Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 3/23/10

Regrettably, marmalade canning season is past its peak. Though there is still great citrus in the markets, many of my favorite citruses are on the wane. The LA Times' Market Watch report by fruit detective David Karp can help you figure out which fruit is still good and which is not quite what it was just a couple of weeks ago (Market Watch: When Citrus is Past its Prime).

Of course, just because a fruit is a bit overmature doesn't mean it won't still make a great preserve. In fact, such fruit may be better in a preserve than for eating out of hand. Ideally, you want perfectly ripe fruit for preserving, but if the choice is whether an overmature fruit should be eaten out of hand or preserved, preserving might be the answer.

Be assured though, that while some citrus is making its exit from the farmers markets, some citrus is just hitting its own peak. The Kitchn notes the wonderful (grapefruit or pomelo)/tangerine hybrid tangelos that are in markets right now (Farmers' Market Report: Tangelos).

Master Food Preserver candidate Kevin West and artisan preserve maker Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections will be doing a series of preserving classes starting in April (Sign Up for Private Preserving Lessons!). Space is limited, so sign up now.

Can't get to the class? Try some self-instruction as Kevin also shares his favorite recipe for Seville Orange Marmalade (Recipe: Seville Orange Marmalade).

If you're looking for a more difficult marmalade recipe Leite's Culinaria has a recipe for blood orange marmalade from Mes Confitures (Blood Orange Marmalade). Blood oranges are reaching their peak of color about now, so they are a good choice for a spectacularly colored marmalade.

My friend Rachael Narins of the sustainable, private supper club Chicks with Knives is also holding some classes, one on pickling and the other on basic knife skills on April 17th (Cooking Classes).
If you have ever attended a CWK dinner, you know we love anything pickled. Join us for this event and learn to make your own! We will start with a brief lecture on the different types of preserving methods, equipment and safety. We will learn to make quick, brined and fermented pickles using seasonal, farmers market ingredients to create several treats for you to try. At the end of the class you will have samples to take home, along with some basic tools, ingredients and equipment.
Yummy Supper makes dandelion jelly (Dandelion Jelly). If a flower is edible, you can make jelly from it and capture that floral essence in a jar. Just be careful, however, since even if a flower is edible, the rest of the plant may not be.

Chickens in the Road is giving away a copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving (Ball Blue Book Giveaway). Post a comment for the chance to win.

Rurally Screwed was having some difficulty getting good flavor from pickled eggplant (What is Up with Pickling Eggplant???).
The other day I made eight different versions of pickled eggplant, trying to find one worthy of the canning cookbook I’m writing with Brooklyn chef Kelly Geary. And the consensus was that all eight versions more or less sucked. That’s right, I’m touting myself as a canning pro and my pickled eggplant was no good. You won’t find any of these recipes in the cookbook, that’s for sure.
But pickle and all-around preserving guru Linda Ziedrich stepped in to comment on the difficulties of pickling eggplant. The result? A delicious garnish or addition to salads (Pickled Eggplant Postscript).

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has only one recommendation for canning pumpkin: cubed in a pressure canner (Resources for Home Preserving Pumpkins). Local Kitchen set out to prove to herself that at least some canning recipes featuring pumpkins are safe (Pumpkin Cascabel Marmalade).

Obviously, I can't say that this recipe is safe, but I do think that LK's analysis is interesting, informative and well worth reading. There are some tests that can be done with the resulting marmalade, for example, puréeing the canned marmalade in a couple of weeks and checking the pH level. Of course, I would be interested in seeing what data the NCHFP based their analysis on as well; to see if LK is missing anything in her analysis.

Smoking cheese isn't really about food preservation. But, if you already have a smoker for preservation, smoking cheese is a great way to add flavor to all sorts of things. Savory TV demonstrates this with a recipe for (Smoked Cheddar Grits). I smoke a lot of cheese: pepper jack, cheddar, gouda, mozzarella, etc. Anywhere you would normally use cheese, substitute in some smoked cheese and you've got some amazing flavor.

Nearing the last of the March Can Jam:


  1. Hello! I am a Master Food Preserver in Maine- our MFP program is in its 3rd year. I'm looking forward to reading your blog and learning about how you run your MFP class. And I love hearing about all the products you are making with your seasonal fruit! Since all that's 'in season' right now in Maine is... root vegetables. :)

  2. Hi, Kate!

    In all honesty, Los Angeles County hasn't had a Master Food Preserver program for a number of years. I got my certification in San Bernardino (about 80 miles away). We're trying to get the program officially restarted here ... the interest is very, very high ... but budget issues are a major problem. But we'll keep working on it.

    I would love to hear what you are doing in Maine (love the state, spent a few weekends there during the summer a few years ago). If you've got a newsletter or anything, please let me know.

    Thanks again!