Garden to Table, Kitchen, Kitchen Preserves

Bread & Butter Cucumber Pickles..A Fridge Staple

I know Bread & Butter Cucumber pickles aren’t exciting when you’re in the middle of a cucumber glut in summer.

But imagine how exciting they’ll be for that sandwich or salad you’re making in winter. The satisfaction of having grown and preserved a fridge ingredient, yourself.

Today’s recipe is one I’ve been developing for years. I’ve been developing it for taste, ease and simplicity… not complexity. You’ll see it has very few ingredients, but it’s flavourful and reliable. That’s how I like it when I’m in a preserving glut in my kitchen.

This process is not hard after your first time. If you’re not a confident cook, this process can be a little challenging on the first go. So be willing to make mistakes or have someone who you can call or be there to help. Never leave this process unattended and keep all children safely out of the kitchen – it’s hot work!

Important Reminders:

Jar sterilisation, jar sealing and refrigeration of your pickles are all vital steps to avoid serious illness, (especially botulism) with any preserves.

When you’ve cooked these pickles, make sure you reduce only so far that there is still enough boiled pickle liquid to cover the contents in the jar. This is what submerges the pickle in the jar, hopefully locking out air and the vinegar preventing bacteria and/or mould forming.

The jar sealing pop is what you need to hear for the air lock. That’s why you seal and cap in the hot mixture, rather than leaving it to cool.

Only glass jars should be used to store these pickles, because of the vinegar content.

If you’re repurposing glass jars, ensure you have new lids which can reliably do the safety pop seal. If you don’t hear the pop you can’t be sure.

I leave these in the fridge for a week to let flavours develop, before opening the first jar.

Always refrigerate these pickles from the day they are bottled, till consumed, and finished.

If it looks and/or smells wrong when you open a preserve, or you know/ don’t know if it has been stored properly-don’t eat it!

Educate yourself on food safety.

I’m not sure how long these preserves will last in your home and in your fridge – so that, and your safety, are up to you.

This is a delicious pickle. But if it’s not for you, Google a recipe that suits.

If this recipe is for you, and you’d like to share it great…but an attribution to Trish McGill  @vintagetrishgarden on IG, or this website link for other platforms, would be kind, and good manners.

Hope you enjoy these as much as my family and I do. I’ve just heard the first jar lid pop. One down, two to go 💚 Trish

Recipe Ingredients:

Makes approximately 3 medium sized jars

  • 5-6 large cucumbers sliced
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 1TB Salt (for salt rub/ overnight soak)
  • 1 Cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Cup raw sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • Large pinch ground turmeric

Method: Follow the method steps outlined below.

**

Stage 1 Salting the Cucumber and Onions Overnight (Allow 8-12 hours)

This is as important as any of the other stages in the recipe. Slice the cucumbers and onions as coarse or fine as you prefer. Rub the 1TB of salt from the recipe ingredients through the cucumbers and onions until all is thoroughly mixed. Store in a covered glass dish overnight in the fridge.

In the morning, drain the liquid that has formed from the salt cucumber and onion mix. You don’t need that liquid any more. Rinse the cucumber/onion mix quickly. Set the mix aside.

Stage 2:

Bring mustard seeds, vinegars, sugar and turmeric to the boil in a pot on the stovetop, stirring till combined well. Reduce heat to medium and add cucumber and onion mix. Stir thoroughly.

Stage 3:

Add the rinsed cucumber/onion mix and simmer on medium heat until the cucumber and onion goes completely soft and the pickle juice goes a little syrupy.

Stage 4:

Simmer till the pickle juice just covers the mixture

Stage 5:

Use tongs and kitchen gloves to transfer the still hot finished mixture, into the sterilised jars

                      

Stage 6:

Cap with sterilised jar lids (still using kitchen gloves) while still hot. Listen for ‘pop’ seal…that could take a while. Let cool, then refrigerate. Enjoy!

© Trish McGill 2020

Disclaimer… Please do your own research for your own needs and context. The author assumes no responsibility for any outcomes of anyone using this well researched and documented blog post. Enjoy making your Bread & Butter Cucumber Pickles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen, Life and my Garden

Chimichurri Inspired Sauce

Parsley has to be one of the most delicious and abundant herbs in a spring kitchen garden.

This morning I had no idea I’d be harvesting a large amount of parsley, or potatoes etc. A story you’ll find on my Instagram post 

I decided that with most ingredients to hand, both in the garden and pantry, a Chimichurri inspired sauce was what I would make. The fresh parsley taste at this time of year is unbeatable, and this sauce features it beautifully.

The chimichurri sauce I make uses the food processor to speed things up. I’m not Armenian, and I don’t pretend that this is anywhere near the expertise of the traditional recipe. However I am constantly looking for world cuisine inspiration, and the fresh ingredients this sauce uses from the garden is delicious. I keep the finished sauce in the fridge for about a week, and use it in a number of things.

Uses

My Chimichurri Inspired Sauce can be used as a marinade, folded through a green linguini and nut pasta, as a flavourful ingredient in a pizza base sauce, or savoury yoghurt, dips and cheeses. I’m sure you’ll think of other uses too.

Substitutions

The recipes I make are always based on what I have ‘to hand’. Fresh food moves directly from garden to kitchen to table where possible, in my home. So substitutions become necessary sometimes.

A traditional Chimichurri would use wine vinegar, however I use concentrated lime juice from my tree, stored in my fridge. Whereas fresh garlic is preferred for this recipe, I used dried garlic granules. You could use minced garlic or garlic paste if you have it. I used curly parsley, whereas flat parsley is traditionally used. I don’t like coriander, so I used all parsley. If you’re interested in traditional chimichurri just do an internet search using those key words.

Garden to Table

The opening pic shows all the fresh ingredients I used from my garden, which you’ll find in the recipe below. To this I added 2 tsp dried garlic granules, 1/3cup concentrated lime juice, 2/3cup extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of brown sugar (optional).

What I enjoy about this fridge-fixer recipe is, it involves no cooking and can be used as an ingredient in vegetarian, vegan or meat dishes.

I like to let my Chimichurri sauce ‘cure’ its flavours for a day or so before using. But you might need it in a hurry. It works either way.

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Chimichurri Inspired Sauce

Makes: Approximately 1.5 cups or 1 large Jar

Ingredients

100 gram parsley  (flat or curly)

15 gram spring onion/shallots

2 small sprigs oregano

2 very small chilli, seeds removed

2 teaspoons dried garlic granules

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

Pinch sea salt

Pinch brown sugar (optional)

Method

  1. Roughly chop spring onions, parsley, oregano, chilli.
  2. Measure the olive oil and lime juice into the same measuring jug, for ease of use later
  3. Put half the greens, chilli and garlic into the food processor, add half the lime juice & oil
  4. Process on high till smooth.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and process till smooth
  6. Put your sauce into clean sterilised jars and store in the fridge
  7. Use the sauce within a week

I hope you enjoy having another idea to use up your beautiful homegrown or gifted, parsley supplies.

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Disclaimer… Please do your own research for your own needs and context. The author assumes no responsibility for any outcomes of anyone using this well researched and documented blog post. Enjoy making your chimichurri inspired sauce.

 

 

Life and my Garden

Worms and Soil Fertility

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Back in 2014 I designed a worm farm tractor system for small spaces from readily available or up-cycled materials.

I wrote a step by step article for making my worm tractor design for permaculturenews.org and all the background information you’ll need, which you can find by clicking HERE

My design requires a garbage bin with lid (not metal-too hot for worms), a laundry basket and a bowl to fit inside. Beyond that, just the worms and your kitchen scraps.

Worm farming doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. I have decades of experience in this and I didn’t have the budget I do now, back then.

Understandably, my design went nuts on the internet and Pinterest for a good while amongst ‘wormers’ and permaculturalists 😂 Some find the commercially available systems too expensive.

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My Instagram pic shows an example of how I’m using my system 5 years on, right now.

This worm farm ‘tractor’ is one of three, feeding a cucumber and a brand new asparagus patch. The only difference is it drains directly into the garden not the bowl I included in the stand alone, or inside, design.

My experience with worm farming goes back to 1991 when part of my job as Health Information Officer was to present Living Green and Sustainability workshops/seminars to community and business groups, talks to school children who were being given a commercially available worm farm as part of the local government initiative.

Everyone can increase the fertility in their soil with things they already have on hand.

I hope this helps anyone who feels upset they don’t have the money to start improving their soil.

Give the article a read!

#mygarden#composting #wormfarming #diy#gardening #makeyourown #writer#designer #urbanfarmer#sustainableliving #soilregeneration#organicgardener #permaculture#vintagetrishgarden

 

Life and my Garden, Plant Stories

The Miracle Lemon Tree

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Well there’s this little miracle that happened with my lemon tree.

No I haven’t posted the wrong picture-it’s one that will set the scene of what this section of my garden looks like this morning, and pic 2 will explain.

When my husband and I bought this place 28 years ago, the garden didn’t exist. It was weeds posing as a massive lawn, an ancient dying plum tree, and a lemon tree with a falling down fence.

Three years ago on one of my most upsetting days in the garden, I had to cut down that lemon tree I had loved for so many years, and bought back from the brink of death twice.

I left a small piece of trunk as a little memorial marker.

In this last year (worst drought on record) I knew I had made the right decision for it. It was just a stump for two years.

Yesterday evening I was looking at something else nearby and noticed what you see in the pic below.

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After two years as a stump it’s decided to rejoin the citrus party that is my backyard.

I couldn’t believe it at first. Then tears welled up.

I believe backyard Australian lemon trees weren’t grafted back then, so I’m hoping I’m looking at pure lemon tree.

I’m going to pour love on the tiny shoot this season, and see what happens.

At the worst (if it’s just root stock) I’ll graft another type of citrus onto it. The tree is too sentimental to say goodbye to, twice.

Today it will be 33C. I don’t think the lemon tree has chosen an easy upcoming season to rejoin me…. but I’m glad it has.

The lemon tree was one of the few things here before I arrived. Wouldn’t it be awesome if at least part of that wonderful tree, outlasts me…

 

Remember! If you’d like to follow my daily garden updates follow me on Instagram

#mygarden #poppies #lemon#cutflowers #flowers #lemontree#flowergarden #miracles#organicgardener #trees#backyardfruittrees#gardeningaustralia #permaculture#vintagetrishgarden

Garden Update, Kitchen, VintageTrish Kitchen

Preserving My Turmeric Harvest – Powder & Paste

One of the most exciting parts of growing the beautiful ‘Golden Goddess’ Turmeric, is harvesting it!

Because turmeric root is the useful part, seeing your eventual rhizome harvest after 12 months of waiting, is very much like an ‘unboxing’.

Then of course, you need to process and preserve your turmeric.

My guess is, you already know about the amazing benefits of turmeric.

So what I’m focussing on in today’s blog is processing and preserving the rhizomes in two ways. These are not the only ways.

Pregnant or nursing mothers, children, diabetics or anyone with existing health conditions or allergies, should consult their health professional’s advice before consuming fresh or preserved turmeric.

Growing, harvesting, preserving and using your turmeric harvest is so satisfying. I highly recommend it. I hope you enjoy using your powder and paste for the many recipes and drinks these lovely turmeric products make possible 🌸

Quick Background: Followers of my Instagram Vintagetrishgarden know that I started my little turmeric ‘plantation’ in November 2017 with one 3cm rhizome bought from an organic providore. Since then, I replanted my entire harvest of rhizomes in June 2018, to overwinter, in-situ. The turmeric broke ground in November 2018, and this May 2019, I harvested 621 gram of turmeric. If I were to buy fresh turmeric at current prices in my area it would cost $24.69 per kilo, and that is not organic–mine is. I’ve returned 300g of rhizomes to the little 1 metre x 40cm strip ‘plantation’ for this growing season, and am processing 321gram in the following ways. Next harvest – May 2020.

How I decided to preserve this turmeric harvest

  1. Turmeric Powder for pantry storage
  2. Fresh Turmeric Paste divided into refrigerated and frozen portions

Uses: Curry pastes, Soups, Smoothies, Teas, Golden milk and much more

Preparation after Harvest

All the turmeric rhizomes were well washed and then set to dry out a little for 1 week after harvest. Use a covered basket, which prevents dust but allows air circulation (prevents mould.) This makes the rhizomes more easily handled and retains more of the rhizome when peeled, in my experience. They shrink a little from their plumped up, ‘just harvested look’, at this stage.

Advice: Fresh turmeric stains anything it contacts, yellow. Wear disposable gloves, protect benches and wash plates and utensils soon after using them when working with it.

Turmeric Powder

Equipment I used:

Disposable gloves, Hand peeler, Mandolin slicer, Food Dryer, Food Processor, Spatula

**Adapt your own equipment**

Method: After putting on my gloves:

  1. All small knobbly parts of the rhizomes were broken off and kept in a seperate bowl.
  2. The now more easily peeled large sections were peeled with a hand peeler.
  3. All unpeeled ‘small knobbles,’ and peels, were put aside for the paste recipe.
  4. The large peeled turmeric rhizomes were sliced into 3mm width slices using a mandolin slicer with a thickness dial. (I opted for using the mandolin slicer because it keeps slices a consistent width which means drying in the dryer is more uniform, if all are the same width–which means the turmeric will powder easily.)
  5. The turmeric slices were arranged in a single layer on two trays of my food dryer, with one empty tray on the bottom to prevent over-drying.
  6. My food dryer has one setting–so I let the turmeric slices dry for 1.5 hours. I decided after checking at the 1.5hr mark that 30 mins more would get it to the optimal dried state for processing into powder-slices should be dry not ‘bendy’. I did swap the bottom slice tray to the top at this stage, as they tend to dry more quickly than the top trays in my dryer model. You will need to use your own judgement on this depending on what drying method you use. Since I have never used an oven to dry turmeric I am not going to give advice on it, except to say that you are trying to dry (not bake) the turmeric– so the oven would have to be set very low, and would presumably take longer than mine did in the food dryer.
  7. The dried turmeric slices were removed from the dryer trays and put into my food processor to process into powder, on High for 3 mins, then another burst on High for 2 mins. Yes, it takes that long if you want fine powder. It would take longer again if you are grinding the dried slices using mortar and pestle.
  8. The powder was removed from the processor and put into a glass jar for storage in my pantry.  * Storage times vary for differing conditions and climates. Use your own judgement and research*
  9. Store turmeric powder away from heat and light in the pantry.

Fresh Turmeric Paste

Ingredients:

Fresh turmeric processed (fine or grated), black pepper, organic coconut oil, water

Equipment: Grater or food processor, stovetop, pot, whisk/spoon, spatula

Method:

  1. The kept aside large fresh rhizome peels and unpeeled fresh ‘small knobbles’ were pulverised in my food processor. Alternatively you could grate them.
  2. For every 3 inches of rhizome, you use 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper and 1/3cup water divided. Just do your best to estimate the amount of rhizomes you have–since it’s a paste it’s a fairly ‘forgiving’ recipe, but take care with the amount of water you add, do that ‘by eye’ especially with the other half of the water in step 6.
  3. In my case I was using the peelings and small rhizome knobbles which amounted to 7 inches of rhizome (so…the recipe amounts multiplied by 2.5). This meant I used 5 tablespoons coconut oil 2.5 tsp fresh ground black pepper and 3/4 cup water, divided.
  4. Put all solid ingredients into a pot on the stove over medium heat–with only half the amount of water you need to add.
  5. Using a whisk or spoon, stir all ingredients till combined over medium heat till bubbles form around the side. It may take a little time for the coconut oil to melt if your weather is cool.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, slowly adding the remaining water until the mixture forms a paste. The coconut oil tends to slide and glide away from the side of the pot once it reaches this held-together paste.
  7. Transfer the paste using a spatula or spoon into a glass jar or container.
  8. Leave to cool, put lid on and refrigerate. Alternatively, put paste into ice cube trays, freeze, pop ice cube portions into a container for easy access when needed.
  9. As a guide only, this paste can usually be stored for 2 weeks in the fridge–use your own judgement. Frozen paste portions store longer.

 

Disclaimer… Please do your own research for your own needs and context. The author assumes no responsibility for any outcomes of anyone using this well researched and documented blog post. Enjoy making and using your turmeric powder and paste.