Preservation

I got lots of tomatoes this year in the garden, but the summer was not long enough to turn them all red. I had to pick many green tomatoes before the rainy season came. But there is no waste, they can be preserved, as I learned it from my mother. Thank you, mum!

Mixed pickles
Collect all these vegetables: green tomato, white cabbage, onion, cucumber, carrot, or anything else you like. Wash, then cut or chop them finely - preferably with a mini chopper. Measure the vegetables and count the other ingredients accordingly.
3 kg vegetables needs 150 g sugar, 40 g salt and 16 ml 10% vinegar. Spices are optional: you can add ground pepper, coriander, mustard seed, cumin or whole bay leaves. Mix it well and let it stay in a cool place for 24 hours. Stir the mixture occasionally and it will release plenty of juice to soak. You can keep it in fridge up to 3 months.

Sweet green tomato jam
Wash and chop roughly 2 kg green tomatoes. Cook it in a pot until becomes a bit softer. Mix with a hand blender. Add 650 g sugar, 1 whole vanilla bean, 1 lemons juice and zest. Cook it slowly for about 1 hour. Cool it down, add Atamon (or other preservative) and pour it in bottles.

Green tomato chutney
Wash and chop roughly the following ingredients: green tomato, apple, onion (peeled), mild or hot chilli, garlic (peeled). Combine with salt, brown sugar, clove, whole cardamom, whole anise seed, cinnamon, ginger pulver and apple cider vinegar. Pick ingredients and choose proportions according to your taste.

If you want to enjoy the taste of summer around the year, this is your syrup.

  • Pick wild rose petals far away from the traffic. Do not wash them but try to avoid insects.
  • Put the petals in a pot. Pour water to cover the petals. Measure and note how much water you used.
  • Soak the petals for 2 days, press them with a plate to keep them under water. Stir occasionally.
  • After 2 days add 5 g citric acid per liter to the wild rose-water. The petals will give out the wonderful pink color - it is magic! Let it happen for about 1 hour, stir occasionally.
  • Filter the liquid through a sieve.
  • Add 70 g sugar per liter and bring it to a boil.
  • Cool it down, add Atamon (or other preservative) to the syrup and pour it in bottles.

The sunny smell of elderflowers belongs to early summers. It is easily to save this wonderful aroma by making elderflower syrup.

  • Pick flowers from elderflower bushes/trees far away from traffic. Do not wash them because you need the aromatic pollen, too.
  • Put the flowers in a pot and add lemon slices. Pour water to cover the flowers and the lemon. Measure and note how much water you used.
  • Soak the flowers for 2 days, press them with a plate to keep them under water. Stir occasionally.
  • After 2 days filter the elderflower-water through a sieve.
  • Add 70 g sugar and 15 g (about 3 teaspoon) citric acid per liter and bring it to a boil.
  • Cool it down, add Atamon (or other preservative) to the syrup and pour it in bottles.

You can make ice tea of fresh elderflowers, ginger and lemon balm. It is also possible to dry the elderflowers for later use. Keep them in a paper bag in a cool, dry place after drying.

Once a year, in springtime I make a couple of bottles of this syrup. Its fresh, sweet resin smell is a perfect supplement for summer cocktails. Alone or with water it helps in case of throat ache around the year.

  • Pick fresh, soft pine sprouts.
  • Cook 100 g sprouts with 500 ml water and half a lemon in slices for about half an hour.
  • Drain it by using a sieve.
  • Add 300 g sugar and cook it well.
  • Cool it down, add Atamon (or other preservative) to the syrup and pour it in bottles.

This is ramsons (Allium ursinum, wild garlic or bear's garlic) season. I bought some seeds and sowed it in the backyard. Looking forward to get my own ramsons, but until then we took a trip to collect some leaves in the forest, where it grows wildly.

This is how I made the pesto:

  • Fry seeds in a dry pan. It can be any seeds you like - my favourite ones are sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Cool them down and ground them roughly.
  • Rinse and dry the ramsons leaves. Mash them in a food processor.
  • Wash a couple of organic lemons. Grate the skin and press the juice.
  • Mix ramsons leaves, seeds, zest and juice in a bowl. Spoon it in a jar tightly without leaving any air bubbles. Pour a little olive oil on it after every third or fourth spoon. Pour some olive oil on the top, too, close the jar and place it in the fridge at least for 24 hour.

This pesto has an intense garlic taste with a long, mild aftertaste of the fried seeds. Use it on pasta, toast, lamb or beef.
You can keep the pesto in fridge up to 6 months.

Christmas has many aromatic associations. Candied orange peel is one of them. You can buy it or you can make it by yourself, have a wonderful smell in your house for a couple of days and then you can use the result for cakes, desserts, salads…
It is possible to buy orange around the year, but the best oranges can be found around December-January in the supermarkets. A beautiful orange is huge, has thick, bright skin and is juicy inside. As soon as you can find such oranges, buy them. Buy a lot.

  • Wash the oranges properly.
  • Slash their skins into quarters with a sharp knife.
  • Peel the quarters and remove the white layer with a knife.
  • Let the peels stay in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours or an overnight.
  • Wash and then cook the peels for a few minutes. Then rinse them with cold water.
  • Place the peels in a big pot. Measure their weight and add the same amount of sugar to them. Add as much water as slightly covers the peels.
  • Cook it slowly until the peels become translucent, glass-like - it can take a few hours. Keep an eye with the pot and add some water if it is necessary.
  • Place the orange peels on a porcelain or ceramic surface - it can be a plate or a tray - and let them dry. It goes faster if you place them close to a radiator. But be careful, they should not dry completely out.
  • When they are dry enough but still a bit soft and flexible, you can cut them into small dices or strips if you want. Place them in a glass and keep it in the fridge - you can keep it for about a year.

The syrup, you get as a side product, can be use to sweeten and flavour tea, desserts, lemonade, etc. Keep it in the fridge, too.

I love pumpkin and it is a kind of pity that they are no longer available after Halloween. Fortunately I bought a lot, so we could enjoy it as soup, side dish and cake. I also saved some in the freezer. But I still had a nice piece left, so I have made pumpkin jam. It is fast and easy:

  • Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds and cut it in small pieces.
  • Put them in a pot with a little bit of freshly pressed orange juice.
  • Add some cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, vanilla, honey, brown sugar, and finely grated orange peel.
  • Cook until becomes soft.
  • Mix with a hand blender.

So the wonderful pumpkin is preserved and can be enjoyed even longer! If you use less sugar/honey, the jam goes well with meat, for example duck.

It was a cold but sunny November day. We have been out for a walk in the nearby park and I took a couple of pics of my beloved rose hips.

The season is about over now, but I have made around 6 kg jam of them. Maybe it is still worth trying to make some, anyway: the longer we wait with the picking, the sweeter the rose hips become. Here is the way I make the jam (very similar to my crab apple jam making method):

  • Wash the berries well.
  • Remove the stems and cut them half (make sure it is fine also inside).
  • Put the fruits in a pot, add some water and boil until they become soft.
  • Mix it well with a hand blender.
  • Press it through a metal sieve with a spoon (this might feel long and boring, but think about the final result!).
  • Add some citric acid and sugar to it - hard to say how much, it depends on your taste and how sweet the fruit is. I added 1 teaspoon citric acid and 250 g sugar to 1 kg dollop.
  • Warm it up and boil for a couple of minutes while stirring properly, especially the bottom of the pot.

It became a lovely jam, thick and wholesome, with a beautiful orange colour.

This story started when Fumiko, a dear friend of mine gave me a bottle of crab apple jelly (paradisæble gelé in Danish), home made, of course. I had not tried it before. It looked beautiful: deep red, semi transparent and tasted bittersweet. I felt like making it myself.

Fumiko came by the other day with a sack of crab apples, she had just picked. I was so happy! I washed them well immediately and started to look for recipes on the internet. All of them were the same: remove the stems, cut them half, cook them in water. Pour the fruits into a cheesecloth and let it drain for a couple of hours without urging it. Boil the juice with an extremely big amount of sugar (1 l juice + 750-1000 g sugar) until it becomes jelly.
It sounds like a looong, boring process, and I do not like the idea of sugar overdosing, either. I rather wanted something fruity. I tasted a piece of raw crab apple: it was so sour, almost bitter, I wanted to preserve this aroma somehow.
I did not remove the stems, nor cut the fruits half. Just added some water and boiled it until the apples became soft. I came with a hand blender and mixed it well. Then I pressed the whole stuff through a metal sieve. Practically, I saved the all the fruits, it was just the stems and the core with the seeds I got rid of. It became 4000 g dollop. I added 1500 g sugar, warmed it up and boiled it for about 10 minutes, while stirred a couple of times. It became thick but was still liquid - I probably should have used less water in the beginning. Anyway, I added 2 spoons of pectin and cooked it for about 15 minutes. Then it started to become runny. The smell was wonderful and very strong: sour and bittersweet, a bit almond-like. Just before ladling it into jars, I suddenly got the idea of adding 1 dl rum to it - it turned to be very good idea.

It did not become a jelly, but a very nice, bit jelly-like jam. Intense, fruity, sweet enough, but not too sweet. I love it!