In a pickle

… is a terrible heading, and I am sorry.

Anyway: I made pickles! I pickled pears, and I pickled eggplant.

The pears were courtesy of a friend who managed to salvage 2kg of them from a tree before the rosellas ate them all. I had had pickled pears at Kate’s house, with cheese and then in a chicken salad, and NOM. These were different from the ones she had: I used white vinegar and cinnamon and cloves; I used a recipe that was meant to be for pickled peaches (whichL whoa. If ever I get cheap peaches…). Kate used cider vinegar and rosemary and pepper corns; that will be my next trick, if I get more pears.IMG_1408.JPG

The eggplant were from my garden, because BY GOLLY I’m getting a lot. Trying to figure out when the darned things are ripe has been a hassle, since the first info I looked at was all about what the fruit look like on the INSIDE… which is less than useful. Finally I found someone who said eh, if the skins are shiny they’re probably fine. Which meant I got to go and harvest a lot. So I made pickles! They don’t look very appetising, hence no photo, but they have turmeric and cumin and lots of ginger (side note: I discovered that peeling ginger with a spoon is EXACTLY as awesome as all those people have ever said).

I am now about to make moussaka with more of the eggplant, so hopefully that goes well…

 

Dehydrate! Vacuum seal!

IMG_0882.JPGThat’s right sports fans, no longer are we just dehydrating… we’re now vacuum sealing too. Because apparently we think the apocalypse is coming.

Actually it’s about camping and taking food on long trips away, but same outcome.

This incredibly appetising mess on the left is actually (what I call) bolognese. I have a feeling it’s pretty close to what Americans call chilli. Minced beef, lots of tomato paste and crushed tomato, mushroom, kidney beans, onion and garlic basically. This is what it looks like when it’s been dehydrated and then vacuum sealed and then taken out to some remote location in order to feed us. Below is what it looks like when it’s had boiling water poured on it and then been left to sit for a while… then simmered gently to reduce the liquid a bit:
IMG_0883.JPGAnd it tasted… basically like bolognese. The beans were perhaps a touch on the rubbery side, but really overall it was perfectly tasty. Add a little pasta and cheese and you feel very smug compared to the people either burning sausages nearby or people who are just eating something straight out of a can. Took about 14 hours in the dehydrator.

IMG_0890.JPGThis here is a vegetarian dhal, dehydrated and vacuum sealed. Haven’t rehydrated this one yet; it will be interesting to see how it turns out. I can’t imagine that lentils are going to be terribly fussed by the process, so I think this should be another winner. It’s so very easy.

Pickles

So apparently Australia doesn’t really grow gherkins, or when we do (commercially) IMG_0880.JPGthere’s little demand so the farmer asks a high price which means they don’t sell etc. However I’m told that Lebanese cucumbers work fine, so that’s what we’ve got here.

These are bread n butter pickles from Small Batch Preserving, and apparently bread n butter pickles are a thing but I had never heard of them before. Can’t remember why I thought I’d try these rather than your standard dill pickles, but that’s where we’ve ended up.

I halved the recipe, because I wasn’t sure whether I liked pickles enough for 2kg of cucumbers. I also (and this will get me into trouble with at least one person, possibly two) left out the celery seeds, because I couldn’t find them in the one supermarket I checked and I was too lazy to go check somewhere more specialty and I’m SURE IT WON’T RUIN THEM SHUTUP.

(Oh no i Just noticed that I think one of the jars has an air bubble. Dang.)

Anyway the difficulty today was that the recipe said to water bath for 10 min. But I was going to use the Fowlers, and I can’t find anywhere whether you’re meant to wait for the unit to get hot before timing or what. It doesn’t make sense to start from first putting the jars in with such a short time, because you start with cold water. And – gasp – the internet has been of zero use. So – again, gasp – I emailed Fowlers to ask. This is like a step beyond reading the instructions (which I’ve already done). So we’ll see what they have to say.

So. Pickles. Another life goal achieved.