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Mixed Stone Fruit Drizzle

Sometime in the last week, I hit my canning season tipping point. It’s that moment when I transition from making carefully adjusted recipes to just simply trying to get things that are threatening to spoil into jars. This stone fruit drizzle is a really good example of this kind of canning.

I had peaches, nectarines, and plums that were shouting to be used. Some had bruises that needed to be cut away and others were so ripe that a knife was entirely unnecessary for pit removal. So I triaged. I pitted, pared, and squished until I had about 16 cups of lumpy, juicy fruit in a big pot. There was no weighing this fruit ahead of time, since so much of it needed some kind of trimming.

I added three cups of sugar, gave it a good stir, and forgot about it for several hours. Once dinner was done and the dishes were put away, I turned on the heat. Even at that point, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was making. Was it jam? A chunky compote? Or something else?

As it cooked down, I realized that it was going to become a drizzle. This is what I call the category of preserve that exists in between a syrup and a fruit butter. It’s sweeter and thinner than standard butters, but manages to have far more body than a conventional fruit syrup.

Once it was cooked down to my liking, I zapped it with an immersion blender until it as totally smooth. At that point, it went into jars with about 1/2 inch of headspace. Rims wiped, lids and rings on, processed for 15 minutes (because it was thickening up to be a pretty dense preserve).

This batch made 6 pints (yes, there are only 5 1/2 pictured above, but there’s also another half pint in the fridge that didn’t get processed). I will give some of it away with instructions that it be spooned over yogurt, oatmeal, and cake. I will eat it in much the same manner.

Other drizzles I’ve made in the past can be found here and here.

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Sweet Cherry Butter

 

Back at the end of June, I got a shipment of sweet cherries from the folks at the Northwest Cherry Growers. They sent them as part of their annual Canbassador program (here’s my round-up from last year). I made a number of things from those cherries, including this Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam, some Cherry Chutney, and a batch of Cherry Kompot.

When all that was complete, I still had about five pounds of cherries left. I washed them well, took off the stems, and heaped them in a pot with a cup of water. I brought it to a simmer and cooked the cherries just until they were soft enough that I could pinch out the pits. Once all the pits were out, I poured the cherry pulp into a slow cooker, zapped it with an immersion blender and cooked it down until it had reduced by about half. I zapped it again, added a little sugar to taste (enough for balance, but not so much that it was cloying).

Processed in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes, this collection of five jars will be used this winter in bar cookies and on toast spread thickly with ricotta. It recalls the dense cherry preserves that my mom’s Auntie Tunkel used to make by slow roasting cherries in her old-fashioned oven (a trick she learned from her mother during her childhood in Ukraine). It feels connected to the past and is deeply delicious.

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Spicy Apricot Jam

After a couple lackluster years, this season has been a truly spectacular one for apricots. Thanks to their availability, I’ve canned my way through at least 25 pounds of these, the very sunniest of stone fruit. I made a bunch of this basic apricot jam (it’s a little runny but so delicious), there was this batch of sour cherry apricot jam, and then there’s this spicy jam.

It’s sweet, spicy, and perfect for glazing roast chicken, using on baked brie, or even on a very grown-up pb&j.

If you want to see the making of this preserve in action, I demoed how to make this jam last night on a Facebook livestream. If you missed it, you can find it here.

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Kosher Dill Pickle Spears from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Last month, I teamed up with my friends at Ball®Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands to share their recipe for Honey Cinnamon Pears and the Honey Cinnamon Pear Sorbet I made with it. (Back in May, I did their Mixed Berry Jam and made Jammy Baked Oatmeal.) This month, we’re talking pickles.

Kosher Dill Pickle Spears, to be precise. These pickles are the exact image my brain conjures when I think of a classic kosher dill and they live up to their name in both form and flavor.

This style of pickle is one of the most versatile in the homemade pantry. They are great with sandwiches, tucked Chicago-style into hot dogs, or diced and stirred into dressings and relishes.

It’s an incredibly easy pickle to make. You start (as with most canning projects) by placing your jars in a canning pot, filling it about two-thirds full of water, and bringing it to a low simmer. While the canner heats, grab a few pounds of pickling cucumbers, trim the ends (make sure to remove the blossom end!), and cut them into spears.

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once the canning pot has come to a simmer and the jars are hot, remove one jar. Working quickly, place dill, garlic, Pickle Crisp®, and spices into the bottom of the jar. Pack the cucumber spears into the jar, fill it with the hot brine to 1/2 inch headspace, and wiggle out the air bubbles (top with more brine if the level has dropped below 1/2 inch).

Wipe the rim, apply the lid and ring, and return the jar to the canner. Repeat the process with the remaining jars. Once all the jars are filled, process them in the boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid and let the jars stand in the hot water for an additional five minutes

Once the jars have finished cooling in the water, remove them from the canning pot and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. These pickles like to have at least a week in the jar to allow the flavor to infuse before you open them up. Check in tomorrow for a recipe that will show you how to use them in a most delicious way.

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Upcoming Classes: Princeton! Glen Mills! Rhinebeck! Philadelphia!

I have a few really great classes coming up still this season. If you’re in New York, New Jersey, or the Philadelphia area, there might be something here for you!

Tuesday, July 31 (Princeton, NJ)
I’m teaching a demo-style canning class at Miele Experience Center in Princeton, NJ. I’ll show you how to make Blueberry Maple Jam and Spiced Blueberry Chutney (everyone will go home with a small jar of the chutney). 6-8 pm. $50. Register here.

Wednesday, August 1 (Glen Mills, PA)
I’ll be offering a pickle making demonstration at the Rachel Kohl Community Library in Glen Mills, PA. The demo starts at 7 pm and will go about an hour. This one is free!

Friday-Sunday, August 3-5 (Rhinebeck, NY)
This is my weekend-long canning workshop at the Omega Institute (Rhinebeck, NY). It’s an in-depth, hands on workshop in which we’ll make 12-14 various preserves. Participates will go home with a box of jams, pickles, etc and the knowledge to replicate the work at home. Details here.

Wednesday, August 15 (Philadelphia)
This is a demo-style stone fruit canning class at the Culinary Literacy Center of the Free Library of Philadelphia. I’ll show you how to make three different preserves and will give you a chance to taste all the recipes made in the class. It’s from 6-8 pm and costs 15. Sign up here.

Saturday, August 18 (Philadelphia)
This is a hands on salsa making class at Glen Foerd on the Delaware. The workshop is from 11 am – 1 pm, costs $35, and everyone will go home with a finished jar of salsa. Details here.

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Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam

Last week was supposed to be cherry week, but with the holiday my posting schedule got a little derailed. Including this one, I still have four cherry recipes to share, so I’m going to get them up as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can still be useful this season.

I made this Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam using some of the cherries that the folks from the Northwest Cherry Growers sent as part of their annual Canbassador program (here’s my round-up from last year).

One of the tricky things about making jam from sweet cherries is finding a way to avoid that cloying, cough syrup flavor. This recipe manages it beautifully by using a relatively low amount of sugar and including a full cup of balsamic vinegar. It might seem like a lot at first, but as the jam cooks down, it achieves balance.

Finally, this jam uses Pomona’s Pectin to effect a set. I haven’t tested it with other varieties of low sugar pectin, so can’t speak to their utility here. It won’t set with regular fruit pectin because there’s not enough sugar to create the gel. If you can’t get your hands on Pomona’s, you could make it without additional pectin and treat it like a spoonable fruit preserve rather than a jam.

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