October 17, 2017
For many years, the process of preserving excess vegetables eluded me. Temperatures, sterilisation and specialised equipment were all stumbling blocks. Then I met my partner Finn who loves to make jam so we began with that. I learnt the sterilisation basics and it turned out we didn’t need that much specialised equipment. However, once I started a vegetable farm, preserving the harvest was a little different. We couldn’t just add sugar to everything and make it into jam.
So where did I start? I googled. I read Cornersmith by Elliott-Howery & Grant and Fermented Vegetables by Shockey. These two books are excellent and there is a new one called Salads & Pickles by Elliott-Howery & Grant which is on my wishlist for Christmas. Once I had the basics down and a few recipes to try I began making tomato relish, tomato sauce, tomato passata and even tomato paste. This last one is definitely worth doing and is a delicious way to store a glut of tomatoes in a concentrated way that doesn’t take up much space. We have been eating last Autumn’s tomatoes preserved this way all Winter and Spring, and still have some left.
The most recent thing I have preserved is globe artichoke. Boiled briefly in their jars, in a vinegary marinade, they become soft and tender and filled with flavour. They are then excellent on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, salads or even by themselves. As their season is so short and they will soon be gone for another year, this is a great way to have them around for longer.
The next one on my list is dried and ground cayenne peppers which I am growing this year on the farm. A little will certainly go a long way but the flavour should be a lot more complex than supermarket cayenne.
Krauts, pickles, relishes and pastes are calling you. It’s worth having a go and tasting something more delicious than the same old supermarket preserves. Have a go and share your goodies on our Facebook or Instagram page, or email or text me a picture and I’ll share it for you. Good luck!
Yours in veg,