Friday, February 19, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 2/20/10

February's Carrot Can Jam is coming to an end, with plenty of interesting results.

Doris and Jilly Cook try a chutney recipe, but aren't entirely happy with it (Apple Carrot Chutney). Chutney's are like that. Sometimes you find an amazing new flavor, other times ... the flavor is amazing in a different way. It also sounds as if D&J will be discussing one piece lid systems.

It isn't do chua, but Food in Jars makes a similar carrot and daikon pickle (February Can Jam: Pickled Carrots and Daikon). Most do chua is made with julienned vegetables, but FiJ cut their veg on a mandoline, making for a different appearance and texture. This is something you can often do to add a little variety to your pickles. For example, instead of pickle "chips," why not pickle "batons"?

Kitchen Jam uses a trick that I like to pull, adding chipotle to sweet jams (February Can Jam: Spicy Carrot-Apple Chipotle Butter). The smoky heat of the pickled, smoked jalapeƱos pairs very well with fruit flavors, particularly berries. One of these days I'm going to try to make a mostarda with chipotles.

Oh, Briggsy has a meandering (in a good way), link-filled post that eventually gets around to a Can Jam recipe (February Can Jam: Carrots! Pickled Mexican-Inspired Carrots with Onion and JalapeƱo). These are a favorite of mine ... I add them to beans, rice, even guacamole (gives it some texture).

There are other things to can than carrots. For example, mushrooms.

Granny Miller (no relation), explains how to can mushrooms with a pressure canner - actually, a pressure cooker is used (which is definitely not recommended) - but everything else is kosher (Home Canning Mushrooms And A Modified Rant). The rant has quite a few interesting facts as well:
Pennsylvania has been growing and producing mushrooms since the 1890’s, and historically mushrooms have been the Commonwealth’s most valuable cash crop. Last I checked Pennsylvania produces over 35% of all fresh mushrooms sold in the United States; and that number is down from 50% just 3 years ago.

Pennsylvania mushroom farmers not only produce a valuable crop, but they also purchase and recycle large quantities of manure, straw, compost and other farm products. Not to mention that Pennsylvania mushroom farmers have found a good use for old coalmines.
Mushroom farming sounds like a good part of a green farming system. I should learn more about it.

If you don't have a pressure canner, no worries. Why not pickle those mushrooms? National Center for Home Food Preservation: Marinated Whole Mushrooms.

Living the Frugal Life has some good instructions on making seed vaults using mason jars (Being Thrifty - Or Doomerish - With Seeds: Creating Your Own Seed Vault). The labeling information is particularly good.

Diner's Journal from the New York Times reports on a movement to plant an edible garden outside of City Hall (Plans for Real Growth at City Hall). Not a bad idea, but I would love to do some preserving out of these public gardens.

I missed this locavore backlash article that came out last week in the New York Times (A Balance Between the Factory and the Local Farm). I love this quote:
Some of these so-called locavores may think they are part of a national movement that will replace corporate food factories with small family farms. But as much of the East Coast lies blanketed beneath a foot or more of snow, it’s as good a time as any to raise a few questions about the trend’s viability.
First sentence, strawman ... hello. Second sentence ... gee, I guess when the East Coast was buried under snow 200 years ago and locavore was the only choice, everyone just starved to death. Or, maybe, they had something called "food preservation". Hmmm...

Just another locavore backlash article that takes some cheap potshots without actually delving into the mess that our current agriculture system is in. How about more analysis and solutions and less snark?

Finally, a sad note. The last sardine canning factory in the U.S. is closing (Stinson Canning Facility is Closing). I'm a big fan of sardines and they have quite a history here in the U.S., especially in California (Cannery Row, anyone?). Part of the problem is that we've been stripping the oceans of too many fish:
Over the past 6 years, annual total allowable catch levels of herring have decreased by 50% - from 180,000 metric tons in 2004 to 91,200 metric tons for 2010.
We've really messed things up. And our fisheries continue to suffer.

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