Monday, 26 June 2017

Monday night preserves - rhubarb pickle, dehydrated Swiss chard, strawberry cordial and strawberry vodka 

I'm really enjoying using my Monday nights to do preserving. It's a really satisfying feeling preserving seasonal produce that we've grown right here!
I harvested some more rhubarb tonight and hardly touched what was in the plot. The plants are doing amazingly. Using Pam Corbin's book still, I make the spring (I know, it's summer) rhubarb relish. It's the first time I've made a spice bag up and as I don't have any special bags, I used my imagination. A muslin cloth with a knot tied in it. After all, that's all it needs to be right? This one contained 2 snapped cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves and a piece of bruised ginger.

The bag was placed with 500g sugar, 100ml of both cider vinegar and water and placed over a gentle heat to dissolve the sugar. Then taken off the heat for 20 mins to allow it to diffuse.
Then the chopped rhubarb and raisins go in and it was simmered for 30 mins.

Then piled into sterilised jars. Again, I've used some of the smaller jars that are for Christmas hampers. The other 2 full jars will be kept into the depth of winter when we need a bit of summer happiness.

I also put some blanched Swiss chard (1 minute) in the dehydrator as I want to make some green powder. Basically vitamins and minerals in a jar which I can sneak in to food that the kids won't notice but it'll also add flavour.


We've also popped some of the millions of strawberries we have into some vodka with a bit of sugar (200g per litre of vodka for my reference). There's a bit for us to test and again, some for Christmas hampers.

Finally, earlier this week, we made some strawberry cordial. I brought the strawberries and water to the boil, crushed them a bit then added to sugar to the cooking remix, left them overnight (500g strawberries to 400g sugar and 500ml water). The sugar needed a little heating through again to dissolve and the strawberries were crushed a bit more with a masher. We strained it overnight again and poured into sterilised bottles. So easy! It's delicious. Ste prefers this one however the elderflower still has the edge for me.

I am going to get my thinking cap on for next week as so many things are ready to harvest and I don't want to miss capturing any! I hope someone finds these preserving nights helpful, even if it is just to provoke thoughts about seasonal eating and knowing where our food comes from.

7 comments:

  1. You are soooo clever, chic! I love the idea of dehydrating the swiss chard! All your cordials look so pretty and I love you are keeping things for the winter; that's what I loved about pickling my beetroot last year - we had the first jar open on Boxing Day. Eeek! (I used a square of muslin when did the pickling vinegar for the beetroot.)x

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    1. Ahh thank you, I don't know about clever but lovely to hear all the same lol! I still am not 100% when doing jam but it'll come. Thinking ahead already, to what we can use over Christmas and New Year!

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  2. I wish I had enough strawberries for cordial. As you say you have to think of ways of capturing fruit and vegetables at their best both for now and throughout the winter. Well done Tracey you are really doing well.

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    1. I am hearing from a few people that they are having a good strawberry year - it happens like that doesn't it. Good and bad years. Thank you for your support :)

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  3. Well done lovely to see. Don't forget to do the rosehips in the dehydrator back end as the shells minus the seeds (they irritate and cause all sorts of problems - hence itching powder) can be ground down and then added to cereals such as muesli or mixed into porridge to give a boost of vitamin c. Or you can make rosehip wine or cordial/syrup. You have done right with the spice bag. What I usually do is tie it onto a large wooden spoon I have in the pan whilst the contents are cooking (obviously keeping it submerged) and it makes it easier to fish out in the long run. I will be hitting the Fruit n Veg shop at the weekend and getting stuck in whilst his highness goes fishing, will get some piece and quiet then. Well done knew you could do it. Nothing nicer than seeing lots of goodies on the pantry shelf after all the hard work and effort. Next on my list is piccalilli OH is particularly fond of - it goes very quickly despite me always making a couple of batches. The other thing is pickled onions and shallots. I have to hide them so that there are always some left for Christmas. Leave him to his own devices and there would be none. You go girl lovely to see, Pattypan x

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    1. I missed on the rosehips last year so I intend to make the most of them this year but hadn't thought of dehydrating them, so again, I thank you lol! We need that vitamin C in the winter for sure.
      I hung the spice bag from the handle for a while so that is good to hear.
      Sounds like a great weekend you have planned - I was to make piccalilli too once we have enough items grown. Lovely!
      Thanks for your comments - you're an inspiration with all you do at yours! x

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  4. Tracy on the dehydrating front I have an Excalibur and they have a site where they have recipes. Thought it might be of use to you.
    https://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/wp/browse-recipes/

    Hope it helps with some more ideas and some of the things you have been growing. You might know I will lead you astray. Take care sweetie x

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