I have never preserved cherry tomatoes in spiced vinegar before so this year is a bit of an experiment. I filled sterilised kilner jars with tiny, freshly picked tomatoes which I pricked with a wooden cocktail stick. I added basil leaves, lemon zest and black peppercorns. Then I covered them with hot spiced vinegar. I push the tomatoes down with the handle of a wooden spoon to get rid of air pockets and made sure the top ones were well covered with vinegar. Then I covered them with a wax disc and sealed the jars at once. I used new seals on the kilner jars. .
To spice the vinegar I brought distilled, clear white vinegar and a little clear apple juice to the boil, took it off the heat and infused it with a bag of mixed spice; cloves, black pepper corns, dried chilli, coriander seed, allspice berries; you can make your own mix. But one thing I have discovered is if you boil the vinegar with the spices it will go cloudy and spoil the tomatoes. So I let it cool, take out the spice bag, reheat and pour over the tomatoes.
Of course as summer fades into Autumn I have masses of Tomatillos left and the weather is too cold for salsa now so Chutney seems the best answer.
I chop up apples and onions. Halve the large tomatoes and tomatillos, leave the little ones whole. I use all the tomatoes left in the greenhouse, red and green. After chopping and weighing everything, it all goes into a big preserving pan, with about 250 grams of sugar to 3 kilos of fruit , a tablespoon of salt and some spices. I use cloves, fresh ginger, allspice, mustard seed and chilli, and this time I even added a piece of star anise. I give the pot a good stir then add 1pint of white wine vinegar. I let it all simmer gently, stirring occasionally till the liquid is reduced and it has become a thick, rich golden mass. I let it cool a little, then pot into clean warm jars, cover with wax circles and jam covers and put away for the winter months ahead.
Off course you can leave out the tomatillos!
Living as we do in a place much favoured by holiday makers we often have too many eggs in winterout of the holiday season. Come the tourist season we or rather the hens can’t produce enough. So now is the time for me to put down a supply of pickled eggs for those summer salads and pickled fish dishes.
First I make the spiced vinegar. Two pints or just over a litre will cover about a dozen eggs depending on their size. Simmer white wine vinegar with a piece of crushed root ginger and twenty or so black peppercorns. Allow to cool.
Hard boil the eggs. This is the only time when it is easier to shell the eggs if they are a few days old, so difficult to keep the white in tact when the egg is very fresh. Put the peeled eggs in wide necked jars, Kilner jars are ideal. Push a piece of chilli and a strip of lemon zest taken off the lemon with a potato peeler into each jar. I add a couple of garlic cloves too. Then completely cover the eggs with the vinegar and fill the jars to the neck. Put the tops on the jars and screw shut tightly. The eggs will be ready in four or five weeks and will keep unopened for months. Having a warm kitchen, I am doubly careful and store my jars at the back of the fridge.
It never ceases to surprise me how simple it is to pickle vegetables. The real trick as with all food is to use really fresh produce; young fresh vegetables, good quality white wine or cider vinegar. Buy freshly prepared >strong>spices, not ones that have been sitting on the shelf since last year!. A really good airtight seal on all jars is also essential..
Continue Reading »
Living as we do in a place much favoured by holiday makers we often have too many eggs at this time of year. Come the tourist season we or rather the hens can’t produce enough. So now is the time for me to put down a supply of pickled eggs for those summer salads and pickled fish dishes.
Continue Reading »