Friday, August 20, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 8/20/10

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

The Can Jam deadline is upon us and there is post after post of canned tomato recipes.

Ketchup seem particularly popular and people are using a variety of recipes and techniques to make it:There are other interesting posts as well.

Such as a tomato jam, which makes a refreshing change of pace in both savory and dessert applications Backyard Farms modifies one recipe with the addition of bay leaf and celery seed (CanJam # 8 Tomato Jam). I like the use of savory spices in jams. Bay leaf is almost always a good call and celery seed pairs very well with tomatoes, so why not?

Barbecue sauce is a great cannable item and Putting By has some good suggestions (Barbecue Sauce).

Local Kitchen makes a classic salsa but uses some time-saving techniques (Can Jam: Roasted Tomato & Chipotle Salsa). In addition to Ketchup, Yes, Another Cooking Blog also made salsa (Salsa-August Can Jam Tigress).

Tomatillos aren't green tomatoes, but they still make amazing salsa, as Put a Lid on It uses them instead of too expensive tomatoes (Roasted Salsa Verde).

I'll end the tomato posts with Well Preserved (Stewed (Canned) Tomatoes). A simple and classic recipe, to be sure, but check out the list of tips for canning. Some are tomato specific, but many are just general good ideas. Especially "Never do it if you don`t want to. It is supposed to be fun and it`s well worth it when you are in the moment." But read them all.

Ok, so maybe you are tomatoe'd out. August is also the best time of year for peaches. Stick a Fork in It, the OC Weekly's food blog, looks at peaches (At the Farmers' Market: Peaches), as does The Atlantic (The Annual Hunt for Perfectly Ripe Peaches):
These are my words of wisdom when it comes to peaches. Never squeeze a peach, as you basically ruin it. Select unbruised peaches with nice color, full shape, and nice weight for their size. Place the peach stem side down on a linen napkin or cotton tea towel—no substitutions. Make sure the fruits don't touch, and keep them in a cool place, not in the sun, then cover them with another linen napkin or cotton tea towel. It may take a few days. They are ripe when they smell like peach and the stem side is pressed down a bit from the weight and softening of the peach. The perfect peach should be quite perfumed, juicy, and soft.
Canning recipes almost always say to remove the peach skin before various types of processing take place. I say, not always. Check the peach first. Biting is the best method. Is the skin too thick, too chewy, too annoying? Then go ahead and skin those peaches. But if the skin is thin and not too chewy, why not leave it on? If you're going to chop finely or purée (as for a peach butter), then the skin is even less of a problem.

With all the August preserving emphasis on tomatoes and stone fruit, it might be easy to forget that pepper season is coming soon, if not already here. Squid Ink looks at a pepper variety now showing up in the farmers' markets (What's in Season at the Farmers Markets: Sometimes Spicy Padrons) and The Kitchn provides a recipe for pickling and canning them (Savory Canning: Pickled Peppers).

The Paupered Chef makes homemade pineapple vinegar (How to Make Homemade Vinegar (It Couldn’t Be Easier)). I'm a huge fan of homemade vinegar in all its varieties. What is happening here, of course, is an alcoholic fermentation of the pineapple and brown sugar (the more traditional piloncillo is readily available - and cheap - in Mexican supermarkets), and then a secondary fermentation from an alcoholic beverage into vinegar. I'd probably distinguish the two fermentations myself, and innoculate the alcohol with my own mother, but his method couldn't be simpler.

Emergency Food Storage Pros sing the praises of "Lock & Lock" food storage containers (Food Storage Containers: Lock & Lock). They love them, but there might be a little bias:
One thing that I have not spoken enough about on this food storage website is food storage containers. I have no excuse, now that I have been in South Korea for the past six weeks, and my brother in law is Chief Production Officer of Lock & Lock here.
I've never actually used them myself; I'm more of a Cambro guy (Surf City rulz!), but I've been seeing more and more of them, so they're probably pretty good. They're available on Amazon and at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but if you are here in Southern California, you'll find the best selection and prices at Korean supermarkets or department stores, where they are readily available. When next I need some storage containers, I'll probably give these a try.

Last but not least, Little Homestead in the City does their weekly roundup of what is happening at their urban farm (Homestead Happenings). Their canning shelf is absolutely fantastic!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,
    Why do you store peaches stem-side down? I read that you should do this with all stone fruit and actually posted that on my blog ( about locale eats and gardening but was asked why, and I'm not sure! Thanks!