Wednesday, July 7, 2010

RECIPE - Bilimbi conserve (Conserva de Biri-Biri)

Bilimbi, an acidic cousin of the star fruit, is used in amny dishes of the cuisine of southern Bahia as a replacement for citrus fruit, and is also appreciated on its own as a jam, pickle or relish.

This recipe, from the beautiful small resort town of Porto Seguro in southern Bahia, is a simple way to preserve the bounty of the bilimbi harvest for use during other seasons of the year, when the bilimbi is not available fresh. Since almost every backyard in Porto Seguro has a bilimbi tree, the local inhabitants never have a problem with a shortage of bilimbi at harvest time, rather the reverse - what to do with the abundance of bilimbi ripening all over town. This is one solution.
RECIPE - Bilimbi conserve (Conserva de Biri-Biri)

2 quarts (liters) cold water
sea salt to taste
12 bilimbis, thoroughly washed
fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 thick slice yellow onion
In a large pan, bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the bilimbis, then immediately cover the pan and let cool to room temperature.

Sterilize a one-quart canning jar, using standard techniques and safety measures. Pack half full with bilimbis, then add the bay leave and onion slice, and the remaining bilimbis. Pour the cooking liquid over the fruits to fill the jar. Seal the jar and process using the boiling water method, or alternatively, seal the jar and place in the refrigerator. Let stand for at least 2 weeks, then serve as an accompaniment to meat dishes or with cocktails and aperitifs.

Recipe translated and adapted from Viagem Gastronômica através do Brasil by Caloca Fernandes (Editora Senac)

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