Monday, November 5, 2012

Bernie & Evelyn & Vinegar

There's a lot going on here on Dogwood lane but most of it is not blog worthy (remember that Seinfeld episode?). I've been busy but not blogging.

The last Master Food Preserver class of the year was last week presented by Bernie and Evelyn. This dynamic duo have been married for 64 years and are partners in every sense of the word. They own a walnut and almond orchard which is no longer a going concern but which they allow friends and neighbors to harvest and use in their own preserving. Don't even try to get over on Bernie at the County Fair in the dried fruit category, I understand he takes first prize every year with his dried persimmons and cured olives. He's showing us his persimmon techniques in this picture. Evelyn's pickles are second to none and she too takes the blue ribbon each year at the County Fair. Last month she demonstrated making flavored vinegar and I'll show you my effort next.


Day 1 - strawberries, sugar and vinegar
Inspired by Evelyn last month I rushed home and used the last of the summer strawberry harvest to make strawberry flavored vinegar. This is very easy but it does take a long time to steep so be prepared to wait.

Cold Infusion Method: This method yields fresh taste but requires 4-6 weeks to impart flavor to the vinegar. To pasteurize the vinegar heat 5% vinegar (must be 5%) to 165* F and let cool completely before adding to the jar in which you have placed your flavoring ingredients.

Fill a clean one quart jar as full as possible with fresh, clean strawberries. Evelyn says to leave the berries whole but make an X in each one to help the vinegar penetrate. Most recipes say to slice fruit but Evelyn says this will make your product cloudy and you won't win a ribbon so I'm going with her method. Add up to 1 cup of sugar. I only used 3 Tbsp since I didn't really want a sweet product. Add your pasteurized and cooled vinegar. Screw on the lid and put in a cool dark place to steep for ONE MONTH! Mark the jar with the date you started and the date you expect to be finished., you know you're going to forget how long it's been in there, and mark your calendar too.


Day 30  - ready to filter
On day 30 your ready to strain through a fine sieve lined with a coffee filter. Be patient. Here again Evelyn says don't press the fruit or your vinegar will be cloudy. The temptation to squeeze is almost too much but resist.


Not so good looking strawberries after 30 days, the chickens didn't even want 'em. Into the compost pile they go.
Crystal clear strawberry vinegar! This will be delicious on a spinach salad.
I'm so glad to have the opportunity to learn these skills from folks who have spent a lifetime perfecting them. The classes start up again in the new year in earnest only this time I'll be expected to pass written test on what' been taught. Better get to studying.

Linking to http://www.thestuffofsuccess.com/2012/11/success-u-wednesday-linkup-party-51.html


Until next time,

6 comments:

  1. Pat...Shhhhh...my friend Julie beat Evelyn for 1st prize with pickles last year...shhhh!!!

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    1. That's great! If it were me I would be shouting it from the roof tops, a real accomplishment for your friend Julie since Evelyn is a true master and so generous with her knowledge.

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  2. Thanks for sharing some of what you are learning.

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    1. Things are always more fun when they are shared don't you think?

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  3. Looks like so much fun. I always enjoy learning something from people who have been doing it for a long time....you know they have worked out all of the bugs.

    Judy

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    1. I'm kinda star struck actually. These folks know so many things I want to learn plus they're funny!

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Thanks for your comments. I love hearing what you have to say.