Thursday, March 25, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 3/25/10

The New York Times is starting a new series on certain "power" ingredients (Making a Foreign Staple Work Back Home).
This is only one of the many potent flavor boosters that can be appropriated from relatively unfamiliar cuisines. Over the next few months, we’ll check out a number of them, exploring how they are used traditionally and how they can be slipped into your daily cooking. The more you use them, the more uses you’ll find for them.

In other words, we’re going to exercise a little benign culinary imperialism, appropriating ingredients and adding them to our larder. No one gets hurt, and dinner becomes more interesting.
The first ingredient they note is pomegranate molasses, a thick syrup of pomegranates with some sugar and lemon. This versatile stuff you can make and can at home, if you access to a pomegranate tree. Last year I made and canned grenadine, which is basically a less-reduced version of pomegranate molasses.

As a matter of fact, I broke out a pint of my grenadine to make "pink" lemonade (lemons from my backyard tree) last night.

Know Whey has had a number of good food preservation posts over the past week or so.

Last fall, KW purchased a beautiful hand-thrown pickling crock. I have one of the same design, but from Germany. They're relatively expensive, but well-designed for their job. To justify the expense, though, they've been making a lot of sauerkraut (Sauerkraut and Vermont Choucroute Garni).

When you have sauerkraut a classic preparation from Alsace is choucroute garni. "Choucroute" is a Francophile version of the German word "sauerkraut." The dish is usually a braised sauerkraut served with various sausages and/or cured meats. WK recommends a good Riesling with the dish, but look for a dry one, which is more typical of the style of Alsace.

Bonus: they provide a homemade sausage recipe for the dish.

KW also has a recipe for Seville Orange Marmalade that is very similar to Kevin West's (Marmalade). There are some excellent photos of the process.

Technically, apparently, if you make a clafoutis with anything other than cherries, it is called a flaugnarde. KW passes along that tidbit of information, as well as a recipe for using frozen blackberries and her home canned peaches in a flaugnarde (Almost Spring: Peach and Blackberry Clafouti). What a great idea for using all sorts of home canned fruit.

The Kitchn uses Weck canning jars for dry storage. What is really interesting is that they use a white indelible ink marker to label the jars which, if you have good penmanship, looks like a pretty cool way to label jars in general (Pantry Style: Weck Canning Jars and a White Pen). The only problem?
The ink can easily be removed, but only by using solvent based removers (like nail polish remover) or by carefully scraping with a razor blade, both which require extra caution.
Food in Jars is inspired by the Passover Seder to make a jam based on the traditional dish, charoset (Charoses Inspired Jam for Passover). Brilliant! Sounds delicious!

There is some discussion as to whether this is a jam or conserve but, since charoset can contain various dried fruits, add some and you're definitely in conserve world.

The LA Weekly's food blog Squid Ink keeps you up-to-date on what is in season in Southern California in their Farmers Market Report. This week, the focus is on sorrel (What's in Season at the Farmers' Markets: Sorrel). Although the article focuses on sorrel's use as a leafy green, it is also frequently used as a flavoring herb. Sorrel jelly, anyone? It will lose some of its flavor when heated, but it has an affinity for grapes and mustard, and would certainly be good as a flavoring for vinegar. Taste some and consider some of the other flavors it would pair well with or enhance.

Speaking of flavored vinegars, the EpiLog fears canning, but will happily preserve the flavor of tarragon in vinegar (Flavored Vinegar: Saving Tarragon In A Bottle).

Need a t-shirt to show off pride in your canning? How about this one from JP Harris' shop on Etsy (YES WE CAN - Just Food - Green Print on Natural Organic Tee)? via The Kitchn

The Penny Pantry - "Recapturing the Old Fashion Art of Pantry Building While Drastically Reducing Your Grocery Bill!" - discusses growing and canning your own greenbeans (Canning Greenbeans in the Garden). Greenbeans alone must be pressure canned, but pickled dilly beans are always popular and can be waterbath canned.

Local Kitchen continues her exploration into canning pumpkin preserves (not recommended by the USDA) by trying a recipe from the lauded Mes Confitures (Christine Ferber’s Pumpkin Jam with Vanilla Bean). Not only is she disappointed in the tooth-achingly sweet results, the error in the recipe translation (700g ≠ 2.25lbs), and the recommended non-processing, and the fact that the acidity level is questionable (read her analysis). The USDA recommendations are conservative, of course, but do you really want non-conservative rules where potential botulism is involved?

Anarchy in a Jar is experimenting with apple jelly flavored by juniper berries (Apple Jelly with Juniper Berries). We'll have to wait to hear the results.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great roundup! There are at least four things here that I want to try.