This is a guest post by Ugnius V and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.
There is no point in rewriting all those numerous books on preserving your food. So I shall endeavor to share my best experience in pickled food, nothing more.
Let’s start with basics.
There is several important differences in Lithuanian and English language in dealing with preserved foods. It might depend on the fact that preserving foods has longer tradition over here than the one in Anglo-Saxon world. I will try to explain differences between the classification and use different English words for them.
To pickle – is to preserve food with the help of salt, sugar, vinegar and heat to remove bacteria and stop ‘em from reproducing.
To sour – is to preserve food with the help of salt, sugar, and herbs but not using heat or vinegar.
Enough of the semantics. Let’s get down to business.
Generic pickling recipe (the best from all I’ve tried – easy to do and easy to remember). It goes well for pattypans, zucchinis, cucumbers, snap beans, tomatoes etc.
Clean and sterilize glass jars that you will use for canning: wash them using cleaning soda (sodium bicarbonate) and after that steam them over the tea pot for minimum of 5 min.
Then clean and cut (if necessary) vegetables you intend to can.
Assemble these spices for caning:
- Brine spices (MOST IMPORTANT) – for every 1l of jar(!) –
- 1 table spoon of salt (with a pile)
- 1 table spoon of sugar (flat)
- 50ml vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar)
- Mustard seeds (two solid pinches for every 1l of jar)
- Black peppercorn (two solid pinches for every 1l of jar)
- Bay leaf (one for every 1l of jar)
- Coriander seeds (two solid pinches for every 1l of jar)
- Rest of spices (those we put directly into the jars):
- A leaf of horse radish (for every 3l jar)
- Leaves of cherry (10pcs for every 3l jar)
- Leaves of black currant (10pcs for every 3l jar)
- Stalks of dill (leaves, flower umbrellas and everything)
(Optional) Leaves of oak (3pcs for every 3l jar) – now, mind you, you must make sure that it is North European variety and not some poisonous stuff).
(I am assuming 3l jars will be used, if you use different sizes, adjust accordingly). Take your jars and start stuffing them. Put horse radish leave on the bottom, then put there half of cherry, black currant, dill and oak leaves. Start putting your vegetables into the jars, alter vegetables with the rest of afore mentioned spices. Make sure that you stuff your jars to the bursting point, because vegetables will shrink.
When you are done with stuffing, pour some wholesome water onto the vegetables till the jars are full. When you have filled all the jars with the water, pour it out into the pot. Now we are going to do brine for the vegetables. Take salt, sugar, vinegar and the other spices according to your quantity of jar litrage (i.e. how many jar liters you are making at the given moment) and put all of that into the pot.
The rest is easy. Bring the brine to the boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Then take the pot with boiling brine and pour it into the jars with vegetables. Be careful though, pour it slowly, because jars may burst when boiling water is poured suddenly. Let the brine stand in the jars for some time (usually 15min) and then pour the brine back to the pot and bring to the boil again.
You have to repeat this process three times. When you poured the brine on the vegetables for the second time, it is right moment to prepare the jar lids. If they are reusable – wash them with soda and steam, if they are disposable steaming will suffice.
Now, when the brine is poured into the jars for the third time, put on the lids and tighten them according to their modus operandi. Now turn the jar on its head and let it stand for some time. During this time you must watch if the lid holds the brine, i.e. the jar and the lid are hermetic. If everything is alright, wait until jars are cool and put them away. If you notice any suspicious jars, reseal them immediately with new, sterilized lid.
There it is… this single recipe will allow you to preserve almost all of your vegetables, and even mushrooms.
However, good mushrooms require that we give them more credit and attention then we do for the simple vegetables.
Here is the best of the best recipe for such noble mushrooms as boletus.
You will need:
1kg of mushrooms, salt, 4dl (400ml) apple cider vinegar, 1 tea spoon red peppercorn, 1 tea sp. coriander seed, 4-5 bay leaves, 1 branch of thyme.
Clean the mushrooms, cut them down to size and simmer in salted water for 5 min. In another pot (be sure not to use aluminum one) bring the vinegar and the spices to the boil. Drain the mushrooms and put them into washed and sterilized jars. Pour the vinegar and the spices on the mushrooms. Let the jars stand for 3 minutes. Seal the jars with sterile lids. Repeat the “stand them on the head” procedure I mentioned in the previous recipe.
Expire date for these (or any preserved mushrooms for that matter) is no more than 6-9 months from sealing date.
Very simple recipe. Clean the mushrooms and simmer for 30 minutes in the salted water. Drain the mushrooms and start putting them into the washed and sterilized jars together with salt. There has to be A LOT of salt mind you! A handful of mushrooms to a handful of salt. When the jar is full, you need to squeeze the mushrooms down with something. A round flexible yet quite stout plastic that is wider then jar’s neck would do just fine. Seal the jars and put the into cellar.
The trick is, that prior to eating these mushrooms, you have to desalt them first. Soak them in the water for 24 hours, changing the water every 5 hours (you can sleep during night of course :D). Taste the mushrooms and if needed, continue the desalting process.
End of part I.
Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…
- First place winner will receive – A Volcano Grill courtesy of LPC Survival a $134.99 value, a $150 gift certificate for Remington ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner, a 60 serving bucket of Wise Freeze Dried Food courtesy of EmergencyFoodWarehouse.com and a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain meal a $219.95 value courtesy of Kitchen Neads and a USB Portable VPN courtesy of unspyable a $275 value. Total prize value of $899.99.
- Second place winner will receive – A Sopakco Sure – Pak MRE – 12 Meals courtesy of Campingsurvival.com, a $98.95 value, a Tatsu360 Tenkara Rod a $72.00 value courtesy of Dragontail Tenkara and a one year subscription to Personal VPN service, a $100 value, courtesy of unspyable. Total prize value of $270.95.
- Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net and a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.
Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on November 10 2013