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Subject: Rec.Food.Preserving FAQ (v7.08) Part3

This article was archived around: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 16:57:35 -0400

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Archive-name: food/preserving/part3 Posting-Frequency: monthly (on or about 20th) Last-modified: 2002/08/15 Version: 7.08 Copyright: (c) 1998-2002 Eric Decker ( and others as specified within ) Maintainer: Eric Decker <ericnospam@getcomputing.com>
Rec.Food.Preserving FAQ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) in the newsgroup preserving This FAQ and all its constituent parts, as a collection of information, is Copyright 1998-2002 by Eric Decker, as a work of literature. Distribution by any electronic means is granted with the understanding that the article not be altered in any way. Permission to distribute in printed form must be obtained in writing. The removal of this copyright notice is forbidden. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Disclaimer: No author represented in this FAQ is qualified to establish scheduled processes nor is any author a competent processing authority in the sense of 21 CFR 113.83 et alia. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Part 3 of 6 4. PICKLING 4.1 GENERAL QUESTIONS 4.1.1 [What do I *really* need to know about pickling?] For storage of unprocessed foods at room temperature the acidity must be 5%. ** Using 5% vinegar and adding water yields LESS than a 5% pickle - this is a VERY common error. Salt brine must be 10% for vegetables. Sugar is often added to soften the effects. If process or storage temperature is above 21C higher levels of salt will be required. For lower salt and vinegar pickling you will follow a *tested* recipe which will specify processing. 4.1.2 [What pickle styles are there?] Pickling food encompasses several techniques, but usually involves equilibrating food in a salt solution, then one either adds an acid (vinegar), or allows the growth of free yeasts and bacteria to make lactic acid by fermentation. If you are trying to pickle food using fermentation, you need to insure that the salt concentration in your crock will support the microbes you need, and you need to control and monitor their growth. Since you are working with a salt and acid, you also want to make sure that you pickle in a non-reactive container (e.g. porcelain, glass). ---- PICKLES AND FERMENTED PRODUCT SAFETY From Susan Brewer, files at the cesgopher.ag.uiuc.edu The acidity (pH) of a food is of great significance in determining the type of processing required for safe preservation of a food. In the case of pickled products, the foods preserved are often low-acid foods (cucumbers, zucchini), but their acidity is adjusted to bring the pH into the high-acid range so that may be safely preserved using boiling water bath processing. The most commonly used acid for pickling is vinegar, however some pickle products are produced by encouraging the growth of microorganisms which produce lactic acid from the naturally occurring carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables. The lactic acid selects for another group of microorganisms which produce acetic acid that gives pickle products their flavor and helps to lower the pH into the range where these vegetables can be safely water bath canned. The acidity of pickling solutions needs to be maintained below pH 4.5 if water bath canning is to be used. For this reason, the amount and strength of the vinegar is critical. I. Types of Pickles o A. Brined or fermented: Depends on selection of natural micro- organisms which will produce acid. Selection is accomplished by using salt to inhibit unwanted microbes. Fermentation is usually for 3 weeks or more. Color changes from bright green to olive or yellow green and white interior becomes translucent. Examples: sour pickles, sauerkraut. o B. Refrigerator dills: are fermented for one week. o C. Fresh-pack or quick-process pickles: Cured for several hours or combined immediately with hot vinegar, spices and seasonings. Examples: pickled beets, bread and butter pickles. o D. Fruit pickles: Whole or sliced fruit simmered in a spicy, sweet-sour syrup. Examples: spiced peaches, crabapples. o E. Relishes: Made from chopped fruits or vegetables which are cooked to desired consistency in a spicy vinegar solution. Examples: horseradish, corn relish. o F. Pasteurized Pickles: Prepared pickles are placed in a canner half filled with warm (120-140 F) water. Add hot water to 1" over jar lids. The water is then heated to 180-185 F and maintained there or 30 minutes. Temperatures over 185 F may cause softening of pickles. USE THIS PROCEDURE ONLY WHEN THE USDA CANNING GUIDELINE RECIPES ARE USED. II. Ingredients o A. Vegetables or fruits for pickling + 1. Fruits and vegetables should be ripe but firm, and in good condition with no evidence of microbial or insect damage. + 2. Cucumbers should have a 1/16" slice removed and discarded from the blossom end. + 3. Use unwaxed cucumbers for pickling so brine will penetrate. + 4. Discard any cucumbers which "float"--they can make hollow pickles (use for relish). + 5. Prepare fruits and vegetables within 24 h of harvest. + 6. Cucumbers: need 14 lb for 7 quart canner load, 9 lb per 9 pint canner load. One bushel weighs 48 lb and yields 16-24 quarts (2 lb / quart). Use 1 1/2" for gherkins and 4" for dills. o B. Vinegar + 1. Vinegar needs to be of sufficient strength to assure that low-acid vegetables will be appropriately acid. The vinegar should be 5 to 6% acetic acid (50 to 60 grain), and should not be diluted except according to an approved recipe. + 2. White vinegar is preferred with light colored fruits or vegetables. + 3. Do not use homemade vinegar--there is no way to know the strength (% acetic acid). o C. Salt + 1. Canning or pickling salt should be used--it contains no iodine (which can cause darkening) or anti-caking ingredients (sodium silicate or tricalcium phosphate) (which cause cloudiness of the brine). + 2. Salt inhibits certain kinds of microorganisms and in fermented pickle products, it is required to prevent growth of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. Salt also draws water out of the cells making the pickled product more firm. Too much salt will cause shriveling. + 3. Do not use "sour salt"--it is citric acid and does not have the same inhibitory effect on microbes. + 4. Do not use reduced-sodium salt in fermented pickle recipes. Reduced sodium pickles can be made using quick pickle recipes given in the USDA Canning Guidelines. Fresh pack pickles, acidified with vinegar can be prepared with little salt but the flavor and texture will be affected. + 5. Salt concentration in brined, fermented products must not be reduced for safety. Do not try to make sauerkraut or fermented pickles by cutting down on the salt. o D. Sugar + Either white or brown granulated sugar can be used. o E. Spices + 1. Use fresh, whole spices in cheesecloth bag. + 2. Powdered spices cause darkening and clouding. o F. Hard Water + 1. Hard water minerals may interfere with acid formation and curing in fermented pickles. In addition, hard water may have a pH of 8.0 or higher. + 2. Softening hard water: boil water for 15 minutes then allow to stand for 24 hours. Skim off any scum that appears. Pour out of container so sediment is not disturbed. o G. "Crisping Agents" These products are not recommended as they may result in a product with a pH which is unsafe. + 1. Lime (calcium hydroxide) which is sold as "slakelime", "hydrated lime", "builders lime", or "household lime". When called for in a recipe, it is added to the brine before pickles are soaked. When used, lime is added for 12-24 hours of soaking. It must be removed from pickles by soaking (1 hour) and rinsing three times in fresh water in order to make the pickles safe. The component of calcium hydroxide which firms up the pickles is the calcium--it cross-links the pectins making them insoluble. DO NOT USE: agricultural lime, burnt lime, quick lime--these are not food grade products and are unsafe. + 2. Alum (aluminum and potassium sulfates): Use no more than 1/4 tsp of alum per quart of pickling solution. Excess will cause bitterness. Alum may be safely used--it does not improve the firmness of quick-process pickles. + 3. Grape leaves: contain substances which inhibit enzymes that make pickles soft. Blossom removal takes care of this problem. + 4. Hot process: pickle firmness may be improved by processing the pickles for 30 minutes in water maintained at 180 F. Water must not fall below 180 F--prevents spoilage (pasteurization). Prepared by Susan Brewer/Foods and Nutrition Specialist/Revised, 1992 EHE-696 ---- 4.1.3 [What is the process for making dill pickles?] You have two options, depending on time, tastebuds, and ethnic heritage. First option is brine curing, where you scrub small size pickling cukes clean of hairs; dissolve pickling salt into hot or boiling water to make a brine; pack cukes, spices, and dill seed heads in a very clean crock; pour brine over the cukes; weight everything down with a clean plate; place crock in a cool, dark place; skim yeast scum as it forms for several weeks, adding salt brine as needed. [Check out the Tips 'N Tricks section for a tip to make this job easier.] When done, you either refrigerate or pack your dill pickles into canning jars, waterbath process. BTW, don't even think of taking a vacation during this procedure; uncontrolled pickle crocks are the most disgusting things in food preservation. The second option is to make quick dill pickles by packing vegetable spears/ chunks tightly in pre-sterilized jars with dill seed heads, then heat a vinegar, water, salt, sugar, spice brine, then pour the solution into the packed jars. Seal, then waterbath process. Check out some of the cookbooks cited in the back of this FAQ for recipes, and look at a couple of recipes at the back of this section. I have not tried any of these so YMMV. 4.1.4 [What makes pickles kosher?] Check out the Real New York Pickle recipe for one poster's opinion. Also tells you what half and full sours are... Kosher style pickle is commonly taken to mean a salt brine pickle. A real Kosher pickle is an ordinary brine pickle but it is made under rabinical supervison and inspection. Leah H. Leonard in her book, Jewish Cookery, has recipes for pickles that one will find in any supermarket ... they are so mainstream and generic we know them as piccalli, pickled peppers, etc. Strictly speaking Kosher in food is a very specific procedure(s) which assure food conforms to Jewish Religious Law. 4.2 GENERAL EQUIPMENT QUESTIONS 4.2.1 [What does it take to make pickles? Do you need special equipment?] The most specialized piece of equipment that you'll need is a crock, which is just a large, non-reactive, smooth container. You need a big container, because you might as well do a lot of pickles rather than just a few; you need a non-reactive one (see below) because you will be working with salts and vinegar, and you don't want metals in your pickles. You also want a smooth container, because a lot of microbial spoilers will cling to rough edges, making it hard to clean thoroughly. Other things you'll need: waterbath canner, canning jars and lids, timer, wooden spoons, heavy plates, cheesecloth. One of the most important things for successful pickles is a cool place. The crock shouldn't get above 70 F, otherwise the pickle bacteria/yeast grow too quickly and spoil the pickles. 4.2.2 [What's a non-reactive container?] Non-reactive things: ceramic, glass, stoneware, food-grade plastic, wood, porcelain. Reactive: copper, zinc, cast iron, brass, aluminum, carbon steel, or galvanized anything. 4.2.3 [Where can I find pickle crocks?] Citation? Crocks can be found at Williams Sonoma, a mail order store in California. They have two sizes and are quite dear, small size about $20. I found some great pickling jars at Pier 1 Imports. Largest size about 1 gal goes for $12. I like the next size down, about 1.5 quart for $7. (1995-1996 prices). [Noticed that Alltrista (Ball Canning Co.) also sells crocks for about $15.--LEB]. From Bubba Leroy Bubba.Leroy@FLYING.NET: (I get mine at the) asian market in my area-there are 4 such markets -they use them for kimchi and they do just fine, but then so do the gallon plastic jars that every restaurant gets mayo and relish in. I have a five gallon bucket that makes very nice dill pickles and most places will give you all you want. [Check out the food-grade plastic story (good for pickle crocks) in Tips 'N Tricks.--LEB] 4.3 TROUBLESHOOTING 4.3.1 [I followed this pickle recipe, but they don't look like they do in the store. What happened? Can I still eat them?] PICKLE AND PICKLE PRODUCT PROBLEMS Making home-made pickles is a time consuming and expensive operation. There are a variety of different steps along the road from cucumbers to sweet Gherkins, so there are a number of places where the process can break down. Pickle problems can usually be traced to the method by which the pickles, brine or syrup are prepared: o a. Weather and growing conditions (quality of your vegetables). o b. Kind of salt used (canning or pickling vs iodized table salt). o c. Vinegar (5% acetic acid, or 50 grain). o d. Temperature of storage conditions (fermentation). o e. Pickling method (fermented, quick-pack). o f. Time lapse between gathering and pickling the vegetables. [And you store them during this step.] 1. White scum appears during fermentation--the scum is a layer of yeast and/or mold: Safe o A. Vegetables are not submerged in brine. o B. Pickling container is not sealed. 2. Pickles or sauerkraut is soft or slippery: Unsafe o A. Brine is too weak (less than 10-12% salt)--allows growth of organ- isms which cause texture softening and sliminess. o B. Vinegar is too weak (less than 5% acetic acid)--allows growth organisms which cause texture softening and sliminess. o C. Temperature during brining was too high (over 75 F). o D. Too little brine--all cucumbers must be immersed. o E. Salt is unevenly distributed on cabbage. o F. Air pockets due to improper "packing" of cabbage allow for growth undesirable microorganisms. [Need to tamp well] o G. Failure to remove scum daily on surface of brine. o H. Failure to remove the cucumber blossoms--enzymes from the blossom will cause softening. 3. Pickles are hollow: Safe o A. Improper curing: weak brine, pickles uncovered during curing, curing stopped short of full fermentation. o B. Too much time lapse between gathering and brining (ie. more than 24 hours). o C. Cucumbers have grown in an "abnormal" way. o D. Temperature too high during fermentation. 4. Shriveled pickles--caused by excessive loss of water from the cucum- bers: Safe o A. Curing brine is too strong (more than 12% salt, vinegar more than 6% acetic acid). o B. Too much time lapse between gathering and brining (i.e. more than 24 hours)-- cucumbers are dehydrated. o C. Pickling solution which is too "heavy", or contains too much sugar. 5. Pickles or sauerkraut is dark or discolored: Color development due to iron is safe to some extent but not with other metals. o A. Using hard water for pickling solution--minerals in the water react with pigments in the cucumbers. Iron in the water is the worst offender. o B. Use of brass, iron, copper or zinc utensils during pickle making - they contribute metal ions which react with cucumbers to form dark pigments. o C. Use of ground spices will darken pickles. o D. Whole spices were left in the pickles after packing. o E. Vegetables (cabbage) is unevenly salted. o F. Curing temperature is too high. o G. Vegetables are making contact with the air - pigments oxidize. o H. Use of cider vinegar with light colored vegetables. o I. Use of brown sugar with light colored vegetables. 6. Sauerkraut turns pink: Unsafe o A. Too much salt (over 2.25%) = yeast growth on surface. o B. Uneven distribution of salt = yeast growth on surface. o C. Kraut is improperly covered or weighted during fermentation = yeast growth on surface. 7. Moldy pickles or sauerkraut during fermentation: Unsafe o A. Fermentation temperature is too high. o B. Insufficient lactic acid production (too much salt). o C. Failure to keep cloth on top of kraut clean during fermentation (may need to be replaced after skimming). 8. Pickles are strong or bitter tasting: Safe o A. Used too much spice. o B. Spices cooked too long in the vinegar. o C. Vinegar is too strong (more than 6% acetic acid). o D. If pickles are too acid increase the sugar, do not decrease the acid. o E. Use of "old" or overmature cucumbers with tough, bitter skins. 9. White sediment occurs in the jars: Small amount of sediment normal. If pickles are soft and slippery---Unsafe. o A. Yeasts grow on the pickle surface then settle to the bottom--they are harmless, but can be prevented by water bath processing filled jars. o B. Use of table salt instead of pickling salt--it contains anti-caking ingredients which settle out. o C. Poor temperature control. 10. Pickling liquid in the jars is cloudy: Unsafe o A. Pickles are spoiled--discard. o B. Hard water minerals may cause clouding. o C. Use of table salt instead of pickling salt--it contains anti-caking ingredients which cause clouding. o D. Use of unstrained brine (from fermentation) for pickling liquid may cause clouding. 11. Pickles or sauerkraut "spoil": Unsafe o A. Use of unsterilized jars. o B. Use of ingredients which have lost their strength (i.e. vinegar). o C. Inaccurate measuring of ingredients. 12. Pickles are "dull" or "faded" in color: Safe o A. Use of over-ripe or yellow cucumbers. o B. Use of fruits with pale color. o C. Overprocessing of beet pickles--pigments are damaged. o D. Pickles exposed to excessive light. Prepared by Susan Brewer/Foods and Nutrition Specialist/Revised, 1992 EHE-695 ---- 4.3.2 [ Pickles in the NW ] Suzanne Chandler sends this article: From PNW 355 (Pacific Northwest Bulletin 355 which is based on the USDA's "Complete Guide to Home Canning" "Preservation by Pickling Microorganisms are always present on vegetables. Home canning prevents the growth of those that cause spoilage and illness. When the scidity of a canned food is high, harmful bacteria like 'Clostridium botulinum' <shudder> can't grow. That's why pickling (the addition of acid) prevents spoilage: There are two types of pickles: 1.) Brined (fermented) pickles require several weeks of 'curing' at room temperature. During this period, colors and flavors change. Acid is produced as lactic acid bacteria grow. 2.) Quick (unfermented) pickles are made in 1 or 2 days by adding acid in the form of vinegar. It's critical to add enough vinegar to prevent bacterial growth. [Suzanne's comments: remember the bacteria you are preventing is the feared 'Clostridium botulinum" which can be odorless, invisible, and still deadly. Also the last sentance of option one reads funny (according to me). What it is saying is that as the lactic acid bacteria grow, they produce enough acid to wipe out there fellow bacterias. Also, the the lactic acid bacterias in the Brined pickles are activated by the salt, so you must follow the salt instructions to the letter and only use canning or pickling salt. The salt included in recipes for Quick pickles is more negotiable.] Sounds like you, Glen that is, have a fermented pickle recipe. Here is a Quick Pickle recipe from the same publication.] 4 lb pickling cucumbers (4 inch) 14 garlic cloves, split 1/4 C pickling salt 2 and 3/4 C Vinegar (5%) 3 cups water 14 heads fresh dill 28 peppercorns Yield 6 to 7 pints Procedure. Wash cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Heat garlic, salt, vinegar and water to boiling. Remove garlic and place 4 halves into each pint or quart jar. Pack cucmbers into jar, adding 2 heads dill and 4 peppercorsn. Pour hot vinegar colution over the cucmbers to within 1/2 inch of the top. Adjust lids and use conventional boiling-water canner processing <snip>pints for 10 minutes and quarts for 15 minutes at sea level. (15 and 20 at 1001-6000 ft, 20 and 25 at above 6000 ft.) [more Suzanne comments: the seasoning can be fooled with, but don't even think about adjusting the vinegar water ratio. I use the grape leaf trick for crispiness and wouldn't even try to make pickles without it: the tannins in the leaf reduce the impact of pickle softening enzymes. > I come to me knees :-) Well toss up a little pickle prayer while you are there! Good luck, let me know if you need more info. Suzanne ------ 4.4. Collection of pickle recipes. Some typical, some odd, most ethnic. YMMV, email the contributor for details. 4.4.1.RECIPE : Transylvanian Salt-Pickle Veggies From: Wolfgang mailto:capuano@deakin.edu.au I should have submitted this to the FAQ, but I never got around to it. I like these pickles because I don't really like vinegar. Balsamic is fine, but pure white commercial stuff is foul (on my tastebuds). This recipe is the way pickle is made in Transylvania. It was given to me by a non net person. You will need : Canning Salt Water Toasted Rye Bread Canning Jars Veggies : Gherkin Cucumbers (whole) Cabbage, sliced Carrot (finely sliced) Raw Green Beans Cauliflower Garlic cloves Sun chokes DILL, DILL, DILL and more DILLseed!!!!! (A must) Spices : Peppercorn (whole); Coriander (whole); Commercial Pickling Spice Directions : For every liter of water, add 40 grams of salt. Boil water and let cool (with lid on). Wash and dry jars. Prepare the vegetables. Place veggies in jar, tightly packed, and sprinkled with spices. Pour salt water over and place a small piece of toasted rye bread on top of veggies. Cap, and leave in a warm, dark place. You might notice bubbles forming and a thick white sediment. This is caused by the yeast fermentation that occurs in the jar. There are a few principles that give this sort of pickle a long shelf life: 1.) No oxygen. Yes, its starts of with oxygen in the headspace, etc, but the yeast fermentation uses that oxygen up. Remember, oxygen causes oxidation, which spoils the pickle. 2.) Salt. It stops many organisms growing, and keeps the vegetables fantastically crisp, and full of flavour. 3.) High Pressure. The yeast converts vegetable sugars into gas [CO2--LEB], this gas increases the atmospheric pressure, like a carbonated beverage. Not many organisms like high atmospheric pressures. In 3 weeks, you can try your pickle. It will last much longer if you can put a few away. Taste your gherkin first, it will taste like a gherkin you have never had before. The carrot actually tastes like carrot, not a vinegar sandwich. Let me know what you think. 4.4.2. [Middle Eastern mixed pickles.] From: Paul Holtpaulho@oub.ou.dk Torshi Meshakel (Mixed Pickles) 1/2 lb. small, whole pickling cucumbers 2 large carrots, thickly sliced 1 small cauliflower, separated into flowerets 1 sweet green pepper, thickly sliced, seeded and cored 1/2 lb. small white turnips, peeled and quartered 1/2 raw beetroot, peeled and cut into medium-sized pieces [optional] A few raw green beans, if available, cut in pieces 3 cloves garlic 1 small dried chili pepper pod A few sprigs fresh dill and 2 teaspoons dill seed 1 1/2 pints water 1/2 pint white wine vinegar 4-5 level tablespoons [3 oz.] salt Wash and prepare the vegetables and pack them tightly in glass jars together with the garlic cloves, a hot pepper pod divided between them and dill. Mix the water, vinegar and salt solution in a glass or china bowl, and pour over the vegetables. Prepare and add more liquid if this is not enough. Cover tightly and store in a warm place. The pickle should be ready in about 2 weeks. The vegetables will be soft and mellow, and tinted pink by the beet- root. However, the beetroot can be omitted if you prefer the vegetables in their natural colours. Do not keep longer than 2 months unless stored under refrigeration. D.4.3. [ogorki kiszone/kwaszone] From: "Arthur A. Simon, Jr." aasimon@tribeca.ios.com POLISH BRINE-CURED DILL PICKLES (ogorki kiszone/kwaszone) (from POLISH HERITAGE COOKERY, by Robert & Maria Strybl) "The classic Polish dill pickle, whose preparation goes back well over 1,000 years, is naturally cured, hence it is a far healthier alternative than any of the pickles pickled with vinegar. It is extremely versatile, since it produces several products in a single container: the crunchy, several-day undercured pickles some people like, tart and tangy fully-cured pickles, and very tart and soft overcured pickles, which are good for eating and a required ingredient in dill-pickle soup. The leftover dill-pickle juice is a vitamin and mineral-rich beverage as is, or in combination with other ingredients (see dill-pickle brine below) and can be used to give a delightful tang to soups, sauces, and meat dishes. Above all, ogorki kiszone are so delicious that they will quickly disappear from your counter-top crock. They are also easy to prepare." Wash and drain 4 lbs. roughly 4-inch, green pickling cucumbers. Cukes larger than 6 inches are not used. If you have cucumbers of varying size, put the large ones at bottom of jar, since they take longer to cure. The best cucumbers to brine-cure are those picked the same day. If yours are not, soak them in ice cold water 2-3 hrs. Wash, dry, scald with boiling water, and dry again large glass jar or crock big enough to accommodate the pickles. At bottom of container, place 3 stalks mature pickling dill (heads or seed clusters as well as stems). Stand cucumbers in container upright. Add 3-5 cloves garlic, several small pieces of horseradish root, and several fruit leaves (cherry, black-currant or grape are best!). Bring to boil 6 c. water and 3 T. pickling salt. When cooled slightly, pour warm solution over cucumbers. Cover with inverted plate and weight down so cucumbers are submerged. Cover with cheesecloth and that's all there is to it. They should be fully cured in 7-10 days. You may leave them on counter until all are used up (and remove them with tongs, never with fingers!), or transfer to fridge. Optional: Other flavorings may include: 1 horseradish leaf, 1-2 green oak leaves (this gives pickles a barrel-like taste), 1 bay leaf, a pinch of mustard seeds or unground coriander, a small piece of chili pepper, a slice of celeriac or parsley root. Do not use all these flavorings in a single batch of pickles, but experiment on successive batches to see which combination suits you best. Personally, we feel the basic recipe is good just as it is. Poster's comments: I have made these on a regular basis and the recipe is almost foolproof. The only alteration I routinely make is to add a slice of hard/Jewish rye bread w/caraway seed on the top of the cucumbers. This serves to provide a starch base to hasten the fermentation (you did understand that these are fermented(!) pickles, I hope) and also to ensure a reliable yeast inoculum. Depending on wild yeasts can sometimes result in a spoiled batch, especially in warm climates. After 2-3 days, when the stuff really looks yucky-milky (from the yeast in suspension), I put in the fridge to slow down fermentation. Yeast will settle to bottom. Then I carefully drain, reserving liquid, oak/grape leaves, etc. but flushing away old yeast. You will discover the way that works best for you. I then replace liquid, place back into fridge and allow the ferment to continue slowly. Will keep for up to 3 weeks or more under those conditions. I do this for two reasons: (1) I am somewhat allergic to yeast, and (2) the rinsed product is esthetically more pleasing. One final comment: Another exotic but delicious addition to the crock is a single piece of fresh ginger root the size of a dime. 4.4.4 [3-Day Lime Pickle] From: George Shirley gshirley@iamerica.net Use cukes or green tomatoes. 8.5 lbs before trimming, 7 lbs sliced. 3 cups household lime 2 gallons water Dissolve lime in water, cover cukes/tomatoes with the solution in a non-reactive pot or crock. Soak for 24 hours, drain carefully and wash lime water off. Put back in container in plain water, soak for 4 hours, changing water every hour. [This step is important for safety.--LEB] Syrup: 5 pints vinegar, 5 lbs sugar, 5 tablespoons pickling spice. Bring syrup to a boil. Pour over pickles-to-be, then let them sit overnight. Next morning strain off the syrup, then bring to a boil and simmer 1 hour. Add 4-6 drops of green food coloring for a nice looking pickle. Pack pickles in sterilized jars, pour the hot syrup over them, seal and hot water bath for 5 minutes. Makes about 8 quarts. I tried some blue pickles once just for the heck of it and no one would eat them but me. Looked nice in a salad though. 4.4.5. [A real New York deli Pickle?] From: Kurt Rieder A good deli pickle (Kosher dill to some) is made without vinegar. The pro- cess is a lactic acid producing fermentation. You need a crock or wide mouth container, a board or plate, and a weight...like maybe a rock. Scrub the cukes and put them in the crock. For a 5 gal crock layer the following among the cukes: 3 1/3 oz sugar, 3/4 lb fresh dill, 3/4 oz allspice, 3/8 oz mustard seed, 3/8 oz black pepper corns, 1/8 oz bay leaf, 1 head garlic...broken into cloves. Put the board on top and the rock on top of the board. Fill the crock with 8% cool salt brine. An 8% brine will contain 3/4 lb salt per gallon brine. Store at 60 - 70 deg F. That's cooler than ambient this time of year in most places. Consider the basement or some other cool place. Every few days use a paper towel or cloth to clean any scum from the surface. Sample a pickle when you have the urge... after a few days. At first they will be half sours. A bit longer, 2-3 weeks, and they will become full sours. Both are often sold in the deli. After they are done, lower the temperature if you can but don't allow to freeze. Most pickles, even sweet gherkins, that you buy in the store are made this way. They keep the brine and recover lac- tic acid from it. The brined cukes are bottled and covered with cheaper vinegar... and sugar, if sweet ones are wanted. This is why a deli pickle has it over all others. D.4.6. [Kimchee, 3 recipes including summer and winter versions.] From: Nicole Okun ariadne@mindlink.bc.ca Herewith, a kimchee recipe: Half a head of Chinese cabbage 1 large daikon 3 Tbsps salt Shred the cabbage and daikon. Place the shredded veggies in a large bowl and mix in the salt with your hands. Cover with cold water. Cover the bowl with a towel, and let it sit overnight. In another bowl, mix together 1" ginger root, minced 5 cloves garlic, minced dried hot pepper, crumbled, to taste Take the cabbage and daikon out of the brine with a slotted spoon or one of those wire Chinese things, and mix together with the spices. Put the kimchee in a large jar or bowl (I use a gallon glass jar that gets about half-filled by this) and pour enough of the brine over to cover by about 2 inches. Cover with a cloth (I just set the lid of the jar on it without screwing it closed at all) and let the kimchee mature for about a week. Start tasting it after four days. When you like the taste, transfer to smaller jars and refrigerate. Subject: Re: Kim Chi From: Naera Kim naera@panix.com, in rec.food.cooking These recipes are from a Korean cookbook (translated in English) I bought in Seoul, Korea. There should be other Korean cookbooks around at bookstores or at Korean groceries. You can find these ingredients at a Korean market/gro- ceries. The Korean radishes are lot larger than the ones you find in regular supermarkets. If there isn't a Korean market near you then you can improvise by using many smaller radishes. If you can't find salted shrimps then try using finely chopped, fresh oysters and/or salted anchovies. I've never used anchovies before but other people do. Radish Water-Kimchi (water-kimchi is not spicy but very tasty and soothing esp. during the summer) 3 medium Korean white radishes 1 bundle of scallion (about 4) 2 firm pears (golden pear is better) 2 red hot peppers, chopped. 6 whole hot green Korean peppers 1 C. coarse salt 3 cloves of sliced garlic 1/4 C. sliced ginger 2 Tbsp. salted shrimp chopped water 1) Select medium firm radishes. Remove roots. Wash and drain. 2) Chop scallions, 3/4 inch in length. 3) Slice ginger and garlic thinly. Then wrap garlic, ginger, and salted shrimp in a gauze or cheese cloth and tie. 4) Roll whole radishes in salt. 5) Peel pear and core the seeds. Slice them length-wise into 8 strips. 6) Place radishes, garlic, ginger, salted shrimp, pear, and peppers in a big crock or large heavy jar and sprinkle w/some salt. 7) Leave them out in room temperature for 3 days. 8) Pour enough salt water (not too salty) into the crock so it will cover all ingredients. Weigh them down with something heavy. Cover w/lid. 9) Let it ferment* to desired taste, slice radishes to any size before serving. * Make sure to leave some room in the crock so the kimchi juice can expand while fermenting. I use a heavy stone, washed and cleaned. This prevents the radishes from getting soggy. The heavier the weight will make radishes crunchier. To make water-kimchi ferment more quickly, let it stand in room temperature for 3 to 4 days (depending on how warm or cold the [room or out- door] temperature is, if its warm then the kimchi will ferment lot faster than when its cold). Refrigerate after. You can also leave them outside during the autumn season. If the water-kimchi is too salty then add some more plain water to get the desired taste. * The kimchi will last refrigerated for many months! Whole Cabbage Kimchi (known for winter kimchi) 2 heads of Chinese cabbages 1 1/3 C. coarse salt 1/2 to 1/3 C. red pepper powder (depending on how spicy you want) 1/4 C. salted shrimp, chopped 2 knobs of ginger, chopped 1 head of garlic, chopped 1 bundle of chopped scallions (cut 3/4 inch lengths) 1/4 lb. fresh oysters (shelled, cleaned w/salt water and chopped) 1/4 bundle of watercress (cut 3/4 inch lengths) 4 Tbsp. salt 1) Trim roots from the cabbage, cut each cabbage lengthwise into two sections. 2) Make a brine with 8 cups of water and 3/4 C. of salt and soak the cabbage in the brine. Drain, sprinkle with some salt and let stand overnight. 3) When the cabbages are well-salted and a bit limp, rinse thoroughly in cold water and drain. 4) Mix the red pepper well with salted shrimp. Then add garlic, ginger, oysters, scallions, and watercress and mix well. Season with remaining salt. 5) Pack the seasoned mixture between each leaf of the wilted cabbage. 6) Place the stuffed cabbages in a large crock or large heavy jar. 7) Weigh it down with a clean heavy stone and cover. * To make the kimchi ferment more quickly, let it stand in room temperature for two days depending on how warm or cold the temperature is, if warm then the kimchi will ferment lot faster than when its cold. Refrigerate after. You can also leave them outside during the autumn season. * The kimchi will last refrigerated for up to 4 months or more! [Check out the Tip 'N Trick to keep kimchi from smelling.--LEB] 4.4.7. [Pickled ginger slices.] Subject: Re: pickling ginger From: "Col. I.F. Khuntilanont-Philpott" khing dong / ginger pickle Description: In Thailand this is made from khing ong, or young ginger. The skin of this is very tender, and if it is available it need not be skinned before pickling. However if you use regular ginger, the woody skin should be removed first. This is a simple pickling recipe for ginger. The resultant pickle can be eaten with meats and poultry. It is also eaten on its own as a snack, and even on ice cream (!) Ingredients To pickle 2 pound of ginger, prepare a pickling liquor with: 2 cups of water 2 cups of vinegar (preferably rice vinegar) 1 cups of sugar 1/4 cup of salt half a teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) Method Peel the ginger and then slice it thinly, cutting larger slices into smallish pieces. Rub with the baking soda and allow to stand whilst preparing the pickling liquor. Boil the water, and stir in and fully dissolve the sugar. Next dissolve in the salt, allow to cool, and add the vinegar, stirring thoroughly. Place the ginger in a one quart preserving jar, and fill with the liquor, seal and keep in a cool place for at least two weeks before using. Serving & Storage Keeps indefinitely. 4.4.8. [Zucchini recipes, because you can't grow just one!] 2 recipes. Subject: Zucchini Relish From: calhoun@gorge.net (Dave Calhoun) About 6 months ago there was a great discussion about food made from zucchini and I promised to post my grandmothers zucchini relish recipe. Here it finally is. I love it and hope you do also. Ingredients: 10 cups ground zucchini 4 cups ground onions 5 tablespoons pure granulated salt 2 1/4 cups white vinegar 4 1/2 cups sugar 1 tablespoon each: Nutmeg, dry mustard, turmeric & cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon pepper 2 teaspoons celery salt 1 each of sweet green & red peppers, chopped fine Instructions: Put first 3 ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Let stand overnight. Drain and rinse in cold water; drain again & put in large kettle with remaining ingredients. Bring to boil & simmer, uncovered, stirring occas- ionally for 30 minutes or until desired consistency. Pour into 6 or 8 hot sterilized pint jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace & seal. Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath. There you have it straight from my grandma. I love this stuff and a burger just isn't right without it. Let me know if you try it and like it. Pickled Bread-and-Butter Zucchini From Shona Lamoureaux , Taken from an impeccable source: United States Department of Agriculture, Extension Service 16 cups fresh zucchini, sliced 4 cups onions, thinly sliced 1/2 cup canning or pickling salt 4 cups white vinegar (5%) 2 cups sugar 4 tbsp mustard seed 2 tbsp celery seed 2 tsp ground turmeric Yield: About 8 to 9 pints Procedure: Cover zucchini and onion slices with 1 inch of water and salt. Let stand 2 hours and drain thoroughly. Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil and add zucchini and onions. Simmer 5 minutes and fill jars with mixture and pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 1 or use low-temperature pasteurization treatment. For more information see "Low- Temperature Pasteurization Treatment," (HE 8220). Table 1. Recommended process time for Pickled Bread and Butter Zucchini in a boiling-water canner. Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of Style of 1,001 - 6,000 Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft ft Above 6,000 ft Hot Pints or 10 min 15 20 Quarts This document was extracted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning", Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA. Reviewed 1994. 4.4.9. [And a recipe for another prolific fruit, green tomatoes] From: Nicole Okun Dill Tomolives 4 lbs tiny green tomatoes 1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered 2 sprays dill 20 oz water 10 oz white vinegar 1 oz salt Wash tomatoes and pack into clean quart jars. In each jar place 2 quarters of garlic clove and one spray of dill. Boil vinegar, salt and water toget- her for 1 minute and pour over tomatoes. Leave 1/4" headroom and adjust lids. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling waterbath. Makes two quarts. 4.4.10. [Green Tomatoes Rovia] >From Brenda Sharpe : This is my most requested preserve recipe, for a sweet green "ketchup" that goes well with beef and cheese. The original recipe came from a congregation of nuns in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Full recipe makes approximately 12 500 mL (pint) jars. The recipe can be halved. 30 green tomatoes (the size of small apples), sliced (with skins on but cut off stem and blossom ends and any nasty bits) 6 onions, peeled and sliced or chopped 1/2 cup pickling (coarse, non-iodized) salt Slice tomatoes and onions (a food processor is great for this) and layer in a non-reactive, large pot with salt. Let stand overnight. In the morning, drain well. Add: 16 apples (hard and sour), peeled and sliced 4 cups granulated sugar 1/4 cup pickling spices, tied up in a cheesecloth bag (leave a long string on for taking out later!) White Vinegar (must be at least 5% acidic) Add vinegar until three-quarters (3/4) of ingredients are covered (DO NOT COVER COMPLETELY). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer; simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours until apples are transparent and everything is well cooked and fragrant. Remove spice bag. Pour into sterilized pint jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal and process in a boiling water bath canner 10 minutes. This is great on burgers or eggs; one friend likes it on cheese sandwiches; another eats it like a dessert! 4.4.11. [Pickled garlic.] >From James Wesley Dunnington : I hope the following is what you are looking for. I found it in THE KERR KITCHEN PANTRY Volume 6, Number 4. It was concerning onions and garlic. Pickled Garlic 3 cups peeled garlic cloves 1-1/2 cups white vinegar (labeled 5% acidity) 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt Add garlic cloves to a pan of boiling water. When water returns to a boil, boil for one minute. Drain and pack into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/2- inch headspace. Heat vinegar, sugar and pickling salt to boiling. Pour boiling pickling liquid over garlic, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Carefully run a nonmetallic utensil down inside of jars to remove trapped air bubbles. Wipe jar tops and threads clean. Place hot jar lids on jars and apply screw bands firmly. Process in Boiling Water Bath Canner for 10 minutes. Yield: 3 half-pints 4.5.1 [Salsa Tips] Marie Martinek offers: In addition to all the recipes you'll be garnering, I want to suggest my technique of Time-Shifting. This requires that you have freezer space.... As the tomatoes get ripe, wash them and chop them and toss them into a gallon-sized ziploc bag. I put my bag into one of the tupperware juice-or-cereal pourers, the tall rectangular thingies, to make it stand up. When it's full, pull it out of the holder and put it in the deepfreeze. Do the same thing with hot and sweet peppers (but in a pint bag). In January, or sometime when the heat & humidity isn't in the 90's, pull out 2 gallon bags of tomatoes, and 1 pint bag each of sweet and hot peppers. Peel them out of the bags (they're usually snagged enough by then that I don't try to save the bag; just cut it off) and put them in a big pot. As it thaws, scoop into a colander over another big pot. As it drains, scoop the pulp into YET ANOTHER big pot. Eventually, you will have one potful of pulp, and one of juice. Put the pulp back in the fridge. Run the juice through your finest strainer, or a food mill, to pull out some of the excess tomato seeds. Put back into big pot. Start cooking the juice down. Once you get it to boiling, turn down to simmer and let it go for several hours, stirring every once in a while. Let your kitchen windows steam up. Once the juice is reduced by at least a half, add it back to the pulp and continue on with your recipe. I don't even take the skins off -- my husband doesn't mind a bit of roughage in his salsa. 5. CURING WITH SALT OR LYE 5.1 [What do I *really* need to know about curing foods, and what makes this different from pickling?] Sometimes the difference between pickling and curing is semantic, but generally curing is salting, etc, without an acid treatment. Examples of salt curing: salt pork, olives, anchovies, herring, lox; Examples of Lye (NaOH) curing: olives, hominy, lutefisk. 5.1.1 [Why do I have to cure olives? ] >From On Food and Cooking by Harold Mcgee: "Anyone who has bitten into a raw olive knows that olives must somehow be processed befoe they are edible. Olives are usualy pickled, and they contain a bitter glucoside called oleuropein ( from the olive's botanical name, 'olea europa') which is usually removed first. This has been done since Roman times by soaking the fruit in a lye solution and then washing it thoroughly. The watery, oleuropein-rich residue left after raw olives are pressed for oil - what the Romans called 'amurca' - was used, so Cato and Virgil tell us, as a weed killer, insecticide, and a lubricant for leather and axles. Today's Greek olives are as strong tasting as they are because they have not been treated with lye to remove the oleuropein. They are simply cured by packing dry in salt, or are pickled in a brine, where they undergo a lactic fermentation. Green Spanish olives are picked before they are ripe, treated with lye, and then brined. California ripe olives are first dipped in a ferrous gluconate solution to fix the pigment, then treated with lye, and immediately packed in brine. Because they are not allowed to ferment for a few weeks, these olives have neither the pickled flavour nor the resistance to spoilage of theother kinds, and so must be sterilized in the can. The cooking makes some contribution to their characteristically mild flavour." 6. SMOKING 6.1 [What do I *really* need to know about smoking food?] Smoke gets in your eys and hurts, on and in food it tastes great. Seriously... Smoking food in order to preserve it is a bit different than smoking food on the barbeque. Generally, the meat or fish to be smoked is salt cured, which preserves the tissue throughout, then is smoked either for flavor, or to preserve the surface of the meat. Other items can be smoked to preserve them and concentrate their flavors, e.g smoked hot peppers. Smoking provides the flavor, but dehydration preserves the pepper. If you are smoking or curing meat, you need to be concerned the health of the animal (i.e. trichina). 6.1.1 [ Where can I get the stuff ( like saltpeter ) used for curing?] Mark Preston wrote: "Tri-Ess 1020 Chestnut Street Burbank, CA 818-848-7838 sells many chemicals for food. Usually in CP (chemically pure) which is about 5 or 6 grades higher than food grade. This is for the home sausage maker quantities of such stuffs. For the commercial end see: http://www.kochsupplies.com/ who sells to all large, larger or largest sausage and ham makers." 6.2 [ MEAT CURING AND SMOKING Compliments of Richard Thead (C) Copyright 1995 Richard Thead. All rights reserved. [--N.B. This is *not* the most current edition of the meat curing/smoking FAQ. The most recent versions are on the Web, at URL http://www.azstarnet.com/ ~thead/msfaq.html. I put this file in simply to give the reader an idea of what this FAQ contains. --LEB] Cures described herein are not representative of those prescribed in 9 CFR 318 et al. for commercial applications. They are for general information purposes only. No HACCP procedures have been included in this information. 6.2.1 [Why is meat cured?] For a couple of reasons. One is safety. When meat is cold smoked its temperature often stays in the danger zone for several hours or days. Many environmental factors of this treatment are such that the growth of dangerous bacteria is greatly accelerated. The curing of the meat inhibits this growth. The other reason is traditional preparation. There are many curing techniques that were developed in the days before refrigeration that are continued today for traditional reasons. A good example is corned beef. Old time butcher shops closed every weekend. Ice, the only refrigerant available, could not dependably hold fresh meat for two days. To keep unsold meat from going to waste, the butcher soaked the meat in a strong brine or covered it with coarse salt to trigger osmosis. The grains of salt were called "corn" in England, and the name "corned beef" stuck with the product. [1] 6.2.3 [What is osmosis?] Osmosis is the movement of water across a membrane from weak solutions toward strong solutions. [1] 6.2.4 [What is meant by "the danger zone"?] The "danger zone" is the temperature range between 40 and 140 degrees F. When uncured meat remains in this range for more than 2 hours the growth of dangerous bacteria increases to a dangerous level. 6.2.5 [What other factors affect the growth of bacteria?] When meat is smoked, the environment is robbed of most if its oxygen. If this is combined with temperatures between 40 and 140F, the growth of the bacteria that causes botulism is increased. 6.2.6 [What is botulism?] Botulism is an intoxication of the bacteria clostridium botulinum. This bacteria is anaerobic meaning that it requires an environment relatively free of oxygen to multiply. It also requires a moist environment and temperatures between 40 and 140F. The symptoms of botulism are sore throat, vomiting, blurred vision, cramps, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and central nervous system damage (including paralysis). Symptoms usually occur within 12 to 36 hours. The fatality rate is up to 70%. [2] 6.2.7 [What are the commonly used curing compounds?] Salt, sugar, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. Salt and sugar both cure meat by osmosis. In addition to drawing the water from the food, they dehydrate and kill the bacteria that make food spoil. In general, though, use of the word "cure" refers to processing the meat with either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate. Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are the basis for two commercially used products: Prague powders #1 and #2. Prague powder #1 is a mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite and 16 parts salt. The chemicals are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. Even though diluted, only 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1 tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite, .64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt. It is primarily used in dry-curing. One other commonly available curing product is Morton's Tender Quick. It is a mixture of salt, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate and sugar. Ask your butcher or grocer to stock it for you. 6.2.8 [Where can these compounds be obtained?] If you are chummy with a local butcher who does curing, maybe (s)he will sell you a small quantity. Otherwise, the Sausage Maker offers all items mentioned here and elsewhere in this FAQ mail order. See the books section for a phone number where you can obtain a catalog. 6.2.9 [What is spray pumping?] It is the process of injecting the meat with cure using a special purpose needle. [Special purpose needle and syringe is called a stitch pump--can get this item from either the Morton's Salt Company or the Embarcadero Home Cannery, addresses are in part 6 of this FAQ.--LEB] 6.2.10 [What's trichinosis?] It is an infestation of trichinae. The parasites invade the voluntary muscles causing severe pain and edema. It can be avoided by ensuring that cooked pork reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. 6.2.11 [If my cured pork doesn't reach a safe temperature, what about trichinosis?] Trichinae can also be killed by freezing the pork according to the following chart: Temperature Grp1-days Grp2-days ----------- --------- --------- 5 deg F 20 30 -10 deg F 10 20 -20 deg F 6 12 Group 1 comprises product in separate pieces not exceeding 6" in thickness or arranged on separate racks with the layers not exceeding 6" in depth. Group 2 comprises product in pieces, layers or within containers the thickness of which exceeds 6" but not 27". [3] 6.2.12 [What about dry-curing sausages and meats?] I'll leave this topic open for someone with real experience. The dry climate in Tucson makes it difficult to maintain the ideal 70% relative humidity required for dry-curing so I've never even tried. A dehydrator will work wonders :-) 6.2.13 [What is the difference between smoke cooking and curing?] Pretty simple; Smoke cooking is done at higher temperatures in order to cook the meat. Smoke curing is really just smoking cured meat or sausage. 6.2.14 [What are the proper temperatures for smoke cooking meat?] I prefer to keep the temperature around 220F. This means the temperature *at* the meat. I use a large log burning smoking pit with an offset firebox so it's easy to maintain this. In an upright water smoker you will have trouble keeping the temperature this low, since the heat builds up at the top where the meat is. You can achieve decent results with a water smoker, but the cooking time will be shorter and the depth of smoke penetration will be less. My briskets and pork shoulders smoke for 20-24 hours; pork ribs and loin roasts take less time. 6.2.15 [How important is temperature control during smoke curing?] Very. If you are smoking sausages, excess heat will melt the fat out and leave the final product dry and crumbly. This I know from experience. Here, we're talking about temperatures around 140F, although it varies from recipe to recipe. This is very difficult to maintain in a wood burning smoker. Mine has a slow smoking section farthest away from the fire. With experience, I've learned to control the temperature in this section without overdamping the air inlet. Some other meats, like bacon and ham, are a little more tolerant of higher heat, but it can affect the quality of the final product. The best solution is a thermostat controlled gas or electric slow smoker like those sold by the Sausage Maker (see sources). These are not good general purpose smokers, in my opinion. I just don't think they do nearly as well as a log burning pit for smoke cooking. Unfortunately for the many water smoker owners, they just won't do for slow smoking--don't even bother trying. 6.2.16 [Is closing down the air inlet dampers a good way to keep the temperature down?] If you keep the temperature low by closing down the inlet dampers, the smoke gets thick and sooty and produces an unattractive and bitter coating on the surface of the meat. I prefer to keep the fire burning more freely and control the temperature by providing some draft between the fire and the meat. 6.2.17 [What are the various woods used for smoking?] Alder The traditional wood for smoking salmon in the Pacific Northwest, alder also works well with other fish. It has a light delicate flavor. Apple and Cherry Both woods produce a slightly sweet, fruity smoke that's mild enough for chicken or turkey, but capable of flavoring a ham. Hickory Hickory is the king of the woods in the Southern barbeque belt, as basic to the region's cooking as cornbread. The strong, hearty taste is perfect for pork shoulder and ribs, but it also enhances any red meat or poultry. Maple Mildly smoky and sweet, maple mates well with poultry, ham, and vegetables. Mesquite The mystique wood of the past decade, mesquite is also America's most misunderstood wood. It's great for grilling because it burns very hot, but below average for barbecuing for the same reason. Also, the smoke taste turns from tangy to bitter over an extended cooking time. Few serious pitmasters use mesquite, despite a lot of stories about its prevalence in the Southwest. Oak If hickory is the king of barbecue woods, oak is the queen. Assertive but always pleasant, it's the most versatile of hardwoods, blending well with a wide range of flavors. What it does to beef is probably against the law in some states. Pecan The choice of many professional chefs, pecan burns cool and offers a subtle richness of character. Some people call it a mellow version of hickory. [5] 6.2.18 [What is the bonafide official way to tell that beef jerky is done curing? ] >From Perry Noid: Drying meat is NOT "curing" it!!! Drying meat is preserving it. "Curing meat" is treating it with a chemical to prevent food poisoning. I think you're pretty safe drying store bought beef in a dehydrator, because there's oxygen present which prevents botulism, and indians often dried meat by simply laying them out on rocks in the hot sun. But i wouldn't trust simply drying wild game or pork, unless you're an Indian who has developed a natural resistance to parasites. BUT IF YOU ARE GOING TO SMOKE YOUR MEAT THEN ***YOU DAMN BETTER FIGURE OUT WHAT CURING REALLY IS*** because smoking does a real good job of creating the 3 conditions necessary to trigger botulism: moisture, temerature (about 40 to 140 F i think) and lack of oxygen. This sometimes occurs when people try to cook their turkey crammed full of stuffing, especially when it has sat full of stuffing in the refrigerator all night. Botulism doesn't always occur when those 3 conditios are met, and some people dodge the bullet for a while, and infact botulism is rare, but when it happens it is *very* deadly, mostly because you don't know you're sick until you are really sick. In a survival situation where going to the hospital is impossible, you can drink a slurry of charcoal to save your life which is simply the charred, blackened bits of wood from last night's campfire that is ground up and drank with water. Charcoal will absorb certain poisons. certain chemicals can block botulism. I think old timers used things like potassium nitrate and salt or something, not sure. But the modern "cure" that practically all commercial producers who smoke meat use specialized cures, which i think are made up of a combination of sodimum nitrate and sodimum nitrite. There gobbs of different brand names (Prague Powder and Insta-cure) but they are all basically the same two types, one for meat to be refrigerated or even recooked, and the second for dried meat not to be refrigerated nor recooked. But the perscribed amount of cure is disolved into a brine solution in which the meat is soaked for a number of hours or days, depending on the type of meat and the size. In addition to this, some people with electric smokers will run their smoker without the dampwood chips so it acts like a big dehydrator and dry the meat out before applying the smoke, which keeps the 3 conditions botulism from being met and providing a further margain of saftey. It is really inexpensive and requires very little. 5 lbs costs about $20 and is enough to "cure" about 1600 lbs of beef, fish, whatever. That's sure a lot cheaper than a trip to the emergency room. Here's a soarce for both types: Insta-Cure #1 and Insta-Cure #2. The Sausage Maker, Inc. 1-716-876-5521 Fax 1-716-875-0302 All commercially smoked meat and all jerky is required by law to be "cured" using these same cures. The "cure" also adds to the color and taste of the meat. It also adds shelflife to the meat you simply dry in a dehydrator. A good book on the subject is also money well spent. Be safe. 6.2.19 [ What temperature is right for smoking ( fowl) turkey? ] From jay@heyl.org I have a cookbook here that says 165-170F. There is a lot of paranoia about poultry being underdone. I haven't done any turkey yet (I have the same smoker you do), but I've done several chickens and have had no trouble pulling them off at 165F. > The problem I am having is that although I follow the recipes exactly I > have a very difficult time reaching this temperature. I installed an > oven thermometer in place of the "cold - ideal - hot" thermometer that > came with the smoker. I even placed a second thermometer inside to The stock thermometer is worthless... I replaced mine. Are you brining the bird before cooking? If not, I strongly recommend you do. I took a class in grilling and barbequeing and for chicken parts they suggested a brine of 1 cup kosher salt and 1 cup sugar dissolved in 1 quart of water. Soak the pieces for up to 90 minutes. Don't go longer than this or the chicken will take up too much salt. I think the basic idea here would work for turkey breast also, though I'd reduce the salt to maybe 1/2 cup and soak the turkey for 3 or 4 hours. (For a whole chicken they recommended 1 cup kosher salt in a gallon of water, brining the chicken for 6 to 8 hours. I'd guess the turkey breast would be somewhere in between the two methods.) Also, you're going to have a tough time getting a turkey breast to 180F if the external temp (external to the turkey) is only 20 or 30 degrees warmer. To achieve an internal temp of 180F I'd push the smoker temp to at least 240F. But, as I mentioned above, 180F is higher than you really need to go. If the meat thermometer reads 165F and the juices run clear when you pull the thermometer out, that bird is done. 6.2.20 [ Freezing cured ham, smoked or preserved meat is salty after a month. What can I do? ] From: Robb Dabbs There's an old trick used in the South to reduce salt in country ham (which is salt cured), and it should work for your frozen ham. Thaw the ham, cut in slices if not already sliced, and soak overnight covered in milk. Next day, rinse and pat dry, and prepare as desired. I don't know of any different storage method that would prevent the saltiness from occurring. 6.3 Specific Foods 6.3.1 [Can I make a Smithfield Ham at Home?] These are unique since the hams come from only peanut-fed hogs. They are worked with cure for 30-45 days. Then they are smoked for at least 7 days and left in the smokehouse for another 6 months. "The Smithfield ham or a reasonable facsimile is rather difficult to produce unless you have a steady supply of peanuts and a huge smokehouse 3-4 stories high." 6.3.2 [How do I make my own bacon at home?] It is my experience that bacon is the easiest product to produce at home and the results are as good as, or better than, the best commercially produced bacon. I use Morton Tender Quick and brown sugar. Rub down a slab of fresh bacon (pork belly) with a liberal quantity of the Tender Quick. You can't really use too much but a cup or so should do. Then follow with a thorough rub of brown sugar (again, start with a cup or so). Then place the meat in heavy plastic and allow to cure for 7 days at 38F. I use a small refrigerator for this. I run a remote temperature probe inside and monitor the temperature, tweaking the thermostat when necessary. The temperature is important; too low (below 36F) and the curing action will cease, too high (above 40F) and the meat will begin to spoil. I also cut the pork belly in two and cure it with the meat surfaces face to face and the skin on the outside. It helps it fit in the fridge and improves the curing action. I then smoke it at 140-150F until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 128F (about 8 to 10 hours). I find it best to remove the skin about 3/4 of the way through the smoking process. This way the fat is protected but still acquires some color. Chill overnight before using. If you are using Prague Powder #1, mix 2 oz with 1 lb of salt and use like the Tender Quick. Other sugars can be used instead of brown sugar. Try honey or even some maple syrup. 6.3.3 [How do I make my own corned beef?] For best results, use trimmed briskets. Start with a curing brine. This recipe comes from [3] and makes enough for 25 lbs of meat. 5 quarts ice water (about 38-40F) 8 oz. salt 3 oz. Prague Powder #1 3 oz. powdered dextrose Spray pump the briskets to about 12-15% of their original weight. After pumping, the briskets are packed in a vat, and sprinkled with whole pickling spice. If more than one brisket is done at a time, pack them flesh to flesh with the fat sides out. Add enough brine to cover and allow to cure for 3-4 days at 38-40F. The meat is then ready to use (but still requires cooking). 6.3.4 [What is pastrami and how do I make my own?] For best results, use trimmed briskets. Start with a curing brine. This recipe comes from [3] and makes enough for 25 lbs of meat. 5 quarts ice water (about 38-40F) 8 oz. salt 5 oz. Prague Powder #1 5 oz. powdered dextrose 1 Tb garlic juice Prepare and cure as for corned beef. After curing, remove from brine and rub liberally with cracked black pepper and coriander seeds. Smoke at 140F until the meat is dry and then increase smoker temperature to 200-220F and hold until internal temperature of meat reaches 170-180F. Chill overnight before using. This meat is fully cooked. 6.3.5 [ How do I make beef jerky?] There are a jillion recipes for jerky--take a look in the recipe archives. [There is a template recipe in the Dehydration section; you can find an arc- hive at ftp.rtd.com:/pub/rthead/jerky.rcp] --LEB) I prefer a teriyaki-based marinade (use 1/2 tsp of Prague Powder #1 or 1 tsp of Tender Quick for safety) with other spices, lightly smoked. My recipe is not for publication, but it's nothing out of the ordinary. Experiment with your own combinations of spices and find something you like. 6.4 Other Sources (besides this FAQ) for info on meat Curing and Smoking BOOKS: Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing (1984). Rytek Kutas. Self published. Can be obtained from the author at The Sausage Maker Inc./ 26 Military Road/ Buffalo NY 14207. (716)-876-5521. 6.4.1 [ references ] [1] Food Science--Osmosis, Rita Sorci Planey, "Fine Cooking", Aug/Sep 1994, pp 12,13 [2] The New Professional Chef (1991). The Culinary Institute of America. [3] Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing (1984), Rytek Kutas. [4] On Food and Cooking (1984), Harold McGee. [5] Smoke and Spice (1994), Jamison and Jamison. Please direct questions, comments, criticisms, and contributions to: Richard Thead thead@azstarnet.com -or- thead@igate1.hac.com 6.4.2 [I bagged my deer. Now what do I do?] Subject: Venison Processing FAQ, final version From: pleasure@netcom.com (Tanith Tyrr) **Since I've been asked for inclusion in a FAQ, I figured I'd go over this account and do it right. Here's a pretty well complete tutorial on what to do with Bambi (or more accurately Faline) when you pot one. Reprint or archive it anywhere you want electronically, just credit the author. Enjoy!** "Euwwww," cry the husband/wife/children of the mighty hunter who has just dragged home the antlered kill. "This stuff is gamy and yucky. Do we hafta eat it?" Disappointed, and maybe secretly agreeing with the spouse and kids, the mighty hunter chokes down his or her portion of venison and declaims in a hearty voice that it's perfectly good and really just like beef if you grind it into burgers and mix it with salt pork so you can't taste the deer. This is a rather sad scenario that has undoubtedly been played out more times than most hunters (and cooks) care to think about. Why? It isn't because venison is a poor quality meat; far from it. The finest chefs serve medallions of venison braised with sauce Perigourdine and Merlot in their fancy restaurants, and they get a hefty price for it because they know how to cook it properly to maximize the enjoyable flavor. More importantly, they know how to obtain it from the right source, which is a young and healthy animal in prime eating condition. The majority of game that tastes gamy, nasty, raunchy, sour or just plain awful does so for one of two reasons: either you messed up in the process of picking a target or you didn't treat the meat properly after you killed it - sadly common outcomes among today's generation of sport hunters who kill for antlers and not for meat. Pick and treat your meat properly in the first place, and you will not have any gaminess to worry about, nor will you need to disguise the fine taste of properly prepared venison with strong flavored marinades. Venison which is butchered quickly and professionally with a high standard of hygiene and care is comparable to the finest cuts of lean beef - only better and more flavorful - and it has absolutely no gamy or unpleasant taste. However, if you pick an animal to shoot that is not a good meat animal, for reasons of age, sex or rutting condition, you don't have anybody to blame save yourself if the results are not pleasant. If you shoot an old, tough, nasty buck in rutting condition because you want trophies, your dinner will taste crappy and you will have silly pointy things to hang on your wall and brag about. Enjoy your bragging rights and choke on your tough, testosterone-laden dinner, and don't say you weren't warned. If you want to eat as opposed to rustically decorate your fireplace, eyeball out a young doe with a nice chunky brisket-shaped chest bespeaking plenty of fat. Look for graceful rounding in the hindquarters as well; you want fat hams, and the rump is where well-fed deer tend to put on padding. Choose your target not for massive size or horned protuberances, but for a body conformation that indicates a plump, young, tasty meat animal. Read agricultural texts or butchering handbooks for better information on how to judge this, and study the pictures of cows, pigs and sheep carefully until you are confident that you know by the eye at least some of the characteristics that distinguish a fine meat animal from a poor one. Then go out hunting; your taste buds will be better pleased with the results. Some folks say that wild game fat is rancid; I suspect that these are the trophy-hunting folks who want to go shooting aged, tough males for the dinner table. Silly people. If you must take bucks, take the spikes; an old animal is a tough animal. You wouldn't eat a cow that old, would you? Well, maybe you would, but my palate will take a pass, thanks. I'll take the plump young meat animals every time, preferably 18 months to 2 years old. Fresh yellow-white fat from a well-marbled deer which has been grazing in somebodies' cornfield is perfectly good food; the main danger here is eating too much of it and getting fatty deposits on your hindquarters your own self. ;P Check each carcass as you process it by frying a small portion of the fat and tasting it; individuals can vary. But don't chuck this lovely stuff until you have at least tried it. Venison confit crocked in its own fat and drained is stunningly spectacular with garlic mashed potatoes and sun-dried cranberry sauce, among other things, and the sizzling fat from a side of deer ribs popping and browning over the fire is an almost primal trigger to the hunter's appetite. If you want this clean-tasting fat, don't hunt in areas where the deer are known for desperate grazing habits; strong tasting fodder can and does affect the taste of both fat and muscle meat. You'll figure it out if you shoot an otherwise good meat animal and it tastes like a pine pitch and mud marinade. Grouse is game that is famous for this problem in particular, but deer suffer from it too if they're browsing too much on scrub or tree bark. Get as quick a kill as you can, for mercy's sake and also for the meat's sake; an animal that dies in pain and fear is not as good eating as an animal that dies quick and clean. So much for the hunting precautions. On to the butchering. Once you kill the animal, draw it as quickly as possible. Forget any silliness about cutting its throat; if you must finish it with a mercy stroke, use a brisket stick, thrusting your knife into the brisket at first a straight then an upward angle to sever the arteries around the heart. See a good butcher's handbook for pictures and information on the correct method of brisket sticking. If you are not confident you can do an accurate brisket stick and the animal must be put down quickly, use a throat stab, not a throat slice. Insert (stab) the knife blade side facing outward as close to the animal's spine on the throat side as possible. Pull straight forward with a single swift move until everything from the front of the spine out to the throat is severed. This technique reliably severs a throat; slicing tends to be useless and unnecessarily cruel if you do not have the strength or the expertise to do it properly. Often, an inexperienced hunter will miss one or both jugulars or cut insufficiently deep to bleed the animal out quickly using the slice technique. The stabbing technique essentially can't miss and it *removes* the throat from the spine out, also severing the windpipe. If you are approaching a downed deer that is still alive, approach from the back if possible. Those hooves are razor sharp and horns are no joke either. If you can get on its back and an arm around a doe's neck forcing the chin up, the throat stab-and-pull maneuver is easy and finishes the deer rapidly. If your downed quarry has antlers, use them as handles and pull the head up this way instead. Speed is of the essence; every second your downed quarry remains alive, terrified and struggling increases its suffering and decreases the quality of your fine steaks and chops. Expect there to be some struggling and continued attempts to breathe even after the throat is severed. If this bothers you, sever the spine just between the skull and the first vertebrae with the deft insertion of a knife. WARNING - Don't attempt this technique on a live deer until you have practiced it and can do it reliably and quickly, one-handed, on a dead deer. There is a reason I don't advocate spine severing, eye stabs or braincase stabs as the first method of dispatch - it's dangerous, as the knife can slip on a struggling animal and hurt you badly. It's better to wait for a clean shot in the beginning, but should you miss and cripple, it is your responsibility to finish the animal as quickly as possible. Some hunters use a second bullet or arrow at this stage, but there are certainly reasons to prefer finishing with a knife. Should you wish to save the blood, mix it immediately with vinegar in roughly 10-1 blood to vinegar proportions to use in a civet or sauce. You have about one to two minutes before it clots completely and is unusable for most culinary purposes. Get those innards outwards as quickly as possible and wash and/or wipe the carcass down with a towel. If you have to field transport, leave the skin on, but get the skin off as soon as you make it to camp and get the temperature of that carcass down by any means you can, as fast as you can. A carcass left at blood temperature will quickly sour and ruin good meat, and getting the skin off helps heat to dissipate. Ice can be helpful, but be aware that moisture is not a good thing in general for meat, so you want to keep it dry if possible as well as cold. To start processing Bambi, fist the hide off the deer while it is still warm from the kill, and mind those thin stringy flat pieces of muscle under the forelegs that will stick to the hide and make your job a pain if you don't catch them early on and separate them by slashing lightly ahead of the muscle and into the silvery-white, slimy translucent membrane that separates muscle and hide. Pliers may help in getting the "slippers" off from the lower legs. Watch out for those nasty hairs that get stuck in the membrane and take forever to wash out. Pull that hide and get it off your butchering floor. Plastic tarps are your friend. Don't pull the membrane from the muscle (the silverskin) if you plan to hang the meat. Personally, I don't age venison if it's a fat young doe, but that's a matter of taste. Once you've hung the meat, you can trim the silverskin, which should be a bit dry and hard in texture if you've hung it right (and it might even be blackened; this is common enough for an extended aging process). Some meat will go with it, but this is the price of aging. I have two favorite ways to process a carcass. One of them is the traditional gambrel hang, with a cross-hatched stick splitting the legs and the deer hung from a tree. T'other, the one I pick when in my home facilities under ideal conditions, is a waist-height table with a raised metal surface which is holed to allow blood drainage. Hang the deer up by its forelegs to let gravity do your work for you in removing those unpleasant bits. Unzip the front end of the deer carefully as you do not want the guts on your shoes in a hurry and by surprise, and have a barrel lined with a big Hefty garbage sack between the deer's legs. I make a *tiny* cut first, then slip my hand inside the carcass and keep two cupped fingers on the back of the knife as I cut. This keeps the guts from accidentally being slashed, which is as you probably can figure a really disgusting mess. Unzip slowly and let the guts fall down unbroken out of the slit you are making. If you've done this technique right, you will have a mess of guts neatly in the barrel. Urge them into the right place with your hands. Wear latex gloves if you're fussy. Don't forget to get the stomach out too, and carefully sever any connections between the stomach and other organs. Let the stomach fall into the barrel; it's tough and won't burst unless you were clumsy with the knife earlier. The rest of the mass will likely remain attached; fish around the diaphragm (just under the heart and lungs) with a short bladed knife that is not too sharp and find the connections to cut when you're ready to dump the stomach and guts. You may find it helpful to haul out the guts in your fists and try to have the connective tissue visible before you cut into it. Small scissors can also be invaluable at this stage. Don't forget to tie off the bung and *carefully* find and remove the bladder, or your meat will be unsanitary and smell funny. I once clumsily dropped a deer bladder I had just carefully removed, and it burst on my tennis shoes. The results were really unpleasant. Dispose of the bladder carefully and don't let go of the tube on the other end until you have a wastes bucket to dump it. Likewise, cut off the bung (the intestine leading up from the rectum) about eight inches from the bottom and tie it off carefully, after squeezing its contents to clear the area of your cut. Tie off both ends with a standard square knot. Without letting the cut ends touch flesh, dump the stomach and attached guts into the waste bucket and push the tied-off bung end through the rectum. Yes, I know this is gross. Do it anyway. Wear latex gloves and discard them when you are done touching these less than sanitary parts of the carcass. Take your knife and cut out the deer's entire rectum, with some flesh around it, including the tied-off bung. Carefully discard this unclean bit, without letting it touch the meat. Wash your hands. Wash any meat which has come in contact with this yuckiness very thoroughly, and cut out any discolored or suspect pieces. Discard the guts and waste away from your butchering area. You can then fish around and grab a tough bundle of flesh up past the heart that is attaching the rest of the more solid innards to the carcass. Cut it as high up inside as you can reach, and pull. The whole mess will come down, so have another clean sack ready. This mess, except the green bubble attached to the liver, is good eating, don't waste it. Wash it well and save it on ice. You can eat the heart, the liver, the lungs, the spleen and the diaphragm, though I recommend throwing the latter scrap of tough flesh into the stock pot with the bones. Remove the nasty green gallbladder from the liver carefully and pitch it along with stomach and intestines. You may wish to be extremely anal retentive about using all of your kill, and try to get something out of the deer's less pleasant parts. I used to be. Two experiences washing out deer stomach and intestines and using them in haggis and sausage was enough to convince me to never mind. They take hours to wash free of ick and they don't taste all that wonderful anyhow. The only use for deer gall that I know of is authentically medieval ink, which you make by mixing in pounded oak ashes. Not in my food processor, thanks. One small warning: the kidneys of a deer can range from flavorful to pungent and disagreeable; you can either discard or soak in milk overnight to reduce ammoniacal odor and taste. The kidneys of a rutting buck aren't even worth discussing; no marinade can save them, except possibly turpentine. There is only one recipe worth thinking about for buck kidneys in my opinion, and it is this: bake the kidneys underneath a hot brick in the oven for 8 hours. When finished, discard the kidneys and eat the brick, which will probably taste better. Take a hose to the inside of the carcass once it is gutted out, or if you are field butchering away from a water source, wipe down with a damp cloth thoroughly. Dry the meat with a clean towel before proceeding. If the day is hot, throw some ice in the carcass instead and skip the dry towel the moisture content of the meat might suffer, but the temperature is more important. At this point, you have a whole mess of tasty and hopefully clean-smelling meat ready for your processing. You can hang at this stage if you like (I don't, especially with a doe whose hindquarters are covered in nice yellow fat - mmmm!), but you can also proceed to dismember into neat freezer and fridge packages. A fresh-killed deer keeps a surprisingly long time in the refrigerator, but your results may vary depending on the condition and holding temperature of your refrigerator. I separate the meat into: shanks for long braising (venison osso bucco is delish!), two shoulders, two hams which I usually bone out, a whole saddle roast (that's the butt end minus the bare bone you have left after the legs are gone), a crown tenderloin roast with the backbone split in half and about 6" of the ribs still on, two slabs of ribs for immediate BBQ slathered in homemade sauce, the neck for stewing and the flank for scrap. You can further reduce the saddle or the crown tenderloin roast into chops; it depends on how many folks you want to invite over to eat. Now, all of this is *damn* fine eating and the only parts I would turn into burger or sausage would be the flank, the neck and the shoulders of a lean deer. (A fat deer makes a nice shoulder roast!). The innards are nothing to waste, either. Stuffed deer heart with breadcrumbs and onions and bacon is marvellous, and if you're a medieval cook like I am, haggis is always in the works when I get hold of a nice chunk of internals that includes spleen and liver and lungs. Boiled deer tongue is not unlike beef tongue if you are fond of such things, and you can also use the jowl and palate meat in slivers in any French recipes calling for ox palate. Warning: skinning a deer head really and truly sucks, so less than die-hard medieval recreation enthusiasts may choose to skip this step. I've done it a number of times, but since I managed to get carpal tunnel syndrome, I'm not sure I'll ever do it again. It is some tedious and painful work, though you do get a nice "deer face" that you can flesh out and tan to make an interesting hat or shaman's pouch. Deer brains are good poached, but make sure you cook them well and don't mind the bottfly larvae that you will occasionally find in the nasal cavities of the skull as they're not uncommon to find. If you're squeamish, don't delve in there at all. Even the bones of a deer can provide some amazingly good eating. Cut the bones into fairly small chunks (1-2") or have the butcher do it for you, roast them until lightly browned and boil down with the scrap meat for 4-6 hours for venison demiglace, which stores for months in the freezer and adds amazing flavor to all kinds of dishes. If you must make sausage, make it well. Venison can actually make a very good sausage product that showcases rather than disguises its unique flavor. Much depends on whether you do the sausage "black" or "white" style, ie, do you bleed and rinse the meat thoroughly first for a more delicate product, or do you make a civet with the reserved blood mixed with vinegar? The former will produce a mild, delicate product which takes well to a bit of sage, basil and shallot in the mix. The latter takes to onions and garlic or perhaps fennel or caraway. The middle ground is to use fresh venison that is neither washed and beaten free of blood or civetted, and much depends on the individual carcass - age, sex, diet, condition, etc. A lot of hunters ignorant of fine venison cuisine turn the works into deerburgers or hash or sausage, trying to disguise its taste rather than showcase it with fine cooking. I suppose if you shoot a rutting buck deer and then don't gut it out before it sours, burgers or sausage or dogfood is a reasonable destination for such a wasted kill. But geez Louise, if you have a mountain of fine gourmet steaks and roasts and chops in front of you and you make mush out of them or allow them to spoil, you have just effectively pissed money away into the snow. Also it's bad karmic brownie points, y'know? Eat what you kill. Don't waste good food, or the life of an animal, senselessly. The Goddess is watching you. ;P It is all very well I suppose to want to kill the biggest boy deer with the biggest antlers if you wish to prove your fitness to rule the herd and to mate with the does. I guess it's a phallic kind of guy thing. ;P Since I'm not a guy, I'll just take good venison where I can get it and never mind the big rack of antlers, a sure indication to me of a less than prime meat animal. Rare roasted venison, fragrant with bay leaves and garlic on a bed of wild rice with pecans, is serious cuisine. Deer neck braised Moroccan style with lemons and honey and olives is delicious over cumin-scented couscous. Venison shanks osso bucco, steam-braised for hours in your oven, will fill the house with its tantalizing perfume until the neighbors sniff their noses into your yard and cry, "What's for dinner?" In a rougher setting, wrap chunks of lean hind leg or whole tenderloins in bacon and shishkebab them over the fire with a little cracked black pepper, or throw a slab of deer ribs on the fire and baste at the last minute with the best sauce your granny ever gave you a recipe for. If you must make sausage, make it well. Don't disguise the taste of the meat; enhance it with the freshest herbs and the finest ingredients. The conventional wisdom is that deer fat is rancid; sometimes this is so and more often in my experience it isn't. Fry a small piece and judge for yourself for each carcass. If there isn't enough of it, add some fresh pork fat of the best quality, and possibly some veal meat, which does not overpower the venison as pork can do. Venison should be done either rare or falling-off-the-bone well stewed for the tougher cuts such as neck or shank. To enhance the meat, marinades are permitted, but remember that if you've done your job well in selecting a good animal and butchering it cleanly, you don't need to overpower any gaminess with the marinade. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots are traditional companions of venison, and should you have some money to splurge, a fine red Bordeaux from one of the great vineyards would also not be amiss. These can be sipped along with the venison as well as making a fine marinade with the addition of some fresh herbs, garlic and best quality olive oil. Dry coatings for a venison roast are as good as marinade and in many cases better; try powdered porcini mushrooms and pink peppercorns in seasoned flour, or crushed dried chanterelles and hazelnuts as a crust before roasting. Drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil for additional basting on your lean meat. Herbs du Provence, with lavender and rosemary, can add a note of delicate sweetness when balanced by the mellow sweet tang of balsamic vinegar. Keep your aceto balsamico in a small spray bottle; you will find it amazingly easy to do a thirty second spray-on "marinade" to all sorts of meats and vegetables that way, and it can give a lovely caramelized look and taste to dishes like mashed potatoes or baked savory pies if you spray it on at the last minute. To accompany venison, I recommend simple dishes with hearty, earthy flavors - a duxelle of dark wild mushrooms perhaps, or wild rice with roasted chestnuts and brandied dried cherries. The simplicity of fluffy mashed potatoes drizzled with a bit of olive oil and served with a head of softly sweet, caramelized roasted garlic always complements a good piece of venison. Vegetables on the grill can be sprayed briefly with balsamic vinegar and dipped in fine olive oil and herbs, and then seared briefly before joining the tender pieces of meat and the creamy pillows of mashed potatoes on your plate. Any sauce you want to use on your high quality meat can of course be enhanced with truffles, and if you find yourself the fortunate possessor of some of this Perigourdine black gold, chop it very fine and simmer gently in a simple sauce made from the roasting venison juices thickened with a little cream and flour. Simmer (but do not boil) until your whole kitchen is perfumed with the indescribably savory aroma of venison and truffles. Then eat like the kings and queens of old, feasting on the finest viands in your kingdom. Your deer deserves it, don't you think? Not to mention the hunter. Larousse Gastronomique gives recipes in plenty for venison done in this royal style, often enhanced with foie gras or other delicacies or enclosed in fine pastries. They knew how to properly treat a deer in that culinary era, to be sure; and none went wasted or unappreciated by the serious gourmet. The phenomemon of "deerburgers" is a modern abomination of antler-mad sport hunters who care nothing for cuisine and consider venison a mere by-product of the hunt instead of its object. I have no moral qualms with hunting, but when it comes to wasting and mis- treating fine meat, I will certainly have some words to say to the ignorant boor who does not respect his kill enough to use it properly. (The mildest are: Give it to me, you bozo, and I'll enjoy it properly if you're not going to!) However you cook your deer, you should certainly enjoy the rightful reward of the hunt - the taste of venison in all its glory, not disguised but showcased and enhanced by careful handling of the meat and respectful cooking. 6.4.3 [Virginia Ham] From dgill from the bbq mailing list at bbq@AZStarNet. com: CURING PORK VIRGINIA STYLE The process of curing pork is essentially one of creating conditions favor- able to good microbes and unfavorable to bad ones long enough for the meat to absorb enough salt so that it won't rot before it is can be used. Before refrigeration the primary objective was preservation but now curing is used as a means to flavor meats. In addition to salt, sugars are used to enhance the action of salt, improve flavor and keep the meat more moist and soft during aging. Nitrates and nitrites are often included as anti-bacterial agents, particularly effective against the botulism organism, but they tend to make aged meat hard and dry. Other seasonings such as black pepper, paprika, and red pepper are used as flavorings and may have some preservative effects but I suspect that their use is more psychological than functional. Methods of naturally curing pork vary greatly in different areas because of climate and other variables. Since curing conditions are unpredictable, the methods I will describe are more art than science and procedures are admittedly vague. The general principles are pretty simple, though, and there is plenty of room for variations. In the Tidewater area of Virginia, hogs are killed from mid-November to late January. We try to pick a time when cold weather has settled in but we do not expect it to get too cold. Once meat has frozen, it does not take the cure properly and extended periods of warm weather (50 F ambient) before the cure has penetrated will spoil the meat. Fresh meat freezes at 28 F but as the cure is absorbed, the freezing temp is lowered. The ideal conditions for the first phase, taking the cure, is about 38 F with relatively high humid- ity. The curing process stops at meat temperatures below 34 F. and curing time must be increased to compensate. Time varies depending on the cut and weight from 2 weeks min. for bacon to over two months for large hams. After the initial cure, the meat can stand a gradual warm-up through the aging process. Good cures start with good meat. We raise our own hogs and fatten them on a corn based ration supplemented by whatever is available - stale bakery products, household garbage, etc. Garbage should not dominate the ration as the fat will be soft. Top hogs weigh 220 pounds and yield about a 16 pound ham. We like to cure hams between 20 and 30 pounds. Large hams with adequate fat layers age better and don't dry out as much during extended storage. Country cured hams will keep indefinitely but achieve their full flavor after about one year when "white flecks" appear in the muscle. We feed our hogs to 300 pounds or better but don't let them get too fat. Some cuts may be slightly tougher with heavy hogs. Hams, shoulders and bellies may be bought from packing houses and can be ordered by butchers if you are not in position to grow your own. You may have to buy box lots but make absolutely sure that the meat is fresh and quickly chilled. Pork should be put in cure as soon as possible after chilling and trimming but, properly handled, it can be a couple of days old. I once bought ten, 25 pound hams that had been two days in transit to the butcher and then were left in his cooler over the weekend. I lost the whole batch! Those hams had also been trimmed excessively leaving little skin and fat covering. As a result, I have gone back to raising my own so I know what I have to work with. I am supposed to talk about curing bacon and I will get around to it. As hams (and shoulders) are more valuable, demanding and risky, the entire process is keyed to the larger cuts. Curing and smoking facilities vary greatly. Traditional farm hamhouses/ smokehouses are windowless wood frame buildings about ten feet square with a dirt floor. Wooden plank benches provide work areas for mixing the cure and salting down meat. Joists are within reach and studded with 20 penny nails for hanging meat. The dirt floor allows a higher humidity in winter and al- lows a smoldering fire to be built inside - both for smoking and to keep meat from freezing during extreme cold. Some hamhouses have external smoke generators - simply a firebox with a stovepipe stuck through the wall. This arrangement makes it easier to cold smoke for several days (or weeks) in the spring without exceeding 100 F. and is essential if the smokehouse is made of wood and insulated. Either the eaves are loosely fitted or there are oper- able vents to allow for air exchange, especially during smoking, so that there is adequate fresh air and the smoke does not become stale and acrid. Openings are covered by fine screen mesh and the interior is kept dark to discourage skippers (larvae of a small black fly which also likes pork). My smokehouse follows the tradition except that the walls are poured concrete and the roof is metal. The thick walls store a lot of heat and smooth out daily temperature fluctuations. I have no smoke generator or operable vents but there is plenty of air exchange at the eaves. In places where conditions are not favorable, curing and smoking chambers with temperature and humidity controls and a smoke generator can be easily fabricated or small cuts may be cured in the refrigerator. My dry cure is mixed by the "pour 'til it looks right" method. My daddy showed me how. There was a request from a pork eater in Israel to provide metric measurements. Unfortunately, I don't know how to convert the SAH (Standard American Handful)! I buy plain (not iodized) dairy salt in 50 lb. bags from a farm supply co-op and other ingredients from one of the ware- house retailers. I had better stop writing and start posting. Sorry about the verbosity, Rick, but it should be clear. Will finish this one soon and then talk about bagged sausage - my favorite! 6.4.4 [Sausage] >From Bryan L. Gros : If you're really nervous, just grind some pork (maybe 2 lbs). If you don't get the leanest pork roast, you won't need to add fat. Or maybe just a lit- tle. If you don't have enough fat, the sausage will be a bit dry. You can often get fat for free from the meat guy at your local supermarket. Oh, grind on the coarse plate. Now to your ground pork add spices. For a spicy Italian, add about 1 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp (or whatever) of cayenne. I find that to get really spicy sausage, use crushed red pepper rather than cayenne. Add paprika for a more red color. Add chopped fresh parsley, about 8 cloves of garlic, maybe some fresh basil. Now mix real good and form a couple small patties. Cook the patties and try it. Is it good? Add whatever you need. You now have bulk sausage. If you want to stuff it in casings, that isn't too hard with a Kitchen Aid. Grease the casings holder a little, slide the casings on, and feed the sausage through the feeder. Having two people helps, and it is a bit messy, but fairly quick. I'll try to post a couple recipes if that is okay on this digest. I'd like to see others' recipes as well as tips on smoking sausages. 6.4.5 [ dry-curing sausage chemistry ] >From Paul Hinrichs : Someone asked here a while back what Fermento was and, collectively, we got them sort of an answer, that it was a starter culture for fermented sausages. These are of the general family of dry-cured sausages and the process making these has been greatly accelerated and made more dependable by Fermento (or Lactocel, a similar product). Specifically, there are two stages in dry-curing. The first is called pan curing. It takes about 3 days at 37 degrees and is used specifically to allow time for some of the NaNO3 (saltpeter) to convert to NaNO2 (sodium nitrite), which is the inhibiting agent for _C. botulinum_. The disadvantage of this 3 day wait is that worked meats become harder to stuff into casings since it "sets" some, becoming more viscous. Lactocel accelerates this es- sential conversion process by using a _micrococcus aurantiacus_ culture which converts NO3 to NO2 more rapidly. Products using Prague Powder #3 do not require pan curing at all, since this already has nitrites (as well as nit- rates for the longer run) in it. Second process is called greening. It takes place after stuffing and is the time that fermentation takes place, in which sugar is converted to lactic acid for the characteristic "tangy" flavor. This would normally take 10 days at 73 degrees F. However, with the _lactobacillus planarum_ starter present in both Lactocel and Fermento, greening takes place in about 16 hours at 85 degrees F. The drying process used with these sausages (the period in which the nitrates come into play for long term safety, converting to the _clo- stridium_-inhibiting nitrites slowly) still takes 10-90 days, depending on the type of product being made, but the use of starter cultures reduces the 13 days needed for pan curing and greening to a mere 16 hours. 6.4.6 [Salami] >From Paul Hinrichs : Here's the salami recipe I concocted/adapted: 2 1/2 pounds pork butt, trimmed lean, ground through 3/8" plate 2 1/2 pounds beef shoulder (both of these were on sale for $1.49 a pound), ground through 1/8" plate 1 pound bacon, diced into 1/8" cubes (easier with homemade bacon because it's more firm than most store-bought) 3 tablespoons corn syrup solids 1 tablespoon freshly-cracked pepper 1/2 tablespoon whole pepper 1 tablespoon cardamom 1 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon nutmeg 4 cloves smoked garlic 1 cup soy protein concentrate 1 slightly-bulging teaspoon Prague Powder #2 1 1/2 cup Gamay Beaujolas I mixed the meats together around noon and let them chill until early evening. Then, I mixed together all the other ingredients in the blender, adding wine until it became the consistency of pancake batter. This all went into a well in the middle of the meat, then got kneaded in. Meanwhile, I had been soak- ing some 3 1/2" fibrous casings in vinegar, which keeps them from sticking to the meat. I stuffed them in about 10" lengths and got 3 and a half salamis. These went into the smoker at 100 degrees and at 8 o'clock in the evening. There they stayed while I napped until midnight. Then I cranked up the smoker to 130 degrees F for one hour. Time to smoke 'em! Temperature raised to 150 F and a pan of sawdust in the smoker. By 3am, the first pan was gone, so I added another and went back to bed. When I got up at 6am, I cranked up the temperature to 165 and got a cup of coffee. It's now 8:30 and I'm ready to finish them off by steam-cooking them. I'll put a pan of boiling water in there until they get to 152 degrees internally, shower them down to 120 so they don't shrivel, then let 'em "bloom" until noon when they'll hit the fridge to set up solid. I am hoping the various textures of meat add a nice touch, but you never really know until you slice it. 6.4.7. [Where do I find kosher sausage casings?] From our Thomas Jefferson of rec.food.preserving, Paul Hinrichs : Both the Sausage Maker (1-716-876-5521) and Stuffer's Supply Company (1-800- 615-4474) sell beef and lamb casings. I am not aware of the slaughtering requirements for a casing to be deemed "kosher", but if all that is needed is for the product to be free of blood, then these will pass. You might also check the Con Yeager Spice Company, who I've been told have very reasonable prices. I don't have their number, but I believe their web- site is http://www.nauticom.net/w-pa/yeager.htm. It shows mainly spices for sausage making, but you can get a list of stuff available mail order by calling 1-800-222-2460 or faxing 1-412-452-6171. 6.4.8 [Pickled beef.] >From Sallie Montuori : A while ago, somebody requested recipes for pickling beef. This weekend I finally saw my mother long enough to winkle out of her our family recipe. Please note that amounts are approximate at best, and I'm sure someone is going to point out that the traditional method is an invitation to food poi- soning in one or more ways for a variety of reasons. Spiced Beef (Christmas tradition, made in early December) 1 small box each ground cloves and ground allspice (about 1 oz.?) 1 1/2 cups salt 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons saltpeter (optional; all it really does is keep the meat pink) 4 to 10 pounds of boneless beef. My mother uses chuck because she likes the taste; her grandmother used prime rib, boned, rolled, and tied. The tougher cuts work fine, since it gets sliced paper-thin in the end. In a non-reactive container (hereafter referred to as "the crock", although a large bowl with a plate to cover works fine) large enough for all ingredients, mix the spices, salt and sugar. Rub the saltpeter into the beef, then drop it into the crock and rub the spice mixture into it. (You may want to use rubber gloves to save on scrubbing your hands.) Cover and set out from under foot; the garage works fine in the winter when this is traditionally done. Use the fridge if you'd rather. Every day for 7 to 14 days (depending on the size of the piece(s) of meat you're curing), turn the meat and rub more of the spice mixture into it. After a day or so, the mixture will be wet from the meat juices. Try not to overcure the meat; it will get dry. After the meat is cured, you need to cook it. Do this on a day you weren't planning on doing anything else! In a large, non-reactive pot, put a rack on the bottom to keep the meat from sitting and burning. Wipe as much of the spice mixture off the meat as you can, then put it on the rack, and add cold water to cover. Bring slowly to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until the meat floats. This will take a couple of hours for a small piece, longer for a larger one. Turn the heat off and let the meat cool in the pot (again, allow a few hours). Wrap (not in alum- inum foil) and store in the refrigerator. 6.4.8 [Sources for wood chips for smoking.] From: Kit@maine.com/ eskwired@shore.net I obtained a bag of lump natural harwood charcoal. It comes from Brookline Ice & Coal. (617)232-0941. I called my local hardware store and they are going to start carrying it. Maybe yours will too. Kit-- ... I called them up--they said that they manufacture the charcoal themselves, using only oak and hickory. $7.75 for 20 lbs. They carry apple, mesquite and hickory chunks at $12 for 50 lbs. They also carry 1 in chips of maple, cherry, apple and mesquite for $1 per lb. [1996 prices--LEB] 6.5 VEGETABLE/FISH CURING AND SMOKING 6.5.1 [Salt curing items.] 6.5.2 [How do I cure olives?] Nothing I like better than a home cured olive, and they are very easy to make. All that's required is patience, yer olives, a rolling pin or a paring knife, canning salt and a non-reactive container. You can cure olives at nearly any stage, but the really tiny green ones aren't worth it. Green olives are green colored; red ripe olives have a reddish 'blush' to them (if you have olives, you know what I mean); black (or dead) ripe olives are deep black throughout. Just make sure that the black ripe olives are still firm, and don't cure 'drops', olives that have fallen to the ground. You've got several choices, depending on your cur- iousity and your fanaticism. Water curing. Generally you water cure the big green ones, right before they turn red. You pick the olives, crack each of them with a rolling pin, then immerse them completely in cold water, changing the water *each* day for at least 25 days. Stir them up when you think about it. Immerse and change the water, etc, taste one after 25 days. If they are too bitter, keep up this regime until they are edible. Brine curing. Brine cured red-ripe or black-ripe olives are Greek-style; brine cured green olives are Sicilian style. The red-ripe olives generally turn a grey green to pink, while the black-ripe ones keep their color, becoming a Kalamata-deep purple. Again, you pick the olives, or you shake the tree over a tarp, and collect the olives. Deeply slit each one using a sharp paring knife, then plunk them into a brine (brine is 1/4 cup pickling salt in 1 qt water). Weight down the olives, make sure they are fully immersed. Cover your vat of olives, stir once in awhile, wait one week. Rinse, and change the olive brine once/week for at least 3 weeks. Taste, if still too bitter, keep changing brine 1/week. Mine usually take about 6 weeks. Scum will form on the top of the vat; its harmless *if* olives are immersed, but get rid of it when you see it. Lye curing. (No fanaticism necessary) You always lye cure green olives. If you bubble air through the lye solution, those green olives turn black; the California black olive is born. You pick the olives, clean them. Save a few of your biggest olives for the top of your vat. Immerse all those olives in a lye solution (2 tablespoons flake lye in 1 qt water) for 12 hours. Dispose of lye solution, reimmerse olives again in new lye solution for 12 more hours. Take and cut into some of your largest olives to see if the lye penetrated the olive (olive will be soft to the pit, easy to cut to the pit, and the flesh will be yellowish green when ready). Soak olives in water for 3 days, changing the water at least 3-4 times/day. Taste an olive on the fourth day. Should taste sweet and fatty, with no bitterness, a little like a tiny avocado. Immerse for 1 week in a light brine, about 6 Tbs salt in gallon of water. ***Lye is nasty, remember to wear rubber gloves, use lemon juice or vinegar to neutralize lye burns, and your olive vat shouldn't be plastic.*** Can also make marinades for your cured olives, good flavors/herbs to use in various combinations are: garlic, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, dried chiles, fennel seed, peppercorns, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, lemon slices, cumin seed. 6.5.3 [Salt cured (pickled/preserved) lemons and limes. Used in Middle Eastern/ Moroccan cookery.] From: Paul Holt Hamad M'Rakad (Preserved Lemons and Limes ) This preserve gives a mellow lemony flavour to many North African dishes and is easily made. Choose ripe unblemished lemons or limes. Wash them and make two deep vertical cuts in a cross, almost, but not quite through them, so that they still hold together at the stem. Sprinkle plenty of salt inside on the cut flesh, about 125 g (4 OZ) for 1 kg (2 lb) fruit. Then close them, and put them in a sterilized jar so that they are jammed tightly together. Squeeze enough fresh lemon juice over them to keep them covered. The salt will draw out the juices and the peel will soften within a week. They will be ready to use in 3 or 4 weeks. Rinse off the salt be- fore using and discard the flesh; it is the peel alone that is used for flavouring. It is cheaper and easier, but not as good, to cover the salted lemons or limes with strong brine, or a mixture of sunflower oil and water. Claudia Roden: MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD, Harmondsworth 1970 (Penguin Books) Lamoun Makbouss (Pickled Lemons) A delicacy which is also magnificent made with fresh limes. Scrub lemons well and slice them. Sprinkle the slices generously with salt and leave for at least 24 hours on a large plate set at an angle, or in a colander. They will become soft and limp, and lose their bitterness. Arrange the slices in layers in a glass jar, sprinkling a little paprika between each layer. Cover with corn or nut oil. Sometimes olive oil is used, but its taste is rather strong and may slightly overpower the lemons. Close the jar tightly. After about 3 weeks the lemons should be ready to eat- soft, mellow and a beautiful orange colour. [Email note: My mother accidentally discovered a way of speeding the process when left with dozens of lemon wedges which had been used to garnish a large party dish. She put them in the freezing compartment of her refrigerator to keep them until she was ready to pickle them. When she sprinkled the frozen lemons with salt, she found that they shed a large quantity of water and softened in just over an hour. They were ready for eating after only a few days in oil and paprika.] -- Lime Pickle (Hot) 12 whole limes 2 Tbsp salt Juice of 3 lemons 2 bay leaves 4 oz green ginger (see page 160) 2 tsp cayenne pepper 2 oz green chiles Peel and slice the ginger. Remove the seeds from the chiles. Wash and dry the limes and cut them into slices and remove the pips. Put a layer of lime slices in the bottom of a jar, sprinkle with salt and crushed bay leaf, add some of the chopped chilies and strips of ginger. Repeat these layers until the ingredients are used up and then pour in the lemon juice. Having tied a piece of cloth over the jar, shake it thoroughly but carefully and put it on a windowsill in the sunshine. Each day for 4 days add some more salt and shake the jar again. Remove the cloth and put on a glass or plastic top (never a metal one). Then leave the pickle to mature for a fort- night.[2 weeks] This makes a strong sharp pickle, not for over-sensitive palates. To make it even stronger, put in more cayenne pepper, and leave the seeds in the chiles. To make it less strong, halve the amount of chiles and omit the cayenne pepper. This is really a basic recipe which can be added to or subtracted from as you wish. It can be made with half limes and half lemons, or lime juice may be substituted for the lemon juice. in a pinch it can be made entirely with lemons and just the juice from half a dozen limes, or tinned natural lime juice, if you can get it. Spiced Lime Pickle This very hot pickle is usually served in Indian restaurants with curry and can be bought ready made up in jars, but is well worth making up for yourself. 10 limes 2 tsp fenugreek 5 lemons 1 Tbsp cumin seeds 2 Tbsp dried chiles 1 1/2 pints olive oil 1 dessert spoon ground black pepper 3 Tbsp salt 6 cloves crushed garlic 1 Tbsp brown sugar 2 Tbsp mustard seed Wash and dry the limes and lemons and cut them into pieces removing all the pips [seeds]. Shake the mustard seed and fenugreek in a dry frying pan over a good flame to roast them for a minute or two, and then grind them down finely. Grind the cumin seed or crush it, but not too fine. Put together the salt, garlic, ginger, mustard and fenugreek, and sprinkle them all over the fruit, stirring well. Then pack the fruit into a jar, adding in the rest of the ingredients in layers so that they are well spread through the pickle. Heat the oil until it is smoking, and keep it hot for 5 minutes, but do not burn it. Let the oil cool so that it will not break the jar, and pour it over the pickle. Leave it loosely covered for a week, then screw down the lid and keep it for another week before using it. To make a milder pickle cut down on the chiles, or leave them out altogether and substitute a pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper. 6.6.1 [Lye and Mud curing items.] 6.6.2 [A friend of mine is looking for the recipe for "preserved eggs" or "1,000 year old eggs". Jim Kofler ] from Katherine Pepers , rec.food.cooking I just got a new Chinese cookbook - "The Chinese Gourmet" by William Mark. It has a detailed description of "Hundred-Year-Old Eggs", though not an actual recipe. I'll pass on what it says, in case it may be of use/interest. "Rather than being dug up from an ancient tomb, as the name might suggest, '100-year-old eggs', or as some call them '1000-year-eggs,' are actually preserved for only 100 days at most. Fresh duck eggs are mixed with various preservative compounds that permeate the shell and alter the consistency of the egg. There are two main methods for preserving eggs in China: P'i tan are coated with an alkaline mud and then covered in ash, rice husks, or tea leaves, be- fore storing in large crocks for 100 days. The yolk becomes creamy and very pungently flavored, the white turns an amber-gray color and coagulates into a firm, gelatin-like consistency. They are shelled and the egg sliced to serve as an hors d'oeuvre with slivers of preserved ginger and a vinegar dip. Hom tan are preserved in brine and saltpeter, or a mixture of finely ground charcoal and brine. The yolk hardens to a firm, grainy texture and acquires a pleasing salty taste. These must be cooked before they are ready to eat, as a snack with a splash of sesame oil and vinegar and a sliver of ginger, or to add, sliced, to congee. The yolks are an ingredient in the fillings of many sweet pastries. Hundred-year-old eggs are valued not only for their taste, but also for their medicinal value. The preservation process raises their alkalinity, making them a good antidote for ulcers and other conditions caused by hyper-acidity. They are also considered a cure for hangovers." -- 6.6.3 [After some discussion on posole (aka, hominy) on the Chile-Heads list, someone in France asked how you make hominy, since it isn't really available there. ] from Justin M. Sanders , the Chile-Heads list.. Traditionally not lime, but *lye*. Here is a recipe paraphrased from a de- lightful recipe book called "Seems Like I Done It This A-way", by Cleo S. Bryan. (Mrs. Bryan was an Extension Home Economist in Oklahoma, and many of her recipes are traditional Native American recipes). Hominy 2 qts. dry shelled corn (white or yellow) 8 qts. water 2 oz. lye Boil the above 3 ingredients 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 20 minutes. Rinse in cold water until all the skins and the "eyes" on the corn are loose. Return to heat, cover with water, bring to boil for 5 minutes. Pour off the water, and repeat 2 more times (for a total of 3 five-minute boilings with fresh water). Cover again with water and cook 30 minutes and can. Process in a pressure canner at 10 lbs. pressure for 70 minutes for quarts, or for 60 mins. for pints. Apparently, if you don't wish to can the hominy, you can eat it after the 30 minute cooking period. In more traditional recipes, the lye was obtained by straining water through hardwood ashes-- or by boiling the ashes along with the corn. -- 6.6.4 [Sugar curing or candying items] 6.6.5 [Does anyone know how to make candied orange rind, grapefruit rind or pineapple, etc?] From: Barbara Mayo-Wells : Here's how my grandmother (1880-1965) and mother (1908-1982) made candied fruit rind: 1. Remove as much of the white stuff as you can from inside the rind. 2. Cut the rind into strips about 1/4 inch wide and as long as you like. Remember that the size you cut now is the size you'll wind up with. 3. Submerge the rind in a pan of cold water. Bring to a boil. Drain. 4. Repeat step 3. 5. Repeat step 4. (That is, boil the rind in three successive waters. The purpose is to eliminate bitterness.) 6. While the rind is boiling, prepare a simple sugar syrup: 1 part sugar to 1 part water. How much you make depends on how much rind you want to candy. 7. After draining the thrice-boiled rind, put it into the sugar syrup. Boil gently until almost all of the syrup is absorbed. Keep a close eye on this process. Stop too soon, and the rind will be gooey. Wait too long, and you'll have scorched sugar. 8. While the rind is boiling in the sugar syrup, put some granulated sugar (a cup or so) in a bowl and arrange some cake racks over cookie sheets. 9. A few pieces at a time, drop the sticky rind into the sugar, roll them around to coat them thoroughly, and transfer the pieces to the cake racks to dry. Let them get quite dry to the touch before putting them into an airtight container. 6.6.6 [Candying fruits] >From Ellen Wickberg : Martha wanted the candied fruit instructions, so here they are. Choose firm ripe fruit. Peel, then core peaches or pears and cut into quar- ters, pit cherries, cut small thin wedges of pineapple, can leave small crab- apples whole, apricots and plums should be pricked several times to the centre with a fork. Cover the fruit with boiling water and simmer until just tender (test this with a skewer). This should take about 10-15 mins for firm fruits, 3-4 for tender ones. Test this frequently - over cooking makes fruit squashy, while undercooking makes them dark and tough. Drain fruit into a large bowl, but save the cooking water. For each 1 lb of fruit make a syrup combining 5 fluid oz of the water in which fruit was cooked and 6 ozs (by wt) of sugar. Stir until the sugar dis- solves and then bring to boil. Pour the boiling syrup over the cooked, drained fruit. If you have insuf- ficient syrup to cover the fruit, make up some more (same proportions as above) with water. Note how many times you have to do this. Weight down the fruit with a plate, and leave the fruit in the syrup for 24 hours. On the 2nd day: drain the syrup into a saucepan, add 2 oz sugar for each original 5 fluid ozs of water, bring to the boil and pour again over the plate. On the 3rd day, 4th day, and the 5th day repeat what you did on the 2nd day. On the 6th day, add 3 oz of sugar for every original 5 fluid oz of water, heat and stir to dissolve in the saucepan. Add the drained fruit and boil for 3-4 minutes and then put all back in bowl. Leave for 48 hours. On the 8th day, follow the day 6 instructions and then leave the fruit for 4 days. If you notice that the syrup is still thin as it is cooling on the 8th day, repeat the instructions for day six again before leaving it to soak for the 4 days. At this point you can leave it in the heavy syrup for up to 3 weeks OR remove from the syrup after the 4 days, drain on wire rack (put a sheet below to catch the drips). The instructions then say to dry in a cool oven, but I don't, usually just air dry. Pack or put in sugar to coat and then pack. Keep in cool place. Have fun. Ellen 6.6.7 [Candying flowers] >From Lynn Otto : Last summer I spent many hours sugaring violets, geraniums, daisies, borage flowers, and other types of blossoms. The conclusion that I came to after a lot of botched attempts is that the simpler the flower, the easier to sugar (or candy). Here's my method: 1--Pick blossoms early in the day, and put them into cool water. 2--Have ready a wide bowl of extra fine, or berry, sugar. Sometimes I grind the sugar just a bit more. 3--Beat equal parts eggwhite and water--mixture should not be too gelatinous. I have heard that it is possible to obtain powdered eggwhite and if you can get it in you area I would suggest trying it. It was nowhere to be found in Edmonton last summer. 4--On a steady surface ready everything for sugaring: eggwhite, sugar, a plate or wax paper on which to dry blossoms, tweezers, a bowl of water for washing hands, and the flowers. 5--Take tweezers, and grasp stalk of flower close to stem. With paintbrush dipped in eggwhite, paint all surfaces of flower leaving no dry spots. Areas not painted will darken and decay in time. 6--Quickly, while eggwhite is still wet, sprinkle blossoms with sugar. You may wish to use your fingers or a small coffee spoon. The idea is again to cover all areas of blossom. Tap spoon on tweezers to shake off excess sugar. 7--Place sugared flower down on plate or sheet of wax paper to dry. You may want to put a fine layer of the sugar down first to avoid sticking. 8--The flowers should be left undisturbed for several days in a cool area. When removing from plate/paper you may wish to use a razor blade to gently pry blossoms from plate. 9--Always candy more flowers than you need as there is bound to be some wastage. I still have candied flowers left over from last summers work. I simply keep them in a covered container. 6.6.8 [Smoking vegetable/fish items.] 6.6.9 [How do I smoke chiles?] Some recipes and techniques are available at the chile heads www site. Check the Other Sources List for the URL. From Garry Howard, , taken from the chile-heads list.. Americans who love the smoky taste and fiery bite of chipotles have recently been hit with high prices and a scarcity of product. With prices for these smoked jalapenos reaching $15 a pound wholesale, home growers yearn to smoke their own. But the Mexicans have been fairly secretive about their techni- ques, and none of the books on chiles describe home smoking. After a trip to Delicos Mexico, I think I have solved this mystery -- but the process takes some dedication. First, let's look at how the Mexicans do it. They use a large pit with a rack to smoke-dry the jalepenos. The pit con- taining the source of heat is underground, with a tunnel leading to the rack. The pods are placed on top of the rack where drafts of air pull the smoke up and over the pods. The jalapenos can be whole pods or pods without seeds. The latter are more expensive and are called "capones", or castrated ones. It is possible to make chipotle in the back yard with a meat smoker or Weber type barbecue with a lid. The grill should be washed to remove any meat particles because any odor in the barbecue will give the chile an undesir- able flavor. Ideally, the smoker or barbecue should be new and dedicated only to smoking chiles. The quality of homemade chipotle will depend on the maturity and quality of the pods, the moisture in the pods, the temperature of the smoke drying the pods, and the amount of time the peppers are exposed to the smoke and heat. The aroma of wood smoke will flavor the jalapenos, so carefully choose what is burned. Branches from fruit trees, or other hardwoods such as hickory, oak, and pecan, work superbly. Pecan is used extensively in parts of Mexico and in southern New Mexico to flavor chipotle. Do not be afraid to experi- ment with different woods. The difference between the fresh weight of the fruits and the finished pro- duct is about ten to one, so it takes ten pounds of fresh jalapenos to pro- duce approximately one pound of chipotles. A pound of chipotles goes a long way, as a single pod is usually enough to flavor a dish. First, wash all the pods and discard any that have insect damage, bruises, or are soft. Remove the stems from the pods before placing the peppers in a single layer on the grill rack. Start two small fires on each side of the grill with charcoal briquettes. Keep the fires small and never directly expose the pods to the fire so they won't dry unevenly or burn. The intention is to dry the pods slowly while flavoring them with smoke. Soak the wood in water before placing it on the coals so the wood will burn slower and create more smoke. The barbecue vents should be opened only partially to allow a small amount of air to enter the barbecue, thus preventing the fires from burning too fast and creating too much heat. Check the pods and the fires hourly and move the pods around, always keeping them away from the fires. It may take up to forty-eight hours to dry the pods completely. The pods will be hard, light in weight, and brown in color when dried. If necessary, let the fires burn through the night. After the pods have dried, remove them from the grill and let them cool. To preserve their flavor, place them in a zip-lock bag. It is best to store them in a cool and dry location. If humidity is kept out of the bags, the chipotles will last for twelve to twenty-four months. Buen apetito! NOTES : From the article: The Chipotle, Mystery -- Solved at Last! by: Dr. Paul W. Bosland, Agronomy and Horticulture Department New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Magazine - October, 1992 MasterCook formatted by Garry Howard, Cambridge, MA garhow@hpubmaa.esr.hp.com [And remember, you can smoke anything. Fruits, garlic, cheeses..] >From Paul Hinrichs : ... for anyone who thought I was losing my mind when I smoked garlic, let me prove I was not the first. Here is the procedure given in the book for smoking blueberries: "Pacific coast Indians used to smoke-dry blueberries for winter use. They may be successfully processed in an ordinary smoke oven. Spread the blueberries on a fine wire screen and cold-smoke at 75 to 85 F, [you guys in the heat are out of luck--LEB] until they are partly dehydrated. The skins become wrinkled, and they look somewhat like dried currants. Keep in a covered - though not airtight - jar or dish under refrigeration." "The smoked berries make a very tasty dessert served with ice cream or sher- bet." ...the same section also tells about smoked nuts, eggs, and garlic bread. 6.7 [What do I need to know about smoking a fish?] from Doug Smart, ... This isn't a recipe, but it is good information and does offer something on the strength of the brine: Pacific Northwest Cooperative Extension publication PNW 238 advises the fol- lowing (somewhat paraphrased) for safety in smoking fish: - Fish must be heated to 160 F internal temp and held there for at least 30 minutes during the smoking process. - Fish must be brined long enough to absorb adequate salt for preservation. A brine solution containing 1 part salt to 7 parts water by volume for 1 hour will usually suffice. - Oily fish such as salmon, steelhead, shad, and smelt take longer to absorb brine, but tend to absorb smoke faster. - Fish should be air dried before smoking for better smoke absorption and to minimize the chance of spoiling during smoking. - It is best to smoke at a low temp for 3-5 hours before elevating to the 160 F cooking temp. This helps eliminate "curd" formation as juices boil out. To avoid spoilage during smoking, the magic 160 F temp should be reached within 6-8 hours. - Commercial smoked products must meet an FDA requirement of at least 3 1/2% water phase salt after smoking. Since most home smokers cannot make that measurement, refrigeration is essential for safe storage of home-smoked fish. - Use only hardwoods for smoking. Maple, oak, alder, hickory, birch and fruit woods are recommended. DO NOT USE WOODS FROM CONIFERS. 6.7.1 [Smoked salmon] From Brian Bigler ... I recently responded to a thread concerning oily versus non-oily fish by listing my recipe for smoked salmon. I figured it may be of use to others on this newsgroup, so I'm posting this to the group. I hope to hear from some of you who have improvements on this, but be advised, this recipe has received rave reviews from my colleagues in the salmon business: First of all, the smoker you use will greatly effect the final product. I'm not familiar with all the various brands, but the hobbyist smokers that I've seen tend to be small, for the sake of shipping, and not really practical for the performance I need. I like to use cool smoking for cheeses, as well as warmer smoking for salmon or trout. I'll describe my ideal smoker at the end of this. [I put a copy of this under equipment sources--LEB] SMOKED FISH I use the following for at least two-six pound fish Brine: 1 gal water (at least a gallon, I use a couple) 1/2 lb (at least) pickling salt 1/4 lb (at least) brown sugar 3-4 tbs pickling spice 2-3 tbs paprika Put the water on to boil, adding the entire 1/2 lb of salt, stir until salt is dissolved. Add sugar and stir. Add the pickling spice and paprika. You may not be able to get the sugar to dissolve, but if you can, add more salt. Irrespective of the amount of water, you want to achieve a super-saturated saline solution with the salt and sugar. The mixture will be super-saturated when you have salt granules on the bottom of the pot at a boil. Speaking to details, the sugar is absorbed by the meat much slower than the salt. I've used half salt/half sugar mixtures with great success, but the amount I re- commend here will allow you to reach the point of super-saturation and keep the salt content down. Boil the mixture (covered) for five or so minutes, and either set it aside to cool, or put it in a sink of cold water (change the sink water several times as it gets hot). I cut my fish in fillets and then in pieces about two to three inches wide. Brine the pieces for 3.5 to 5.0 minutes, depending upon thickness. Timing is important, don't brine longer than 5 minutes, no matter the thickness of the meat. This brine time imparts salt/sugar/pickling spice flavors to the outer tissues, that then diffuse through the meat as it dries. I've tried the pro- ducts of people who leave the meat in brine for so long all you taste is salt. Don't make that mistake, too little salt is MUCH better than too much. Take the pieces from the brine and place on a paper towel-covered board. Allow to dry at least until a pelicle (hard outer surface) has formed. This could take up to two days if the weather is wet, a lot less if you put it in the sunshine. I like to dry mine for a long time to attain a chewy texture, but you at least want the excess moisture to evaporate off. Smoke the pieces, skin side up, alternating the ones on the lower racks with those on the upper racks between chip loads. If your smoker is warm, the paprika will cause the meat to darken without your having to smoke the heck out of it. Too many hobbyists impart a creo- sote flavor to their meat in the attempt to make it LOOK like it's smoked. Paprika is a great way to make it look really well-smoked without having to leave it in too long. If your smoker is cool, the cooking will turn it dark. Remove the pieces to a cookie sheet and place in an oven that has been heated to 350 degrees. Put the cookie sheets in the oven, close the door, and turn off the oven. Leave the smoked meat in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until you can see that it's cooked. I vacuum pack mine, one to three pieces at a time, right out of the oven while it's still hot. At the least, use Freezer Bags to store your fish. I've had success with Freezer bags by closing the ziplock to one end and sucking out the air to mimic the vacuum sealer. Vacuum packing assures that the salt/sugar/pickling spice flavors will be diffused through the meat. I hate to have to freeze mine, but I do anyway out of necessity. My vacuum packages will stay fresh if I refrigerate, but freezing makes certain. 6.7.2 [Lox, Nova Lox, and Gravlax] 1. from Ray Goddard : Gravlaks(Norway)- buried or grave fish, for a modern version: Take a 6-7 lb salmon, 1 tablespoon brandy, 3/4 oz sugar, 1 1/2 oz salt, pep- per, fresh dill. Clean and wipe out fish (do not wash), fillet, sprinkle with brandy. Mix sugar, salt and pepper and sprinkle over fish. Put one fillet skin down on plate, chop dill and spread it over, place other fillet on top skin side up. Cover with foil and place board on top and a weight (1lb) on top of that. Put in cool place 3 - 4 degrees C. Turn fillets twice a day and pour liquid back onto fillets. Remove weights after two days. Ready in three to four days. Serve cut in thin slices with more pepper and chopped dill, accompany with rye bread and butter. By way of Leah Smith: Lox comes from the German word "lachs," which means salmon, and came here with German-Jewish immigrants. Note that true lox is not smoked, merely brined, although the smoked salmon called Nova is often incorrectly referred to as lox. The name Nova comes from Nova Scotia, which is where that type of cold-smoked salmon first came from. Old-fashioned Jewish lox is saltier and oilier than Nova. Here's a recipe: 1 - qty of VERY fresh, VERY fatty (with whole skin) salmon 1 - large earthenware crock (or wooden keg) Kosher Salts (or rock salt) Qty of clear flavorless oil comparable to the qty of salmon - Skin the salmon keeping the skin as whole as possible. - Cut the salmon meat into thin slices. - Within the crock, (or keg), lay down a layer of salt to cover evenly. - Place one side of the salmon skin scale side up flat onto the salt layer. - Drizzle the oil lightly over the skin until shiny. - Lay one salmon slice atop the oiled skin. - Drizzle the oil lightly over the salmon slice until shiny. - Layer the salts thinly atop the salmon slice to cover. - Repeat the layers as above alternating salt, salmon, oil for all remaining slices. - Before adding the final layer of salts, lay the other side of the skin scale side up atop the oiled salmon. - Drizzle with oil until shiny. - Layer salts atop the final layer of skin to cover. - Cover entire crock (or keg) with multiple layers (3-4) of plastic wrap. - Weigh down the top of the sealed crock (or keg) with heavy stones. - Store in a cool place 2 weeks prior to usage. - Eat when ready!~ NOTE: This will keep almost indefinitely, but refrigeration is recommended. Alitak Pickled Salmon >From Brian Bigler : Alitak is not an incorporated town, although many people can claim it as a birthplace. It's the location of a salmon cannery on the southern shores of Kodiak Island (Gulf of Alaska) that was first established around the turn of the century. The following recipe was actually developed years ago by one of the many fishermen hired by the cannery to harvest and deliver fish. This recipe has become the standard for Wards Cove Packing Company, where I have retained it and pass it to you. ALITAK PICKLED SALMON RECIPE Fillet salmon (sockeye works best) and remove skin, cut into bite sized pieces. For one batch of the pickling mixture listed below, you'll need three quarts of fish pieces (one fish) and three sliced onions. This will make 10-12 pints of pickled salmon. Soak salmon pieces in a stainless steel, plastic, wood, or crockery pot for 8-12 hours in a mixture of half salt and half water. Refrigerate and turn the mixture with your hands or a soft spatula every few hours. When brining is complete, gently rinse for one hour, changing the cold water three times. Air dry about 1 hour to let pieces firm up and a slight glazing will form. Pickling Mixture: 8 cups white vinegar 3 cups white sugar 1 cup brown sugar 7 Tbsp pickling spices Mix all the above ingredients in a large stainless pot and boil for 15-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool to room temperature, placing the pot in cold water or refrigerating if necessary. Mixture must be cool when poured over fish. Slice three medium-large white onions thin and layer fish pieces and onion slices in pint jars. After each layer or two, add pickling mixture. Stir the pot of pickling mixture before dipping out a portion to insure spices are evenly distributed when mixture is spooned into jars. Fill jars and seal using fresh lids. Refrigerate and turn jars upside down for a day or two during the first week. Tastes best about two weeks after pickling, and at Alitak it's gone in one day! 6.7.3. Many Salmon and Trout Recipes - http://www.dejanews.com search for "Salmon and Trout" in rec.food.preserving archive. 7. POTTING 7.1 [What is potting anyway?] Potting generally involves preserving food (meat, cheese) by smothering it in a layer of oil or fat, much like paraffin wax is used to seal up a jar of jam or jelly. This method of preserving food is not for amateurs, or for folks who have to watch their fat intake. 7.2 [How do I render lard? Which pieces of pork fat are used?] from Imogen . Hi Jon, nothing simpler than making lard! The fresh fat from under the skin should be passed through a meat grinder. Your butcher will do this when you have your meat cut. Take small portions and heat them in a large, shallow pot. Safety is very important here! 1. Keep a tightfitting lid handy in case the fat catches fire. 2. Use a stainless steel pot, if you have one. They are easiest to clean later. 3. Use a wooden scraper to constantly loosen the fat from the bottom of the pot. Plastic one's are no good as they will melt. 4. Keep a metal ladle and WARM, HEATPROOF jars handy to fill as the lard dissolves. 5. Continuously remove liquid lard as it becomes available. 6. Try to push the raw fat under, so it can dissolve versus the rest spitting all over the place, while it starts to roast. 7. When all your fat is crisp and your lard out, remove pot from the hot element immediately. 8. Never try to refill your pot. ALWAYS do one batch at a time! 9. If you want to use the fried fat later, freeze it in small portions. It is very greasy. Little portions go well though in spaghetti sauce for exam- plea. 10.You should either pressure-can your lard or simply freeze it. [In answer to pressure canning it, also from Imogen...] When I pressure-can lard, I use the hot-pack method. The temperature of the lard should have at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit, when you seal the jars with new lids coming directly from a pot of boiling water. Always try to fill the jars as full as possible. You only fill as many jars at a time, as your pres- sure cooker will hold. I use the remainder of this batch of lard for freezing. That way, I don't have to reheat it. As for time and pressure that I use, 120 mins. at 10 lbs (70 kpa). The above mentioned information are based on what I have read in several books on the subject of pressure-canning procedures for meat. They all seem to agree on these figures. Nobody expressively mentions lard in their recipes though. Most have recipes for pork cuts of various sorts with the addition of either broth or lard. I want to mention, that I, for my part, never sell canned lard, only the freezer variety. Besides for cooking purposes it tastes well as breadspread on Pumpernickel with cheese or just plain with a dash of salt. 11.Good luck and be careful. This advice comes to you from a porkfarmer! 12.NEVER leave the hot grease on the stove out of your sight! Hope I didn't sound like a preacher, but over the decades that I have been doing this, I have seen too much go wrong. Besides some nasty little burns from spitting grease I have so far always been lucky. From: mboddy@peg.apc.org Subject: Re: Help with lard making??? No doubt you've been flooded with advice, but I might just as well have a go. Your request has brought back many pleasant memories. Rendering lard was the first cooking operation I can remember doing as a child. Watching the lard on the fuel stove, the bubble off of the water, and the rise of the cracklings. The best lard is made from the leaf and kidney fat which is stripped from inside the carcass. Trimmings left from cutting are also suitable. You won't get a huge amount from baconers. In large, older pigs, backfatters, you can also use the excessive fat on the back. The fat from the mesentery or caul (round the stomach), and the fat round the gut (ruffle fat) should be kept separate. The lard rendered from this is darker in colour than other lard and can often have an unpleasant odour. Makes good soap. In any case, do not render the caul. Use pieces of caul to wrap up sausage meat and suchlike for slow frying or baking--an experience in itself, and rare these days. In preparing the best fat for rendering, remove all skin and traces of muscle meat. Muscle will cause an unpleasant flavour in the lard, if burned during rendering. To remove the skin from the back fat, etc., cut the fat into 25 mm (inch- wide) strips. Lay the strips on a table, skin side down. At one end of each strip, make a cut in the fat to the skin and pull the skin between the knife held flat and the table. Then cut the fat into 25 mm (one inch) cubes, or put it through a coarse mincer before putting it in the vessel for rendering. We find the mincing method well worth while. Cutting top quality back-fat from a good pig into cubes is a bastard. You can render in a kettle or other vessel over a slow fire, or in a shal- low dish in the oven. We much prefer the slow fire method--it is more personal and interesting to do. And you can control it. We often use an electric frypan, so that we can regulate the heat easily. One frypan doesn't hold much, so we do it in batches, or borrow a pan or two. If using a stove, set the pan at the back as the heat gradually rises, then move the pan to the hot-spot. But watch it! Overheated lard tastes peculiar and often darkens in colour. Always add a little water to prevent burning before the fat melts. The water will boil off, and when it has boiled off, the lard is ready. Bring fat and water up to heat gradually. Stir frequently and skim off any cracklings (little cooked fragments of this and that) as they rise to the top. Press out the lard that remains in the cracklings. Cracklings are delicious, with a dash of salt, and can also be used in baking. If you have a frying thermometer, you will find the optimum temperature to render the lard is about 120 Celsius (about 255 Fahrenheit), but watch care- fully and don't push it. The cracklings will come to the surface, the water will bubble off, any cracklings left in the lard will sink again. The lard is ready. Strain the melted lard through clean cheesecloth into jars or other containers for storage. Cool quickly in order to obtain the best texture. We like to stir or whip the setting lard gently. Lard can become grainy as it sets. Stirring or whipping gently stops this. I also follow my grandmother and put a fresh sage leaf in each container. Lard can be stored in the freezer for at least six months and probably longer without becoming rancid. If you wrap the lard, or seal the lard in its container so that no air gets to it, it will keep for a long, long time in the fridge as well. Do you want uses of lard? It is the baker's friend. Makes excellent oint- ments (we used to make calendula). Fries potatoes. Cooked meat and solid meat sausages can be stored in lard. Melt lard in pot, put in meat, pour in more lard until meat is sealed off from air. Melt it again gently to get meat out and make sure the rest is still sealed off with lard. Much like the confits of duck and goose, done this way in the goose or duck fat. [More on this technique below--LEB] Older recipe books, before people became panicky and paranoid about fat, are full of recipes using lard. The difference between your own rendered lard (done slowly!) and supermarket lard is marked. Home-made lard, stirred as it cools, is of a soft, creamy texture and always used to fill me with wonder. Other bits from the pig's inside are worth having--spleen, testicles, kidneys, etc. In our time, we have cleaned the guts to make runners for the sausages, but it's a hell of a job. Any questions? ---- 7.3 [Mini FAQ on Meat Potting] From: Al Durtschi : Mini FAQ on Meat Potting Before refrigeration changed everything here in Southern Alberta, meat potting was a more prevalent way of preserving meat than either salt curing or drying. In my mind, 'meat potting' was an accident waiting for a place to happen, but under the appropriate circumstances it could have a place again. 7.4 [ This is how we used to do it... ] As told by Gorden Schaufert (born 1942) Meat potting is preserving meat in its own grease in a large crock pot. This is how we did it. Early in the morning Dad killed a pig and started cutting it up. He gave the pieces to Mom who had the wood stove in the kitchen hot and ready to cook. She started frying the pork and prepared the crock pot. This pot was about 18 inches in diameter and 24 inches deep. Mother washed it, and got it just as clean as she could get it. As the pork fried, it gave off lots of grease. She took some of this very hot grease and poured it into the bottom of the crock, sealing and sterilizing the bottom. Then she put the meat she had just finished cooking down onto this grease. As she continued to cook throughout the day she added the well fried meat and covered it with the hot fat that came from the cooking process. By the evening the pig was all fried up and in the pot, covered over with a nice layer of lard that had hardened. As the days passed by, we dug down into the lard to where the meat was, pulled out what we needed, and put it in the frying pan. We cooked it good a second time to kill any bacteria that could have possibly gotten into it. Doing this not only re-sterilized the meat for eating, but melted off all the excess fat. The meat was taken out of the pan and the fat was poured back into the pot to seal up the hole we had just made getting the meat out. Frequently Asked Questions: 7.5 [ How long can pork be preserved in this way? ] In the Summer time we could expect it to last about six weeks. Of course in the Winter it would last much longer. When it went bad there was no question about it, as it really started to stink. (In my research for this subject, I talked with many old timers who never had any meat go bad through many years of potting.) 7.6 [ How much did you have to cook it to be sure it was cooked enough? ] We cooked it until all the red was gone, then cooked it some more. If there was even one piece put in the barrel partially cooked it could have easily destroyed the meat in the whole barrel. (Leslie Basel , the custodian of the FAQs for rec.food.preserving, suggests the meat be cooked to 240 degrees F and the fat that is poured in after it be even hotter.) 7.7 [ What other meats can be preserved in this way? ] Really, you can preserve any type of meat. But if a low fat type of meat is potted, there must be an adequate supply of extra fat to cover the meat as it is cooked and placed in the pot. (Several old timers talked about potting beef. But mostly it was used for pork as it furnished it's own fat.) 7.8 [ Could meat be salt cured and then potted? ] Yes, and this was done by some families. It is hard to say how long this extended the shelf life of the meat in the pot. 7.9 [ What can I do to enhance my chances of potting safely? ] Insure your crock pot is clean and sanitized before you start. Be sure the grease you pour into the crock is always nice and hot as well as the meat. Keep everything as clean as possible. Don't use the came cooking utensil to take the meat out of the pan as you used to turn or handle the raw meat. Leave the utensil you use to move the meat from the pan into the pot in the frying pan where it can stay hot and therefore sterilized. Do not touch the cooked meat with anything except the cooking utensil you transfer the meat from the pan to the pot with. When putting meat into the crock, don't touch the sides of the crock pot and don't touch the meat. Cover the crock with a lid when not putting meat or fat into it. Remember, your success depends entirely on insuring that not one cell of bacteria is permitted to remain alive in the pot. And on using the meat, schedule things out so you plan on using the last of the meat within 6 weeks. (This was not a problem for the early folks as they often had 10 or more children.) 7.10 [ Should I give this a try to gain experience in this type of meat preserving?] Potting is no longer done for good reason. It's just not an approved way of preserving meat, considering our present technology. This information is given here for three reasons: a. Save the skill from being lost in a rapidly changing world. (There are fewer old timers every day.) b. Help people realize it is an option (in very hard times). c. Preserve our heritage. [Potted pork (rilletes) is a common technique in France, Belgium, and Germany; in the UK, potted beef and shrimps potted in butter are delicacies. And if you substitute shred- ded meat of duck or goose, potted in its own fat, you have a confit.--LEB] Should you want to give it a try, go ahead. If you follow these instructions you will probably have good luck. Remember when you re-heat your meat, cook it good a second time to kill any bacteria that might have gotten into it. If it starts to smell bad, don't mess around with it, but throw it away. Finally, always pull your potted meat out with a very clean utensil, not your fingers. 7.11 [ A last comment about "scraping the bottom of the barrel"] The term 'scraping the bottom of the barrel' came from potting meat. By the time the old timers got to the bottom of the pot, the quality of the meat was often very questionable. And hence the term means even today 'using something rather undesirable because it is all there is.' (Ref: Leslie E. Basel) 8. Making Vinegar 8.1 [How do I make vinegar from wine?] As the French vintners used to say, God loves to make vinegar... ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 13:35:18 -0400 From: EWhiteVHP@aol.com To: london@sunSITE.unc.edu Subject: FAQ Making Vinegar These directions show how to make vinegar at home using readily available ingredients and supplies. ------------------ In the late 1800s chemists learned to make acetic acid. Manufacturers added water to reduce its strength to 5%, colored it and sold it as vinegar. Imitation vinegar is still manufactured and by law the label must state that it is diluted acetic acid. Diluted acetic acid is inexpensive and lacks the vitamins, minerals and esters found in fermented vinegar; its flavor and aroma are also inferior. It takes good alcohol (wine or beer) to make fermented vinegar. The hit-or-miss method of making vinegar by allowing sugar and water to ferment is not wise. The fermentation of sugar to alcohol by wild yeast is followed by a conversion of the alcohol to acetic acid by wild bacteria. Chances of failure or undesirable tastes and aromas are high. Control the process by using great care in cleanliness and introducing chosen yeast and bacteria to obtain quality vinegar every time. General Directions Winemaking suppliers list acetobacter as "mother" or vinegar culture. These cultures convert alcohol to acetic acid (vinegar). Most suppliers sell red and white wine vinegar cultures. Some sell cider, malt and mead cultures as well. Any culture may be combined with any type alcohol to produce vinegar. Vinegar should contain at least 5% acid as required for preserving or pickling. Specialty vinegar contains acid as high as 7%. Beer containing 5.5% alcohol will yield about 5% acid. Wine containing 11 to 12% alcohol must be diluted to 5.5 to 7% alcohol before using it to make vinegar. Acid test kits, sold by winemaking suppliers, are used to determine the acidity of vinegar. Acid tests are easy to perform and instructions come with the kit. Sanitize Sanitize utensils and containers that will touch the vinegar by soaking them for 20 minutes in a solution of 2 tablespoons chlorine laundry bleach to 1 gallon water. Rinse everything well with hot tap water. Hot tap water is relatively sterile after being held at high temperatures for several hours in the hot water heating tank. Vinegar Method I 3 measures beer, ale or vinegar stock (5.5 to 7% alcohol) 1 measure vinegar culture with active bacteria Directions Vinegar leaches molecules from iron and aluminum. Use sanitized glass, enamel, stainless steel or stoneware containers less than two-thirds full. Cover the container with a cloth or stopper it with cotton to keep insects out, while allowing air to freely reach the stock. Store the mixture in a dark place. Temperatures: Temperatures between 80 and 85 degrees are ideal. Low or fluctuating temperatures slow the process. At 75 to 85 degrees F, it will take 6 to 8 weeks for conversion. At 85 to 90 degrees F, it can take 4 to 6 weeks for conversion. Temperatures over 95 degrees F slow conversion; above 140 degrees F, the bacteria die. An acetic film called "mother" will form. This smooth, leathery, grayish film becomes quite thick and heavy. It should not be disturbed. It often becomes heavy enough to fall and is succeeded by another formation. If the mother falls, remove and discard it. An acid test will indicate when all of the alcohol is converted to vinegar. Part of the vinegar may be withdrawn and pasteurized. The remaining unpasteurized vinegar may be used as a culture to start another batch. Living bacteria are in the liquid. A piece of the mother is not necessary to start a new batch. Add beer or diluted wine to the culture every 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the temperature maintained and when most of the alcohol is converted to vinegar. Adding more alcohol to the culture keeps it alive, prevents spoilage and increases the quality of vinegar. If unpasteurized vinegar is exposed to oxygen without alcohol present, bacteria can convert the vinegar to carbon dioxide and water. Vinegar Method II 2 measures dry wine (11 to 12% alcohol) 1 measure water (boiled 15 minutes and allowed to cool) 1 measure vinegar culture with active bacteria Follow the directions in Method I. Purchased wine can be used, but some commercial wines contain sulfites or preservatives that could kill the vinegar bacteria. Vinegar Method III (For winemakers only) Wine containing less than 10% alcohol is subject to spoilage. This formula to make 7% alcohol is an ideal vinegar stock. Follow good winemaking procedures. When the fermentation is complete (specific gravity 1.000 or below) this low-alcohol wine can be converted to vinegar as directed in Method I. 1 1/2 pounds weight honey (or any sugar source to obtain a specific gravity of 1.050) 2 teaspoons yeast nutrient or energizer 4 teaspoons acid blend (7.5 ppt tartaric acid with an acid test kit) 1/4 teaspoon tannin wine yeast add water to equal 1 gallon Homemade wine Dry wine containing 11 to 12% alcohol can be diluted after fermentation (specific gravity 1.000 or below). It's important that the wine contain no excess sugar. Excess sugar increases the chance of spoilage and formation of a slime-like substance in the vinegar. The wine does not have to be clear as this is accomplished when the vinegar ages. At the last racking, do not add campden tablets or potassium sorbate. Dilute the mead as directed in Method II and follow the directions in Method I. Preserving vinegar To preserve vinegar, add 3 campden tablets per gallon of vinegar -or- Heat the vinegar to 155 degrees F and hold the temperature for 30 minutes. After pasteurizing vinegar add one tablespoon 80-proof vodka to each gallon and age it. If desired to enhance the bouquet, up to one cup oak or beech chips may also be added. Pasteurized or sulphited vinegar can no longer produce more vinegar. Pasteurizing kills vinegar bacteria and prevents the formation of "mother" which could lead to spoilage. Pasteurized vinegar keeps indefinitely when tightly capped and stored in a dark place at room temperature. Temperatures above 160 degrees F cause a loss of acidity, flavor and aroma. Aging vinegar Vinegar has a strong, sharp bite when first made. It becomes mellow when aged. The esters formed during aging, like those in wine, develop after a period of six months or more when stored at a cool, steady temperature (50 to 60 degrees F is ideal). This undisturbed rest also allows suspended solids to fall, making the vinegar clear and bright. Siphon the clear, aged vinegar off the deposit of solids into sanitized bottles. Introduce as little oxygen as possible. Winemaking suppliers sell attractive vinegar bottles. Use corks or plastic caps to avoid vinegar contact with metal. If corks are used, the necks of the vinegar bottles should be dipped several times into melted wax to form an air-tight seal. The quality of vinegar improves for up to two years and then gradually declines. Fermented vinegar can be sold without the special permits or licenses required for alcoholic beverages. It costs the same as a good bottle of wine. ---------------------- This article is taken from "Super Formulas, Arts and Crafts: How to make more than 360 useful products that contain honey and beeswax" Copyright 1993 Elaine C. White. All rights reserved. ISBN 0-963-7539-7-5. This book is available by mail. Contact EWhiteVHP@aol.com for more information, or contact: Valley Hills Press, 1864 Ridgeland Drive, Starkville MS 39759 USA. In the US telephone 1-800-323-7102; other countries call 601-323-7100. ---- 8.1.2 [So, does anyone know how sour grapes are converted to verjuice?] >From Joyce Miller : This isn't the Roman or medieval method, but it is the Southwestern French method. I haven't tried this recipe out. When I was still thinking about it I found bottled verjuice by Roland. This recipe is from Paula Wolfert's _The Cooking of South-West France_. Let us know how this works out. "...The grapes - the bourdelois, the gressois, and the farineau - are no longer grown. Some types can make the process a little tricky. If the grapes are picked too ripe, their liquor will be too watery; if too green, the verjus will not taste good. We want grapes in the middle of their ripening, whose juice can be allowed to ferment slightly. To make verjus, choose the sourest green grapes available. Holding on to the thick stem, dip them in bunches into boiling water for three seconds to kill the yeasts. Remove at once and drain on a towel. Roll the bunches, one by one, in the towel while removing the grapes from the stems. Discard any blemished grapes. When dry, place grapes in the workbowl of a food processor and process 10 seconds; then strain, pressing down on them to extract all the juice. Let stand for 10 minutes, then ladle juice into a sieve lined with a damp cheesecloth and strain again. Use at once, or freeze in plastic ice cube trays. Store the cubes in a plastic bag in the freezer. Use frozen or immediately upon defrosting for maximum flavor. Keeps 3 months. Some people add alcohol to their verjus along with vinegar & sugar so it will keep, but this distorts the flavor. Another way to obtain the sour taste of verjus is to add a pinch of tartaric acid, which one can find at a wine-making shop. Don't go over 2 pinches, it is really strong." 8.1.3 [How do I make flavored vinegars?] I tend to want to make very powerfully flavored vinegars because you can always dilute, so I add a packed cup of herb/chile/fruit to 2-3 cup of vinegar. For delicate flavors such as delicate herbs and fruit, white wine vinegars, rice wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar are unobtrusive. Rice wine vinegar is probably the cheapest of those choices. For strong flavored herbs, chiles, and most berries (e.g. blackberries--strawberries are too delicate), any vinegar will do. Combine, let sit for at least two weeks, depending how strong you want the flavor, then filter out the solids. A little heat, using either the stove or the sun is helpful to extract more flavor. [Check out the herb flavored vinegar recipes in Henriette Kresses' herb FAQ at http://sunsite.unc.edu/herbmed/culiherb.html] 8.1.4 [How do I make flavored oils?] Okay. Flavoring oils are a bit trickier than vinegars, because like potting, the oil creates an anaerobic situation. Its quite possible to culture _C. botulinum_ in this way. [Check out the herb flavored oil recipes in Henriette Kresses' herb FAQ at http://sunsite.unc.edu/herbmed/culiherb.html] Oh yes, one last thing. I prefer to label my bottles, instead of putting a token sprig of whatever in. The token sprig is a spot for spoilers to grow, at least in my hands :). 8.1.5 [Garlic (chiles, herbs, dried tomatoes, etc.) in oil. How safe is it? How can I make them safely?] You can flavor oils with garlic, etc. within reason. Frankly, garlic is best preserved as dried heads in a garlic braid, not in a garlic and oil paste. It has been tragically shown that garlic and oil pastes, and by extension garlic cloves in oil, provide a good anaerobic medium, perfect for _Clostridum botulinum_ to develop. You want to pickle garlic and other root vegetable flavorings in some sort of acid, either vinegar or citric acid. Check out the botulism questions in Section 5 for more information. Here's another solution for garlic in oil flavoring.. From: kallisti@merle.acns.nwu.edu (Patrick Grealish) Subject: Re: Garlic and spices in oil I have been making garlic olive oil for a few years now. After I heard of the possible contamination troubles I didn't like the idea of using vinegar, so I, instead, roast my garlic which makes IMO an even better tasting oil. I roast a whole head of garlic double wrapped in aluminum foil for about 2 hours @ 250 F. Then squeeze out the garlic cloves into the oil. ~300 ml per one head of garlic. This may be too strong (or weak) depending on your like of garlic. Also I've tried adding dried herbs (rosemary, thyme and oregano) to the garlicked oil. It is very good. I hope this is helpful. Cordials From: Daisy the gardener To: lebasel >From book: MAKING LIQUEURS AT HOME Complied by Carmen Patrick, About Liqueurs: The history in making liqueurs goes back almost 2,000 years. It was not until the Middle Ages through, that liqueurs came into great use, developed by the alchemists, monks and sorcerers of that period. Monks, whose monastery gardens provided the raw materials, were the chief experimenters. The first liqueurs were used as medicines and aphrodisiacs. The medicinal qualities of some liqueurs are well established, especially those made from coriander, caraway seeds and various roots and herbs. How Liqueurs Are Made: About the only thing easier then making liqueurs is drinking them. They require no special equipment, skill or culinary talent - just a bit of patience. Liqueurs are generally divided into two categories; those made with plants and those made with fruit. Although there are various methods for making liqueurs, this book (in your case these typed pages I'm sending you) only gives recipes for two methods; "by scratch" using the steeping method, and with "extracts" - the addition of the flavor extract. To steep, all you do is put the various ingredients in an alcohol base for a specific period of time. Sweeteners are added for palatability. After this period, the liqueurs are filtered until clear, bottled, and then set aside to mature before serving. Instructions for making these scratch liqueurs are included with each individual recipe. The Extract Recipes simply involve adding the flavoring extract to the spirit. The extracts that I have found to work extremely well, and are used here, are made by the T. Noirot firm of Nancy, France. By using extracts, which can be found in wine-making supply shops, the liqueurs can be served the same day they are made. Of course, like all liqueurs, these also improve with age. Extract liqueurs are easily made. All you do is make a simple syrup of 2 parts water to 1 part sugar. Add the Glucose Solids [????], also available in wine making shops, to this mixture and boil slowly until dissolved. When this cools, add the flavoring and spirit. To mix the ingredients more thoroughly, blend them in a blender for a short time. Then bottle the liqueur, let settle and enjoy! In making your own liqueurs, you can determine the strength wanted by using a 40, 80 or 100 proof spirit. The sweetness, flavor and color can be adjusted to your taste. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Equipment Needed: Most if not all of the equipment for making these liqueurs can be found in your own kitchen. These items include: - a small saucepan - a blender - cheesecloth or cloth - tight sealing glass jars - measuring utensils - cups, spoons etc. - paper filters (I use coffee filters that work just as well as the special filters you can buy at the winemaking shops.) - a colander or strainer - a funnel GENERAL HINTS: - It is best to use fresh fruits and vegetables, washing them well. - Make sure the jars and bottles are clean and sterilized. - Dissolve the sugar in boiling water unless otherwise stated. - Make sure the jar is always tightly closed, or the bottle firmly corked. - Label the jar with the name and date. - Store all liqueurs in a cool place away from bright light. - For those liqueurs, which are stored for several months, it is wise to seal the lids with wax. 8.1.5.1 [Fruit cordials] This is a recipe that I got from a non-net person in Seattle. I've had some of his blackberry cordial, and it was spectacular. He claimed that it was the easiest recipe that you could ever imagine, and I'd have to agree. He has doubled it, halved, tripled it, and suspects that it would work with any kind of fruit, so try it! LEB. Fruit cordial recipe: 1/3 part cleaned and drained fruit, 1/3 part granulated sugar, 1/3 part vodka. Crush the fruit, mix all ingredients together. Store for 2 weeks covered, in the dark. Strain. Pour into sterilized bottles. Cork. Drink. Even the fruit dregs are great over ice cream. 8.1.5.2 [fruit cordial recipes ] From: tamale@primenet.com (Teresa Bruckner) Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking Subject: Re: HOMEMADE LIQUEURS INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING FRUIT LIQUEUR --------------------------------------- (Tested on raspberries, blackberries and a mix of both). Start with fresh fruit. Place cleaned fruit into a jar. Add very strong alcohol just so it barely covers all of the fruit. I used double distilled vodka (alcohol content probably about 55-65%). Beware though- Apparently operating a still is VERY illegal ;-) Let the covered jar sit for about a week and a half (it's covered so the alcohol doesn't evaporate). Note that no fermentation takes place here- all that happens is that the fruit soaks up the alcohol, and releases some of its juices. Depending on the type of fruit the level of fluid may decrease. Once you've decided that the fruit has soaked in much of the alcohol gently pour off the fluid so as not to blemish the fruit (try one now for a taste experience :-). Call this (very strong) fluid rack #1. During the following steps you probably should avoid blemishing the fruit if at all possible. Replace the fruit in the jar, but layer it with sugar. How much sugar is a bit difficult to say here. I usually tried to do my best to cover almost all of the fruit with _some_ sugar. Cover the jar again. What happens now is that the sugar makes the fruit give off its alcohol and shrivel slightly. In a couple of days the level of juice in the jar should reach almost the top of the fruit. This means it is time to pour it off again. Call this rack #2. Now we repeat the layering with sugar step (getting rack#3, rack#4, etc) until only a very small amount of juice is released. I have been told that with cherries this can be kept up until only a tiny little bit of cherry skin is surrounding the pit. Each rack is sweeter and sweeter. With rasp[black]berries I got to rack #4 and then got bored waiting for really small amounts of juice. So I took the berries, threw them into a cloth and twisted the hell out them to release the vestiges of alcohol and juice. This was rack#5. The left over pulp can be used with ice-cream. Note that rack#5 is entirely optional, four racks were plenty enough (but why waste alcohol :-). Now comes the fun part. Invite several friends (I used 5) and mix the different racks in various proportions and get some feedback on how they taste (too sweet, too alcoholic, too dry, etc). Don't use too many friends or else you won't have any left after the tasting. Now you should know what proportions to mix the final product in. Disposing of juice _not_ used in the final mix is left as an exercise to the reader (I had some sweet stuff left over and use it on ice cream). Thoughts on the final mix: In my case the final mix was very close to the ratio of rack#1: rack#2: rack#3 etc. This was convenient because I got the maximum of liqueur with minimal leftovers. Afterword: After a visit to a friends house in Poland and a sampling of his Cherry Liqueur (THE BEST liqueur I have EVER tasted)- I have decided to make liqueur also. Here are the directions he gave me (for cherry liqueur): Fill a Jar with cherries. Add alcohol to cover all the cherries. Let sit for a week or so, by this time the cherries should have swelled and there should be less liquid in the jar. Pour off the liquid. a)Layer the cherries with sugar and let sit another week. b)Pour off resulting fluid. c)Repeat steps a) and b) until the cherries are so small that they're just basically the pit covered with a very thin skin. Now mix all the batches that you poured off to suit your taste. The first is most bitter, the last is the sweetest. 8.1.6 [Brandied fruit, i.e. tutti-frutti.] From: Teresa Bruckner : I've not tried the following yet: { Exported from MasterCook Mac } Bottomless Brandied Fruit Crock mixed fruit: peaches/ plums/ apricots/ berries/ cherries/ grapes. brandy OR dark rum [vodka, Marsala, Madeira, and good sherry work too--LEB] * Use brandy or rum for this recipe, with ripe, unblemished fruit in season. Use a crock or jar with tight fitting lid. 1. Remove stems from fruit but leave fruit whole. Peel large fruits such as peaches, apricots and plums. 2. Place fruit carefully into the container of your choice. Fill the container completely but without packing the fruit to avoid bruising. 3. Add enough brandy or rum to completely cover fruit. Close container tightly and store at room temperature. Let stand at least 3 weeks before using; 4 weeks is even better. 4. As you use the fruit replenish with more fruit and cover with more brandy or rum. * Use a variety of fruits and berries. Some suggestions are: peaches, plums, apricots, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, cherries and nectarines. [Another variant: sprinkle granulated sugar between the layers of fruit before you pour the liquor. Brown sugar might work particularly well with rum, if you are using that.--LEB]. 8.1.7 [Vanilla Extract] Wes and Kelly Wyatt write: >I have just received 6 nice vanilla beans from a friend. I would like to >make vanilla extract with them. What is my best approach? >From Sylvia : Here's the recipe I have for Vanilla Extract: Place 6 long beans, split open and cut into pieces into 1 quart of good qual- ity vodka. Cap tightly and place in a cool dark place. Leave for 1 month to 6 weeks, shaking the bottle occasionally. Before using, sieve through a strainer lined with cheesecloth (or use a cof- fee filter), rinse the bottle to remove residue, and pour back into the bot- tle. Add one whole vanilla bean and cap tightly until used. 9 ROOT CELLARING AND STORAGE OF STAPLES 9.1 [What do I *really* need to know about root cellaring?] Root cellaring is one of the simplest acts of food preservation. Many vegetables, especially root crops, can be preserved in a root cellar, a dry dark place, with temps held just above freezing. In some climates, one can even leave garden produce in place during the winter. What you really need to know are the precise conditions needed for optimal storage, and know what cannot be stored next to what. Also, your pile of produce needs to be care- fully monitored. Overripe fruits and vegetables produce ethylene which can quickly age all of your produce. (The scientific reason why one rotten apple does what the old adage says it does.) 9.1.1 [How long to do stored items last?] From: Dunross@dkeep.com (A. T. Hagan) Newsgroups: misc.survivalism (Situation 1) Grains, beans, pasta (off the shelf) stored in airtight plastic containers in a dark, dry environment at a temp of between 55 and 70 degrees. In that temperature range and if they are kept DRY, in well sealed, air- tight containers with no bugs included then your beans and whole grains (excluding brown rice discussed elsewhere) then they ought to be good for three to five years. I'd assume three and rotate them out. Use dessicant to keep the atmosphere they're in dry. I don't recommend keeping white flour pasta for more than a year at the most under the above storage con- ditions. (Situation 2) Canned food (commercial-off the shelf) in airtight, waxed cardboard boxes in the same environment as the above. Recently discussed here, you might want to try to pick up the last week or two's traffic from this newsgroup. Cans are good about six months from time of purchase. Inspect the cans to be certain they're sound and inspect again before opening to be certain nothing is bulging. Cool and dry are the im- portant conditions here. I'm told that high acid foods are canned with a different kind of liner in the can so they'll keep better, but I have no hard information on that. (Situation 3) MRE's in the same environment as the above. I don't have a lot of personal experience with MRE's other than the fact that I don't much care for the taste so I'll leave others to comment. 9.1.2 [Storage of grains and flours, possibly also of rice.] 9.1.3 The dry ice method.... From: Mick Kunstelj One thing I was after was how long such grains as wheat/rice etc., last for. Rice is an interesting alternative, as it is cheap, can be used for a lot of dishes (not least making bread), and would appear to be quite hardy. A method that I use for storing is really suited to wheat and flour, but can be applied to a number of other grains (rice) and foodstuffs. I buy large drums (44 gallon drums or importers pickle container drums) but any type of airtight drum will do. Naturally, make sure that the drum is clean and dry. (I use a bleach solution, not the least to remove the smell of pickles... :-) ) At the bottom of the container place a good layer of (rock?) salt, this will over time remove any moisture from the container. Then, dry ice wrapped in newspaper is placed into the container, followed by some more layers of news- paper, then the rice. (I keep the rice in the bags I bought them in) The drums are closed but not completely sealed (see important note). As the dry ice (it's frozen carbon dioxide) melts, the gas expands to many times its original size, forcing out the bulk of the original air. After some time, the dry ice will completely melt, and the container can be sealed. Important note: If the dry ice has not completely melted, the sealed con- tainer will contain a lot of pressure, and may bulge, causing a possibly dangerous condition. What a friend did in this situation was to punch a small hole in the top of his metal 44 gallon drum, and the pressure abated. He then arcwelded the small hole he'd created. The carbon-dioxide atmosphere ensures that any little weavel/bug eggs that may be in the grain will die once they hatch, instead of eating/multiplying and giving you a nasty shock. Remnant moisture within the container is ab- sorbed into the salt. I have been advised that wheat (in the husks) last much longer than flour, but I have no idea how long rice lasts for (treated in this way or not...). Thus - if you have any idea, I'd love to know! 9.1.4 The nitrogen gas method... From: Richard De Castro , misc.survivalism For Nitrogen packing, you need a tank of nitrogen with a regulator, a hose, and a small diameter pipe (about 1/4 inch or so). The pipe's attached to the hose, and you fill the bucket up with grain. Position the pipe in the grain (as far down as you can), and then get the bucket lid into position. Give the bucket a shot of nitrogen (3-5 seconds is plenty) and gently remove the pipe, while continuing to release the nitrogen. Then, put the lid on. You're all done. Both of these techniques [N2 and CO2] should be done in a very well venti- lated area. I highly recommend doing it outdoors, since indoors the oxygen in the room can be displaced by the carbon dioxide or the nitrogen gas, and asphyxiate everyone. From: David G. Allbee , misc.survivalism.. Nitrogen is available for home use. Well at least it is here in Virginia. Never got any but I called the local industrial gas distributor and was given prices and bottle sizes in cubic feet. BTW, I didn't ask if a bottle rental contract was required but my brother in law, works for a industrial supplier in North Carolina said no. And from: David L. Paxton" , misc.survivalism. I had experience with this once. Helped a friend put away about 50, 5 gal- lon buckets of wheat, oats, and corn. We were using welding grade nitrogen. I have heard that it is not recomended anymore, too much contamination pos- sibility. Now they say use medical grade nitro. He never seemed to have any problems but then he never lived completely off the stored grain for any long period of time. From: Tinpan : [for a source of supplies]...you also need to contact Nitro-Pak: Nitro-Pak/ 151 North Main Street/ Herber, UT 84032/ 800-866-4876 These guys wrote the book on Nitrogen packed foods, and they also have an ex- cellent supply of stuff you will find handy when storing foods. Their prices are quite reasonable too. A concern about both techniques, expressed by Charles Scripter , in misc.survivalism... [...]. Someone else pointed out that this will allow Botulism toxin to form (since the bacteria is anaerobic). Wouldn't vacuum packed food have the same tendency?... And now I wonder a bit about some of the other inert gas packaging as well. Does anyone know exactly what conditions are re- quired for Botulism to form? (e.g. will it grow in N2? How about CO2? Or will these atmospheres inhibit growth?) Leslie Basel said: Depends. After providing a nice anaerobic condition, the one thing that _C. botulinum_ needs is free water. If you are storing flours, dried beans, rice, sugar, dry staples, you shouldn't have any problem because there is no free water to support bacterial growth. If you are vacuum packing MREs, meats, fresh vegetables, etc., then you probably should worry a bit about this. I don't have any info on atmospheres per se, just that N2 is probably not toxic to _C. botulinum._. This means that you shouldn't vacuum pack items willy- nilly, but you'll have to cure meats, rub nitrates into the surface of the meat, vacuum pack pickled items, or simply vacuum pack dehydrated fruits and vegetables. 9.1.5 [Storing garlic. Probably the most asked question in r.f.p.] >From Carol Nelson : After the garlic is harvested, it can be stored in mesh bags or slatted crates or hung in braided ropes or bunches. Any cool, well-ventilated place will do for storage through the winter months. In very cold areas, the bulbs should be protected from freezing. The ideal storage temperature for garlic is 32-38F at less than 70% humidity. All garlic placed in the freezer should be tightly wrapped. Garlic can be frozen in three ways: (1). Chop or grind the garlic you want to freeze. To use just grate or break off the amount you need. (2). Freeze the garlic unpeeled and remove cloves as you need them. (3). Peel the cloves and puree them with oil in a blender using 2 parts oil to 1 part garlic. The puree will stay soft enough in the freezer to scrape out amounts to use in sauteeing. Peeled cloves may be submerged in wine and stored in the refrigerator. The garlic can be used as long as there is no sign of mold or yeast growth on the surface of the wine. Both the garlic and wine may be used. Garlic can be dried and made into garlic powder and garlic salt. Select only fresh firm cloves with no bruises. Separate and peel the cloves. Small cloves can be cut in half and large cloves should be cut in 1/4 inch slices. Dry at 140F for 2 to 3 hours or until garlic is crisp. Grind using a coffee grinder, or add salt and grind, depending if garlic powder or garlic salt is desired. Raw or cooked garlic and/or fresh herbs in oil may be STORED IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR NO LONGER THAN 3 WEEKS. All this information comes from Oregon State University Extension bulletin SP 50-701 (Herbs and vegetables in oil) and SP 50-645 (Preserving Garlic). [There are also several preserving garlic recipes in Henriette Kresses' herb FAQ.--LEB]. -- >From Ross Reid: My wife and I are true garlic lovers and we grow several hundred feet of row of various cultivars, both soft neck and hard neck varieties. Plus, we have for years made garlic oil in the manner noted above. However, during my surfing of various garlic sites on the web I came across the following information and copied it for future reference. Unfortunately, I neglected to make a note of the source. <Quote> BOTULISM WARNING Regardless of its flavor potency, garlic is a low-acid vegetable. The pH of a clove of garlic typically ranges from 5.3 to 6.3. As with all low-acid vegetables, garlic will support the growth and subsequent toxin production of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum when given the right conditions. These conditions include improper home canning and improper preparation and storage of fresh herb and garlic-in-oil mixtures. Moisture, room temperature, lack of oxygen, and low-acid conditions all favor the growth of Clostridium botulinum. When growing, this bacterium produces an extremely potent toxin that causes the illness botulism. If untreated, death can result within a few days of consuming the toxic food. STORING GARLIC IN OIL Extreme care must be taken when preparing flavored oils with garlic or when storing garlic in oil. Peeled garlic cloves may be submerged in oil and stored in the freezer for several months. Do not store garlic in oil at room temperature. Garlic-in-oil mixtures stored at room temperature provide perfect conditions for producing botulism toxin (low acidity, no free oxygen in the oil, and warm temperatures). The same hazard exists for roasted garlic stored in oil. At least three outbreaks of botulism associated with garlic-in-oil mixtures have been reported in North America. By law, commercially prepared garlic in oil has been prepared using strict guidelines and must contain citric or phosphoric acid to increase the acidity. Unfortunately, there is no easy or reliable method to acidify garlic in the home. Acidifying garlic in vinegar is a lengthy and highly variable process; a whole clove of garlic covered with vinegar can take from 3 days to more than 1 week to sufficiently acidify. <Unquote> Needless to say, we no longer make our garlic oil by peeling a bunch of cloves and dropping them in a three liter bottle of olive oil. 10 Preserving Dairy Products 10.1 [Looking for rennet for a cheese recipe?] from Teresa Brucker , rec.food.cooking.. Funny, I just bought a book on cheesemaking today as I still want to make that mozzarella. But the book talks about definitely not using the rennet available in the grocery stores. There are a few choices as well: animal vs vegetable and liquid form vs tablets. Take your pick. The liquid is more perishable. They give the following sources: Caprine Supply/ 33001 West 83rd/ PO Box Y/ Desoto, KS 66018. Misc. starter cultures, kits, molds, presses and equip. Specializes in dairy goat supplies. Cumberland General Store/ Route 3, Box 81/ Crossville, TN 38855. Starter cultures, presses, boxes, cutters & tools. Lehman's Hardware Starter cultures, kits, dairy thermometers, presses, cheesecloth, butter churns, butter molds & colors. Catalog $2.00. Lehman's, home of the Non-Electric Catalog "Serving the Amish and others without electricity with products for simple, self-sufficient living" Retail store is at One Lehman Circle, Kidron.  (Mon-Sat, 8:00 am to 5:30 pm plus Thur til 8:00 pm.) PO Box 41, Kidron, OH, 44636 Orders only: 330-857-1111 Customer service: 330-857-5757 Info: info@lehmans.com New England Cheesemaking Supply Co./ 85 Main Street/ Ashfield, MA 01330. Starter cultures (including direct set), rennet, wax, molds, presses, kits and miscellaneous supplies. Also workshops. [Check out their web page; the address is in part 6--LEB.][http://www.cheesemaking.com/] A newsletter was mentioned too: Cheesemaker's Journal/ 85 Main Street/ Ashfield, MA 01330. Bi-monthly with articles about making cheese and a large recipe section. 10.2 [ BUTTER ] From: Jim Richardson , rec.food.cooking Subject: Easy Homemade Butter Buy the freshest and best whipping cream you can find. Otherwise, your results will only be a step or two above the butter you buy at the store. I find that milk and cream at natural food stores often comes from smaller local dairies and tastes far better than what *any* of the grocery chains sell. As with sharp and extra sharp cheddar cheeses, the typical quality has gone *way* down over the past 20 years, as people who live in "dairy country" know well. Even the skim milk from some of these smaller dairies has a richness somewhere between "grocery chain" whole milk and 2% -- and it tastes far better. Chill your blender in your freezer for 20 minutes. Remove and add 2 cups cold (but not frozen) whipping cream + 1/4 tsp salt + a few drops yellow food coloring. Blend on high for about 20 seconds, or until the cream stiffly sticks to the blender blades. Add 1/2 cup of ice water, no ice. Blend on high about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides as needed, until all the butter fully separates from the water/liquid. Remove from blender, put into the middle of a handkerchief. Chill further, if necessary, then twist and wring it tightly, removing the water. This will make about a stick and a half's worth of butter. Make it the same day as you'll serve it. Shape into curls or balls. Your guests won't forget it. [N.B.: In case you don't have a blender, or you want to do it the authentic Wisconsin-elementary school method: take a very clean Miracle Whip jar, fill 1/4 with cream or non-homogenized milk, screw the lid on tightly, shake the jar briskly until you get butter. Make sure you don't fill the jar, as you need the airspace to shake the liquid, and don't try it with homogenized milk because the milkfat globules are too small and too evenly distributed throughout the milk to form butter.--LEB] 10.3 [devonshire clotted cream ] From: James Harvey How to make homemade Devonshire Cream Devonshire cream is just another name for clotted cream (or perhaps just for clotted cream made in Devonshire?) Clotted cream is the richest form of cream at 55% butterfat by weight. A traditional way to eat it is loaded on scones already spread with fresh butter, and topped with blackcurrant jam. Here are two basic methods of making it: ***** Clotted cream, traditional method ***** Put the cream in an earthenware or enameled bowl, or a stainless steel milk pan. Heat gently over very low heat or in a basin of water for up to six hours until the cream has a rich wrinkled crusty look. You must never let it boil. Set the pan to cool overnight (in the refrigerator is OK but ob- viously not traditional :) In the morning, lift off the clout that has formed and store in jars or lidded pots in the refrigerator. ***** Clotted cream, quick method ***** This method requires a bain marie or double boiler, and a thermometer. Heat the cream until it reaches a temperature of 170 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit (76 to 82 degrees Centigrade). Stir it once to distribute the heat. Keep the cream at this temperature (not more than 190 degrees Fahrenheit or 87 degrees Centigrade) for an hour until it looks wrinkled and crusty. Cool quickly by standing in a bowl of cold water, then set the pan in the refrig- erator overnight. In the morning lift off the clot that has formed and store in jars or lidded pots in the refrigerator. I have used the second recipe, starting with U.S. light cream (equivalent to British single cream, about 18% butterfat by weight) with good results. Of course, results using com- mercial cream will not be able to match the best products of particular farms. ---- 10.4 [ stirred curd-cheddar recipe] From: Kim Pratt Stirred-Curd Cheddar Recipe A few people requested this recipe for making Stirred-Curd Cheddar Cheese. By the way, it tastes great! This recipe assumes that you know the basics for making cheese. It uses 2 gallons of milk (can be doubled etc). 1) Heat milk to 90 degrees, stir in 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk, cover, let sit for 45 minutes at 90 degrees. 2) Add 1/4 tablet rennet, let sit for 45 minutes at 90 degrees. 3) Cut curds and let sit for 15 minutes. 4) Stir curds gently and warm to 100 degrees over the next 30 minutes. 5) Hold for 30 minutes at 100 degrees. 6) Drain curds, put curds back in pot without whey. 7) Add salt (2T) and work it into the curds. 8) Allow curds to sit at 100 degrees for 1 hour. 9) Press curd for 24 hours. 10) Air dry cheese for 2-3 days. 11) Age as long as you can stand it at 40 to 55 degrees. If you eat this cheese at 3 weeks, it tastes like a Jack cheese. After about 2 months it starts tasting like Cheddar (mild). It takes about 6 months for it to be sharp. ( end of part 3)