Posts tagged ‘preserving’

July 12, 2012

The Teaches of Peaches | Herb Nectars

We just got back from vacation in Georgia. It’s such a great state with so many people committed to delicious food fresh off the farm.  My kind of place, really.  And to be honest, they make some mean fried chicken.

While I was there I couldn’t help but do some canning of some fresh Georgia peaches.  I basically followed this method for canning the teeny ten pounds I had into four quart jars.  In some of the jarred peaches I packed in some fresh basil,

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May 20, 2012

Precious Little | Strawberry Peony Jam

It’s the time of year that it’s hard to pin me down.  I’m outside.  Busy in the backyard, planting, weeding, sitting, contemplating.  I just want to be outside.  Watching for the return of Chestnut.  Seeing if we have any new baby rabbits in the yard.  I just find so much peace there, that you’re hard pressed to get a post out of me.  I have better things to do.

Because of this I was there, in the backyard, when the peonies bloomed this year.  They are my absolute favorite flower: profuse, heavy blooms; heady fragrance.  I turned the confetti of abundant petals into syrup.  I did this last year, but not as adroitly.

Marry to this that I went strawberry picking with friends last week.  And 17 pounds picked meant there was certain to be some jamming.  Did there happen to be some master pastry chefs along?  Why yes, there were.  (Thanks, B.)  So I asked them how to incorporate my peony syrup into the jam that was sure to follow all that picking.   Add the syrup at the last minute, they said, to keep all the flower essence.   But of course.

Ten cups of strawberries

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August 23, 2011

A Quick Pickle | Szechuan and Dill

These are my first pickles.

I thank sites like Hounds in the Kitchen and Food in Jars for giving me the nudge in the direction of preserving and pickling.

What is it about these methods that seem so daunting?  Perhaps it is that you hear stories of the six thousand pints that your grandmother used to make at one sitting. (Who has time?)  Perhaps it’s the old stories that it won’t keep as well as you hope.  Fear mongers.  Truly folks, don’t listen.  You can put up just a few pints at a time, in two hours or less.

And the satisfaction of a pickle from a cucumber you grew or just picked up at a farmers’ market is like nothing else.

I made up my own pickling spice, because I think things can be a bit boring if you go the conventional route.  I like a bit of extra spice.  I also kicked in some fresh ginger in some and a massive quantity of garlic as well.  They turned out crispy and salty and kind of awesome.

PK Szechuan Dill Pickling Spice

1 t caraway seeds

1 T corriander seeds

1 t cumin seeds

1 t celery seeds

5 cloves

10 juniper berries

8 green cardamom pods

1 T black peppercorns

1 T Szechuan peppercorns

2 T dill seed

Lightly crush all larger spices, especially the cardamom pods and juniper berries.  Use in quantities as your pickle recipe advises.

Playlist included My Heart Skips a Beat by The Secret Sisters.

 

July 9, 2011

After the Preserves | Fruit and Herb Vinegars

I’ve got three different bottles of fruit and herbs steeping in vinegar in the dark recesses of my basement spice shelves.  Birthed out of a craving for something savory out of all the pounds and pounds of fruit Cherub and I have been picking with friends lately.  I’ve made cobblers, pies, and grunts.  I’ve made syrups, jams and jellies (albeit almost accidentally, but that’s another post).  What to do with the dregs from the blueberry syrup?  The excess from 20 pounds of cherries?  Toss them in vinegar along with some herbs.  Let it steep for a few weeks in a dark spot, shaking the jars every once in a while when you walk by.  It’s as easy as that, and the flavors are only limited by your imagination.  And honestly, can you think of a nicer hostess gift?  Just strain into a vintage bottle, and cork.  Present with a handwritten tag noting the contents or perhaps a recipe for a simple vinaigrette.  You’re most certain to be invited back.

From left to right: Blueberry Tarragon, Cherry Shiso, and Cherry Balsamic

A few guidelines: for deepest flavor use

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June 22, 2011

Strawberry Week | Jam, Two Ways

As you might remember if you read this blog with regularity, I picked ten pounds of strawberries over the weekend.  This left me with plenty to jam.  Plenty.  Especially since I’m (gasp!) kind of a novice canner.   Between picking and managing a boisterous Cherub, I chatted with a very sweet friend, Jenn (editor of the tremendous Greener Grocer newsletter) and she told me she had recently made some great strawberry balsamic jam.  Well, that’s right up my alley.

She kindly forwarded me the recipe.  I decided I’d do that (a recipe that is pectin-free – Demeter is convinced I don’t need it) and a strawberry rhubarb jam using pectin (I’ve been told by Rachel at Hounds in the Kitchen that Pomona’s is the best kind to use).

The strawberry balsamic with pepper is a jam purist’s dream.  Lots of low simmering, pleasurable skimming, and

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