At Saskatoon’s Gardenscape tradeshow, Noelle Chorney, our Managing Editor is talking today about preserving garden produce. Some of what she is talking about is covered in some of our back issues, which are available for purchase:
• Summer 2007: How to Make Fruit Liqueurs
• Summer 2014: How to Ferment Vegetables
• Summer 2013: Salted Herb Recipe, A Herbal Companion
• Fall 2013: How to Make Gifts from the Garden
Here are two recipes mentioned in the talk:
Herbes salées (Salted herbs)
This has long been a well-kept secret of cooks in Quebec, but thanks to some well-meaning chefs and the internet, the secret is out! Play with any variety of herbs, but this is the combination and method I used, reprinted with permission from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts:
1 c. chopped fresh chives
1 c. chopped fresh summer savory
1 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 c. chopped fresh chervil
1 c. grated carrots
1 c. chopped celery leaves
1 c. chopped green onions
½ c. coarse salt
In a large bowl, combine ¼ of each of the fresh ingredients. Top with ¼ the salt. Repeat layering, finishing with salt. Cover and refrigerate one week.
At the end of the week, pour herbs and brine into a large jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator, up to one year.
6 cups (1.5 L) fresh or frozen strawberries, sour cherries or saskatoon berries
3 cups (750 ml) sugar
3 cups (750 ml) brandy
(If using saskatoon berries, consider adding a couple of whole allspice berries to the blend)
Simply mash the berries, sugar and spirit together in a large jar, seal and let sit for three weeks. If the sugar doesn’t dissolve completely at first, rotate the jar every couple of days until it is. At the end of three weeks, strain the fruit from the liquid and pour into sterilised bottles. The flavour will improve if the liqueur is allowed to age another three weeks before drinking.
Yield: approximately 2 litres, but depends on juiciness of berries.
Here are some resources that can help you get started on preserving your garden produce:
Sandor Ellix Katz is a well-known fermentation guru. He has published Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation. I own the latter and find it both well-written and fascinating.
Online resources are endless. Some of my favourites are:
• Nourished Kitchen
• Fermentation Recipes
• Cultures for Health
I have found local Facebook groups, such as A Pocketful of Culture, that can connect you to sources of equipment, starters for making your own yogurt, kefir and kombucha, and tons of support for anyone with questions.
When you buy a box of new jars, there is usually some instruction with them already, but there are also several websites that offer more guidance:
• Mother Earth News
• Government of Canada website on Canning Safety
Online Resources for Bottles and Jars
Here are a few interesting sources for different bottles and jars if you’re having trouble finding some:
• Specialty Bottles
• Weck Jars