Fer­men­ta­tion is one of the old­est tech­niques for pre­serv­ing food. Try it your­self with back­yard crops.

NZ Gardener - Gifts from the Gardens - - Preserves -

Fer­mented foods are hot right now. They sup­port gut health, they’re packed full of nu­tri­ents and they help fight dis­ease. That‘s be­cause they‘re packed with good bac­te­ria which help the stom­ach digest food and starve out the bad bac­te­ria that makes us sick. To get good bac­te­ria in our bod­ies we need to eat food that has good bac­te­ria in it, like raw and fer­mented foods. We can eas­ily make our own fer­mented foods, like yo­ghurt, sauer­kraut, ke­fir, kim­chi and kom­bucha.

You can also make a fer­mented apri­cot but­ter. In­gre­di­ents:

• 2 cups un­sul­phured dried apri­cots (dry your own home­grown apri­cots in a food de­hy­dra­tor) • 1 cup raisins • 1½ cups wa­ter

• 4 ta­ble­spoons whey (save the whey when mak­ing herb cheese

– see recipe p29) • 2 tea­spoons salt

Place the dried apri­cots and raisins in a large jar. Com­bine the wa­ter, whey and salt in a bowl, then pour over the apri­cots and raisins. Press the fruit down with a spoon so the liq­uid rises to the top. Screw on the lid and leave at room tem­per­a­ture for 2 days. Trans­fer to a food mixer and blend un­til smooth. Place apri­cot but­ter in small jars suit­able for gifts. The apri­cot but­ter will keep for up to 6 months in the fridge.

To make a fer­mented salsa, you need: • 1 onion, chopped

• 1 green cap­sicum, chopped • 1 to­mato, chopped • hand­ful co­rian­der leaves, chopped • 200g to­mato paste • juice 1 lime • 4 ta­ble­spoons whey • 2 tea­spoons salt • dash cayenne pep­per

Place onion, cap­sicum, to­mato and co­rian­der in a bowl and mix with to­mato paste, lime juice, whey, salt and pep­per. Put salsa in a jar, press down so there is 3cm space at the top. Leave at room tem­per­a­ture for 2 days. The fer­mented salsa will keep for up to 4 months in the fridge.

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