Sunday, 18 January 2009

Last night we were visiting friends about three quarters of an hour away from here... they're scout leaders and had invited Frank to talk to their youth in the evening. Great time together, but what really encouraged me was that when we were at their place in the afternoon, his wife told me about a talk she had been to where a woman was sharing from a book which she had read by someone in government.
It said that the German government is warning people of hard times to come, and that they should start preparing for them by storing rations, food, grow their own vegetables, even have a bag prepared with emergency items in case one has to leave home suddenly ... (one wonders why...)
Anyway, since I've been hearing similar things on the US alternative news grapeline, this only confirmed my own mind in wanting to become self-sufficient.
My friend is going to find out about the book and tell me so I can read it myself. She told me about her parents' upbringing in Romania and how they produced everything themselves. It was brilliant. She then took me over to her sister-in-law's house, where they had made Sauerkraut last year, (they do it every year) and showed me the cellar there.
There was this enormous green plastic barrel with a little tap at the bottom, (not so sure about the plastic - but there you go) which they'd bought from the local DIY store, over-half-filled with liquid with herbs and bits of horseradish root, floating around on top. A huge stone was keeping some untreated planks of wood held down under the surface of the liquid, and under the planks were the cabbages. Whole, with their cores cut out, into which they'd then poured the salt, packed the cabbages into the barrel, filled it up with water, herbs and spices, and then once the liquid had begun to ferment, it was tapped out and poured on top over again a number of times.

On the shelves of the cellar were lots of large glass jars filled with pickled gerkins, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, preserves of all sorts. Tomato sauce, aubergine, pepper and tomato spread, honey from their own bees, jams.
Amazing.
I've made our own jams, jellies and chutneys (see above) for a long time and we rarely buy our own. (The picture on the right is of our own Elderflower syrup, which Hannah helped me make last year.) I've never thought much of it - have done it for fun, rather than as a necessity, probably because my mother did it, but apart from making piccallili once, I've never been a great one for preserving vegetables. But this has really inspired me. I'm even thinking of preserving meat. Chickens, from the local farm. The confit method sounds scrummy. I like the idea of potted meat too, as well as salting - it's called 'Pökelfleisch' here - I love the sound of that.
I think I'll ask for books on preserving veg, meat, and making my own cheese, for future birthdays.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

This sounds such fun! I wish I could be there! We'll have to so loads together in March!!
Love you loads!
Hannah xxx