Sunday, July 4, 2010

John’s Wetls - banana skin vinegar

Watawieh yorlyi.

It has been a busy week on Norfolk with the freight ship unloading, and Getaway, the TV travel show, filming here.

Fortunately we had brilliant winter weather for the week with plenty of sunshine so the ship unloaded on time and Dermott and the Getaway crew were blown away by the scenery and beauty of the island.

I was fortunate to be selected to have the 4WD tour filmed so keep your eye out for the show sometime in the next six months to see some great footage of our beautiful home.

Last week I did an article on marinated wild mushrooms with Annette’s Banana vinegar and Mike emailed asking if I could do the recipe for the vinegar and how to identify the right mushrooms.

So for this week here is the Banana skin vinegar recipe. Next week I will do an article on mushrooms.

Vinegars have been used by humans for thousands of years and these days some varieties such as aged balsamic vinegars sell for hundreds of dollars.

But making vinegar is actually very easy and the earliest vinegars were accidentally discovered when fruit juices or wines were not sealed probably and fermented in to vinegars. So I thinks it’s a great idea to make my own instead of buying it and many thanks again to Annette for telling me all about it and giving me a couple of bottles to try.

Now, although this recipe is for banana skin you can make it with the skin of any fruit. Just ensure that the skins have been well washed to remove any sprays.

Ingredients: A glass jar (don’t use a metal container); a piece of cheesecloth or muslin big enough to go over the mouth of the jar; six to eight banana skins or another fruit, or even carrot peels; distilled water in the cities, or good Norfolk water here.
Sterilise the jar by standing it for five minutes in boiling water.

Pour out the water.  Add the peels. Fill with water leaving room at the top so it won’t touch the cloth. Cover with cloth and tie on with string or rubber band. Make sure that it is secure so bugs or dirt can’t get in.

Store in a warm dark place like your pantry and leave it to start fermenting.

The cloth will allow wild yeasts to pass in to the jar, which will ferment the vinegar.

Stir once a day and after a few weeks you will start to smell a vinegary odour. Allow this to continue until you have the concentration and taste you’re after.

You will notice it starting to look cloudy and a skin will form on top. This is known as the mother or vinegar starter and can be used to start you next batch and will make the process faster.

When the vinegar is ready, strain through a clean cloth in to a sterilised bottle and store in a cool dark place. You can also add various herbs at this stage to add other flavours - thyme, sage, rosemary etc.

Darset. John