March 15, 2021 at 6:14 am #40829
Caeso Cispius LaevusDenarii: 𐆖 877.50PlebeiusBritannia
Garum was the ultimate condiment in Roman times. This recipe will give you a fairly accurate idea of how to make your own garum, following the ancient method. You’ll need a vat or barrel made from oak or chestnut wood, and then ingredients like whole fresh fish (e.g., mackerel), vinegar, salt, and water – but what you require will depend on your preference and what’s available in your area.
* Whole fresh fish (e.g. mackerel), scales and fins removed
* Vinegar (to preserve the fish) – or sumac or citrus or pomegranate for a milder but less aromatic flavour.
* Salt – including sea salt. Enough that eggs float in the water.
* Water (enough to cover the fish)
* A weighted wooden lid and bottom to fit the barrel, ideally made from oak or chestnut wood with a hole drilled in it large enough for the barrel’s neck. The weight should be heavy enough that it stays on when the barrel is filled with water, but not so heavy that it stops you from moving it around.
This is what you do:
1. Before you get started, be sure to check the barrel for leaks. If water begins to drip out when you fill it, go find another barrel – dried fish will not preserve well in a leaky barrel.
2. Wash the inside of the barrel thoroughly with soap and water before use, then rinse all traces of soapy residue away.
3. Cut a hole just big enough to fit your wooden lid in the bottom of your barrel, and one in the lid to accommodate your neck. Make sure that neither hole is so big that it leaks when it fills with water and there’s nothing left in your garum recipe!
4. Put your ingredients into the barrel – you can pack them in if you like, but be careful not to bruise the fish.
5. Fill with water until the fish are completely covered, then put the lid on and drill some holes into it to let air escape. (Note: The more holes you put in your lid, the quicker your garum will be ready!)
6. Leave for 40 days, stirring occasionally (or at least before you go to bed for 40 nights).
7. After this, empty the water that has been collected in the barrel into a pot.
8. After this, strain the protein from the stock using cheesecloth or muslin (ideally three times).
10. Discard any remaining bits of skin and bones from your fish. The stock should now resemble a thick gravy or sauce that could be used in many dishes (e.g., sauces for roast meat).
This is how to store it for the future:
– Transfer your garum into glass jars.
– Put the jars in a cool place. Ideally, garum keeps indefinitely in a dark cellar or cold storage, or for at least two years (keeping that long will be uncommon).
Addendum: You can also use the same process to make a sauce known as liquamen (liquid fish). This uses smaller fish, or bones and small amounts of flesh left over from making garum.
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