(3503) how to preserve vegetables in whey 01.12.12


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(3503) how to preserve vegetables in whey 01.12.12

  1. 1. How to Preserve Vegetables in Whey Vats for Whey Storage Vats for Whey 1 Storage“In 1104, Mt Hekla erupted for the first time in the recorded history of Iceland. The erup-tion destroyed, for instance, an entire district of at least 20 farms in the valleyÞjórsárdalur in Árnessýsla.”Fig 1: One of the side rooms was used for dairy storage (left). Large wooden vats,partially set into the earth, were found here. By being partially below ground, thecontents of the vats would be kept cool. Additional insulation was provided in this roomby stones placed between the rafters and the roof (right). The vats held dairy products,such as skyr, and they may have held meat pickled in sour whey. The vats are over 1.4min diameter (55in) and so could hold a substantial quantity of foodstuffs.1 Early longhouses found in Norway, only one example has been found to date in Iceland: at the longhouse at Aðalstræti 14-16 inReykjavík,http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/Turf_Houses.htm
  2. 2. Vats for Whey StorageFig. 2 “At Stöng, a more prosperous farm, the floor plan was more elaborate. In additionto the main rooms of the house, two additional rooms were stuck onto the side of themain building. The floor plan at Stöng is shown above. The locations of the supportcolumns and the extent of the benches are indicated in the plan, as well as the location ofthe fire pits for the two rooms. The house was 28m (92 ft) long.”2 Vats for Whey StorageFig. 3 Storeroom/Dairy (VI): “The storeroom/dairy was used for food storage, for dairyproducts in particular. Skyr and sour whey were collected in large vats which were sunkinto the ground.”32 The floor plan of the house at Stöng, http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/Turf_Houses.htm3 The floor plan of the house at Stöng, http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/Turf_Houses.htm
  3. 3. Overview:Over the course of time and from culture to culture each has found unique ways to usethe limited resources they had. This was extremely true in the production andpreservation of food stuffs. With out some type of preservation the amount and type offood available during non growing seasons would be very limited. The type of foodpreservation I will cover here is the use of whey (the by product of cheese making) as asource of Lactic Acid for food preservation called Lactic Acid Fermentation.Demonstrate an understanding:Whey was used in many secondary applications other than cheese making, whey’snaturally higher acid content worked well in the application of food preservation. InIcelandic & Nordic Cuisine whey was left after the making of Skyr and was used topreserve fish & vegetables.4 Please reference figures 1, 2, and 3 above please note thedairy room attached to all three farmsteads. The excavated areas where the large wheyvats were located. Clearly not only Skyr was an important staple of the Icelandic diet butthe large vats that held the by product whey also speaks to its importance in the Icelandicdiet for food preservation. Here are three farms from the smallest to the largest all havedairy rooms and vats for the storage of whey.There is little in the way of written records about Scandinavian food traditions. Butarcheology and Nordic Sagas do give us clues.5 Changes in the climate, and dwindlingwood sources made it harder for the people living in Iceland to use previous methods offood preservation. Previous methods required using wood to heat sea water for salt tocure their foods.6 Because salt was now more costly and expensive they drew on theresources that they had on hand.“Archeological digs in medieval Icelandic farms have revealed large round holes instorage rooms where the barrel containing the lactic acid was kept. Two medieval storiestell us of man who saved his life in a burning house by staying submerged inside the acidbarrel.”7 8 Fig. 4 “Cooked meats were preserved in vats of sour whey (súrr). Thelactic acid in the sour liquid prevented the meat from spoiling. Large vats found in some4 Icelandic cuisine, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_cuisine5 Klapste, Jan & Sommer, Petr, Processing, Storage, Distribution of Food – Foodstuffs, their preparation and storage in Iceland,Turnhout Brepols Publishers, Vol. 8, 2011, pg. 173~186, e-book online date 8.29.11,6 Icelandic cuisine, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_cuisine7 Icelandic Cusine, Food Preservation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_cuisine8 Hurstwic, http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/food_and_diet.htm
  4. 4. Viking age house sites held preserved meat in sour whey, as well as other stored dairyproducts. The photo shows a reconstructed dairy vat at the house at Stöng in southIceland. Comparing the size of the hand bucket on the table to the dairy vat partially setinto the ground gives a sense for the size of these vats and the large quantities of storedfoodstuffs they could hold.”Archeological and chemical analysis of clay storage pots dating from prehistoric timesthrough the Middle Ages from southern and eastern Sweden have shed more light onfood preservation.9 Sevn Isaksson used lipid residue analysis to identify what was pre-served in these pots. Among the residues identified were lipids from ruminant animalsand milk fat. Also detected along with the fatty acids was the presence of phytosterolsfrom vegetables. Further evidence was detected by two isoprenoic acids from the decom-position of chlorophyll, indicating the presence of green vegetables. Also present withthese green vegetables, milk lipids were detected by the presence of a broad distributionof triacylglycerols.10 Basically what I wanted to show here is through chemical analysisof pottery remains vegetable matter & milk matter from the same potsherds was identi-fied that were consistent with lactic acid fermentation.Cucumbers could be found in England as early as the 14th century; the variety was small and may becloser in style to our modern Gherkin as describes by Pliny the Elder, in his The Natural History ofPliny.11 It is believed that cucumbers were originated in northern India and then was possibly spreadto other areas with the Roman army.According to Ian Kusz who wrote “Medieval and Ancient History of the Cucumber” had thefollowing to say: “Cucumbers were grown in India 3,000 years ago, in Sumeria, Ancient Greece, theRoman Empire, 9th Century France (Charlemagne was a cucumber eater), early 1300s England(though they were later lost, and re-introduced in the mid-1500s), Spain at least by 1494 (theSpaniards transported them to Haiti that year via Christopher Columbus), 1535 Montreal (accordingto Jacques Cartier), South Dakota by 1500 or so, New England at least by 1630, and reportedly inAncient Thrace. Tzatziki was eaten by the Turks in the 1500s, and passed along to the Greeks; addthat to your period cucumber dishes.”12 Patrick Cauldwell did research that covered many aspects ofViking cooking and noted the importance of whey as a way to preserve foodstuffs in the Icelandicdiet.13In my 1st & 2nd batch I used regular cumbers as it was February and that is what I had on hand andcombined them with red onions [my choice to add more color], garlic, dill, and spices [cloves, and9 Hansson, Ann-Marie. On Plant Food in the Scandinavian Peninsula in Early Medieval Times. Theses and Papers in ArchaeologyB:5. Stockholm: University of Stockholm. 1997.10 Isaksson, Sven, “Vessels of Change”, Current Swedish Archeology, Vol. 17, 2009, page 131~13711 Cucumber,History Roman, The Natural History of Pliny, Book 29, Chapter. 23, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucumber12 Kusz, Ian (a.k.a. Ian of Oertha),"Medieval and Ancient History of the Cucumber",2007(updated 2009), http://www.florilegium.org/?http%3A//www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-FRUITS/plums-msg.html13 Cauldwell, Patrick (a.k.a. Hrafnir Fiachsman), Viking Cooking: a theoretical reconstruction from the archaeological and writtenrecord, 2007
  5. 5. brown & yellow mustard seeds]. The next batch I used Mini Cumbers as these were the smallest Icould find at this time and the closest to what is described below.Working out the details:One of the things I needed to determine was how much whey to use in a quart jar of pick-les. The first attempt was ¼ cup and seemed not enough, the second attempt was fullstrength (presented at Regional A&S) because it seemed that full strength was what wasbeing used at Stöng in south Iceland. What I finally worked out was a 50/50 mixture ofwhey and water, with spices for our modern taste pallet and combining elements found inthe “to keepe cowcumbers in pickle all the yeare” from 1609. After some input from thejudges and discussion I continue to refine my preservation process and working recipe. Ialso wanted to answer several questions that arose from the regional A&S about the sideeffects of whey on the digestive system. I found that whey was also used as a natural lax-ative if given full strength. A 50/50 mixture seemed to have enough lactic acid to pre-serve the vegetables without adverse side effects. I have also presented the original pre-served pickles that you may compare the two to each other if you wish.Documentation :Source #1:[77] To keepe Cowcumbers in pickle all the yeare.14Take foure gallons of Conduit water and put vnto it three quarts of bay salt,two handfuls of Sage, one handfull of sweete Marioram, and foure handfullsof Dill, let these boyle til it come to three gallons, and then take it off, andwhen it is almost cold, put in a hundreth of Cowcumbers into that liquor,into a butter barrel & keepe them al the yeare, but looke that alwaies theherbs lie vpon them, and thus done, it will be a most excellent sallet withoyle, vineger, and pepper.This pickle recipe for cucumbers is dated as being published in 1602~1608 in England.You can also find references to pickling in the Digbys.15 This is also a very good exampleof spices added to a food being preserved. While I am fully aware that this pickle recipedoes not use whey it is one of the few pickling cucumber recipes that was written down.In Germany traditional Sauerkraut was made with whey, salt, and water. Rumpolt refer-ences using Sauerkraut in at least two of his recipes. Again it appears that from variouswritings making sauerkraut was considered common knowledge to every farm stead andtherefore not written down. I also like this recipe as it does not contain vinegar that wasone of the other commonly used bases for food preservation.16 The pickled cucumbersand herb are intended as representative of items that could be found in the common gar-den during the middle ages. Even on an Icelandic farm stead what they could not raisethey traded for and had extensive networks covering the known world at the time.14 Holloway, Johanna, 2011, Medieval Cookery, A Closet for Ladies & Gentlewomen, 1602 (printed 1608),http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/1608closet.pdf15 MacDonell, Anne, The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened by Kenelm Digby, 2005, pg.83& 160, (e-book) http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16441/16441-h/16441-h.htm16 Holloway, Johanna H., An Elizabethan Book of Recipes for Confections & Banqueting Stuff, 2011, original source 1602(8),http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/1608closet.pdf
  6. 6. Cloves were known in Europe as early as the 4th Century.17 Cloves in the 16th & 17th Cen-tury were worth their weight in gold.18Recipe :50/50 mixture & **Whey to cover your choice of vegetables (or fish) [**this whey is a combination of goat & cow milk from my cheese making]5~6 whole cucumbers [cumcumis sativus] cut into ½ then quartered (or enough to fill your jarfirmly packed)1 Tbl Sea Salt4~5 Whole Sprigs of Fresh Dill [anthum graveolens] (or to taste)2~3 heads of Garlic [allium satuvum]¼~½of a Red Onion [allium cepa] cut into slices (again depending on jar size and personal taste)2 Tbl Whole Mustard Seeds [sinapos alba]¼tsp. Toasted Black Mustard Seeds [use these sparingly as they can be pungent]2 Whole Cloves [syzyaium aromaticum]Materials:1 glass jar with lidpot to sterilized jar incutting boardknifemeasuring spoonsPlastic WrapFunnelButter Cheese ClothBowlInstructions:Sterilized jar and lid, cut cucumbers and onions into slices. Clean the Cloves of Garlic(cut into slices or leave whole). Layer into the jar snugly in layers the slices ofcucumbers, onions, garlic, dill, and whole cloves. Strain your whey through a piece offine butter cheese cloth. Add salt and mustard seeds. Fill the jar ½ way with the wheyand finish with water. Place a piece of plastic on top of the liquid, apply the lid. Turn thejar top to bottom several times to get rid of any air bubbles. Leave at room temperaturefor 2~3 days turning once daily. Then place in your refrigerator for an additional 1~2weeks. Cucumbers are ready to eat.17 Creighton University School of Medicine, 2005, http://altmed.creighton.edu/Cloves/History.htm18 Spices, UCLA, 2002, http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm?displayID=7
  7. 7. Fig. 5 The WheyFig. 6 strained whey into jarFig. 7 packed jar
  8. 8. Fig. 8 finished product (the plastic is to keep pickles below the level of the liquid)Conclusions:There is an extensive amount of archeology that supports that whey was used for foodpreservation. There are many cultures that use whey in this manor such as the Chinese,Germanic cultures, and Scandinavian – Viking cultures.Making the first batch I found that the ¼ cup of whey did not work and very well. I had anumber of people sample them and then adjusted my working recipe accordingly. Ifound that I needed to add a little less salt, I added more dill, and less onions, and morewhey for a jar.In my original working recipe I only used ¼ cup of whey and the rest was water & salt(this was increased from 3 tablespoons found in similar modern recipes for lactic acidpickling). The next batch was fully whey to see if the higher acid content affects thecrunch of the pickle. I found that the cucumbers did have a nice crunch but the flavor ofthe onion overwhelmed the dill and garlic. The last batch seems to have reached a goodbalance of both but had a Probiotics effect on sensitive systems. By reducing the whey toa 50/50 mixture, lowering the amount of cloves & onions, and increasing the dill theresulting pickles seem to have achieved a good balance.I hope you enjoy the pickles.