We’ve been very excited about all amazing local produce that’s being harvested around Seattle right now. Harried and Hungry prides itself in bringing you the best seasonal, regional ingredients, but what happens when the seasons change and those ingredients go off the shelves?
You preserve them! Canning, pickling, and drying are how humans have been able to survive the scarcity of winter for millennia, and we’ve been hard at work capturing the local bounty of Seattle’s summer crops so we can bring those flavors into our fall and winter menus. We’re trying to build up a Harried and Hungry pantry that will add layers to our dishes while drawing upon traditional methods of food preparation.
One method of preserving foods is dehydration. Traditionally done using the power of only the sun’s rays, we’ve been using our new dehydrator to preserve lots of veggies, like scallions, tomatoes, chilies, that can be cooked into savory dishes or added as a flavorful finish. We’ve also been drying fruits like pineapple, apples, lemons, and limes, and making fruit leathers from assorted local berries. Fruit leathers are sweet, chewy sheets of dried puréed fruit that contain less sugar than jam preserves. We love our dehydrator, and you’ll love our dried produce!
Canning isn’t just for your grandmother. This technique of preservation allows you to lock in the flavor of fruits or vegetables at their peak of ripeness, ready to be enjoyed whenever you crack open the jar. It was first invented in 1795 when the French military held a cash-prize contest awarding 12,000 francs to the best new method for preserving food—as you might have guessed, canning was the winner, and it’s been popular ever since! One of the most common canned products is jam, and we’ve been turning these summer fruits and berries into delicious preserves that will last though the winter.
Pickling has been around even longer than canning—over four thousand years! Pickling prolongs the lifespan of food by immersing it in brine or vinegar. The low pH kills the bacteria and allows food to remain edible for months. Though most people just think of pickled cucumbers, all kinds of foods are pickled, and across many cultures!
Here at Harried and Hungry, we’re not just sticking to cucumbers—one of our most exciting pickling efforts is making kimchi! Kimchi is a fermented Korean side dish that’s spicy and sour, usually made from napa cabbage mixed with daikon radish, scallions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper. Not only does it add a fiery, tangy flavor to foods, but kimchi is also super healthy—it’s high in fiber, low in calories, and contains live active cultures that aid digestion!
Check out this video of us making a batch!