Traditional Ways

I am attracted to the old way of doing things. This fascination can make me come across as very house-wifey, but I promise you I’m not. I just think it`s important to know how to do these things because you never know, right?

That said, I know how to make a decent chicken broth from scratch, but that doesn’t mean I do it on a regular basis. I also know how to alter clothing, but I hate doing do it. I’d much rather build a whole new outfit from scratch. I know how to knit by hand, but my machine is so much faster. The way I see it is that if you know the hard way to do things, then you’ll have more appreciation for the easy way. And it’s always good to have options.

Old techniques are a bit of a hobby for me – I don’t seriously think we’ll ever be completely off the grid, but every little bit helps. Awhile back, I picked up a book about preserving food without freezing. I was already familiar with a large portion of the book: canning and dehydration. However, I don’t have a root cellar (yet) and I’d never tried to ferment anything. The book had a recipe for fermented lettuce that promised to be a lovely garnish for salads and soups. I happened to have a massive crop of lettuce. So away I went, picking, cleaning and chopping piles of lettuce. Then I salted and packed it into two litre-sized mason jars. Within a week, it had reduced to about half the volume of each jar. Within another week, a white scummy layer had formed. A year later, I finally threw them out without ever having tried it.

My experiments don’t always work. But you have to keep trying because the successes make up for the failures. Like this one:

Beef Jerky

Medium-sized roast, sliced 1/8” thick and 1” wide (or use several marinating steaks), fat trimmed off
½ cup red wine
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. Montreal steak spice
3 cloves garlic, minced

Slice the meat across the grain into strips 1/8” thick and 1” wide. Make sure to trim off all the fat so the jerky keeps longer. Mix together the red wine, Worcestershire sauce, steak spice and garlic. Pour over beef slices and marinate in the fridge up to 3 days, stirring occasionally. Arrange strips in a single layer on dehydrator trays and dehydrate for 8-12 hours. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

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