Pickled Peaches

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12 small peaches, peeled with 4 cloves per peach
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3 large cinnamon sticks

(Makes 3 pints)

Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach with a sharp knife and blanch in batches in a large pot of boiling water for 10–15 seconds.

Transfer the peaches to a large bowl of ice water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the peaches, then halve them lengthwise and pit. Toss the peaches with the sugar and chill, covered, for at least 8 hours.

In a large stockpot, mix the vinegar and cinnamon sticks, with the peaches and their accumulated juices. Bring to a boil over moderate heat.  Skim off the foam. Reduce the heat and simmer until the peaches are barely tender, 3 minutes or so.

Divide the peaches and cinnamon sticks among the prepared jars. Return the peach-cooking liquid to a boil, then pour into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top.

Wipe off the rims of the filled jars with a damp kitchen towel, place the lids on the jars, then firmly screw on the rings. Put the sealed jars on the rack of the canner and, if necessary, add enough hot water to cover the jars by 2 inches.

Boil the jars for 20 minutes, covered, then transfer to a towel-lined surface to cool. The jars will seal as they cool.

After the jars have cooled for 12–24 hours, press the center of each lid to check that it’s concave and that a vacuum has formed and they are sealed.  Store in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.

Place any jars that haven’t sealed in the refrigerator and use them first.

Kombu No Tsukudani (昆布の昆布)

1 big piece rehydrated kombu (from making Vegetarian Dashi)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1⅔ cups water
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Cut the kombu into strips about 1½ inches wide, then julienne them. Add to a saucepan with the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, vinegar and water, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium—it should be between a simmer and a boil, and cook until the liquid reduces to a thick, sticky glaze.

Taste the kombu; it should be quite soft but not mushy. If it needs more cooking, add a little water.  There should be no liquid left; it should be a glaze as opposed to a sauce. When the kombu is ready, stir in the sesame seeds. Leave to cool before using as a filling for onigiri, a topping for rice or on its own.

 

Hanarenkon (Flower-Shaped Lotus Root)

  • 3¼ ounces lotus root
  • 2 tablespoons  rice vinegar

Vinegar Mixture

  • 4 tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons  water
  • 2 tablespoons  raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons  lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients for the vinegar mixture, except
lemon juice, in a saucepan. Place it over low heat to
dissolve all the sugar and salt. Allow to cool.

Peel and slice lotus root into 1/4 inch thick rings. Soak
immediately in water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to prevent
discolouration. Make flower cuts and drain before using.

Boil a pot of water and add the other tablespoon of vinegar.
Add sliced lotus root flowers and boil for 5 minutes.
Remove lotus root and allow to cool.

Add lotus root slices to vinegar mixture and lemon juice in
a resealable bag. Remove any air from the bag, seal and
refrigerate for a minimum of 2–3 hours.

They are better on day two after the sweetness and contrasting sourness become more prominent.

Tamago No Shoyuzuke (Eggs Pickled in Soy Sauce)

8 large eggs, at room temperature (farm fresh if possible)
¾ cup soy sauce

Fill a medium-sized saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs gently into the boiling water. Boil for 6 to 8 minutes depending upon desired firmness of yolk. Set a large bowl in the kitchen sink and fill with cold water. Scoop the eggs from the boiling water and immediately plunge into the water.

Run more cold water if the water temperature feels warm. When the eggs are cool, gently crack by rapping and rolling . Return the eggs back to the cold water for a few more minutes, then peel.

Lay the peeled eggs on a dry dish towel. Pat dry, and then place the eggs in a freezer-style gallon resealable plastic bag. Pour in the soy sauce, tip the bag to distribute, press out all the air, and roll up any unused portion of bag to create a tight cylinder.

Refrigerate overnight. Serve before dinner with drinks, as a side dish for a barbecue or picnic or in Ramen.

Best the first day.

 

Pickled Lemon Asparagus

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1⁄2 pound asparagus
3⁄4 cup distilled white vinegar
3⁄4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon pickling salt

Trim the woody ends from the asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths.

Combine the white vinegar, water, and sugar in a saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Pack the lemon zest, garlic, coriander seeds, and salt into a hot 1-pint canning jar. Fill with the asparagus. Pour in the hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace. Seal.

Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not open for 6 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.

 

Pickled Collard Stems

  • 1 gallon glass container with lid or smaller jars
  • Stems from 2 bunches of collards, trimmed to 1 inch shorter than glass jar
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
  • 6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon diced jalapenos
  • 1 gallon filtered water
  • 3/4 cup pickling salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Pack jar tightly with stems, onions, and spices. Bring water, salt, and vinegar to a low boil. Remove brine from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Pour brine over veggies, making sure brine covers everything. Place a fermentation weight over the top to prevent as much contact between the air and the brine surface, or rig up something of your own that will serve the same purpose not the lid though.

Let your container sit at room temperature for 3-5 days, until your stems have the perfect saltiness, flavor, and crunchiness. When they reach that point, trade the weight for a lid and place the whole container in the fridge. Your pickled stems will last several weeks or less depending how much you enjoy them.

Sanbaisuis (Three Way Vinegar)

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Sanbaisuis is the basis for making a pickle called sanbaizuke, though it also becomes the dipping sauce for tempura.

⅔ cup Katsuobushi Dashi
⅔ cup good soy sauce
⅔ cup brown rice vinegar

Mix the dashi, soy sauce, and brown rice vinegar together and pour into a jar. Keeps for a couple of months, refrigerated. Good for making an instant pickle or on a vegetable salad with equal parts oil.

 

Sliced Preserved Lemons

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Makes 1 quart jar

6 whole lemons
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup pickling spice
4 cups distilled white vinegar

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Add the lemons and cook for 5 minutes. Drain. Cut off and discard the ends once cooled. Cut the lemons into thin slices and layer the slices into the jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace.

Combine the salt, sugar, pickling spice, and vinegar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 10 minutes. Pour this brine over the lemons to cover them and fill the jar, leaving ½ inch headspace. Cover with the lid and ring, and refrigerate for 10 days before using. These will keep for a month, refrigerated.

Refrigerator Cucumber Pickles

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  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 onions sliced thin
  • Cucumbers, sliced thin

Stuff jars with cucumbers and onions. Add sugar, vinegar, salt and celery seeds together and mix. Add liquid mixture to the top. This recipe makes 3 quarts.

Store in refrigerator and they will keep for months. Do not heat liquid, just stir vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved and pour over the cucumbers and onions.

Preservation Techniques

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Definition: Keeping Of perishable foods in a consumable form for a long period of time.

Dehydration: Draws moisture from the product and eliminates any medium for bacteria. Used for fruits, herbs, beans and other vegetables.

Alcohol: Alcohol kills active microorganisms. Used for fruit.

Sugar: Density of sugar retards the growth of enzymes due to a lower ratio of water. Usually 60% sugar in preserves. Used with fruit.

Liquid Cure / Brine: Submersion Of Food in a brine, an intense solution of water combined with salt and sometimes additional spices.

Pickling / Fermentation: Preserves Food by impregnating it with acid.  Vinegar is common and creates an environment that encourages fermentation. The item is generally precooked or soaked in a brine to draw out excess moisture.

Dry Cure / Salt: Surfaces are rubbed with salt and then left to cure. Usually a preliminary step to smoking, as are liquid cures.

Cold Smoking: Item is first cured, usually in a brine. Smoke is applied at a temperature bellow 100 degrees (38 degrees Celsius). Product remains uncooked. Example Scottish smoked salmon.

Hot Smoking: Cooks the product with the heat of the smoke. Item is usually cured first. Chicken, turkey, pork and trout are often hot smoked.

Pasteurization: Rapidly cooling liquid that has been heated to 180 degrees. Primarily used for milk and cream.

Sterilization: The container is sterilized before it is filled. Filled container is then brought to a high temperature. Safe for long term storage. Primarily used for canning fruits and vegetables.

Refrigeration: Enzyme activity is slowed at 32-38 degrees. Humidity level must be controlled.

Freezing: Holding temperature must be below 0 degrees. Changes the texture of the thawed product due to water evaporation.

Quick Freezing: Products are immediately cooled to -40 degrees and held at -4 degrees.

Freeze Drying: Total elimination of all moisture, repeated freezing and dehydrating. Product does not require refrigeration. Used for coffee, potatoes.

Sealing & Coating: Confit is a classic example. Today it is used more for taste than preservation.

Vacuum Pack: aka cryovac.  Eliminates all air from a plastic bag or container.