The last couple days have been a bit of “purge” days for me. After a long work weekend – and an empty belly - I looked in my full fridge, to only find ingredients, but nothing ready to eat. Bread was down to the last piece + heel, and yogurt down to my last 1/2 cup. Clearly, I had work to do – Time for some preserving – or as I like to say, “putting up”!
I had a beautiful bunch of beets in the crisper – no longer looking too crisp. What to do with them…. My original plan was to make a roasted beet salad with goat cheese, but being that it is just Em and I this week, I knew there would be way too much left over. Solution? 2 beautiful jars of Ginger Beet Pickles. Yes, it was a bit of work for only 2 jars, but I am the only one that will eat them in the house. Score! :) I washed up the beet greens and hope to make some pesto with them tomorrow…
I also had a gorgeous bowl of plums from our friends that I had been trying to make a dent in – but the bowl still appears full. I still had a bit of Roasted Plum butter from last year, so I needed to come up with another solution. I ended up (sans recipe) concocting a Plummy Lavender Balsamic sauce. Here was my method – I apologize for the lack of technicality. I really did just toss everything together….
Plummy Lavender Balsamic Sauce
In a baking dish, I combine a mess of plums, halved, pits removed and skins left on (maybe about 20 little plums), sugar to coat, a squeeze of lemon juice, half a cinnamon stick, and a generous glug or two of Lavender Balsamic Vinegar. **I have seen Lavender balsamic vinegar in many tasting rooms, but the one I like to use is from Drizzle Tasting Room in Bellingham, WA – you can get it online here.
I stuck the dish, uncovered, in an oven at 275 degrees and let it roast away for oh, 3 or 4 hours – until it has reduced by almost half and the flavors have started to meld nicely. I ended up adding a touch of honey late in the game, just because it need a LITTLE more sweetness.
When it is done to your liking, pull out and allow to cool slightly. Use this time to prepare your water bath canner and jars – I used 6 oz jelly jars for mine. Use an immersion blender right in your baking dish to make everything beautiful and silky, then pack into your jars. I processed mine in the water bath canner for 10 minutes – they sealed beautifully.
I ended up with only 2 1/2 jars (sensing a trend here), but I think a little will go a long way. I am hoping to try some out on my vanilla ice cream tonight!
Yogurt was also on the list to be done. I use a crockpot method that is really as easy as it gets. The base recipe I use is from Shaye at The Elliott Homestead – she just put out an AMAZING cookbook that really has been my go-to the last couple weeks. You can find it here. ANYHOW, I started it late Sunday night, so by mid-day Monday, it was ready to go. I usually pop it in the fridge overnight after making it, then strain it the next day to make it a bit firmer. The added bonus is, I get the leftover whey that drips off the yogurt to use for even MORE goodies! Last week I used it to make blueberry pom lacto-fermented soda (BIG hit with Emma) and will make bread with it today. Yay! Now, this is a plain yogurt, but I use raw cow milk to make mine, which lends a perfect amount of sweetness to it – I usually add a touch of honey to mine when I dish it out, but hubs and kiddos like honey, fruit, and granola in theirs..
Last thing I needed to deal with was a bag of lemons – about 5 or 6. I had always wanted to make preserved lemons for cooking with, so tossed those into a jar with salt, lemon juice, a cinnamon stick, and about 5 peppercorns - I expect to be staring at those on the counter for the next couple weeks until I can start using them. So beautiful! Anxious to dig in, though!
My fridge is looking a bit more under control now – time to go to the store and fill it back up, right?
On the list today? Need to put my strained yogurt into jars, so they will be ready for the week. My bread dough has been started, and I just noticed I have a batch of kombucha waiting to be bottled. Goal? To be done with it in the next couple hours so I can attack the garden and chicken coop today!