Harvest craziness …

Harvest craziness …

I’ve been in a frenzy of food preservation here at LivingSmall. Saturday I pulled and washed and cut and blanched and drained two six-gallon trash cans full of endive. I then wrapped the blanched endive in towels to squeeze out the water and sealed it in bags using my vaccuum sealer and froze them for later this winter.

I also shredded the outer leaves that looked okay but not really nice enough to put up for winter and I’m experimenting with making sauerkraut from them — we’ll see how it works out. Right now, it looks like wet salty leaves in the bottom of a pot. But it seemed a waste to compost them when there’s a chance they might be good  — and somehow, along with my frenzy of food preservation I’ve become Enamored of Fermentation.

Maybe it was Ruhlman’s Charcuterie, which I bought with the proceeds of a huge box of books I sold to Powells using their fabulous online book-buying service.  I gave this to the Mighty Hunter last year for Christmas, and while I’m sure I could have borrowed it, I wanted a copy for my own. I’m currently overcome with the desire to make a pancetta — I need to call my local butcher tomorrow and order a pork belly.

Order a pork belly? What has come over me? Sauerkraut? Home-cured meats? I may also call my local source of raw milk and order some — she only sells it by the gallon but I figure I could make some yogurt that would be delicious, and Barbara Kingsolver has a whole section in Animal Vegetable Miracle about how easy it is to make one’s own mozzarella.

Make my own cheese? Again, something has come over me — one of my periodic Little House on the Prairie phases  — but I love the idea of knowing how to make basic food stuffs. I love the idea of knowing how to put things by, and I’m always convinced that home made is better than what you can buy in the store.

Of course it could also be plain old writerly procrastination. I’m up against some difficult material in the book I’m writing — so what better solution than to cure my own pancetta! make my own cheese!

4 thoughts on “Harvest craziness …

  1. Well, since the Man Himself has spoken — I guess we’ll all be watching my pancetta experiment. I’ll have to call Matt’s tomorrow and order a pork belly (they’re closed on Mondays). The adventure begins …

  2. Delurking to say that I’m loving your site, and am duly impressed that you’re on the verge of making pancetta! I’m toying with the idea of fresh mozzarella, but have yet to track down a source of raw milk here in Ohio. Illegal and all that. Boo hiss. And I’m doubly crazy for even considering it when I work full time and still have a metric ton of food stuffs to put up for the winter. But ah, the beck and call of a well-stocked pantry and handmade foodstuffs. I could lose myself in the process, if only my family would give me the opportunity.

    anyhoo…good luck getting through the hard stuff in the book you’re working on. Your novel is next on my list, and meanwhile, I thoroughly enjoy your voice here on LivingSmall.

  3. Hi Kelly — thanks for delurking — and don’t be too impressed — the pancetta looks like one of the easier recipes in the book — it’s not a dried salame that would require me to come up with some sort of humidity-controlled drying room or anything. And if the pancetta is anywhere near as good as the Pate Campagne I made last spring, then I’m going to be a happy girl all winter. (Plus, I’m a little tired of paying nine bucks a pound for something that doesn’t look that hard).

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