Wild Food Lab Projects:
Salted Fish in a Day
Wild Food Lab
Wild food can be extremely flavorful and I love using it in soup stock. The first step wtih this method is to gather and clean all your vegetables. Use organic vegetables only, store-bought vegetables may be unsuitable (wax, etc...).To make this soup stock preserved in salt, I took celery and onions as a main base, added a bit of parsley and a copious amount of chickweed and nettles.
The next step is to chop all the vegetables. Note that in my experience and after doing some extensive research, I have not found soup stock preserved in salt which used garlic. It's a bit odd but for now I will stick to the traditional ways of doing it and won't use garlic.
The principle is really very simple. You need salt and vegetables. In enough quantity, salt makes it impossible for microorganisms to grow which allows you to preserve the food. What is the ratio of salt and vegetables? Traditional recipes ask for a ratio of anywhere between 30% salt and 70% vegetables to 14% salt and 86% vegetables. I like to play it safe and use a ratio of 1 part (17%) salt and 5 parts (83%) vegetables. So the next step is to weight your vegetables and yes, you can use a digital scale!
Once you have weighted your vegetables, you need to figure out how much salt you will need. If you follow my ratio, your vegetables need to be 83% of the soup stock content. So if you have 20 ounces of vegetables, you will need 3.4 ounces of salt (17% of 20 ounces). The best salt to use is sea salt or koscher salt. Regular salt may have unecessary additives which could alter traditional recipes.
The next step is to mix the components (Vegetables and salt). Hygiene is extremely important so make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Trust me, after years of doing this preservation stuff, keeping things clean is crucial. I also share a lot of my food with people attending my classes and I want to make sure my food is safe.
After cleaning your hands thorougly, you need to mix the vegetables and salt. I do this for 20 seconds or so...
Using an electric or manual blender grind all the elements. I use one of my meat grinder (I have several and this one is used for vegetables and other wild food such as acorns, walnuts, etc...).
And this is how it looks. Do NOT discard the juice, you will need if when placing the soup stock in a jar.
Once you're done chopping all the ingredients, place them in a bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the mixture stand for around 8 hrs in the fridge (or a cool/dark place such as a cellar but I live in Southern California where it's too hot and no cellar)
After 8 hours in the fridge you will need to do one more mixing of the ingredients so guess what? Yup, 20 seconds of washing your hands with soap and water.
Mix all the ingredients one more time. As usual I do it for 20 seconds or so...
The next step is to sterilize the container in which you will place the soup stock. I use regular canning jars. To sterilize, I place the jars in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
Place the ingredients in your sterilized container and using a (clean) spoon push the ingredients down. The idea is to remove as much as possible any air bubbles (which is why keeping the juice when grinding was important, the liquid is a big help in keeping air bubbles away)
Clean the edge of the jar so you have a proper sealing
And that's it! You just made a traditional soup stock or in this case, a traditional wild food soup stock. You will need to store it in a cool/dark place such as a cellar or a fridge. There is one more step though....
Light is not your friend when you preserve vegetables. If you want your soup stock to look fresh, it helps protecting it from too much light. I use the old technique of wrapping my jars in papers to protect them from light. It's really optional and probably not needed if you have a dark cellar.
4 - 16
Wild Food Soup Stock Preserved with Salt
This is a traditional European method to make soup stock and preserve it using salt which doesn't require any energy for storage and can be stored for a couple of years if necessary. It's extremely easy to make.
I give it a little twist by using wild food (in this case chickweed and nettles) but you can use the same method with any vegetables. You can use it as salt and to flavor future soups or sauces. (1 or 2 tablespoons will do).