Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Time to harvest the corn

The corn crop has been fantastic this summer. Last year, I think because we had had such a cool wet summer, the crop didn't pollinate properly and the harvested cobs tasted mealy and were not very nice. When I was sure we had a decent crop this year, I decided to throw out all of last years cobs in the freezer. On the weekend, I cut up some of the new crop into serving size pieces and put them into freezer bags then straight into the freezer. Seems like all guides to freezing vegetables suggest that you blanch cobs of corn before freezing but someone told me once that she never did....so I tried ....and they are just as good. Later in the year, we can just put these small cobs in the microwave for a minute or so and they will be just like they have been freshly picked.
I thought about drying some cobs Nepali style like these ones drying under the eaves of a house in Ghandruk in the Annapurna region, but I haven't worked out what I would do with the dried ones yet. Maybe I will try just  a few next weekend if I have time.

The tomatoes are starting to crop really heavily too so it is time for puree bottling. The first load was done on Sunday and is now in the storeroom. I am sure there will be many more to come.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A little experiment with Basil

There is only so much pesto I want to store in the freezer so this weekend I am doing a little experiment. Some time ago I found a recipe for preserving basil in salt otherwise known as Basilico sotto sale. It is pretty simple. Wash and pat dry your leaves of basil. Layer them in a jar with salt. Allow to stand. The salt will draw out brine which you then allow to cover the basil leaves. That's it! 
This morning after being salted overnight, the leaves have lost their vibrant green and there is no real quantity of brine to cover them.. We'll see if it works or not.  
Not sure how and when you use it.....I guess it would be best to wash the salty brine off the leaves first before using. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sourdough from scratch

When I was away in Nepal for a month, my sourdough starter sat in the fridge unloved. I had frozen some which you could do according to a book I have called Wild Sourdough. On my return the starter in the fridge was rather evil and mouldy looking so it got thrown out immediately. I thought I had the backup starter in the freezer.  I defrosted the frozen starter and despite trying to feed it into life, nothing happened. It also ended up being thrown out. So a couple of weeks ago, I tried making a new starter using the recipe in the book. This one bubbled but had a strange smell which didn’t seem right. That one got thrown out too. 

Eventually  I made a new starter  from scratch using a recipe from the Sourdough Companion website http://www.sourdough.com/blog/sourdom/beginners-blog-starter-scratch which even though I didn’t let it brew for as long as the recipe suggests, does all the right things….it bubbles, it smells sour and best of all…….the loaf I made and set to rise overnight actually did rise.  The flavor is really good and it has a great texture which is full of big holes.