Tag Archives: Food Preservation

Playing Swedes

It’s gravlax time of course!  This batch was highly praised by the memsahib, and the regulars at my local izakaya.  Raw salmon was bought at Costco.

Addicted to ikura making!

It is not that bad an addiction to have.  I managed to take a photo using the memsahib’s digital SLR camera so it came out looking nicer than my usual pics.  The great taste is the same, though, no matter what camera you use!

Ikura time

Now is the season for nama-sujiko (raw salmon roe) and my local supermarket was selling it, so I bought some.  I am always amazed living here in Japan at the quality of fresh seafood you can obtain just from a regular neighbourhood store, without having to go to an expensive fancy fishmonger or department store.  The salmon roe was no exception and I gloated over my purchase.

I turned them into ikura, one of my favourite sushi toppings and general delicious things.  It is much more economical than buying it ready made, you can control the amount of salt that goes in (and leave out the artificial preservatives) and the ikura freezes well so you can store it too.  I followed the recipe of the amazing Donachys who as well as being skilled cooks, anglers, sailors and travellers are skilled curers of salmon eggs into ikura.

The eggs go whitish-yellow when you wash them in warm water and you have to get rid of the membranes surrounding the eggs.  Once they are clean and separated then the eggs can be salted down and they are basically ready to eat.  The only thing I did different to the Donachys’ recipe is I swapped half of the salt for soy sauce, to make shoyu-zuke ikura. The ikura turned out quite delicious – of course.  Thank you Barbra & Jack Donachy!

Saucisson sec

Sliced and ready to eat.  It came out a lot richer than I expected!  This sausage took about two months in the drying chamber before it was ready.

Spalla cruda

is now ready after about three months of drying.  It came out really well.  This dried meat concludes this season of charcuterie – the summer heat here is too much, and my drying chamber struggles with both the indoor temperature and the humidity.

Hot and humid as Satan’s codpiece

It is 34°C+ and overcast, and rains most days: we are in the Japanese monsoon!  One of the very few pleasant aspects of this time of year is that it is ume plum season.  I’m lucky enough to have access to two plum trees so I get free plums every year. Though the yield varies year to year, they are completely chemical-free and are perfect for making umeboshi or umeshu (plum “wine”).

On about the last sunny day this month I washed and dried the plums – about 1.5kg, with quite a mix of ripeness.  I made two batches of umeshu, one with the very green, small plums and the other with the riper fruit.  Umeshu is in reality not wine but just fruit steeped in shochu distilled spirits with white rock sugar.  These will be ready to drink this time next year.

Lots of meat

in the drying chamber: duck prosciutto, prosciutto crudo di spalla and two saucisson sec lurking at the back.