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!