I meant to post an update on the shallots on Sunday after I’d pickled them but life overtook me and the day turned unexpectedly busy, so it’s here now instead.
The shallots were drained of brine on Saturday morning, skinned, then submerged in a fresh brine solution.
On Sunday morning, the brine was drained off, the shallots were packed into Kilner jars, with the overflow from my 2 big 1.5L jars going into an old pickled-onion jar, and then the jars were filled up with fresh pickling vinegar.
They’re now in the cupboard, maturing, and should be ready to eat in 3 months or so. If you’re wondering about the different colours of the jars, the two big ones are filled with white vinegar and the middle one is in malt vinegar – it’ll be interesting to taste the difference in due course.
Another kg of peas came home this morning, were podded and are now in the freezer, so that’s good. The courgettes are in flower with baby courgettes just starting to swell nicely, so we’re looking forward to those soon, too.
Also on the preserving front, I’ve ordered some sodium silicate and when it arrives, we’ll be diluting it in water to make waterglass, in which we intend to preserve some eggs before the hens go off their lay for the autumn moult and then their winter rest. We could run an electric light to their house to keep them laying but we rather feel that, given how hard they work the rest of the year, they’re entitled to a rest for a month or two in the winter, so we prefer to let them go off lay for the winter. They’ll come back into lay in the spring again, but that gives us a gap in egg production. My grandmother used to preserve eggs in waterglass (sodium silicate solution) during WWII, so my mother suggested that we go back to this tried and trusted method of her childhood to add to the pickled, dried and frozen eggs we already have in the stores.
I went into the rabbit shed late last night, while the dogs were having their last-thing-before-bed potter around their run, and Jezebel was bustling about her cage with mouthuls of fur, so I wasn’t surprised to see a nice, tidy little nest full of wriggling babies this morning. I haven’t counted thoroughly but a brief glance over the surface of the heap suggests she had at least 8, which is a very good first litter, and right on the dot of schedule, too. Jezebel looks quite confident about what to do so I gave her a sow-thistle as a reward and left her to it.