When we speak about mental health, we sometimes say ”don’t bottle it up.” This is very true; we should share our feelings and thoughts. However, if you are looking for a meditative way of relaxing your mind, cooking is the way to go. These simple but creative tasks can give us the peace and calm we need. So in this case, do “bottle it up!”
This will be my last Food for Thought for beijingkids, and as a special treat I decided to jar up some cucumber, so we don’t get in a pickle. I also chose to make some lemon curd; this is the perfect feel-good food and the best gift for friends who are in a low mood. I believe in the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemon curd.” Sometimes life throws you a curveball, and hopefully, you will emerge stronger and better in the end.
Pickling is an ancient method of preserving food, by putting it in vinegar or brine. Herbs and spices are often added to the mix. Canning and jarring can be a mundane task, but we have to be very careful to keep everything safe and hygienic. When you jar up food, you should boil the jars and lids in water, so they will be sterilized. Make sure the food doesn’t come into contact with the lid edges so no bacteria can spread.
Don’t Get in a Pickle: Dill Pickles
– 20 small cucumbers
– 2 cups vinegar
– 1 cup water
– 3 tablespoons of salt
– 1 tablespoon of sugar
– 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
– 1 bunch of dill
1. Wash the cucumbers, and slice them lengthwise.
2. Pack them in the sterilized jar.
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan, and heat to make the brine.
4. Pour the brine over the pickles and seal the jar.
5. Keep for two weeks in the fridge.
When Life Gives You Lemons: Lemon Curd
– 6 lemons
– 3 cups sugar
– 225g unsalted butter, room temperature
– 8 extra large eggs
– 1 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
– 1 teaspoon salt
1. Remove the zest of the lemons and put it in a food processor. Add the sugar and pulse until both ingredients are blended together.
2. Cream the butter.
3. Add the sugar and lemon mixture to the creamed butter.
4. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then add the salt and lemon juice.
5. Put the sauce mixture in a pot and cook on low heat until it thickens. Stirring all the time. This will take 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Cool and refrigerate.
This post appeared on the beijingkids October 2018 Mental Health issue.
Photos: Uni You