Friday, February 26, 2016

Vinegar and Lemons

This week I got to go to a fun workshop one evening, learning how to make preserved lemons and herb infused vinegar. Hopefully I will get to use them before we go home! The lemons are supposed to "preserve" for at least a month in the fridge before you eat them, and the vinegar just gets better with age, but it's recommended to wait about a month for that too. I'm pretty excited to try it again at home when I can allow for it to age fully.
The tables started out looking like this. Who wouldn't be excited about the possibilities! There were huge bowls of lemons, bowls of grey salts, bright red chili peppers, and bowls of various herbs, including garlic, tarragon, thyme, lemon thyme, and rosemary. At least I think that's what they all were. She said the names in Danish, but I was trying to follow along. Several people decided to put some of the chili or herbs in with their lemons as well, for a different taste. I left mine "plain", with just salt and lemon juice. It was so easy to do, but looks so pretty! The vinegar especially looks pretty in the jar on the counter.

My small jar of lemons -due to the time constraints of our trip here- has six lemons in it. While cutting the ends off of the second one in preparation for salting, I managed to slice my thumb also. So that was fun. Nothing like a good cut full of lemon juice and salt to jump start your evening! But, now I've got a fabulous Lion King bandaid on it -Svea is completely fascinated with the sticker on my thumb!- and a jar of lemons in the fridge, waiting to be ready. One of the girls had brought her own jar, and I think it was about 3/4 of a gallon or so. I'm not sure how many lemons she ended up using...for the process to work properly and be safe, they have to be packed tightly in the jar during the preservation part, so I bet she had at least twenty lemons in there. 

My vinegar is very pretty. I put in one of the bright red chilis -it seemed almost required, they were so beautiful and fit the jar well. I should have sliced it lengthwise first, though. The top was just a smidge too wide for the top of the bottle, and it got sort of mangled as I put it in there. Then I added about five cloves of garlic, several sprigs of rosemary, a lot of thyme, and several pieces of tarragon. I'm excited for a salad this spring with this and some olive oil as a dressing! 

Spring is definitely coming! These little flowers are poking up through the old leaves and sticks. They seem to be some relative of the crocus family, the white ones hang downward, but when I lifted up the flower, it looks very similar to the upright crocus we get in February at home. And the purple ones were the first I've seen of that. Mostly there are white and yellow popping up all over this week. And in several places you can see green popping through, just waiting for the colours of spring to burst out of it. This morning, I woke up a few minutes before the alarm, and the sky was already starting to lighten with the hints of dawn. So there is hope! I think maybe this weekend we will go on a walk to find signs of spring and take pictures of them.

 I finished another book this week, Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as her books about Tuscany, but it was a fun read also. I need to see if the libraries around here have any more of hers.

Yesterday there was a parents' coffee time at the boys' school. Anders and a few other kids got to help with making the buns for it earlier in the week. They were dyed pink and green. I'm not sure why. But they were delicious! It's fun how much the kids get to be involved with things at this school. They take charge of cutting up fruits for their snacks, they make food over the campfire. They seem so grown up sometimes; but at the same time they spend so much time playing like kids their age should be. Svea had a great time at the coffee time -I thought I might not be able to get her out of there once she discovered all the toys the preschool had to offer!

Jeff went to a lecture last night by one of the MPs here, who was born in Syria. He talked about the situation there, and the refugee situation as well. Jeff is really liking all of the cultural lectures and meetings he gets to be involved with here!

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