Category Archives: Preserving

Curtido: Fermented Cabbage Relish

I’m no stranger to the art of fermentation, having been making beer and wine for over 30 years, but my adventures in fermenting food have been a little more limited.

My efforts have been largely limited to simple cabbage based ferments such as sauerkraut or kimchi, occasionally experimenting with other vegetables such as collard greens and tomatoes.

curtido - fermented cabbage relish from britinthesouth.comThe theme for the November Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was fermentation and although I went with a cabbage based recipe it included quite a few other goodies and was something completely new to me: curtido, a cabbage relish from El Salvador that typically also features onions and carrots and is seasoned with oregano and lime juice.

It was a good opportunity to use some of the glut of napa cabbage from my CSA box as well as some of the fragrant oregano I had dried from my own garden.

curtido - fermented cabbage relish from britinthesouth.comGoogle “curtido” and you’ll find wealth of recipes, all very similar with slight variations. I followed this one with a few tweaks.

The result was a tangy and tasty, like a fermented coleslaw and it makes an excellent side dish or is great on a burger.

Curtido: Fermented Cabbage Relish

1lb chopped napa cabbage

1 tbs pickling salt

5oz carrots, sliced thinly on a mandolin

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 green apple, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tbs dried oregano

Juice of a lime

Put the cabbage and salt in glass or metal bowl, massage the salt into cabbage then leave for a couple of hours. The leaves should start to soften and yield some moisture.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine. Spoon the mixture into a quart jar and press down well.

curtido - fermented cabbage relish from britinthesouth.comI used a fermentation kit from masonjarlifestyle.com which provides everything you need to start playing about with fermentation in wide mouth mason jars. It comes with a silicon fermenting lid, and airlock and a glass weight which fits neatly in the jar to press down the vegetables below the brine.

If you don’t have any of that gear just put some cloth or paper towel on top secured with an rubber band and place on a plate to catch any liquid that might overflow.

Keep the jar out on a counter top for 2-3 days, checking occasionally that the liquid is bubbling and the mix has a tangy smell and flavour.

After that you can transfer the jar to your fridge and enjoy within 3-4 weeks.

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip

We invested in a dehydrator many years ago and have found it a very useful way to help deal with gluts from our garden and CSA box.

The most common items we dry are apples for snacking and cabbage to add to soups and stews in the winter. We have also found it great for drying herbs from the garden when they start growing out of control.

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip from britinthesouth.comOurs is a 4 tray Excalibur brand dehydrator which are easy to find online. It is easy to use and has proved very reliable over many years of use.

One of the options for the Food in Jars mastery challenge for October was dehydrating so I thought I’d have a go at something I haven’t tried drying before: tomatoes. We preserve loads of tomatoes at the height of summer but most of them are turned into sauce, paste or jam.

Even though the end of October beckons there are still a few late season tomatoes around in my part of Georgia. Last week’s CSA box included some grape tomatoes which made ideal candidates for the dehydrator.

Prepping them was easy: I just washed them and halved them, before loading them onto the dehydrator trays. Some folks season them at this stage or marinate them before drying but I just left them as they were, preferring to season when I come to use them in the future.

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip from britinthesouth.comHaving loaded the tomatoes into the dehydrator I set the temperature to 135 degrees F and turned it on. They took around 9 hours in total. Larger tomatoes would take a bit longer. The trick is to regularly check them to see if they have achieved the desired result where they are dry and slightly leathery.

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip from britinthesouth.comOnce they have cooled store them in an airtight jar. I look forward to using them to get a burst of summer flavour in some of my winter cooking but I couldn’t resist putting some of them to use sooner than that. I softened some in oilve oil before whipping together with feta and yogurt to make a tangy and tasty dip.

Feta and Tomato Dip

0.25 cup dried grape tomatoes

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

0.5 cup plain yogurt (I used fat free)

2oz crumbled feta cheese (I used an excellent goats cheese feta from a local farm)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip from britinthesouth.comPut the dried tomatoes and the olive oil in a bowl and leave for 30-40 minutes for the tomatoes to soften a little.

Put both the oil and tomatoes in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds to start chopping the tomatoes.

Add the yogurt and feta and process until blended into a pink hued chunky dip.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper. As feta tends to be salty you may only need the black pepper.

Enjoy with crudites or on crackers.

 

Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes

Summer in this part of the world has finally finished. The temperatures have dipped slightly and the stifling humidity of a few weeks ago has dissipated, making this one of my favourite times of year weather wise.

Spicy pickled green tomatoes from britinthesouth.comThe corn, cucumbers and peaches have disappeared from our CSA box, to be replaced by squashes, sweet potatoes and apples.

I am trying to make the most of the last remnants of this year’s tomato harvest before they too disappear until next summer. This weekend I oven roasted a big batch of cherry tomatoes with garlic and thyme and then passed it through a food mill to make a batch of deeply savoury sauce to freeze for the winter.

Both in the garden and at the market there is a sudden glut of green tomatoes as the hours of sunlight in the day begin to wane.

As a kid in England I remember my Mum struggling to come up with a use for the green tomatoes left in our garden at the end of summer. I recall that green tomato chutney seemed to be the only option anyone could think of and no one had much enthusiasm for either making or consuming it.

Here in the South, green tomatoes are much more of a staple, and I have come to love the classic Southern fried green tomatoes.

Spicy pickled green tomatoes from britinthesouth.comWhen faced with a small glut of green tomatoes I opted for pickling them. I used this recipe from Food In Jars for inspiration but tweaked the end result in a different direction by changing out the seasonings for something a bit spicier.

The result is great: a sharp, tart, spicy pickle that goes particularly well paired with a creamy goats cheese or a brie or camembert.

Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes

1lb green tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

1 tbs pickling salt

1 tsp black peppercorns

4 garlic cloves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine the water, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil.

Put the following into each sterilised 8oz jar:-

0.25 tsp black peppercorns

1 garlic clove

0.25 tsp mustard seeds

0.25 tsp red pepper flakes

Cut the tomatoes into wedges and pack as tightly as you can into the jars.

Pour the brine into the jars, leaving a headspace of half an inch. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles and top up with brine if necessary. Apply lids and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: 4x 8oz jars

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Muscadine Butter

Muscadines are native to the southern US and are a common sight in local farmers markets. Although tasty, the skins are thick and the seeds bitter so they are often more popular turned into wine or preserves than eaten raw.

Muscadine Butter from britinthesouth.comI recently was the lucky recipient of a batch when the remnants of hurricane Irma swept through Georgia as a tropical storm and a neighbor preemptively picked what he had left on his vines before the 60 mph winds came through.

Once the power came back on my thoughts turned to what to do with them and as luck would have it the theme for the September Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was fruit butters. When it comes to fruit butters I have never ventured beyond the standard apple butter so trying it with muscadines would definitely be a new departure for me.

Muscadine Butter from britinthesouth.comI have seen recipes for spiced muscadine jams and spreads but decided that experimentation could wait until next time and opted for a simple approach adding just sugar and lemon juice.

The result is just the right balance of sweet, tart and fruity, and I’m looking forward to spreading it on my toast, spooning it onto pancakes, adding to oatmeal, mixing it into yogurt……….

Muscadine Butter

2lb muscadines

1.5 cups sugar

8 tbs lemon juice

Place the ingredients in a pan and slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat, lightly crushing them with the back of a wooden spoon, or a potato masher, as they warm up.

Gently boil for 15 minutes until the muscadines are soft and tender and have released their juice.

Remove from the heat and either pass through a sieve or a food mill to remove the seeds and skins.

Muscadine Butter from britinthesouth.comPut the resulting juice in a heavy bottomed pan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until it achieves a thick, spreadable consistency (80-90 minutes).

Pour the thickened fruit into sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: 3x 4oz jars

 

 

 

 

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Blackberry Chutney

When we venture out to our favourite pick-your-own farm we often go crazy and pick a bucket or two more than we intended. They never go to waste; we always find some way to preserve them.

Blackberry Chutney from britinthesouth.comA number of years ago we had a mountain of blackberries on our hands. We had already made jam, shrub and liqueur, as well as selling a bucket to a local chef.

Blackberry Chutney from britinthesouth.comFor the remaining berries I looked to Marisa McClellan’s “Food In Jars” for inspiration and it was a strawberry chutney recipe that caught my eye. I followed it pretty closely apart from swapping out strawberries for blackberries and was very pleased with the results. We now make a big batch every year, inevitably giving some of it away to friends that rave about it. Over the years I have reduced the amount of star anise used from the original recipe, and find I need a longer cooking time to get the consistency I like but have otherwise been pretty faithful to it.

It seemed the perfect candidate for this month’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge from Marisa for which the topic is hot pack preserving.

It is a delicious sweet and sour blend of fruit, vinegar and spices that goes well with cold meats but is particularly good with cheeses like mature cheddar or a strong blue.

Blackberry Chutney

4 pounds blackberries

1 large red onion, finely chopped

2 cups light brown sugar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1.5 cups golden raisins

1 lemon, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

1 tbs salt

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1-2 small pieces of star anise (broken from a whole star anise)

 

Place the blackberries in a large pot and lightly crush (I use a potato masher).

Blackberry Chutney from britinthesouth.comAdd all the other ingredients to the pot. Stir to mix and then bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook until most of the juice has evaporated and the mixture has reduced to a thick and syrupy consistency. This can take 90-120 minutes. Stir regularly and keep an eye on it as it can easily stick to the pan if you neglect it and/or have the heat too high.

Blackberry Chutney from britinthesouth.comOnce it has achieved your desired thickness remove it from the heat.

Pour the chutney into sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: 4 pint jars

Georgia Peach Jam

The topic for the Food in Jars mastery challenge for June is jam. As I live in the Peach State and the first of this year’s Georgia peach crop has just started to show up in local farmer’s markets it seemed the ideal candidate to turn into jam.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comSadly, the Georgia peach crop for 2017 is estimated to be 80% down due to a warmer than average winter followed by a spring freeze, so I need to take advantage of what I can get my hands on before the supply dries up.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comMy jam is based on Marisa’s recipe from “Food in Jars“, although I tweaked the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg from the original recipe.

The jam turned out really well and will be a welcome reminder of this year’s crop when the limited supply disappears.

If you have any spare jam, you can use it to make a decadent treat: bellini truffles. Click here for the recipe.

Peach Jam

2 lbs fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped

2 cups granulated sugar

Zest and juice of a lemon

0.25 tsp cinnamon

0.25 tsp nutmeg

3oz pack of liquid pectin

Put the peaches and sugar in a large non-reactive pan and stir well to combine. The peaches should start releasing their juice. Bring to a boil and add the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook over high heat for 15-20 minutes.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comAdd the pectin and and bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. The jam should have thickened. Remove from the heat.

Pour the jam into sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: Three 8oz jars

 

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Serviceberry Shrub

I wrote last year about my delight in discovering a serviceberry tree on public property in my neighbourhood, which gave me the chance to do a spot of urban foraging and make something delicious from the berries I picked.

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comI’m glad to say that I have subsequently spotted a few more serviceberry trees within walking distance of my home meaning I can grab a decent haul of the sweet red berries but leave plenty on the tree for other foragers and birds.

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comThe window for picking is relatively short. There was about a one week period where I was making daily strolls to pick berries from the abundant supply. I then returned from a couple of days out of town to find that the trees were bare of berries and that was it for this year.

Luckily I had gathered enough to make something delicious. Last year I opted for a sweet, thick syrup, perfect with pancakes. This year I decided to turn my berries into a shrub, or drinking vinegar. I make these regularly, especially when I have a glut of strawberries or blackberries, but have never tried with serviceberries before.

The result is absolutely delicious; it’s a pity that I’m going to have to wait another year until I can make some more.

Serviceberry Shrub

Ingredients

12oz fresh serviceberries

1 cup distilled white vinegar

Granulated sugar

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comPlace the berries in a glass or ceramic jar, crush lightly and add the vinegar.

Leave to steep for 4 days, stirring or shaking daily.

After 4 days strain the fruit. Then add the sugar: I use a 2:1 liquid to sugar ratio but you can adjust to your personal taste. After straining I had around 10 fl.oz. of liquid so I added 5oz of sugar to it and then gently heated it in a pan over medium heat, stirring regularly until the sugar dissolved, about 10 minutes.

Once the shrub is cool, bottle it and store in the fridge.

I usually drink my shrubs diluted with sparkling water.

Pickled Garlic

The topic for the May Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was cold pack canning, which as the name suggests, involves putting the food in the jar cold and uncooked before adding liquid and processing. It is a quick and straightforward method but some vegetables and fruits are more suited to this treatment than others.

pickled garlic from britinthesouth.comI found this month’s subject more challenging than previous months purely because of finding something suitable to preserve. I prefer to use seasonal produce from the farmer’s market when I can and many of the best candidates for cold pack canning simply weren’t in season yet.

Luckily, as the clock ticked away towards the end of the month, my friends at Riverview Farms came to the rescue, bringing bundles of freshly picked garlic to the farmer’s market. This wasn’t the dried old stuff with papery skins that you find in the supermarket but plump and juicy garlic cloves not long out of the ground. They are easy to peel and large cloves means it is a quick and easy exercise to fill the jars and before you know it you have some good looking jars of pickled garlic stashed away.

pickled garlic from britinthesouth.com

I followed Marisa McClellan’s recipe for “Pickled Garlic Cloves” from “Preserving by the Pint”, using homemade pickling spice. Her recipe made 3 half pint jars but I only managed 2, probably because of the large garlic cloves I had.

Pickled Garlic

1 pound fresh garlic, peeled

2 cups red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon pickling salt

2 teaspoons pickling spice (see recipe below)

Put the vinegar in a nonreactive pan, add the pickling salt, and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt.

Put a teaspoon of the pickling spice mix into each of the two half pint jars, then pack the garlic cloves as tightly as you can into the jar. Pour the hot brine over, leaving half an inch of headspace. Tap the jars to eliminate any air bubbles, wipe the rims, apply the lid and ring and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Yield: 2 half pint jars

Pickling Spice

3 tbs yellow mustard seeds

1 tbs coriander seeds

1 tbs whole allspice berries

1.5 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground ginger

2 inch cinnamon stick

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

Make the pickling spice mix, Lightly crush the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allspice berries and cloves using a pestle and mortar. Break the cinnamon into small pieces and rip up the bay leaves. Add to the mix along with the red pepper flakes and ground ginger. Mix well to combine.

pickling spice from britinthesouth.com

 

Quick Pickled Sweet Peppers

I’m a sucker for eye catching produce and in particular am often unable to resist the colourful pepper section at one of my favourite Asian markets in town. They have a vast array, ranging from mild to really hot, including many you simply wouldn’t find in a regular grocery store.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comLast time I was tempted by the red poblanos, which I turned into pepper jelly, but this time a pile of sweet, mini, multi-coloured bell peppers caught my eye. They were the perfect subject for the quick pickle treatment for this month’s Food In Jars Mastery Challenge.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comAs the name suggest, quick pickles are fast and easy. You simply make a brine with vinegar, water, sugar (or another sweetener of your choice) and spices. As they are kept in the fridge they do not need any sort of water bath processing or special equipment. Just prep your vegetable of choice, stick it in a jar, pour over the hot brine and you will soon be enjoying crisp, tasty pickles.

The taste of your final product will be heavily influenced by your choice of pickling spice. Of course, you can just go out and buy a jar of ready made pickling spice but where is the fun in that? Make your own and you can customise the flavour and spice level to your own liking.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comFor my quick pickles I loosely followed a recipe from Cathy Barrow’s “Mrs.Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry”. I started with her basic spice mix but cut back on the cinnamon, which I often find overpowering, and made it a little spicier.

This was a quick and fairly simple recipe and the peppers were ready to eat within a day of making them. I’ve already enjoyed them on veggie tacos and added to sandwiches and salads. They may not have the shelf life of water bath processed pickles but they don’t look like lasting long anyway.

Quick Pickled Sweet Peppers

12oz mixed sweet mini peppers

1 cup water

1 cup white or apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tbs salt

1 tbs granulated sugar

1.5 tsp pickling spice (recipe below)

Pickling Spice

3 tbs yellow mustard seeds

1 tbs coriander seeds

1 tbs whole allspice berries

1.5 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground ginger

2 inch cinnamon stick

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

Make the pickling spice mix, Lightly crush the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allspice berries and cloves using a pestle and mortar. Break the cinnamon into small pieces and rip up the bay leaves. Add to the mix along with the red pepper flakes and ground ginger. Mix well to combine.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comPrep the peppers by washing them and cutting them into thin slices. As I used small peppers they were the perfect size to fit in a jar. Larger bell peppers will work but might need cutting down to smaller strips. Pack the peppers into a sterilised quart jar.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comIn a nonreactive pan combine the water, vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar and pickling spice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour the brine into the jar, ensuring the peppers are covered. Once the jar has cooled down pop a lid on.

Leave for about 24 hours before trying. Store in the refrigerator and use within a month.

 

 

 

 

Red Poblano Pepper Jelly

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.comI have cooked many times with poblano peppers and until last week all the poblanos I’d ever seen were either a bright and vivid dark green colour or a glossy chocolatey brown.

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.comSo I was delighted to find some bright red poblanos mixed in with the green at one of my favourite markets and couldn’t resist grabbing a bagful of them. A quick google search led me to rickbayless.com where the Mexican cooking guru enthuses about the red poblano.

Poblanos take a long time to ripen to red so most are plucked from the vine whilst still green, hence their limited availability. I tried his recipe for “fettucine with butternut squash and red poblano crema” and can heartily recommend it.

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.comThe rest of my pepper haul was destined to make a batch of red poblano pepper jelly, jelly being one of the options for March’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge. Pepper jelly is one of my preserving staples in the summer when peppers of all shades are abundant in our CSA box, but making it with red poblanos would be a first for me. They are slightly hotter than their green counterparts , with a sweeter, more fruity flavour and, as I discovered, make a fantastic jelly.

I’ve already served it in the classic pairing of goats cheese and pepper jelly but it would also make a great glaze for meat or vegetables, be the perfect condiment for a grilled cheese sandwich, or add a kick when whisked into a salad dressing.

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.comThe recipe is based on one for “Sparkling Sweet Pepper Jelly” from “The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving”. As the name suggests, this recipe leaves you with small jewel like pieces of pepper suspended in a bright, glowing jelly, making it visually appealing for the table as well as delicious. It also means that you have quite a bit of chopping to do to get the tiny pepper pieces but the result is worth it and once that bit of prep is done it is a pretty simple recipe.

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.com

Red Poblano Pepper Jelly

1.5 cups finely chopped red poblano peppers

0.75 cup white wine vinegar

3 cups granulated sugar

1 pouch liquid fruit pectin (I used a 3oz pouch of Certo liquid fruit pectin)

Combine the chopped peppers, vinegar and sugar in a non reactive saucepan (stainless steel or enamel).

Bring to the boil over high heat and boil hard for a minute, stirring constantly.

Add the liquid fruit pectin, bring to the boil again and boil hard for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Ladle the jelly into sterilised jars, leaving half an inch of headspace.

Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Yield: 3.5 cups

 

 

 

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