The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the tag “food preservation”

From Fruit Leather to Fruit Drink

Another use, this one quite old, for fruit leather/dehydrated fruit puree. Apparently, in the Middle East dried apricot puree is made into a refreshing fruit drink.

The fruit leather is reconstituted by soaking in warm water for several hours (overnight) – can also be put into the blender to speed things along – then it is refrigerated. You can adjust the amount of water and add a sweetener if you feel it necessary at this point.

The following videos show two slightly different techniques. A warning that the background music in both is fairly loud (I’d mute it, as there is no talking in either video, just visual demonstration).

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Storing Eggs In the Old Days

eggs

Eggs photographed by AND12...

Imstillworking gives a really detailed explanation of the different preservation methods that were used in the past, in the absence of refrigeration to store eggs. She also covers salmonella in eggs. egg bloom, the conditions under which chickens lay well, etc. at length.

Here are the results of her experiments:

How to Make Powdered Eggs

Here’s a video on how to make powdered eggs using a flour mill. The eggs are cooked in a nonstick pan, dehydrated and then run through a flour mill a couple times until powdered.

Teflon is nasty stuff, so I hope she uses a ceramic coated non-stick pan — and probably things would be more efficient in a dehydrator (store bought or rigged).

Apparently eggs prepared this way can be rehydrated to make scrambled eggs and other egg dishes or added without rehydrating to baked goods recipes and can last 5-10 years if stored in an airtight container.

Make Ginger Vinegar Cordial or Shrub

A shrub is an old-time drink with an acidic base, in this case vinegar. The shrubs I’ve read about call for fruit.

Pairing fruit with vinegar was a way of preserving it without refrigeration, so that, for example, you could have a berry drink in winter, when berries would otherwise not be available.

Julie, in New South Wales, Australia made a ginger flavored version based on this recipe and writes:

“The cordials are generally drunk diluted about 1:10 with water, soda water or rum; we tried ours with lemonade because we had an open bottle in the fridge which needed drinking.

Damn! It’s good!

Sorta kinda like a cross between lemon/lime bitters and ginger ale, to my palate (with the lemonade that is). The cider vinegar gives it a tang on your tongue which feels deceptively alcoholic, except of course, it isn’t, so I reckon it would make the base for an excellent mocktail.

So easy to make too”

Ingredients you’ll need: vinegar, a flavoring (here it’s ginger) and sugar.

Julie notes that “To make a berry shrub, substitute 1½ cups raspberries, blackberries or blueberries for the ginger and reduce the cider vinegar to 2/3 cup for blueberries and ½ cup for raspberries and blackberries.”

Click here to view the full ginger shrub tutorial.

How To Make Clarified Butter

Clarified butter is butter from which the milk solids have been removed. Commercial operations may use a centrifuge or decantation to do this.

The traditional ghee method involves melting and heating the butter so that its water evaporates and some milk solids rise to the top of the melted fat (to be skimmed off) and others sink to the bottom (to be filtered out later). If the butter is cooked long enough the milk solids caramelize and give a nutty flavor to the butter fat.

Advantages of clarified butter over fresh:

Clarifying butter preserves it. As the water and milk solids in the butter are removed, butter prepared this way can last indefinitely without refrigeration in an airtight container.

– Clarified butter’s smoking point is higher than that of fresh butter, which makes it useful for sauteeing and frying.

– Since you’ve removed the milk solids the clarified butter is low in lactose and so can be tolerated by many people who are lactose intolerant.

Here titlinihaan in the UK shows us how she makes ghee on the stovetop. Using 500 grams (so, about one pound) of butter the process takes her about an hour and a half:

Titli didn’t mention this, but you want to be careful that you don’t burn the solids on the bottom of the pan, because that can ruin the taste of the whole batch.

Here David Bruce Hughes in Santiago, Chile shows us how he makes large batches of ghee. “The time that you spend to make a large quantity of ghee is not going to be much more than to make a small quantity, so you might as well stock up, ” he says. He mentions a lot of the technical aspects of the process.

A hands-free method of making ghee is to use the oven. In “The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking”, Yamuna Devi writes “This is the best method for making a stockpile of ghee. Because the heat surrounds the ghee, rather than contacting only the bottom of the pan, the cooking is slower but almost effortless. More of a crust will harden on the surface, and the solids at the bottom of the pan will remain soft and somewhat gelatinous.”

Yamuna uses a baking pan deep enough to allow about three inches (approx. 7.5 cm) of pan above the surface of the melting butter and bakes her ghee at 300 F (150 C).

If you are processing a pound of butter you may need to leave your pan in the oven for an hour before you can skim and filter.

Instead of skimming off the solids as the butter cooks, as Titli did, you skim after you’ve removed the pan from the oven. Then you filter the mixture – either with a clean tight-woven cloth, layers of cheesecloth or with a coffee filter as Titli suggested.

Yamuna writes that you can save the milk solids for use in dishes or to spread on bread.

For flavored ghee, you add herbs and/or spices (added by themselves to the butter or you can put them into a sachet you’ve made with cheesecloth and add that to the butter) to the ghee as it cooks.

Other terms for clarified butter: brown butter, beurre noisette (French), samna/samneh (Arabic), ghee (Hindi-Urdu), butterschmalz (German), manteiga da tierra (Portuguese), manteiga de garrafa. Spiced clarified butter is known as niter kibbeh. Smen(North Africa) is spiced, cultured clarified butter.

More on the Pot-in-Pot Refrigerator

The Rojases at Green Power Science, in Florida, give us more info on the pot-in-pot refrigerator. They highlight the need to be aware of your surrounding humidity levels. If the humidity is above 75%, they note, the zeer pots won’t work because they require evaporation to work and that’s a no-go when it is very humid out.

Salmon Jerky

Dennis of white-trash-cooking.com in California makes salmon jerky. He learned the process from his Alaskan uncle.

“A very healthy snack food, salmon jerky is high in omega-3 fatty acid, which is considered valuable in reducing blood cholesterol levels. It’s also delicious and easy to make. Marinate the salmon and let it dry in a warm oven overnight. It keeps well.”

Can I get botulism from fermented vegetables?

Sandor Katz, of wildfermentation.com answers the question.

Tempeh-making

This video with Jessica Baucom was great because she talks about how to make tempeh (a fermented bean cake) with all kinds of beans (not just soy) and explains in a simple way the critical points in making tempeh.

“Tempeh is a great source of protein (with zero cholesterol!) and easy to digest – it’s also a great meat substitute.”

Here Anna Antaki of the Weeping Duck Farm shows us her commercial tempeh making operation.

Both Anna and Jessica make their tempeh in plastic bags, but you can make it just as easily (without having to deal with plastic touching hot food) in pyrex dishes or cookie sheets. I’ve made it this way before and it came out fine, albeit with thicker white growth on the side of the tempeh not in touch with the dish. Traditionally, in Indonesia, where tempeh first originated they use large leaves, like banana leaves to package the tempeh.

Dead Simple, Cheap, Solar Food Dehydration

These methods probably wouldn’t work in Seattle or Vancouver, but if you have a sunny, dry climate these look like great, inexpensive ways to dry food.

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