When I first read the monthly list of preserving challenges, I remember distinctly wondering, what on earth would I preserve with salt?
The only salt-preservation method I was familiar with was the use of salt in preserving meat. In fact, the husband and I watched an excellent documentary that discusses how meat was preserved with salt during the Tudor period. In Tudor Monastery Farm, a BBC production, the participants made salt using historically accurate methods, which included the boiling of water from brine springs to create the salt. Later, the salt is used to preserve beef. The salt is first rubbed into the meat, which is then stored in brine for three days. Afterwards, the meat is packed into barrels of salt. I remember feeling slightly overwhelmed by the amount of salt necessary to preserve the beef in the barrel.
When I saw salt preservation as the February skill, this barrelful-of-meat method is the type of skill that sprang to mind. Such imagery was nearly enough to have me run for the hills and pretend I had never read about the challenge. I’m glad I didn’t.
Instead of packing beef into barrels of salt, my friend and I made soup base. I make soup without fail once a week, so we go through fairly significant quantities of bouillon on a regular basis. I’m always eager to replace something I buy in the store with something I can make at home, preferably with ingredients from my own garden (though, my garden doesn’t always oblige). The soup base has a long shelf-life in the fridge and can be frozen for a year. My friend and I hobbled together the ingredients, and she brought over her food processor. Mine, alas, is on its last legs. In fact, it breaks every time I use it, and one of these days, I won’t be able to fix it.
My friend and I split the resulting batch of soup base, and I can’t wait to try it. She also needs to come rescue her food processor before my husband claims it as his own. When he came home and saw a shiny newish food processor on the counter, he asked with real wonder and excitement, “Who gave us a food processor?!”
Maybe that disappointment is why he seemed nonplussed about the fact that I had made soup base.