My fermenting obsession continues to play out at a fever pitch. The honey wine is kicking ass and I just purchased 4lbs of parsnips from the farmers’ market with a loose plan to make parsnip wine. The book, (“Country Wines” 1953) speaks very highly of this particular brew.
Thanks to Paula, who sent me a link to the video (above) featuring Alex Hozven, the proprietor of a pickling business called The Cultured Pickle Shop, in Berkeley, CA (How many more reasons do I need to get my butt out to Berkeley?). Her enthusiasm is infectious and her ideas… Let me put it this way: fermentation is a great, wild world and I am only just barely beginning to scratch its surface.
I want to tell you about my new-found obsession with fermenting. I have been unsuccessfully trying to tell it here for months now. Where to begin is daunting and the words are always lost before I can find them.
I have played at fermenting things in the past, but it was always an after-thought. No big thrill. But then this summer… wow! The whole microbial action phenomenon business whatnot really captured my imagination and caught fire inside my mind. One day I was minding my own business and the next I was imagining herbal mixes to try, and juggling bottles of this and that in various stages of bubble. Fermenting is an alchemy of sorts and it is this that has tapped into a fascination with weird and wonderful natural processes that seems to be at the root of a lot of my food- and garden-related hobbies/obsessions with a precision that caught me unawares.
Probably my favourite part about giving presentations and running workshops is the one-on-one chatting that happens with fellow gardeners and aspiring gardeners afterward. I love those moments connecting directly with other people who share the same excitement and passion. I love hearing about what they’re doing and the look of satisfaction on their faces is contagious.
For that reason Seedchat turned out to be one of the highlights of my week. The transcript is now online, so you can still be in on the conversation even if Twitter isn’t your cup of tea.
I’ve compiled a few of my favourite tips below:
Herbs That Dry Easily: Lemon verbena, ‘Dark Opal’ and ‘Purple Ruffles’ basil. We dry and use oregano, marjoram, and thyme year-round in cooking. Lemon balm, mint, anise-hyssop & lemongrass for tea. Also: lavender, calendula petals, rosemary, sage, winter savory, dill seed, citrus peels….
Lavender Syrup (you can do this with just about any herb): 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, handful of lavender flowers. Bring to boil until thick. Let cool. Strain. Refrigerate
In response to the high cost of canning jars: Remember that they are reused over and over so your investment will pay off over time.
Herbal Vinegar: To a clean jar add: Sprigs of fresh tarragon and a few strips of lemon peel. Top with warm (not boiling) vinegar)
There are several more tips in the transcript including: preserving tomatoes, drying beans, drying herbs, uses for various herbs, favourite tomato varieties, harvesting seed, lots of good canning resource suggestions, thrifting for jars, addressing the fear around canning for the first time, making fermented drinks…
Wondering what to do with the various and sundry bits that remain in the late season garden? Join me on Twitter tomorrow night where I’ll be guest hosting Seed Chat for an hour on the topic of preserving the harvest.
Be sure to pre-submit your question through the Seed Chat form to ensure that your question makes it within the time frame.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
8pm Central / 9pm Eastern
Follow along using the hashtag #SeedChat or via TweetChat
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) has been making a yearly appearance in my garden in some way or another for some time now, but never like this. My new yard’s sun and sandy, well-draining soil turned out to be the perfect place to grow the sort of plant I have only seen in the tropics. Until now.