The LA Times' Daily Dish points out a couple of local tomato growing classes starting up this weekend (Tomato Time: As Tomato Season Approaches, a Variety of Growing Classes are on Offer). Growing your own is an excellent skill to learn and a great way to ensure a plentiful amount of tomatoes for canning.
Speaking of tomatoes, the Horticulture Department of Fullerton College is holding its annual tomato and pepper plant sale this weekend (Friday - Sunday) (2010 Tomato and Pepper Sale). Learn how to grow them and then buy them this weekend.
Residents of Richmond and Wayne counties in Indiana are enjoying a series of 100-mile potluck dinners, in which all the dishes are prepared with local ingredients gathered within a 100-mile radius, according to the Palladium-Item (Interest Grows in Locally Produced Food). Given that "it's been months since the last farmer's market", preserved food plays a big role in the local ingredient list.
Much of the food at the February 100-mile radius potluck came from the Baxters' CSA, The Clear Creek Food Co-op or home gardens. Families froze or canned produce during the summer so they could have some in the winter.Angela Fraser, an Associate Professor/Food Safety Education Specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Clemson University has written a brief 20-page introduction to home food preservation (Introduction to Home Food Preservation). It is a great quick overview of the topic.
At the potluck, Earlham professor Carol Hunter informally demonstrated how she cans her own fruits and vegetables. Hunter learned the skill from her mother, who was a home economics teacher, but noted that the skill is largely being forgotten.
The cover story for the New York Times Dining section this week is on raising and harvesting rabbits (Don't Tell the Kids). Raising rabbits is not too difficult and can be quite economical, since they breed, like, well, you know. By coincidence (?), Food Curated (an excellent short documentary series on various producers of food on the East Coast) just posted an episode on rabbit breeding (Farming and Breeding Fresh Local Rabbits for New York City Restaurants).
Why all the rabbit love on a food preservation blog? Rabbits are excellent for pressure canning (Selecting, Preparing and Canning Meat: Rabbit or Chicken). It was one of the specialties of my great-grandmother.
Anarchy in a Jar uses their jam to make a free-form tart, or crostata (How to Jam #3: Jam Crostata). I find that these are really great for individual sized servings, i.e., making a whole bunch of mini-crostatas. For larger tarts, I prefer a traditional shell made in a tart pan. Still, a large crostata is a beautiful thing. Both pie fillings and conserves are also an excellent filling for a crostata. And for real decadence, why not have a bottom layer of ricotta cheese topped with jam in the crostata?
Might I also suggest brushing the top of the crostata with an egg wash to make it all nice and shiny when it comes out of the oven? Powdered sugar is a nice topping, but a crystallized sugar, like turbinado, sprinkled on top before baking also makes a lovely topping and adds texture.
Big Black Dogs is giving away an Nesco/American Harvest dehydrator (Nesco/American Harvest Dehydrator Giveaway). All you have to do is comment on the blog post. There are also a number of ways to get more entries, such as tweeting a link, following the RSS, etc., etc., etc.
Whether you win the dehydrator or not, you may want to consider reading this brief primer on dehydration from Positively Prepared (Why Dehydrate Food?). Probably the earliest food preservation method, dehydration is not used nearly as much as it can be.
Two Frog Home continues their pantry series with a few hints on using the food in your pantry (Pantry Stocking :: Using It).
Paris-based pastry and ice cream expert David Lebovitz makes an unusual marmalade (Bergamot Marmalade Recipe). Kevin West had some trouble using bergamots as a small part of a more traditional marmalade. I wonder what he would think of this recipe? Will he give it a try?