Master Food Preserver (and co-author of this blog), Delilah Snell, has finalized her food preservation classes for the near future - check them out! I'll be doing one, wish I could do more, but my new job means my schedule is uncertain right now: Food Preservation Classes, Workshops and More - FINAL
She also is on the lookout for free fruit to preserve, especially loquats (Adventure in Loquats and Other Backyard Fruit - and a Special Request for Readers of this Blog!):
if you have any fruit trees that you want me to pick or you can pick and hand over-i will give you a few jars of whatever i make....viva Spring!I was a participant in "loquat-a-palooza" last year, they are a great preserving fruit (though a little labor intensive).
Food in Jars takes a look at Ashley English's new book: Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Chutneys & More (A Good Book for the Can Jam or Anytime). She discovers that it is perfect for providing some ideas for April's Can Jam.
Not everybody has the room for a backyard smoker, or even a backyard. The Chicago Tribune runs a nice story on stovetop smoking (Smoke Signals). If you haven't tried smoking food at home yet, the stovetop method is a great place to start. You'll be surprised by the flavors you can achieve. I love smoked foods, and what you can do easily at home beats the heck out of what is available commercially. Smoke is another one of those techniques that can be used to transform routine dishes and take them to a new level. Mmmmm ... smoked roasted chicken salad.
Leda Meredith of her eponymous Urban Homestead did a radio interview on the Heritage Radio Network's Hot Grease in which she discusses lacto-fermentation as a preservation method among other topics (Hot Grease Interview).
If you are lucky enough to have access to ramps (foraged or in farmers' markets), then you might want to read a bit about using and preserving them. Local Kitchen provides some excellent ideas and information (Ramps):
The Spring ramp season is short; to preserve your bounty for the coming months, blanche & freeze the leaves as you would chard or kale, or make pesto or infused oil or vinegar as you would with fresh herbs. Dry chopped bulbs and leaves in a dehydrator or low oven, or use in pickles, chutneys, or confit. For a host of allium preserving recipe ideas, check out the March Can Jam round-up. I have a big pile o’ ramps to cook with, and I hope to score some more to preserve, so I’ll update this post as I experiment. Stay tuned!The Canning Doctor roasts a chicken and then makes and cans stock from the carcass (Pressure Canning Again). This is an excellent practice whenever you roast a chicken (one of the greatest, most versatile meals there is). If you don't have time to make the stock that day or the next, freeze the carcass and make the stock when you do have the time.
The Practical Preserver provides instructions for properly freezing strawberries (Strawberry Season). Though I'm a huge fan of canning, in my book, it is always a good idea to have some frozen berries available in the pantry - then you are ready for all sorts of quick desserts and sweet/savory dishes.
One Perfect Bite makes a versatile pesto (aren't most pestos versatile?) from homemade sundried cherry tomatoes (Red Pesto Sauce + Home-Style Sun-Dried Tomatoes). It'll be awhile before tomato season is back, but I'm lucky enough to have a stock of homemade sundried (actually, dehydrator'd) cherry tomatoes from last August to give this pesto a try.
What Julia Ate is clearing out her freezer by canning the contents, in this case combining summer stone fruit with her homemade pectin (Apricot Plum Jam with Orange Pectin). Once again, she shares her valuable experience in working with homemade pectin.
After learning how easy it is to make buttermilk, What Julia Ate also learns how easy it is to make crème fraîche (Crème Fraîche). Crème fraîche is basically buttermilk made from cream, so it is richer and thicker. It is an excellent substitute for sour cream in most recipes, and is incredibly useful in its own right. It doesn't curdle and it is a great addition to hot dishes, such as soups and sauces. Or use it to make your own "ranch" dressing.