Country Traditions

January 16, 2011

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores

Filed under: canning, family, gardening, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:23 am
Balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar
Image via Wikipedia

Back in November, at�the height of apple season, I decided to try making vinegar as a way to use up all the apple cores and peels that were left over from making dried apples. I thought I’d wait to see how the vinegar turned out before sharing the recipe. It finally appears to be as close to vinegar as it’s going to get, so here’s the story.

The recipe I used was from an old cookbook my mother picked up at a garage sale years and years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve just got some photocopied recipes from it now, so I’m not sure what the title of the original book was. I think it was probably the White House Cookbook, circa the 1890s. We had a copy of that one along with a few others from the same era, and I spent many an hour as a little girl happily reading through recipes for horehound cough drops and walnut catsup, instructions for cleaning lace, and five-course breakfast menus. What a different world – but still one I could somehow imagine myself in. Occasionally, my mother and I would try out a recipe or two. We even found our favorite Christmas cake recipe – a dense mace-scented white cake studded with hazelnuts and raisins – in one of the old books (they really knew how to bake back then).

via Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores.

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November 2, 2010

Sauces, Salad Dressings: Herb Vinegar Recipe

Filed under: decorating, family, farming, gardening, herbs, recipes, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 1:13 pm
Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the simplest recipes for using herbs is this 19th-century hint for making flavored vinegar: Pour plain vinegar over herbs in a bottle and let it sit for a month in the sun. What could be easier?

See more about homemade vinegars in our “Great Gifts from the Kitchen” article.

1 cup fresh herbs (basil, tarragon or thyme, for example)

1 quart vinegar

Place herbs in a clean quart jar. Heat vinegar just to the boiling point and pour it over the herbs, filling the jar to the top. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for at least three weeks for the fullest flavor. Strain the vinegar into 2 pint bottles and add a fresh sprig of the herb. (Use decorative bottles if you’re planning to give these as gifts.)

You can use a single herb in plain white vinegar, or try a medley of herbs in other vinegars. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but feel free to experiment and invent your own blends:

–white vinegar with tarragon leaves, basil leaves, and peeled shallots

–sherry vinegar with fresh rosemary leaves, minced horseradish, or chopped dried chilies

red wine vinegar with sage, parsley, and shallots

via Sauces, Salad Dressings: Herb Vinegar Recipe.

via Sauces, Salad Dressings: Herb Vinegar Recipe.

October 12, 2010

How to make mustard at home | Life and style | guardian.co.uk

Filed under: herbs, recipes, Vinegar — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:32 am
Close-up picture of mustard seeds

Image via Wikipedia Mustard seeds

This is a sieve (also known as a strainer).

Image via Wikipedia

How to make mustard at home | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

via How to make mustard at home | Life and style | guardian.co.uk
For our ancestors, making mustard in the home was very much a labour of love, despite Hannah Woolley‘s simple-sounding instructions: “Dry well your seed, then beat it little by little at a time in a Mortar, and sift it, then put the powder in a Gally Pot [a small earthenware pot], and wet it with vinegar very well, then put in a whole Onion pilled but not cut, a little Pepper beaten, a little Salt, and a lump of Stone sugar” (The Queen-Like Closet, 1670). Even with a quern (a pair of stones, one convex, the other concave, between which mustard seed was easily crushed, the “flour” being pushed up the sides) rather than a mortar in the kitchen, this required patience, time and a strong wrist. The sifting especially was problematical – you really did have to grind the seed very fine to be able to sieve it satisfactorily.

The Mustard Book
by Rosamund Man and Robin Weir

Buy it from the Guardian bookshop
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That magic innovation, the food processor, would have been a prized possession: with this, making mustard is easy. What you cannot do is grind the dry seed in the food processor. There is insufficient friction – they bounce around and ultimately change the container from transparent to opaque (sadly, proven … ). So always soak the seed first, for at least 24-36 hours, checking from time to time to see if more liquid is needed to immerse the seed completely. Absorption capacity varies enormously depending on the age of the mustard seed – the longer it has been stored, the drier it will be. Never seal the jar when soaking mustard seed. It expands beyond belief and if sealed may well explode!

Vinegar is the age-old recommended liquid – and it will produce a milder mustard because the (dried) ground seeds release an enzyme (allyl senevol), some of which is dissipated in the soaking. If, however, further vinegar is used in the mixing, then the mustard can become quite pungent: again variation is enormous depending to a great extent on the vinegar used. Grape juice, ‘must’ (for the wine makers who wish to experiment with mustard) and water can also be used for the soaking, though water alone we found gives a rather bland flavour. It is more usual to add water as a ‘mixer’ to dilute a strong vinegar, despite John Evelyn’s recommendation for ‘water only, or the Broth of powder’d Beef ‘ to be added to the ‘stamp’d’ seed. However, he then also added ‘verjuice, Sugar, Claretwine and Juice of Limon’, thereby supplying flavour to this ‘excellent sauce to any sort of Flesh or Fish’.

Removing mustard husks. Photograph: Grub Street
Once the seed is well soaked, it will break up quickly in the food processor – always use the metal blade. It then only remains to remove the husks (in Dijon, these are fed to the pigs: in a Bordeaux mustard, some of the crushed hulls are left in the mustard). This is a simple, although fairly time-consuming, procedure – and, like tying one’s shoelaces, far easier to do than describe (see illustration, above). You will need a plastic spatula with a curved blade, and two conical sieves, both preferably metal; certainly, the final sieving must be through a metal sieve as the mesh has to be extremely fine and large nylon sieves are too coarse in texture.

Rotating the spatula with the tip in the palm of your hand, “wind” it round and round the sieve, the curved part of the blade forcing the mustard paste through the mesh, the husks remaining behind. The process is repeated using a second, finer sieve to obtain a completely husk-free mustard, though it may occasionally be necessary to dilute the paste a little if it is too thick to sieve easily. Resist the temptation to dilute it too much, though, or you’ll have a liquid on your hands. Home-made mustard does tend to be a little thinner than the commercially made product, since the centrifuges can remove all the husks with greater ease.

Your mustard is now ready for spicing. Here is where the fun begins, but do have some yoghurt at hand when tasting, also plain water biscuits and/or Cheddar cheese to give a bland background. Remember too Eliza Acton’s advice. She was talking of the making of forcemeats but it applies equally well to the making of mustards and is as relevant now as in 1845: “No particular herb or spice should be allowed to predominate powerfully in these compositions, but the whole of the seasonings should be taken in such quantity only as will produce an agreeable savour when they are blended together” (Modern Cookery for Private Families).

• This extract is taken from The Mustard Book by Rosamund Man and Robin Weir (Grub Steet, £16.99)

September 17, 2010

Don't Forget Vinegar

Filed under: curing meat, dehydrating, freezing food, herbs, home remedies, laundry, poison ivy, recipes, Vinegar — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 3:22 pm
Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Bring a solution of one-cup vinegar and four tablespoons baking soda to a oil in teapots and coffeepots to rid them of mineral deposits.
  • A solution of vinegar and baking soda will easily remove cooking oil from your stovetop.
  • Clean the filter on your humidifier by removing it and soaking it in a pan of white vinegar until all the sediment is off.
  • Vinegar naturally breaks down uric acid and soapy residue, leaving baby clothes and diapers soft and fresh. Add a cup f vinegar to each load during the rinse cycle.
  • Saturate a cloth with vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda, and then use it to clean fiberglass tubs and showers. Rinse well and rub dry for a spotless shine.
  • To remove chewing gum, rub it with full-strength vinegar.
  • For a clean oven, combine vinegar and baking soda, then scrub.
  • Clean and deodorize your toilet bowl by pouring undiluted white vinegar into it. Let stand for five minutes, then flush. Spray stubborn stains with white vinegar, then scrub vigorously.
  • Clean windows with a cloth dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and ten parts warm water. This works for dirty TV screens, too!
  • For brunettes, rinsing hair with vinegar after a shampoo makes hair shinier. Use one-tablespoon vinegar to one-cup warm water.
  • Soak paint stains in hot vinegar to remove them.
  • To clean drip coffeemakers, fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly by brewing two cycles with water before using.
  • To remove bumper stickers from car chrome, paint on vinegar and let it soak in. Next, scrape off the stickers. Decals can be removed similarly.
  • Rid your refrigerator and freezer of bad odors by cleaning the insides with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, then wiping dry.
  • Apply full strength vinegar to mosquito or other insect bites to relieve the itching. (Caution: Do not do this if the affected area is raw.)
  • White vinegar takes salt and water stains off leather boots and shoes. Wipe over the stained area only, and then polish.
  • To remove smoke odors on clothes, hang them above a steaming bathtub filled with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.
  • To prevent mildew, wipe down surfaces with vinegar.
  • Place a vinegar-soaked brown bag on sprains to ease pain and aid recovery.
  • Use a sponge dampened with vinegar to clean shower curtains.
  • To remove salt stains from winter boots, rub with a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup water.
  • To loosen a stuck jar lid, hold the jar upside down and pour warm vinegar around the neck at the joint between the glass and the top.
  • Rub cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects.
  • Clean windows with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts warm water.

September 16, 2010

Making Buttermilk

Filed under: Churning butter, farming, making cheese, recipes, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:46 pm

How to make buttermilk with easy instructions and some recipes for homemade buttermilk.

Buttermilk is a by-product that you get when learning how to make butter. However, when you examine it carefully, it is nowhere near the thick white buttermilk that you can buy from the local store. This is because this buttermilk has had a culture added to it, and it is much thicker than what is left behind after making butter.

However, once you start making your own buttermilk at home, you will realize that what you have made is nothing like the store-bought product either! Instead you will have a far better product that is rich in taste and far superior to what you can buy.

STEP 1: HOW TO MAKE BUTTERMILK – BRING MILK TO ROOM TEMPERATURE

Take your whole milk out that you have bought from the store, or, if you are lucky enough, your own raw milk, and let it sit on the counter in your kitchen for an hour or two. This will bring the milk to room temperature, before the next stage.

STEP 2: HOW TO MAKE BUTTERMILK – ADD THE CULTURE

Take 1 cup of the milk and add either 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, or 1 tablespoon of white vinegar,or 2 tablespoons cream of tarter. Stir through well and leave for 15 minutes or so, until the milk starts to curdle.

STEP 3: HOW TO MAKE BUTTERMILK – BOTTLE AND REFRIGERATE!

Either use straightaway, stirring before drinking, or bottle and place in the fridge. Your buttermilk will keep for a week.

http://www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/how-to-make-buttermilk.html

September 13, 2010

Uses For Vinegar

Filed under: Vinegar — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 12:50 am
Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...

Image via Wikipedia

CLEANING: To shine chrome sink fixtures that have a lime buildup, use a paste made of 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar.

Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture.

Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Clean and deodorize a drain by pouring in 1 cup baking soda, then one cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let this sit for 5 minutes or so, then run hot water down the drain.

Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the disposal.

Deodorize and clean the garbage disposal with white distilled vinegar ice cubes. Make them by freezing full-strength white distilled vinegar in an ice cube tray. Run several cubes down the disposal while flushing with cold water.

Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.

Clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar.

Cut the grime on the top of the refrigerator with a paper towel or cloth and full-strength white distilled vinegar.

Avoid the bad smell when you heat up a newly cleaned oven by using a sponge soaked in diluted white distilled vinegar for the final rinse.

To clean a grease splattered oven door window, saturate it with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Keep the door open for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a sponge.

Remove soap buildup and odors from the dishwasher
by pouring a cup of white distilled vinegar inside the empty machine and running it through a whole cycle. Do monthly.

To prevent good glassware from getting etched by minerals
, wash then spray with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Give the glasses a hot water rinse before letting them dry or drying them with a towel.

HEALTH: Stop insect stings and bites from itching by dabbing them with a cotton ball saturated with undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Soothe sunburn with a spray of white distilled vinegar, repeating as often as you like. Ice-cold white distilled vinegar will feel even better, and may prevent blistering and peeling.

For cuts and scrapes, use white distilled vinegar as an antiseptic.

Get rid of foot odor by washing feet well with antiseptic soap daily, then soaking them in undiluted cider vinegar for 10 minutes or so. Remember that cotton socks aid odor control more effectively than wool ones.

Clean a hairbrush by soaking in a white distilled vinegar solution.

Tone facial skin with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water.

If commercial aftershaves cause rashes and itching, try using undiluted white distilled vinegar as an aftershave lotion.

Lighten body freckles (not facial freckles) by rubbing on full-strength white distilled vinegar.

Eliminate bad breath and whiten your teeth by brushing them once or twice a week with white distilled vinegar.

Make nail polish last longer. Wipe fingernails with cotton balls dipped in white distilled vinegar before putting on nail polish.

GARDEN: Kill weeds and grass growing in unwanted places by pouring full-strength white distilled vinegar on them. This works especially well in crevices and cracks of walkways and driveways.

Give acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and gardenias a little help by watering them with a white distilled vinegar solution now and again. A cup of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of tap water is a good mixture.

Stop ants from congregating by pouring white distilled vinegar on the area.

Discourage cats from getting into the kids’ sandbox with white distilled vinegar.

Preserve cut flowers and liven droopy ones by adding 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar to a quart of water in a vase.

Get rid of the water line in a flower vase by filling it with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar, or by soaking a paper towel in white distilled vinegar and stuffing it into the vase so that it is in contact with the water line.

Clean out stains and white mineral crusts in clay, glazed and plastic pots by soaking them for an hour or longer in a sink filled with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar.

Remove crusty rim deposits on house planters or attached saucers by soaking them for several hours in an inch of full-strength white distilled vinegar.

Clean a birdbath by scrubbing it often with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse well.

Get rid of rust on spigots, tools, screws or bolts by soaking the items overnight or for several days in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Neutralize garden lime by adding white distilled vinegar to the area.

Avoid skin problems after working in the garden by rinsing your hands in white distilled vinegar.

Increase the acidity of soil by adding white distilled vinegar to your watering can.

Eliminate anthills by pouring in white distilled vinegar.

Cure a cement pond before adding fish and plants by adding one gallon of white distilled vinegar to every 200 gallons of water. Let sit three days. Empty and rinse thoroughly.

Sanitize outdoor furniture and picnic tables with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar.

Kill slugs by spraying them with a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part white distilled vinegar.

To catch moths use a mixture of 2 parts white distilled vinegar and 1 part molasses. Place mixture in tin can and hang in a tree.

Keep rabbits from eating your plants. Put cotton balls soaked in white distilled vinegar in a 35mm film container. Poke a hole in the top and place in the garden.

Remove berry stains on your hands by rubbing them with white distilled vinegar.

Clean plastic patio furniture with a solution of 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of water.

Wash fresh vegetables with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar in 1 ½ quarts of water.

When cleaning an outdoor fountain, soak the pump in white distilled vinegar to remove any mineral deposits.

Clean a hummingbird feeder with white distilled vinegar—soap or detergent can leave behind harmful residue.

Remove mold from terra cotta pots by soaking in a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar, 1 cup chlorine bleach, and 1 gallon of warm water before scrubbing with a steel wool pad.

COOKING: To make basic vinaigrette salad dressing use 1 part white distilled vinegar to 4 parts oil.

Make creamy vinaigrette by adding some plain or whipped cream to a mixture of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts oil.

Tenderize meat with white distilled vinegar. Use it in marinades or when slow cooking any tough, inexpensive cuts of meat.

When poaching eggs, add a little white distilled vinegar to the water. The whites stay better formed.

For extra tenderness with boiling ribs or stew meat add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar.

To add a zesty new taste to fresh fruits such as pears, cantaloupe, honeydew, or others, add a splash of rice or balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately to prevent the fruit from becoming mushy.

Freshen wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water containing a spoonful or two of white distilled vinegar.

When boiling or steaming cauliflower, beets or other vegetables, add a teaspoon or two of white distilled vinegar to the water to help them keep their color. This will also improve their taste, and reduce gassy elements. This also works when cooking beans and bean dishes.

Make pasta less sticky and reduce some of its starch. Add just a dash of white distilled vinegar to the water as it cooks.

Give some extra zest to your white sauce by adding 1/2 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar.

Try cider or malt white distilled vinegar instead of ketchup with french fries—that’s how the British like to eat them. Either one is also great on fish or any fried or broiled meat.

Remove kitchen odors that come from burnt pots or when cooking certain foods by boiling a small amount of water with 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar so that the steam circulates throughout the room.

Make onion odors disappear from your hands by rubbing with white distilled vinegar.

Add moistness and taste to any chocolate cake—homemade or from a box—with a spoonful of white distilled vinegar.

To keep frosting from sugaring add a drop of white distilled vinegar. It will also help keep white frosting white and shiny.

Make perfect, fluffy meringue by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for every 3 to 4 egg whites used.

Perk up any can of soup or sauce with a teaspoon of red or white wine vinegar.

Eliminate the greasy taste in food cooked in a deep fryer by adding a dash of white distilled vinegar.

If you’ve added too much salt to a recipe, add a spoonful of white distilled vinegar and sugar to try correcting the taste.

Keep molded gelatin desserts and salads from sagging or melting in the summer heat by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for each box of gelatin used.

When making tuna salad add a dash of any herb-flavored white distilled vinegar.

Turn out great rice by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water.

To make the perfect picnic potato salad dressing combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Olives or pimentos covered with white distilled vinegar can be kept almost indefinitely if refrigerated.

To keep eggs from cracking when boiling add a tablespoon or two of white distilled vinegar to water.

http://www.vinegartips.com/Scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=5

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