Saturday, March 13, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 3/13/10

The Washington Post's All We Can Eat blog revisits a recipe that is questionable from a food safety point of view because it includes partially dried tomatoes stored in olive oil (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?). This is an excellent food safety article because it goes into some depth about the food safety issues involved.

Come tomato season, I've gotten a lot of questions about whether you can make your own sun-dried tomatoes (enthusiastic yes) and store them in olive oil (regrettably, no). This article explains why. The options for freezing in oil given in the article is one good option. What I like to do is to simply rehydrate my sun dried tomatoes in olive oil overnight. This is safe because botulism at normal levels needs 5-6 days to reach toxic levels. Another option is to bring the olive oil and tomatoes to a simmer and then allow them to cool and infuse for use later that day. Finally, if you really want sun-dried tomato flavor in your oil, blast the warmed olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes with an immersion blender (or use a regular blender) until completely smooth.

WRBL in Alabama has a story on the resurgence of canning (Having a “Can Do” Attitude Towards Canning Food).
About eight years ago, Mary A. Keith advertised a class on home canning and preserving methods.
The food and nutrition specialist at Hillsborough County’s Extension Service got zero takers.
Last fall, she tried again. She filled seven classes of 30 students each, from teen girls completing a home-schooling project to guys who wanted to preserve the venison they bring back from hunting.
“I have five more classes on the books that are maxed out, too,“ Keith says “I don’t have the time to add any more. They won’t fit in my calendar.“
Props to Marisa McClellan and her blog, Food in Jars, for a lengthy mention in the article.

Local Kitchen loves alliums and had a hard time deciding what to make, but finally decided on a mustard for the March Can Jam (Can Jam: Roasted Garlic & Lemon Mustard).

Mustards are wonderful things. I'm planning to discuss them in one of my future weekly emails, but a quick tip. Mustard seeds are crazy, ridiculously expensive if you buy them in the grocery store. Sometimes you can find them at a reasonable price in ethnic grocery stores (Middle East and Latin), but for the best price and volume I go to a wholesaler for mine. I prefer Torn & Glasser near the wholesale produce market downtown.

Moo Said the Mama has a two-part series on making and canning beef stock (Making Beef Stock - Part I - Cooking the Stock and Making Beef Stock - Part II - The Canning Instructions). Although her herbs and spices are a little unconventional (and I would pincé the veg with tomato paste and deglaze with red wine), overall this is a very clear description of making and canning stock (which is usually a multi-day process, though much of that is unmonitored).

Making stock is the key to flavor in the kitchen. Make your own stock if you can. Of course, you can freeze it, but freezers can quickly fill with stock. Having a shelf-stable stock not only saves room in the freezer, but is more convenient, since you don't have to defrost the stock.


  1. Thanks for pointing out that tomato article. I do a similar thing--roasting tomatoes overnight, I think of them as a tomato confit--but eat them within a few days. They are stored in a jar covered in olive oil in the fridge. That's okay, right?

  2. As the article points out, as long as your refrigerator keeps them sufficiently cold then eating them within a few days is fine.