Why does homemade taste so much better than shop bought? I know the ingredients are better when you make something yourself. You can grow the ingredients or choose ones that are in season and organic. There's no need to add preservatives or chemicals because your jars won't be sitting on a dusty supermarket shelf for so long. But it's more than that. It's as if the flavour of homemade goods is improved by all the effort, hard work and patience we put in. The reward for all that effort is delicious, homemade condiments and preserves.
I'm deep in my winter season of making and providing for the family. Not on a big scale, just a jar or two here and there of homemade yumminess. I sprouted a jar of de puy lentils (I still have no idea how to pronounce these. Da pie? De Peugh?) to make a delicious lentil and cashew stir fry recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Three Good Things. I also made another jar of fermented mustard from Kirsten K Shockey's recipe in issue 10: Seed of Taproot magazine. Gareth uses it to make his amazing pulled beef. Mmmm, tasty goodness.
Our pickled olives (is that the right word? Or should it be brined?) are still sitting in the cupboard. We have to wait a whopping 6 months to a year before they are ready. It makes me think of all the olives I have ever eaten, sitting in a warehouse somewhere, waiting to mature before being sold. I had no idea the process was so time intensive. Curing your own olives is a great lesson in patience. Luckily, the salt cured olives were ready to eat much sooner. Airlie was the one who popped them in jars with garlic, rosemary, thyme and a little olive oil. She made three jars and there's now only one left. Not for long I suspect!
Buoyed by our olive success, we went crazy and picked another big bag full of olives. These were nice big fat juicy black ones, perfect to turn into homemade tapenade when cured. After picking life got super busy and they sat in a plastic bag for a week on the laundry floor, slowly turning to mush :( We've managed to salvage some but it's a good lesson in picking things and curing straight away.