Archive for the 'Food Preserving' Category

Dried Persimmons — hoshi gaki

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

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Persimmons are mystery for some people. Growing up eating the Hachiya variety (only to learn that’s what it is called in English, last year) I discovered the Fuyu variety rather late. This variety can be eaten before it has to get very soft, ripe, so it makes it easy to store. If you have access to astringent hachiyas, try putting them in a brown bag with an apple, and will get ripe in no time. The same trick can be used to ripen kiwis—which we successfuly applied this summer after picking the kiwis at my parents’ house.

The dried persimmons are a new addition to my “persimmon discoveries” as well. It started with a colleague of mine to tell me about a family owning an orchard just a few miles away from where I live. Once I was there, to buy some in season produce, I saw some orange mini-globes hanging from string on a nice wooden structure. Chatting with the owner, he told me that they are drying persimmons. Interesting idea. Well, this was 2 or 3 years ago. Finally, last time I was there, to buy the fresh persimmons, I bought a small pack of dried ones to try out. The result: heavenly.  Kind of resembles dates.
Btw, I also learned that hoshi gaki is the proper name for these jewels in Japanese.

Check out the drying process and how much it is involved.  What is amazing is that they start with unripe persimmon—which is very astringent (you should not even try eating!) and end up with such a sweet product.  At the end of the article, they list growers who’s ship far away, if you decide it is something you should taste at least once. I suggest you do.

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Hot Pepper Sauce/Dip

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Hot Pepper Sauce

At the end of the summer, when I took down our summer garden, there were lots of green/red hot
peppers to be used as well as green tomatoes.  Putting the tomatoes by the windowsill always works for me: some get red earlier than others, helping me catch up by my tomatoe consumption.  This time, I used about a pound of the tomatoes for this recipe and next year I’ll make sure to make more. The recipe below was given to me by my mother who tried at someone’s house.  You can go ahead and eyeball the amounts, but try to keep the ratio ;)

  • 2 lbs hot green/red peppers (any kind would do)

  • 2 lbs red tomatoes (prefer roma tomatoes)

  • 1/2 cup white vine vinegar (5% acidity)

  • garlic cloves, loosely fill up 1/2+ cup

  • a pinch of salt

Put all the ingredients in a blender.  Give it a good mix to make sure all chopped well. Divide into strelized jars, top with a bit of olive oil, put in fridge.  Wait about a week – 10 days, and use when you feel like a hot sauce.  Goes well with chicken, beef and could also be used base of dishes.

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