Salt-Preserved Fruit Is The Perfect Finishing Ingredient For Rich Meals

Food preservation is a longstanding tradition that was first and foremost essential for preventing food waste and hunger but has also become a culinary art to achieve unique flavors and textures. There are numerous preservation techniques that we normally associate with designated categories of food.

Fruit preserves, for example, utilize sugar preservation to create all the jams, jellies, and compotes we all know. However, you can just as easily salt-preserve fruit, and it will open up a whole new world of culinary possibilities.

There are two main avenues for salt preservation: dry salting and brining. Dry salting fruit involves placing quartered and pitted or de-seeded fruit in a container and layering it with a hefty serving of salt, then more fruit, then more salt, etc. Once you've filled the container, you close it and let the fruit sit for at least a week. During this time, the salt will draw moisture out of the fruit, creating a brine that will infuse moisture and flavor back into the fruit.

Brining is a quicker process that pours a saline solution over fruit, letting it sit for up to eight hours in the refrigerator. If you add citric acid or vinegar to the brine, you'll get pickled fruit. No matter which method you use, salt-preserved fruit will attain a moist, chewy texture somewhere between dried fruit and lox. Salt preservation will also intensify the fruit's flavor and aroma while simultaneously adding a unique salty balance to the fruit's sweetness.

Food pairings for salt-preserved fruit

Salt-preserved fruit will bring a depth of flavor and texture that will complement rich, savory dishes with a sophisticated balance of sweet and salty. Plus, they'll last you up to a month if stored properly.

Salted plums and apricots make great additions to a savory cheese plate. You can also chop them up and mix them with fresh herbs and olive oil for a colorful, flavorful topping for heavy meats like steak, pork chops, or lamb. For example, instead of garnishing roast lamb with mint jelly, try using fresh mint and chopped salted blueberries. You'll find a wealth of salted plum recipes placing them over pork chops, steamed fish, and even in lemonade and soda. Salted mango is a delicious addition to rich coconut curries as they'll add a tangy, sweet compliment to a slew of spicy and savory spices.

Salted grapes and cherries make a colorful and flavorful garnish over a rich pate. They also pair well with umami-rich olives and savory white beans in a bean salad side dish. You can use salted cherries or salted blueberries as garnishes or flavoring agents in cocktails. Instead of a maraschino or Luxardo cherry, use a salted cherry to garnish a Negroni. Another recipe recommends using them instead of olives or onions in a gin martini. Salted blueberries muddled with mint and lemon juice would make for a delicious whiskey sour variation.