Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 3/16/10

Well, we've been hit with another, thankfully mild, earthquake this morning (Preliminary Earthquake Report: 4:04AM PDT: Pico Rivera, CA). Looks like the Whittier Narrows Fault is active again, which gave us so much trouble back in 1987. Lucky me, I live only a few miles away - on the Montebello side in 1987 and the Whittier side today.

I'm not going to go too much into earthquake preparedness. But food preservation is an important part of it. Not only do you have to worry about losing electricity (and, therefore, your freezer), but natural gas may also be unavailable (no cooking). Having precooked food you can eat out of the jar (beans, meat, soups) would be a good thing.

Chickens in the Road is giving away a copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and all you have to do is leave a comment on her post (read the whole thing for details) (Ball Blue Book Giveaway).

Putting By has a beautiful photo of their canning pantry as well as an inventory of what they have (or should have) in their stocks (Inventory :: March 1, 2010). Is there a specific word, perhaps German, for organization envy?

Another organization tool is the preserving journal. Susan Busler, an extension agent for Douglas County in Oregon, writes about pantry organization and how a preserving journal can help in the Douglas County News-Review (Extension Spotlight: Spring Cleaning Applies to Edibles as Well).

Churches are a good place to share information on food preservation. In Hurley, Mississippi a church is hosting a public class on food preservation (Can You Can? Homemaker's Lost Art Finds a New Audience in Hurley Church).
Debra Dickson, women's ministry director at Full Life Assembly of God in Hurley, decided to arrange educational courses for members of her church.

When she polled church members to see what subjects interested them, canning was a popular choice.

As a result, Full Life has partnered with the George County Cooperative Extension Service to offer a class called "Getting Ready to Can."
What church or other organization do you belong to? Perhaps you can get your local county extension to have a Master Food Preserver do a food preservation demo or class.

They probably don't need extension agents in Sweden:
The peoples of Scandinavia are masters of food preservation – techniques won through difficult and hard winters in which many bellies went hungry. From necessity and practicality, a heritage of cultured, naturally fermented foods was born. They bring us gravlax, pickled herring, cheeses and sourdough breads, inlagda rödbetor (a type of pickled beet) and, of course, a wide variety of yogurts such as viili, piimä, filmjölk and skyr.
Ah, Swedish cultured milks. Nourished Kitchen breaks down the universe of Swedish fermented dairy products, keeping you from confusing your viili with your skyr (Sour Milk: Lessons from Scandinavia). If you're ready to jump into the world of Swedish cultured milks, there is a culture giveaway as well (Giveaway: Win a Scandinavian Yogurt Starter (and How to Make Raw Milk Yogurt)).

Food in Jars disdained jelly for some time, but is rediscovering how wonderful they can be (Orange Jelly Recipe). That's wonderful because, for me, jellies are elegant in the way they can express color and flavor. There is a purity to their shimmering texture that is both old-fashioned in its composition and fresh and new in its flavor. A great thing is that you can pretty much make a jelly out of anything that can be used for an infusion. Herbal jellies (tarragon or basil definitely bring something special to the plate), tea jellies can be incredibly varied, and wine jellies can be amazing; your imagination is the only limit. This past weekend, I served thumbprint cookies with a hibiscus (jamaica) jelly.

And, as FiJ notes, fruit juices combined with other flavors creates an exponential number of options.

Speaking of jelly, The Kitchn wants to know what to do with mint jelly, other than serving it with lamb (What Can I Do With Leftover Mint Jelly?). There are some good suggestions in the comments, but it really is just about using your imagination. One very simple option: stir it into your hot tea. Similarly, you might consider adding it to a soup or curry. Or, when watermelon comes into season, cube the melon, melt some of the jelly, toss, chill and serve for dessert.

In other jelly related news, Scrumper is planning to make more scrumped Cornelian Cherry Jelly this summer (Scrumped Cornelian Cherry Jelly).

March Can Jam update:

Big Black Dogs uses onion in her pepper jelly - sounds good to me (Basil Banana Pepper Jelly *** The Hot Stuff!). And her onion jelly sounds pretty good too. I guess this is just jelly day on PreserveNation.

Bread Experience found a recipe for an onion relish that the recipe author suggested would be good on pizza. So, not only did she make the relish, she made the pizza too (Caramelized Red Onion Relish and Pizza: Tigress Can Jam).

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