Saturday, March 27, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 3/27/10

Food in Jars announces the Can Jam for April: Herbs (April Can Jam: Herbs!). With a few exceptions (herb jellies are the only one I can think of off hand), herbs are supporting flavors in pickles and preserves. The possibilities are infinite. I look forward to seeing some awesome flavor combinations I would never have thought of.

What Julia Ate has been saving the pith of her citrus peels for some time ... enough time to gather 2 1/2 pounds of pith. What does she do with it? Turn it into pectin for a jelly (it is the jelly-rific WJA, after all) (Strawberry and Orange Pectin Jelly). Most excellent, with some good lessons learned on making your own pectin.
There's a definite orange taste to the jelly, and a slight but noticeable bitter bite. But it's not overpowering at all. The set is firm and jammy, and it's not crystal clear even though I strained the pectin twice. The puree was dark and opaque, admittedly. I wonder if I stuck to pith only, or left out the pits, or peels, what the outcome would be.
The LA Times' Market Watch report by fruit detective David Karp spends some time at the Corona del Mar Farmers' Market (Market Watch: Corona del Mar Farmers Market is Small but Mighty). I haven't been to that market, but I'm intrigued by this description of a citrus:
Low acidity is not a defect in the fruit that Eli's Farm of De Luz is marketing, rather inventively, as "strawberry oranges." These are naturally acidless sweet oranges that have an odd mild flavor reminiscent of orange Creamsicle. Other farms also give this variety made-up names such as "mango orange," perhaps because its proper name, Vaniglia Sanguigno ("Vanilla Blood" in Italian), is a bit of a mouthful. It's not really a blood orange, anyway, since instead of being pigmented red with anthocyanins, like Moros and Taroccos, it derives its pink from lycopene, which colors pink grapefruit and tomatoes.
The Kitchn has a seasonal preparation for sauerkraut, the traditional Polish Easter dish Hunter's Stew or bigos, "a hearty stew filled with smoky sausage, tangy sauerkraut, and plenty of garlic" (Easter Diner: Make Bigos!).

Anarchy in a Jar is getting inspiration from cocktails nowadays - riffing off their flavor profiles. One experiment in the works is a pear-based version of an Aviation (Aviation Pickled Pears). Makes me want to run out and buy a bottle of crème de violette myself.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has an article on eating sustainably through the winter. Two of the recommendations incorporate two types of food preservation: Freezing and Canning (Eating Sustainably All Winter).
Go frozen – Yes, a freezer does use energy, but likely, you have a freezer already pulling power as part of your fridge. If you are ambitious in the summer and fall, freeze fruits and veggies from the Farmers Market when they are fresh. Or buy U.S. grown or better yet, locally-grown organic frozen produce to get you through the winter. Frozen goods are nutritious because they are picked and frozen at their seasonal best.

Have a canning party – Proper storage can ensure that fruits and vegetables will last through the winter months allowing you to take advantage of local goods when they are in season and inexpensive. Canning with family, friend or neighbors is a fun activity and many hands make it possible to can a winter’s worth in a weekend.
Healthy Green Kitchen made some lovely three-citrus marmalade, but is afraid to can it (Marmalade and My Fear of Canning). Does anyone have any suggestions for her to get over her fear of canning?

Finally, Prepared, Not Scared has a recipe for canning shepherd's pie (Preserve It ... Canning Corner: A Jar of Shepherd's Pie). You don't actually can the whole pie; the mashed potatoes and cheese are made just before the pie is baked. It is the ground meat filling that is canned. Sounds like some wonderfully convenient comfort food to me.

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