By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Another approach to herbal preservation is through the creation of condiments.
This type of preservation creates jellies, sauces, oils, vinegars, and butters that enhance dishes when added after cooking.
Making a Jelly
Mint jelly is a traditional way of preserving mint. This process may seem to be more trouble then it is worth but I promise nothing makes a lamb dish stand out like mint jelly.
- 3 lbs cooking apples
- 2-Â½ pints water
- Small bunch of fresh mint
- Handful chopped fresh mint
- Green food coloring-optional
- Muslin bag
- Glass jars
- Canning wax
1. Wash apples. Do not core or peel them.
2. Quarter apples and place in saucepan.
3. Cover with water and add the bunch of mint.
4. Cook until apples are mushy.
5. Pour mixture into muslin bag and strain into a bowl overnight.
6. Once the apple mixture has strained measure the juice in the bow. One needs to add 1 pound of sugar per 1 pint of juice.
7. Place juice/sugar mixture into a saucepan and stir until sugar dissolves. Add chopped mint and food coloring at this stage also.
8. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 8 minutes or until 220F is reached.
9. Remove saucepan from heat.
10. Test jelly by placing a spoon of jelly on a cold saucer. If the surface wrinkles then it is ready, if it does not boil for another minute.
11. Allow jelly to cool. Once cool place jell in clean, hot jars and cover with wax.
12. Cool completely before placing lids on. Then label and store.
Making a Sauce
Horseradish is an herb that is preserved in vinegar until ready to use for horseradish sauce.
Steps to Preserving Fresh Horseradish
1. Grate fresh horseradish.
2. Once horseradish is grated measure and finely chop half that amount of onion.
3. Heat to boiling 1 pint of wine vinegar.
4. Add horseradish, onion, and sugar. The ratio of sugar to horseradish is 1 ounce of sugar to 2 ounces horseradish.
5. Remove vinegar mixture from stove and allow to cool.
6. The horseradish will be preserved after 10 days in this mixture.
Homemade Horseradish Cream
NOTE: Only make what will be used in 2-3 days.
- 2 Tablespoons preserved horseradish
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- English mustard to taste-optional
- Â¼ pint cream
1. Mix everything together except cream.
2. Whip cream until the path of the whisk shows on the surface.
3. Fold in horseradish mixture.
4. Place in refrigerator until cold.
Preserving in Oil and Vinegars
This type of preservation is simple. This project also creates an opportunity to use those old wine bottles.
1. Collect herbs in the morning and wash.
2. Loosely fill bottles with herbs and label.
3. Fill bottles with oil or vinegar and place on a sunny windowsill or outside on a table.
4. Allow to remain in this sunny location for 2 weeks.
5. Strain oil or vinegar and return to bottle. Add a fresh sprig of herb to bottle and remember to label if giving as a gift.
Things to remember
1. If using oil use a light flavored oil.
2. Oils and vinegars can be made with the same herbs in a bottle or mix. You can create your own blend.
3. Herbs that work best for oil are basils, chives, fennel, rosemary, tarragon, marjoram, lemon verbena, and savory. Also garlic, red chilies, and lemon can be added. Herbs that work best for vinegar are the same as above but also include dill leaves, chervil, thyme, and salad burnett.
Herbal butters are impressive ways of preserving herbs for 1 month if stored in the refrigerator or frozen for more long term. The steps are simple. Just mince 2 cups of herbs of choice and mix with 1/3 cup of olive oil or butter. Use in cooking by the spoonful or place herb butter on hot bread and enjoy.
So this year try your hand at extending one’s kitchen garden by preserving some herbs. The steps are simple and the outcome will impress your culinary guests while extending your food budget and culinary skill.
Until we blog again, May the sunshine on your kitchen garden and your herbs grow as tall as weeds. May the rain bring moisture while the bees bring breeze that will carry you through winter with your homemade herbal cream.