The Real Know How

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

Archive for the tag “preserving”

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.

Useful Plant: Silver Buffalo Berry and Autumn Olives

These berries are known for jelly making.

miwilderness in Michigan on the “Autumn Olive” hunt. Both videos are referring to elaeagnus umbellata though Shepherdia argentea is also called “Silver Buffalo Berry.” miwilderness uses the berries to make fruit leather.

Wikipedia says of sheperdia argentea (not pictured in these videos): “Buffaloberries are edible for humans. They are quite sour, and afterwards leave the mouth a little dry. A touch of frost will sweeten the berries. The berries can be made into jelly, jam, or syrup, or prepared like cranberry sauce from the forefrost berries.[3] The berry is recognizable by being a dark shade of red, with little white dots on them. They are rough to the touch, and found on both trees and shrubs.”

The Wikipedia entry on elaeagnus umbellata reads: “When ripe, the fruit is juicy and edible, and works well as a dried fruit. It is small but abundantly produced, tart-tasting, and has a chewable seed. These fruits have been shown to have from 7 to 17 times the amount of the antioxidant lycopene than tomatoes have.”

Cultured Pickling

“Heres the cliché: Alex Hozven craved pickles when she was pregnant with her first son, 12 years ago. And the twist: She started her own pickling business. The Cultured Pickle Shop sells pickles ranging from classic sauerkrauts to unusual kimchees and Kombuchas—way beyond the sour dill. But its the experiments, like the mysterious nuka pot or pickled blood oranges, that really get Hozven excited. Theres plenty of zing, zest, pow in all her pickles, though.”

Alex’s shop is in Berkeley, California.

Make A Fridge Root Cellar

Step by step instructions for making a root cellar for under $10 using a worn out refrigerator from Mark and Anna who homestead in Virginia. You can read more about them and their other projects at their blog thewaldeneffect.org.

Using a Temperature Controller to Save On Kitchen-related Electricity Costs

I was pretty blown away by this project.

Mikey and Wendy live on an off-grid, homestead in New Mexico (see their Holy Scrap Homestead blog). As such, they were looking for more efficiency from their appliances. Mikey has come up with a temperature controller that has allowed them convert a small chest freezer into a refrigerator and so downsize from their full-size fridge that cost them a lot in energy and was underutilized.

The temperature controller can also be used to regulate temperature for stuff like tempeh and yoghurt making, incubation, heat pads, raising bread dough, and controlling the temperature on simple crockpots and on hot plates for tasks like candy-making. There are a lot of possible uses.

The design and instructions on how to build it are “open source” in other words, free, off his website but he also sells kits to build it yourself and already completed units from there, as well.

Here is Mikey talking about the controller and what he was able to do with it. BTW, I don’t know Mikey or Wendy and they haven’t asked me to blog this. Just stumbled across this and thought it should be shared.

Here’s Wendy making yoghurt using the device:

Wendy using the temperature controller to make tempeh:

Mikey raising bread dough.

Besides the temperature controller, Mikey has other useful open source projects.

Room Temperature Cultured Yoghurts

These are very easy to make yoghurts because you don’t have to mess around with warming milk or closely monitoring temperatures.

Instead, mesophilic yoghurts culture best at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and all you have to do to start them is to add the culture or already cultured yoghurt to milk and wait a few hours.

Really easy and all you have to do to keep things going is to feed the yoghurt with fresh milk or cream (these cultures love cream) periodically. They can be used to culture non-dairy milks also, but will also need to be fed dairy regularly to be kept healthy.

The mesophilic yoghurt cultures readily available online all come from the Nordic countries:

Viili which comes to us from Finland. Has a mild, creamy flavor and goopy texture (kind of like okra)

Piima, more of a buttermilk type of cultured product

Filmjolk, which has a cheesy flavor.

We’ve tried viili and piima and the viili won out. I keep a large crock, that I feed periodically in the fridge. It’s easy to keep going.

A Finnish friend of mine told me that her grandmother had a viili cabinet and I can see why, as the culturing is temperature sensitive and can be affected by drafts or even by higher room temperatures caused by cooking.

I’ve let mine go longer than I wanted/be out when the temperature was higher and got a thicker cottage cheese type culture (which we also liked). Our viili culture likes cream, sheep’s milk and full fat unhomogenized cow’s milk. It doesn’t perform so well with goat’s milk (the mixture stays runny).

Anyway, here is the CulturesforHealth video on viili (process is exactly the same for piima and filmjolk).

Cultures for Health is one of the sources for these cultures, but there are many others, including GEM Cultures. I shopped around and bought mine from Etsy.

Please let us know of your experiences with these cultures.

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