diy

Preserved Lemons

By: Co+op, stronger together

Total Time: 20-30 days; 30 minutes active

Servings: 36 (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

If you think a fresh lemon delivers a great flavor, you need to try a preserved lemon. The peels soften, and the fermentation adds a great depth of flavor and umami. A salty, tangy flavor explosion, a jar of preserved lemons in your fridge can be your secret weapon for perking up boring foods. Try it minced into a salad, added to casseroles, even pureed into some hummus.

Ingredients

  • 10 lemons, scrubbed very clean (you may not be able to fit all of them in your jar)

  • 2 extra lemons, for juice

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed

  • Extra fresh-squeezed lemon juice, if needed, from the lemons that won't fit in the jar

  • 1 quart canning jar, sterilized

  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin or fennel seeds, optional

Preparation

  1. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt into the jar. Prepare each lemon by slicing off just a little of the stem end and tip, then quartering each lemon lengthwise, leaving them attached at one end. As you slice each lemon, pry the quarters open and sprinkle salt inside and outside of each one, then pack into the jar. Pack them in with some force, to squeeze out some juice to fill the gaps with liquid. Once all the lemons are salted and packed in the jar, sprinkle a couple tablespoons of salt over them, then squeeze the remaining lemons, if necessary, to fill the jar with lemon juice. Screw the lid on the jar and let the jar sit out at room temperature for up to 30 days, turning it upside down occasionally to mix. Refrigerate once the skins soften.

  2. To use, take a lemon out of the jar and rinse well to remove the salty brine. If desired, use pulp, or discard. Chop remaining lemon rind for use in recipes.

Tips & Notes

Save the salty lemon brine—it's delicious in small amounts in dressings, marinades or other dishes that might use lemon and salt. Hummus, tabbouleh, even pastas with greens or chicken are uplifted by a little preserved lemon and brine.

Nutritional Information

7 calories, 0 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 776 mg. sodium, 2 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. fiber, 0 g. protein

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.

Beginner's Kraut

By: Co+op, stronger together

Total Time:  7 days; 1 hour active

Servings: makes 4 about quarts, 64 servings

Sauerkraut is really easy to make and once you've made your own delicious batch, you'll find so many ways to incorporate it into your meals. The amount of salt in kraut is flexible—the more you put in, the longer it takes to fully ferment, so after you make it once or twice, you can play with reducing it, if you want to make the process go faster.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds green cabbage

  • 2 large carrots

  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (not iodized)

  • Kraut juice from another batch of live fermented kraut, optional

Equipment

  • Ceramic crock or cylindrical food grade plastic or glass container

  • Plate or non-reactive pan that can fit inside the above and reach the edges

Preparation

  1. You'll need a ceramic crock or a food-grade plastic or glass container that can hold two gallons (a cylindrical shape works best). The kraut will shrink as it ferments.

  2. Using a sharp knife, a food processor fitted with the slicing blade, or a vegetable slicer, thinly slice the cabbage. As you slice, transfer the cabbage to a large bowl, sprinkling salt on each addition. Shred the carrots, and add them, sprinkling with the salt. Using clean hands, knead and squeeze the cabbage and carrots to mix them and break them down as much as possible. Take handfuls and pack them in the crock, pressing down with your fists or the bottom of a clean bottle. Pack all the cabbage and carrots in the crock.

  3. Once the shredded veggies are packed in it, press them down and cover them with a plate or round non-reactive pan that can fit inside the crock or container, but which covers the contents and reaches to the edges of the container. On top of the plate you will need to place a weight, like a gallon jug, or a large bowl filled with cans of food. Then, place a cloth or towel over the crock or container opening.

  4. Place the crock in an out-of-the-way place. If the area is warm, the kraut will ferment more quickly; if it's cooler, the process will take longer. Check on the kraut and press the plate down every few hours, until the cabbage has given off enough liquid to submerge the vegetables. If there is not enough liquid to completely cover the cabbage and carrots within 24 hours, mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of water and pour it over the vegetables, repeating until they are covered.

  5. Leave the weight and the cloth on, and check on the fermentation every couple of days. If you see any surface mold, simply scrape it off with a spoon and discard. As long as the vegetables are under the brine, they are fine. Start tasting in about one week. When it reaches your preferred level of tanginess, pack in jars and refrigerate. It will last for a few months.

Tips & Notes 

Variations are endless, add grated ginger, whole spices like caraway, fennel, or chile flakes. Shred other vegetables, including red cabbage, beets, turnips, parsnips, kale, broccoli, etc. Substitute equal weights of other vegetables for some or all of the cabbage.

Nutritional Information

8 calories, 0 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 243 mg. sodium, 2 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. fiber, 0 g. protein

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Recipe by: Robin Asbell. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.

Half Sour Pickles

Total Time: 15 minutes

Makes: 1 half gallon jar

Half sour pickles are a big deli treat, but they’re easy to make at home. This is a quick way to make homemade pickles. No canning is needed to make these delicious pickles, just let them hang out in refrigerator for a week and you're good to go!

Ingredients

  • 5-8 Organic pickling cucumbers or however many you can fit into your jar

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • few pieces of fresh dill (including roots and flowers)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3-6 cloves garlic lightly smashed

  • 1 dried chili pepper more if you like spicy (optional)

  • 1/4 cup sea salt

  • 4 cups water

  • a few sprinkles of additional whole coriander seeds and peppercorns to add on top

Preparation

  1. Wash your cucumbers.

  2. Dissolve your sea salt in the water.

  3. Coarsely grind up all the dry ingredients (coriander, mustard seeds, peppercorns) in a mortar/pestle.

  4. Put the cucumbers, dried chili pepper, and bay leaves in your jar.

  5. Put the slightly mashed garlic in the jar, then ground up spices, then pour the salt water mixture on top. Discard any left over brine mixture.

  6. Add a few pieces of fresh dill on top including the roots and flowers if desired (the roots and flowers will give your pickles a slightly stronger anise flavor).

  7. Sprinkle a little bit of your additional coriander seeds, and peppercorns. (about 1 teaspoon)

  8. Make sure your cucumbers are completely covered in the brine and close the jar (do this in the sink, in case you have overflow).

  9. Wash the jars under clean running water and dry with a towel.

  10. Place your pickles in the refrigerator. Let them sit and chill for at least 1 week, but check in 5 days to see if they're ready.

Serving Suggestion

Pickles would stay nice and crisp in the refrigerated for up to a month.

To learn more about cucumbers, click here!

Naturally Dyed Eggs

Naturally_Dyed_Eggs.jpg

Egg dyeing is a fun way to celebrate this time of year—and it's a tradition that goes way back—as much as 5,000 years when Persians celebrated springtime with eggs colored with plant-based dyes. Plant dyes can be just as useful today and they're plentiful; in fact you very well might have dye-worthy ingredients in your kitchen already.

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Here are some great plant-based dyes—fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers.

Items Needed

White eggs (or try brown, keeping in mind color results will vary), egg carton, stock pan(s), water, white vinegar, slotted spoon and natural materials for dyeing (see table).

Optional: Tape, string, rubber bands, cheese cloth squares, natural beeswax crayons to create designs on eggs, and vegetable oil for an extra sheen. 

Hot Bath Method

  1. Place uncooked eggs in a stainless steel stock pan. Add water 2-3 inches above eggs. (When using bottled juice, fill 2-3 inches above eggs. Do not add water.) Add natural dye ingredients and 1-2 tablespoons vinegar per quart of water.

  2. Cover and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted spoon and air dry.

Cold Bath Method

The process for cold dyeing is much the same as the hot method except the eggs and dyes are cooked separately.

  1. Simmer the dye ingredients (water, vinegar and dye matter) for 20-30 minutes or longer, until the dye reaches your desired shade.
  2. Allow the liquid to cool and submerge hard-boiled eggs in the dye for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted spoon and air dry. 

Notes, Tips & Techniques

Color variation

Colors may vary depending on steeping time and foods used to dye eggs.

Deeper colors

Beet dye including pulp (top), onion skin dye with celery, bay and ivy leaves wrapped in cheese cloth (middle two), turmeric dye with rice wrapped in cheese cloth (bottom).

Beet dye including pulp (top), onion skin dye with celery, bay and ivy leaves wrapped in cheese cloth (middle two), turmeric dye with rice wrapped in cheese cloth (bottom).

The longer the eggs stay in the dye, the deeper the color will be; leaving the eggs in the dye for several hours or overnight (in the refrigerator) is recommended for achieving deep colors. Allow the liquid and eggs to cool before refrigerating and ensure that the eggs are completely submerged in the dye. Eggs will be speckled if the dye matter remains in the liquid. For more uniform colors, remove the dye matter from the liquid, by straining the liquid through a coffee filter, before refrigerating.

Egg flavor

The flavor of the egg may change based on the dye, so if you plan to eat your dyed eggs, a shorter dye bath and fresh ingredients may be preferable.

Drying

Make a drying rack by cutting the bottom off an egg carton and turning it upside down.

Decorating

  • Wrap onion skins around eggs, then wrap the entire egg with a cheese cloth square and secure it with string before placing the eggs in the dye.
  • Wrap string or rubber bands around eggs before dyeing to create stripes (use rubber bands for cold dyeing only).
  • Draw designs on hot, warm or cold hard-boiled eggs with crayons. When using hot or warm eggs, the crayon may melt slightly on contact with the egg (if eggs are hot, hold eggs with a potholder or rag to prevent finger burns). Crayon covered eggs should only be dyed in cold dyes as the crayon wax will melt in hot liquids.
  • Gently wipe dry dyed eggs with vegetable oil to give eggs an added sheen.

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.