BY CHEF JOSH DORCAK — MÄS is in its infancy with our larders and pantry products. It is paramount that we are always staying active in the realm of preserving our region’s bounty.
Elderflower, gooseberries, currants, plums, apricots, blossoms, vegetables, and so many more are all within their own unique timestamp within a given season. Our role in this is to become accustomed to our regions growing rhythm. By keeping our finger on the pulse we are able to adapt and capture more subtle flavors by preserving them for seasons to come.
It is mid June now, and we just picked green plums for umeboshi. This is a simple and very rewarding preservation technique. The green plums are soaked and then salted with red shiso. Over the two to three week curing time the red shiso releases red pigment into the plums thus staining them red. We use green plums so they stand up to salt and time, using a ripe plums would turn into a purée in a matter of days. The juice that is rendered from the plums is called ume vinegar. A fabulous seasoning agent in its own right, ume vinegar is salty and tart.
Elderflower are also coming in strong in the higher elevations. We collect the blossoms and preserve them in a sugar and vinegar solution to pickle them. We also use a 6 percent brine ratio to preserve them in a more ‘natural’ state.
These are just two of the ingredients we are looking at this month, next month will yield a high number of farmed ingredients like tomatoes and cucumbers. Every year is a new opportunity to treat the ingredients differently or fall back on a technique that suits the vegetables the best.