Thursday, February 25, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 2/25/10

Well Preserved is on a yogurt kick. Last week they drained regular yogurt to make Greek-style yogurt and yesterday they discussed making yogurt in their dehydrator (Making Yogurt in the Dehydrator – the Night Time Stood Still).

I have the best yogurt maker in the world, the Salton YM9 - 1 Quart Yogurt Maker. Unfortunately, it is no longer manufactured - sorry. It is great for making 1 quart of yogurt at a time, usually enough for 3-5 days for me. But when I need to make more yogurt all at once, I turn to my dehydrator.

Well Preserved doesn't mention what sort of dehydrator they have, but almost certainly it is a box type, such as an Excalibur. The Ronco-style round tray dehydrators can be used to make yogurt, but in small tubs, not in large quart mason jars. In a box dehydrator, you just remove enough trays to fit the jars you want and then place them on the bottom. I like pint and quart jars for yogurt, but you could make a whole passel of 8-oz or 4-oz jars if you like pre-divided individual servings. Set to about 115 degrees F, the dehydrator will keep the yogurt at the right temperature for growth.

Ah, dehydrators. So useful. Bonus, after making yogurt with your dehydrator, you can make yogurt leather. Mix 2 parts yogurt to 1 part of your favorite jam, spread 1/4-inch thick on a leather drying sheet (offset spatula, thank you), 130 degrees until leather consistency, pliable, but not sticky. Cut into bite size pieces, my nieces call it "candy" - heh, heh.

Two Frog Home has been doing a great series on stocking your pantry (Pantry Stocking :: Buying in Bulk and Pantry Stocking :: Finding Space). Good tips.

Of course, while taking care of your pantry don't forget the refrigerator (the mainstay of food preservation). The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on how appliance manufacturers are redesigning their refrigerators so that they are easier to clean and keep organized (Why Won't Anyone Clean Me?). The most important issue, actually, is education - teaching people how to properly store goods in their refrigerator.
People often don't store things properly anyway. Four years ago, in an effort to understand how people organize their fridges, Sub-Zero bought a week's worth of groceries and asked a group of 12 customers to put away the items in refrigerators at the company's research facilities in Madison, Wis.

What ensued was chaos. People put meat and soda cans in the crisper drawers, which have a temperature and humidity meant for veggies. They put their milk in shelves on the door. While the door shelves seem to be a perfect fit for a carton of milk, Sub-Zero says the area is the worst place to store dairy products because it's the warmest part of the fridge.
Read the whole thing. I like this tip:
Ms. Johnson [training manager at Merry Maids] recommends that people explore the depths of their fridges once a week for food that needs to be tossed. She suggests cleaning one shelf at a time so that the task is less overwhelming.
Flying Tomato Farms does something interesting when making homemade bouillon - they roast their vegetables first (Eureka! Homemade Bouillon). Sounds like a real good idea to me. Freeze in a jar or as cubes.

The Foodinista makes a variation on an old-school classic (Baked Brie with Apricot-Rosemary Chutney). If you already have some canned chutney handy, this is ridiculously quick and easy to make. You just need some puff pastry or phyllo, a wheel of brie, 10 mintues of prep, a little oven time and you've got something spectacular when entertaining.

Eleanor Barkhorn of The Atlantic's Food Section cooks from her pantry, where she finds a can of Tuscan white beans and garbanzo beans (After Snowpocalypse, Bean Soup). The bean soup she created was simple and easy and sounds decidedly satisfying. Convenience food from the pantry made with canned beans ... hm, sounds familiar. The only thing is that the soup contains cream and she froze it. Soups with cream that are frozen have a tendency to separate. Better to freeze the soup without cream and add the cream when reheating.

Delilah Snell loves the look of Weck canning jars (Must...Have...These...Jars). If you buy her a case, she promises to give you one back filled with something delicious. Rufus and Clementine also like the jars and have put together a little guide to getting some (In Pursuit of | A Weck Resource Guide). Be sure to use new rubber gaskets when canning, do no reuse gaskets.

The Herald Journal News of Utah publishes an article celebrating eating home canned food in the middle of winter (Home Canner Glory).
Home-canners, this is your moment of glory.

Now is the payback for the weeks of hard labor - hours spent up to your elbows in tomato pulp and peach skins. The foolhardy folks who scoffed at your industry can only dream of the rich fruit of the summer. They’ll ingest the counterfeit meat product and fried starch at fast food restaurants while you dine on colorful bottled treasures from your cellar, one luscious quart at a time.
Heh. There are a few recipes for using home canned goods as well.

Nurse Elizabeth also celebrates her canned bounty (Canned Poached Pears).
Tonite, in the dead of winter, I ate a perfect October pear, frozen in time. YUM. You can’t even get that at Whole Foods right now!

And to me, Canned Poached Pears is, to date, the most awesome thing I have ever made in my kitchen. Not because of the taste, though. Don’t get me wrong, it is a delicious, savory dessert. But the idea that I am preserving fruit when it is just perfect, then poaching it while it is already sealed in the jars (preserving the alcohol content-YES!), then cracking a jar open for an elaborate, special occasion dessert 6 months to 2 years after I made it is, to me, nothing short of awesome.
They have citrus up in Canada? Who knew? The Toronto Sun has three recipes for marmalade, plus good tips for making and canning it (Making Marmalade).

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