I adore how each and every new garden season brings us the opportunity to try something new - to plant, to grow, or a means by which to preserve. Alongside the standbys and family favorites and easiest of methods, it's so much fun to learn about new ways of preserving food. New ways of providing for our family with the bounty of the garden, all year long. Two things stand out from this weekend's marathon preserving party (well, I called it a party, but really it was just little ole me, an occasional helper, and a full time paint facer in the kitchen from dawn to dusk).
Elderberries. Oh, how I love thee! I planted them here when we first moved in, and they've thrived and grown. This year I was able to make the elderflower champagne we love, the elderflower cordial and liquer, and now that we're onto berries - elderberry jam, elderberry tincture - and new this year, elderberry cough syrup! Though it's no fun to think about being sick, inevitably there will be a wintertime cough that hits, and now my fridge is fully stocked with everything we'll need to ease that discomfort. Hooray, for finding new uses for our most prolific berry here! (I also, for the first time, just plain froze a bunch of the berries - for when I have just a bit more free time in the kitchen to do something with them.)
Leather Britches. Isn't that the best phrase ever? This is entirely new to me (straight from the treasure trove that is my collection of Foxfire books), but if you're from the South perhaps this is something your grandmother did, or her mother before that? I'm fascinated by this simple method of preservation, and quite curious to see how it turns out and what they eventually both look like and taste like. As I never can remember just how many beans to plant, I find myself once again overrun by them - both bush beans and pole beans - and this seemed an interesting new thing to try. At the very least, they are pretty now, and I think will be pretty once dried. Pretty, of course, goes a long way in my book towards justifying the time spent making them (not much at all), so they're already a winner as far as I'm concerned.
And you? Are you finding new (old) ways of preservation this harvest year? Do share!