Epic preserving weekend!

Well, I got gifted produce, as usual. A bag of apples, 2 bags of persimmons, 3 bags of mixed peppers, and 2 bags of herbs. 2 jugs of vinegar too! So, I had to preserve something.

First, I hung some tarragon, dill, and bay leaves to dry.

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Then, I made some mixed herb red wine vinegar, dill white vinegar, and salted mixed herbs.

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Pickled some persimmons in a sweet saffron brine that will make a delicious shrub. And harvested and pickled some dill gherkins. These are refrigerator pickles, and I canned 4 small jars of the persimmons.

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Then, I made some roasted red pepper spread and canned it.

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And, because I’m weird and can’t throw stuff away, I took all the pepper and herb trimmings and an onion and made some stock.

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Whew. We also made a batch of beer, a Belgian strong ale. And, this week I only have to make persimmon chutney and marmalade. At least Christmas gifts will be easy. Here’s the recipes.

Persimmon pickles
http://hitchhikingtoheaven.com/2012/01/pickled-fuyu-persimmons.html

The salted herbs are apparently. French Canadian tradition and couldn’t be easier. Chop herbs finely, add to a large bowl a bit at a time and sprinkle with salt. Probably a teaspoon per 2 cups herbs. Mix up and add to a jar and keep in the fridge.

The herb vinegar is just as easy. Pack a jar full of fresh herbs and cover with vinegar. Leave at room temperature and let sit for 4-6 weeks. Decant into smaller containers and discard herbs.

The red pepper spread is from the Ball book, but I added some smoked paprika.

http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipe.aspx?r=60

And the gherkins I just added a teaspoon of salt to about 2 cups white vinegar and a few black peppercorns. A sprig of fresh dill and a clove of garlic per jar make things tasty. Cover the cukes with the brine and pop in the fridge once they are cool to the touch.

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Clean out the freezer jam

So, at Lukes insistence, I put some of our donated fruit in the freezer a few months back. For some reason, he doesn’t want all the fruit in the house to end up made into jam. Weird. After a valiant attempt at using all the frozen fruit in smoothies, we still had 2 bags of strawberries, a bag of watermelon, and the last of some frozen cherries I bought earlier in the year.
So, I decided to attempt making jam from frozen fruit. It turned out well! I ended up with strawberry watermelon and strawberry cherry. Luke swears the former smells just like jolly ranchers.

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I took all the fruit out of the freezer the night before I made the jam. Then, I was a little scared of freezer burn, so I rinsed the fruit too, and let drain for a few.

Then I cooked up two batches like normal, and I couldn’t even tell the fruit had been frozen in the final product. Yum. And bonus, the freezer is all cleaned out. I used a touch more sugar here because of the frozen fruit. Here’s the recipes.

Each batch, about 3 pounds of fruit, rinsed and drained.

4 cups sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

And, I’ve been adding a pinch of nice sea salt to most of my jam lately. It’s optional.

Cook for 30 minutes or so until set, and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Made about 5 jars per batch.

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Fermenting crazy.

This weekend, I went a little crazy. I made some vinegar garlic dilly from the tiny cucumbers I grew. I also put in 2 gallon jars of Sauerkraut, cajun spice and curry. I also put in some papaya salsa and an apple beet relish with clove and star anise. And that’s after I decanted the other 2 gallons of Sauerkraut. And let’s not talk about the 12 jars of jam I made today.

I guess teaching my pickle class on Wednesday inspired lots of fermentation. And lots of donated produce. Since I didn’t make up the recipes, I’ll link to the ones I used below. But here’s a pic of the jars!

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Fun. The first batch of sauerkraut turned out really well. We will see on the rest of it, but I’m sure it will be awesome. Fermenting is so great.

papaya salsa

Sauerkraut

apple beet relish

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Pineapple habanero

So, of all the jam in all the world, pineapple habanero turns out to be my most popular jam. I’m really surprised that so many people like to spread really spicy things on their toast. Or maybe they are doing something else with it? I’m really not sure. I can envision eating it as a sort of chutney, though. Here’s the recipe:

Large batch, about 9 jars. It’s pretty spicy!

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6 pounds pineapple
6 cups sugar
Pinch sea salt
Habanero, to taste. I used 4 cut in half and a teaspoon or so of some dried powder.
And, 2 cups of water

I mascerated everything overnight. This jam cooks a little linger than mist jam I make, because you really want the pineapple to be cooked through. It took me a little over an hour of simmering over medium heat to make this happen. Then I mashed it all up, and cooked at high heat till the syrup set up, maybe 10 more minutes. You should be able to run your spatula over the bottom of the pan and see.the path for a bit before the jam fills it back in.

Then, fill the jars and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Yum.

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Jam available now

Hey all! Here’s the jam list. It’s about 75 jars total, so quantities are limited. I’ll be making more as always, so ill update as it comes. Usually, jars are $5, with volume discounts available. I’ll also make custom jam if you want. Just let me know!

Thyme Orange marmalade
Fig
Fig balsamic
Melon
Cherry
Tomato
Kumquat marmalade
Apple pear plum with thyme
Plum
Lemon squash
Kumquat chutney

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Melon jam

Strangely, melon jam is one of the most complimented jams I make. It’s really unexpected, I think. But delicious! The last batch I made was made with some canteloupes that were on their way to the compost. It’s always surprising how delicious melons can be when they look almost bad.

This time, I went to the amazing Persian market near me and picked up 3 melons for 59 cents a pound. They were bright orange on the outside, but turned out to be green on the inside. Delicious, though. So, I made two small batches of jam, one with habanero, and one plain. I had a request from a customer to make more spicy jam, and I figured this one would remind me of the Mexican fruit cups with chili and citrus. And it did. Yum.

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Recipe:

2 pounds melon, chopped finely
Juice of one lemon
Pinch sea salt
2 1/2 cups sugar

And optional 1-2 habanero chilis, minced. They add pretty orange flecks!

I masceraed these overnight with the sugar and lemon to maximize the breakdown of the melon. I wanted as few chunks as possible in the final jam. I also used a potato masher at the end, before a hard boil to finish the set.

Questions about canning? Let me know! These were processed in a water bath for 10 minutes. Each batch made 4 pints, just about. I used some 4 ounce jars for the super spicy version as well.

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Canning marathon and tips.

Summer is drawing to a close, and I’ve canned my fair share this year. Tomato jam, peach bbq sauce, so much fig jam. Not to mention cherry, cherry blueberry, grapefruit mint, strawberry, mullberry, relish, pickles, and much more. Last night, I canned all this stuff.

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Wow. I have problems. It’s not really normal for me to can this much in a week, but so much amazing food wad donated that I couldn’t bear to see it go bad. Sigh. But, even if you don’t have problems like me, you can still preserve food. You could:

Freeze something

Oven dry some tomatoes or peppers (250 oven for 4-6 hours, with a little olive oil, till visibly dried)

Make pesto with any leftover herbs, some nuts and oil. Really any combination that sounds good, food process and eat up!

Make fridge pickles. Half vinegar, half water, spices and some veggies. Get creative! Store in the fridge for a month or so.

Or let me know, and I can consult!

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