Waltham Fields Community Farm promotes local agriculture and food access through our farming operations and educational programs, using practices that are socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable. We encourage healthy relationships between people, their food supply, and the land from which it grows. Check out our website for more information.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Food Preservation Workshop

Last month, Waltham Fields hosted a workshop exploring two traditional food preservation techniques: water-bath canning and lactic-acid fermentation, used for sauerkraut and kimchi, a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables. Taught by the farm's own Jericho Bicknell and guest instructor Audra Karp, the duo showed a small class of local adults the step-by-step processes for making dill pickles and sauerkraut. For more information about food preservation, please reference the USDA Home Canning Guide.

Dill Pickles

(Makes seven pints)

30-40 medium pickling cucumbers, about 5 inches long
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup canning salt
1 quart apple cider vinegar
1 quart water
7 fresh dill heads
7 cloves garlic

Mix together sugar, salt, vinegar, and water, and bring to a boil. Scrub cucumbers, remove stem and blossom ends; cut lengthwise into quarters, not longer than the shoulder height of the jar. Put 1 whole head of fresh dill and 1 clove garlic into each clean, hot jar. Pack the jars with cucumbers upright. Pour in the boiling brine (vinegar mixture), leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath (212 F) for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool.

(Makes 1 quart)

1 medium head of cabbage (remove outer leaves)
1 onion
2-3 carrots, scrubbed
3-4+ cloves of garlic
Sea salt (1 heaping tsp to 1 lb of veggies)

Chop or shred carrots and cabbage, being sure to remove any bruised or dark spots. Toss vegetables in a bowl with salt and mix well. Chop the onion and mince the garlic, then add them to the bowl. Let the salt pull out some water from the cabbage for some time, stirring occasionally. Press the ingredients into a clean glass jar until liquid comes out the top, leaving about an inch of air space. Cover and leave at room temperature for 3-4 days, pushing down the veggies once per day as they produce gas. Transfer the kraut to cool storage and let it ferment at least two additional weeks. The sauerkraut can be eaten immediately, but improves with age.

Suggested Reading: Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan

Originally published in 1973, Putting Food By is considered an excellent resource for home food preservation techniques. It includes information on freezing, pickling, drying, curing, and preserving, as well as new canning procedures, processing times, and tested recipes.

Media (text and image) created and published by Rebekah Carter 2010.

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