Leading beverage trends of 2019 such as kombucha and oleo-saccharum proved that traditional preservation methods are, in fact, timeless. Although invented by ancient cultures for periods of potential hunger such as drought or winter, food preservation continues to be repurposed for modern-day trends and palates. Fermenting, pickling and dehydrating are easy preservation methods, be it to produce ready-to-eat treats or to help store ingredients over long periods of uncertain times. Explore these flavourful traditional preservation methods to keep your creative juices flowing as you spend time at home.
PRODUCING PROBIOTIC POWERHOUSES
While largely popularised in the West through favourites such as kimchi and sauerkraut, fermented foods have played an integral role in many cultures across the globe – and for good reason. Fermentation introduces a world of health benefits to raw ingredients, and is often enjoyed as a daily dose of probiotics to aid with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and boosting the immune system. Although fermented condiments are commonly paired with meals, the fermentation process can also produce interesting drink garnishes and even homebrews. For an introduction to this technique, try whipping up a fermented kombucha and pair its effervescent, tart and slightly sweet notes with cocktails and teas.
PICKLED FOR THE LONG RUN
A favourite of Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte, pickling was first practised by ancient Mesopotamians more than 4,000 years ago. When pickled in brine, this age-old preservation method extends the shelf life of foods and reduces the chance of spoilage. While pickling changes the taste and texture of food, the process introduces delicious new flavour profiles to it, such as a sour tang or saltiness. To add this subtle tang to cocktails, pre-made garnishes such as pickled pearl onions or cherry tomatoes are a convenient flavouring best paired with vodka and whisky-based cocktails.
DRIED, DEHYDRATED AND DELICIOUS
Unlike pickling where ingredients are left to soak in liquid, dehydrated foods are exposed to hot air, reducing moisture levels while retaining their nutrients and rich flavour. Dehydration allows for greater efficiency behind the bar as ingredients can be prepared beforehand, even with a home oven on a low setting. The go-to garnish for many bartenders and baristas, dehydrated fruits like apples, citruses and pineapple add an elegant finish to drinks. On the other hand, dehydrated ingredients like cascara — the dried skins of coffee cherries, are great for infusing drinks with sweet, floral characteristics. With an assortment of options, preserved ingredients introduce bold flavours to drinks while highlighting one’s individual style and taste.