Monday, February 15, 2010

Preserving Turnips

As we embark on the third week of turnips in your CSA share, I thought I would share some interesting methods of preservation in case you are turnipped-out for the time being. All of these ideas come from a wonderful book Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning, by the Gardeners and Farmers of Terre Vivant.

Lacto-fermented Turnips

• Turnips
• Salt (kosher or other non-iodized)
• Filtered water (with a brita is fine, or boiled and let sit to dissolve the chlorine)
• Clean glass jar with a lid (cleaned with vinegar to sterilize)
Slice or dice turnips. Place in jar and pack down with clean hand. Add salt brine made with two tablespoons of salt to one quart of water. Place lid on jar loosely, so air can escape (otherwise mixture can explode). Pack down mixture with hand each day to keep turnips below waters surface; if a mold forms on the surface, simply scrape off with a spoon. Turnips are done when they have reached desired sourness. Can keep in a refridgerator indefinitely, or in a cool basement for several months.
(note: can be made with any combination of root vegetables, including radishes, kohlrabi, beets, etc.)

Vegetables Preserved in Oil

Ingredients and Supplies:
• Fresh young vegetables, including turnips and can also include zucchini, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.
• Fresh herbs (oregano, bay leaves, tarragon, etc.)
• Dill seeds, coriander seeds, and juniper seeds, if desired
• Vinegar
• Salt
• Oil
• Enamel or stainless steel saucepan
• Canning jars and lids
Slice the vegetables in ¼-inch rounds, or dice. Chop and mix the herbs and seeds
Pour enough vinegar into the saucepan to cover the vegetables. Heat the vinegar until it just starts to boil. Immerse the vegetables in the boiling vinegar for one to three minutes, simmering gently.
Drain quickly, and place vegetables into jars, alternating with the herb-seed mixture and a pinch of coarse (non-iodized) salt. Do not pack jars too tightly. Pour oil over vegetables, covering with a layer ¼ to ½ inch thick, but allowing 1 and ½ inches air space below the jar’s rim. Seal with a screw-on lid and store in a cool place (50-59 degrees F). The vegetables will be ready in one or two months and will keep for about a year.

String-dried Turnips

Ingredients and Supplies:
• Turnips
• Cotton thread or kitchen string
• Pie tin or cookie sheet
• Airtight box
Cut turnips into 1/8-inch-thick slices. String them on string, leaving space between slices. Hang the strings in a dry place and let dry for one or two weeks, depending on room’s humidity.
Once turnips are very dry, unstring them and put them in a single layer on the pie tin or cookie sheet. Place the sheet in an oven on very low temperature (140 degrees F) for five minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight box. May keep for several years!
Turnips preserved this way are very good for soup.

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