Monday, December 16, 2013

real food swap*

Remember back in May when I posted about the real food swap that some friends and I started? Well, we are still going strong and meeting up every month to swap wonderful, real food goodness! Here are a few photos from our swap today - I think it might have been the best one yet! 
These were my offerings - dark chocolate sauce, espresso stout brewed by my hubby, mint, chocolate-mint and vanilla extracts and chai tea concentrate.

spicy canned beans, my offerings from the photo above, beeswax candles, raw beeswax, and tangerines!

spice mixes, beautiful glass decanters, cinnamon extract and caramel!

Some of our lovely swappers. This is my friend's gorgeous new kitchen in her home that they recently remodeled. I now have serious kitchen envy.

Applesauce, purees (pumpkin or squash, I believe) glass jugs/growlers, and pickles!

Yogurt starter, soap, toffee, hand knit dishcloths, homemade vapor rub, mustard and jams and jellies!

Bulk spices - turmeric, celery seed, mustard seed and more caramel sauce!

There was even more that I didn't get a pic of. Letterpress goodies (I got the cutest beer coasters to include in my mama's Christmas gift basket!), sausage and bacon, rye and sourdough bread, pizza dough and homemade Nutella!
I posted a pic of all the amazing stuff I brought home with me on my Instagram page - I am inspirederika over there if you would like to come take a peek!

Now we are starting to plan the swaps for next year - I simply cannot wait to see what the new year has in store for The Treasure Valley Real Foodies!

apples and vinegar :: part two

 Back to the vinegar making process! I filled you in on the first steps of homemade apple scrap vinegar in this post. Here is how it turned out!

This is what the mixture looked like the day I strained the apple scraps out. This is pre-stirring and approximately 3 weeks after I started the process.

And here it is after a good stir. Nice and bubbly and very fragrant!

I put the scraps in a cloth produce bag and tied it to the cupboard door to let all the liquid strain out.

Here is my lovely apple scrap liquid (not quite vinegar yet!)

Next I added a couple glugs (technical term) of raw apple cider vinegar to the liquid and gave it a stir then covered it with a clean tea towel and set is aside in a warm corner of the kitchen.
A couple weeks later this beautiful mother of vinegar had grown over the surface of the liquid! Now it is vinegar!

I bottled it up and added a piece of the MOV to each glass jar. The smaller jars were perfect for gifting!

Look closely and you can see the mother hanging out at the bottom of this jar.

So that's pretty much it! Delicious, homemade vinegar from fruit scraps! I have been saving more apple scraps in a zip lock bag that I keep in the fridge for my next batch. And I will add my own vinegar and mother (instead of the Bragg's raw vinegar I added to this batch) to future batches to kick start the process!

A few notes ::
I will use this vinegar for dressings, marinades, cooking, etc. but it is not safe to replace in canning recipes as the percent of acidity is unknown. I plan to try it out in place of my apple cider vinegar tonic that I drink for health reasons to see if I notice a difference. I am also going to try it on my hair to see if it is as effective in such applications as my beloved Bragg's ACV. I will keep you all posted with the results!