Spice up your dinner with preserved goodies
Written by Lars Lund
The summer reserves can be used now and have you forgotten how to preserve then continue reading.
As the kitchen gardens are in prosperity, there has been a need to resume good old traditions, such as saving some of the harvests from the gardens. Squirrels and mice and many other animals stock up for the winter, and humans have done the same for thousands of years, up until the canned food and the finished industrial products arrived. Today we do not have to stock up, but the result is that we have forgotten to pass on what we had learned to the next generations.
Preserving is just one example. Admittedly, there are still some left who can make jams, but we rarely get any further. It could be making marmalade, which has a slightly thicker texture or pickling beets. When we get to preserving many other of the delicious ingredients from the garden, we all too often skip it. The Danish preserving queen Helena Graystone wants us to change that. A few years ago, she won a preserving competition, and subsequently, she has had two books published, the most recent with the title “Syltedronningens forråd”.
Capture the sensuality
Helena Graystone cannot get her arms down when she talks about the wonderful things about preserving. When we cook and have been through the same ten dishes we know, and have to start over, there is nothing more delicious than adding a little extra sensuality to the food. You do this by adding something pickled or preserved. Just a pickled cucumber can make the dish a whole new and exciting experience. Preserving is the epitome of all this. It is about going back to basic, it is sustainable and it reduces food waste. It strengthens the community when we preserve together. In short, if you start preserving, you are not just talking about it, but you are actually doing something.
Before you start
You need to know the basics about virgin vinegar, the difference between brown vinegar and dark vinegar, like apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and other products that are useful when preserving. You can also make vinegar yourself.
Besides making apple cider vinegar, the easiest way to make special vinegar is a simple fusion of berries and virgin vinegar. The fresh, rinsed berries are drizzled with clear virgin vinegar so that it covers completely. The vinegar soaks for 2-4 weeks, after which you sieve the vinegar, from the berries and pour the finished vinegar into a bottle. In short, it's about capturing the senses of the food and capturing them as a liquid in a bottle.
If you have never preserved before, you can start making your own marmalade. It may not pay off financially, but in terms of taste, you get a completely different experience. Then you can indulge in pickled cucumbers, preserved Chinese radishes, preserved stuffed chilli or other recipes, so that the ten meals you know, each can be added something special.
Om Lars Lund
Danish horticulturist and journalist
Lars Lund has for many years engaged in the garden and greenhouse. Lars has published many books about greenhouses, and he has participated in many Danish horticultural TV shows. He is a walking garden encyclopaedia, and he has answers for most basic cultivation questions – also the more ambitious ones.
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