Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blog Party:Preserving the Harvest

This has been a rather frenetic and busy harvest season, with little time for wandering the hillsides and collecting wild fruits for medicine and food. But the garden out the back door was productive, and all the preserving I've been doing is lacto fermented and vinegar/brined pickles. Zucchini pickles in vinegar, green beans in brine, yellow squash with indian spices, tomato and pepper relish, beets.
I've been harvesting a few herbs from the garden this year, mostly calendula and hyssop, which have been dried for teas in the cool winter months. As soon as I move into a new home, I'll start harvesting the catnip and marshmallow planted in the garden, and put up some holy basil tincture. I planted all three varieties, but they didn't get very big. It's going to be getting cool at night soon, and I'm not sure they will grow much more this year. I am considering potting them up for the winter, but it depends on where I end up living, and if there is a light window to keep them in.
Lacto pickles are an easy way to preserve fresh vegetables without canning or freezing, and basically uses a strong salt brine or whey to preserve the vegetables in water until the friendly lacto bacteria colonize the mix. the most important thing is to keep the vegetables UNDER the brine. If they pke up above the water , you increase the chance for mold to grow.
The only herb I've ever brined was grape leaves, and they are so delicious, salty, sour lemony, and the perfect scoop for stews and salads.
I've also put up fruit in brandy this summer, including chokecherries and peaches. Kind of like a tincture, but sweeter, and more delicious, and far more pleasant! a nice winter repast with memories of warm summer days.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Hey, how did your lacto summer squash go? My zucchini relish is very tart, though tasty. I noticed it worked much faster than other things that were pickling at the same time -- maybe because the zucchini was in such small pieces.

"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~