Friday, March 19, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 3/19/10

Big Black Dogs makes carrot cake jam and pairs it with carrot bread (Carrot Bread with Carrot Cake Jam). That sounds great ... it also makes me think of other things it would go well with. How about carrot cake pancakes with a smear of cream cheese and carrot cake jam? Or simply use it as a glaze for caramelized carrots? I like doubling (or even tripling) down on flavors sometimes.

Well Preserved is canning multiple alliums, onions and leeks (Pickled Onions – Coming to a Sandwich Near You and I’ve Sprung a Leek ... a Pickled Leek). There are some very interesting things going on here. I think the use of malt vinegar in the pickled onions is an excellent idea. Malt vinegar isn't used much in pickling, because of its intense flavor and color, but with the right ingredients it can be genius. This sounds like one of those cases.

Malt vinegar is basically made from beer (sans hops), so it has an affinity for ales and things that go with ale. I'm thinking sharp cheddar, sausages, that sort of thing. How about as a garnish for a cheddar/ale soup?

The other thing that is interesting is that WP pickled not only the white/light green parts of the leeks, but the leaves as well. I've never actually used the leaves of the leek for anything other than a flavoring agent in soups and stock. I didn't really think they were edible due to their fibrousness. I would love to find out whether pickling changes the texture enough to make them readily edible.

What Julia Ate is also working with alliums. Coincidence? I don't think so. A great flavor combination is the result (Roasted Garlic and Candied Ginger Jelly). Originally, though, it wasn't a jelly ... it was a syrup. Julia explains why her original didn't set and why. You always learn more from your mistakes than your successes. And then, she reprocesses, and success! I usually don't recommend reprocessing, but this was definitely a good call.

Tea for Joy hosts a craft evening for her church group and they make some beautiful jars of lemon curd (A Lemon Curd Craft Evening). Once again, we see that canning is a great social activity. However, I must note that the recipe for the lemon curd they use calls for sealing with wax and no processing. This is not recommended. The National Center for Home Food Preservation does have a tested recipe for Canned Lemon Curd.

Guava paste, like dulce de membrillo, is a fruit cheese that has a number of culinary uses. The Kitchn lists ten ways to use it (Fun to Say, Fun to Eat: 10 Ways to Use Guava Paste). Of course, you can buy your guava paste, or membrillo, but when the fruit is in season, it is easy to make your own. You can also make fruit cheese from stone fruits (mmmm .... plum cheese), apples, pears and probably some others I can't think of off hand. So, consider the list as a stepping off point for using other fruit cheeses as well.

The OC Weekly's food blog, Stick a Fork in It, notices the local sugarcane showing up in farmers' markets (At the Farmers' Market: Sugarcane). Juice, strain and use as a syrup for canning local fruit for a locavore delight. Sugarcane isn't that difficult to grow either. Thirty years ago when I was growing up, my grandmother grew it as a treat for us grandkids.

The female half of Those Mathiases and Their Adventures in Kansas did a lot of canning with mom when young, but didn't take it up as an adult. Until now, that is, sort of (On Canning).
I. Do. Not. CAN.

And then I realized something.

We don't have moms or grandmas that live closeby to gift us with such delicacies. Fail.
We don't live under the old landlords that brought down the best raspberry jam ever made. Fail again.
And, the result? We don't have freezer jam. And it's not coming anytime soon. Epic fail.

So I did what any girl would do. I made my husband do it.
If my blogging is a little shorter, slow or otherwise not up to my usual standards, I have an excuse. I have been building some raised bed planters so that I can more easily grow and harvest more food, some of which will definitely end up in cans.


  1. Very nice raised bed! We'll forgive you. It's for a worthy cause.

  2. This hasn't anything to do with this particular blog post, but I'm not sure how else to ask a question. I make a lot of marmalade, having a lime tree in the yard and neighbors with other citrus who have no idea what to do with the bounty except give it to me. But not everyone's nuts about marmalade. Can one just make a citrus jam, with no peel? If so, how do I modify a standard marmalade recipe or find citrus jam recipes. I tried Googling, but Citrus Jam appears to be a musical group!

  3. Ernest,

    As always - thank you so much for the link and the work you do to raise awareness to preserving, growing and food in general...

    We're going to sit on the leeks for a few months and see what happens - I'll have an update once they've sat - there is a bit of an experiment happening here and curious where it goes...

    If it doesn't work, we'll try it as a flavour base for stock though that can be a tough balance with the vinegar...

    Thanks as well for the idea on bread crumbs with our collapsed loaf. I did manage to get some from it - but it was so solid that I was actually fearing damage to the food processor or worse. Trued softening with heat as well to no avail. Did get about half the loaf done before I lost my nerve (that was about 30 minutes of processing...heh)...

    Love your beds above as well!


  4. Diana: How about a citrus jelly? Food in Jars recently published a recipe for orange jelly:

    In the jelly recipe, you can probably leave the pulp in, if you want more of a jam consistency, without peel.

    There are many conserve recipes that feature citrus.

    If you are using a marmalade recipe that uses commercial pectin, then you can probably omit the peels for those recipes. In non-pectin marmalade recipes, the pectin comes from the peel itself, so you probably can't omit it.

    Joel: Wow. That was a dense loaf, but at least you could save some of it. As for the leeks, as I mentioned, I can't wait to hear how the experiment turns out. Before using in a stock, though, I would use it in a soup that calls for some vinegar. You might be limiting yourself a bit with the stock if you introduce vinegar.

    Many thanks!