I think there’s something you should know. Today we’re surrounded with a variety of ready-made meals, microwaves, packaged goods and fast food outlets. Sure the accessibility of anything quick is quite the luxury but have we compromised the integrity of our food for convenience?
Society has largely forgotten the real art of food. Yes, food is an art! In the past, food was created in this way. Most of us have not been exposed to the everyday duties that our grandparents were accustomed to. These rituals have slowly been eradicated by “no time” excuses and a high demand for convenience. We’ve lost a part of our self-reliance when it comes to food. We’ve lost the fulfillment of taking control of food while creating something delicious.
I think there is something you should know. I want to give something back, bring something back, so I’m providing an easy at home ‘Step by Step’ guide to preserving. We’re talking pickling, smoking, curing and the art of fermentation.
I have five simple methods, dating back thousands of years to the Paleolithic era that you can easily do yourself. Don’t let this intimidate you; preserving your own products can be a lot of fun and quite enjoyable.
It’s a fantastic way to enhance your culinary skills and stimulate your pallet. In fact, many sophisticated restaurants use these methods for good kitchen practices and to create cost effective menus.
A few words of advice, I highly recommend purchasing your produce from the best markets available to you. My personal favourites are the farmer’s markets at the showgrounds, the Central Markets and the Adelaide Hills markets. These places are fantastic since their fruit’s aren’t glistening with wax and they’re as natural as nature intended them to be. Sure your vegetables may not all be the same size but at least you’ll know they’re real. And for those of you who wish to expand your education beyond this article, there are plenty of cooking classes, books and online information to improve your knowledge. Good luck on your culinary journey and hopefully you have fun on the way!
To quite simply put this, to pickle is to preserve a food by either a brine (salt) or an immersion in vinegar. This will affect the foods texture and flavor.
Pickles can be as simple as vegetables packed into jars with vinegar, the pickle will be sharp and crisp. Sugar and other flavourings will balance acidity and add complexity.
Pickle in the middle offer a ‘workshop’ and they share classes on basic and timeless preservation techniques. It’s all produced in their kitchen at 134 Unley road, Unley and you can email [email protected] for more info, and hurry as they do book out fast.
2 tbsp. mustard seeds
200ml rice wine vinegar
100g white sugar
2 tsp. salt
600g vegetables of your choice
- In a saucepan over medium heat, warm mustard seeds until they pop.
- Add the water, rice wine vinegar, white sugar, salt and bring to a light boil.
- Once sugar and salt has dissolved remove from heat and allow too cool.
- Once cooled, add the vegetable of choice and store in liquor.
Is the process of preserving its food by exposing it to smoke, usually by flavored wood. You can smoke anything from cheese, meat, vegetables or even drinks. Also, Chinese smoking methods are an easy home guide because it simply uses uncooked rice, sugar and tealeaves. Smoking adds a rich layer of flavours, increasing the umami effect. Smoking the trout is such a rewarding experience and surprisingly easy.
Jasmine Tea Smoked Trout
150g soft brown sugar
100g sea salt
2 tbsp. Sichuan pepper
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
2 ea. Star anise
1kg trout or salmon
150g jasmine rice
150g brown sugar
40g jasmine tea leaves
- In a food processor blend together the salt, sugar, Sichuan pepper, lemongrass, and star anise.
- Rub the cure on both sides of the fish and place in fridge for about 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, rinse and dry the fish.
- Using a deep oven tray, line with foil. Mix the rice, brown sugar and tea leaves. Spread along the foiled tray.
- Place a wired rack on the foiled tray and place tray on a cooking hob. Bring to a moderate smoke. Place fish on rack, skin side down and lay a lid on top. Alternatively use foil or another tray.
- Reduce heat to low and smoke f15-20 minutes, or until just cooked.
- Remove and leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate.
Cured trout before smoking.
Smoked trout, all finished.
The most dominant method has many different styles; from smoking, dehydration, salting and more. Before refrigeration, this was our only method to use as a preservation, allowing food from spoiling and to last from season to season. We want to eliminate any moisture that causes spores and bacteria growth. Restaurants have cured fish and meats that are strong in flavor, as this really enhances the taste of the food.
Beetroot Cured Trout
750g Ocean trout, skin on, pin boned
1 large beetroot, raw grated
1 tsp. juniper berries
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. coriander seeds
150g fine salt
150g white sugar
35g dill, roughly chopped
35g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
- Crush juniper berries, coriander seeds & peppercorns in a mortal and pestle.
- Mix the salt, sugar, juniper berries, coriander and peppercorns together.
- Add the lemon and orange zests to the cure and mix.
- Lay Clingfilm on a bench wide and long enough to fit the trout. Place half the cure mix on the Clingfilm then layer the trout onto the mix.
- Layer the chopped herbs onto the trout, and then lay the raw grated beetroot
- Spread the remaining cure mix on the beetroot and wrap up and cling tightly.
- Cure for overnight or 24 hours for best result.
- When ready remove and wash the mix off and thinly slice the trout.
Beetroot cured trout.
One of the best methods, this keeps what’s natural in season all year round. Plan your jam making sessions when fruits are at their peak and prime of the season, it’s the best way to savour the flavor all year round. To preserve fruits or vegetables, we simply add sugar, acid and pectin and you can create lovely jams, marmalades or conserves for an entire year
Blood Orange and Campari marmalade
1kg blood oranges
1.5 lt. water
1.3kg white granulated sugar
- Peel half the oranges and chop them up into 1 cm cubes.
- The other half of the oranges, cut in half, skin on: slice halves thickly
- Combine fruits, water and place in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, simmer and cover for 1 ½ hours, or until rind is soft.
- Add sugar to the pan, stir over high heat without boiling until sugar has dissolved.
- Leave to boil, uncovered and unstirred for 30 minutes. Stir in Campari.
- Pour hot marmalade into sterilized jars, seal immediately and store in a cool dark place.
This is basically converting sugar to acids, gases and even alcohol. As funky as it sounds, we are growing microorganisms and good bacteria. This helps the long lasting effect of the food. Yoghurt, kimchi, kefir and beer are good probiotics for the body. We need these organisms to assist with the health of our gut.
Remedy Bliss who is a raw and fermented food instructor and was the first to have a masterclass workshop. Their setup shows true passion for what’s natural and organic. Remedy demonstrates the art of fermentation; preservation and her classes can be booked via her web site at remedybliss.com. Their classes are stationed all around S.A.
Fermented Cabbage (Kimchi)
2 lg. Chinese cabbages
125g sea salt
125g soft brown sugar
20 ea. garlic cloves
150g peeled ginger
80g gochugaru (korean chilli powder)
100ml light soy sauce (gluten free)
25ml fish sauce
20g dried shrimp
- Cut the cabbage lengthways in quarters. Mix the sugar and salt together. Layer the cabbage and rub the sugar mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for 24 hours
- Blitz the garlic, ginger, gochugaru, soy sauce, fish sauce and shrimp paste to form a paste.
- Drain the cabbage and rinse off the excess sugar mix. Add the paste mix and rub the cabbage. Layer the cabbage in a new tray and pour over excess liquid. Cover and refrigerate for a further 24 hours
- Remove cabbage from tray and brush off any excess. Cut the quarters into 2cm wide pieces and store in clean container for later use. Fill the sterilized container with the fermented cabbage and the remaining liquid.
- Will keep for unto a 2 weeks.