Leave the jars for several hours undisturbed, before removing the rings and check to see if each jar has sealed completely.

Any jars that do not seal can be stored in the fridge and used within a week or so.

  • Wash jars before you put them away. Any sticky residue can attracts ants and other pests, so make sure your jars are well cleaned, especially around the rim.
  • Sealed jars should be stored in a cool, dark place without the rings.
  • Label jar including the date.

Trouble Shooting

There are many good web sites giving guide lines on preserving which are very helpful.