Sustainable-food

Sustainable Eating: Preserve Your Vegetables All Year Round

If you want to enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables all year round and save some money in the process, it’s time to learn the classic skill of preserving. Often overlooked, it’s a quick and sustainable practise that takes the burden out of bulk-buying, minimises food wastage and eliminates any preservatives.

“Preserving is much easier than people think,” said preserving ambassador and test kitchen consultant, Rebecca Sullivan. “All it takes are three easy steps – just fill, boil and store for up to a year!”

With several different preserving techniques available, it can be difficult at first to determine which is best. However, Rebecca advises picking a technique based on the produce available and storing your favourite fruits or vegetables when they’re in season. “The water bath preserving technique is ideal for preserving high acid foods such as fruits, fruit juices or fruit spreads,” she insists.

So, what is “the water bath” technique and what does it entail, exactly? Put simply, it’s a process that involves placing food in jars and boiling them to kill off any active bacteria. You can find detailed methods for doing this on websites such as Fresh Preserving, however the basis of the procedure includes submerging jars in hot water – this prevents any cracks – transferring your prepared food into the hot jars, sealing, and then boiling.

If it’s meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables that you’re wanting to preserve, Rebecca advises using the pressure canning technique. “A pressure canner helps you reach the temperatures you need to eliminate the micro-organisms present in these low acid foods,” she explains.

It’s important when preserving these low acid foods that you acquire the right utensils to do so, and follow safe and trusted guidelines and recipes. You see, unlike the water bath technique, pressure canning heats the jar and its contents past boiling point to create a vacuum seal. This then ensures all contaminating bacteria is eliminated so that the product doesn’t become toxic.

Once you’ve determined which method is right for you, here is Rebecca’s list of the best vegetables and fruits to start preserving, in accordance to seasons:

Summer: Berries like blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries, as well as stone fruits such as peaches and plums.

Autumn: Vegetables such as sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini are in season in the cooler months, so it’s the perfect time to prep for winter with some hearty soups.

Winter: Citrus fruits such as navel oranges, lemons and mandarins are ideal in winter, as are hearty items such as spinach, potatoes, fennel and brussel sprouts.

Spring: This season is the best time of  the year to preserve peas, artichoke, grape fruit and lemons to ensure you have a supply available all year round.

Image via Shutterstock

April 21, 2015

Top Food Trends for 2015

Culinary trends are on par with clothes trends, in that they change with every season. One minute you’re social media feed is packed full of kale salads, the next bone broth soups are popping up. When Australia’s leading chefs came together at the Taste of Sydney festival last month, there were a number of new and exciting food trends emerging that we just had to share.

RELATED: Meet The New Supermarket Superfoods

Provided by Electrolux, here is a list of some of the most prominent ways you’ll be enjoying, sourcing – and cooking – your food this year.

Flavours

It’s time to toss away that ketchup and those packaged marinades, because this year it’s all about flavour and bringing food back to basics. “People want to see real food cooked properly. They don’t want molecular anymore. They just want flavour,” says My Kitchen Rules judge and owner of restaurant Four In Hand, Colin Fassnidge.

If you’re not much of the DIY cook, take a tip from Monopole, Bentley and Yellow chef Brent Savage, and try blanching some mint leaves and blitzing with some olive oil and vegetable oil for a simple, yet delicious minty dressing. The best part about creating your own sauce is you know exactly what goes in, therefore it’s preservative free and nutritious – depending on what you decide to incorporate, of course!

Fresh, seasonal produce

Recently, via your social media feed, you may have noticed everyone’s taking a trip to the famers markets and stocking up on fresh produce. Well, 2015 is proving to be the year of sustainability and growing your own. No one wants snap frozen vegetables and frozen goods from the supermarket anymore, instead people are opting for locally sourced produce, freshly caught fish and DIY vegie and herb gardens. The savings are enormous in comparison, not to mention fresh produce is more nutrient dense.

So, what’s the ultimate ingredient to incorporate into your cooking this Autumn? Massimo Mele from La Scala on Jersey says kale. Just when we thought the dark green vegetable had had its moment.

Using the whole animal

Obviously for vegans and vegetarians this definitely doesn’t apply, but for all of those meat eaters out there, it seems that cooking your meat whole is the best technique – and the latest trend – for achieving the most tender and moist result. While you’re most likely to come across this method at restaurants, carving a whole pig was recently demonstrated at the Taste of Sydney festival by chefs Colin Fassnidge and Carla Jones, and seemed relatively doable at home or at a barbecue with the right tools.

We’re not exactly sure how this one will go down via social media, but we can only imagine it would taste pretty darn good.

Taste of Sydney, Electrolux, Food Trends, 2015 Food Trends, Sustainable Food, Charcoal, DIY

Cooking over charcoal

Who’d have thought we would eventually resort back to cooking over an open fire pit? It’s probably because cooking over charcoal produces the most tender, mouth-watering and aromatic meat there is. This type of cooking method has quickly become the go-to for slow roasting beef and pork among restaurants, and is also becoming quite popular at home thanks to the revival of the webber.

So what’s the secret to cooking great tasting meat? According to the guys at Surry Hills restaurant Porteño, just use “good produce, smoke and heaps of salt.”

Lean cuisine

No, we’re not referring to microwave meals available in the supermarket, we’re talking about the new wave of healthy eating trends such as ceviche – an appertiser of fresh fish marinated in citrus juices. Think simple, fresh and lean, and plate up with things like lime juice, sea salt and DIY jalapeño chilli. “It’s the ultimate protein one-hit course, it’s good for you, it’s healthy, it’s lean cuisine,” says executive chef at Saké Shaun Presland of its benefits.

Images via Electrolux and Shutterstock

April 12, 2015