Harvesting and Preserving Fruit
At last apple harvesting has come to an end. Our one small Golden Delicious tree produced so much fruit it was impossible for me to cope with it all. However, there is always a good side to everything and I was able to share the fruit with friends. Likewise I received some quince paste from a friend, which from her description, seems a huge task to prepare and not a job that I would be prepared to tackle. It is particularly good with brie or camembert as shown here:
I still use the method of bottling the apples in glass jars using an electric preserving pan (Fowlers Vacola). It’s quite a labor of love. I remember my grandma meticulously picking over the apples and making sure they were absolutely perfect. I wonder what she would think of my somewhat slap-dash approach which seems to work quite well. So far I have filled 35 large bottles and made various pies. I think we will be eating apples every week from now on.
My fig tree didn’t do very well this year. Even though Ken netted it, the birds still managed to get their fill. Anyway I never quite know what to do with them all. Ken doesn’t like the seeds getting under his denture plate. I know some people make fig jam but I don’t think I would use it if I made it. I did try drying some and that was quite a success but I’m not sure if all the electricity I used in the process was really worthwhile .
I noticed recently that a book has been written about bottling using a microwave method. That might be worth checking out though it is unlikely I could use my large bottles. A while ago I found a recipe for corn relish using the microwave and that turned out well so perhaps that’s the way to go for small quantities.
Making Tofu from scratch using sea water
Last Saturday I went to a tofu making demonstration given by Bruce, a master tofu maker, followed by a light lunch using the finished tofu. The process is absolutely amazing and Bruce has kindly allowed me to reproduce his method.
Now I know this isn’t for everyone but I am sure there may be some readers who will be tempted to have a go. If you don’t live in close proximity to the ocean an alternative to sea water is Nigari available from Asian and Japanese grocers. Bruce advises to use a heaped teaspoon of Nigari powder diluted in 250ml water (scale up volume as required). Do not be alarmed by the use of salt water in the process of tofu making as it is poured off with the whey and takes no part in forming the tofu curd.
The amount of sea water or Nigari you use is the same as the dry soy beans i.e. 1 cup of dry beans needs 1 cup of seawater.
First you have to make the Soy Milk:
- Soak beans fror 12 hours (possibly 300gm or more if wished)
- Mince the softened beans into a large pan of hot water at 100C
- Bring the water and ground beans back up to 100C and hold at this temperature for 20 minutes stirring to prevent burning. A trivet is useful. This destroys an enzyme called trypsin inhibiter that is bad in the human gut.
- Strain through sieve or colander. Now you have REAL SOY MILK
Making the Tofu
- Heat sea water or Nigari to 80C
- In another pan heat soy milk to 80C
- Add the milk to the sea water while gently stirring for 10 seconds.
- Stop all swirling in the pot and allow curd to form over next 6 minutes
- Ladle out the whey by pressing onto the top of the curds and whey mixture. Do this again and again until all you have is tofu. The whey can be used in bread making.
- Drape some muslin over a small squarish plastic container with drain holes then spoon the soft tofu into the mould then weigh down for 20 minutes or so. You now have tofu. Store under fresh water in fridge.
I collected some sea water today and intend to have a go myself at making the tofu tomorrow. Will advise how it goes. I have my fingers crossed!
Update on Realising your Talents (31/03/15)
Recently I wrote about how Lesley had realised her talent for painting. She has been working away at improving her art and sent me some more of her paintings. Here is one I particularly love:
Until next time warm regards to all