Thursday, 10 June 2010

Beyond Pickles - 250 Home Preserving Favorites

250 Home Preserving Favorites
From Jams & Jellies to Marmalades & Chutneys
Yvonne Tremblay
Softcover, 304 pages

I got the canning bug about 2-3 years ago. I love that I can create, process and store food away in pretty little jars. Just looking at them all lined up makes me happy, and I am so proud to be able to tell people that the condiment they are enjoying came from my own kitchen. It's the little things I guess.
Our grandparents or great grandparents thought nothing of putting food by, canning was a natural part of life in farms and traditional homesteads. Now when we do it - it seems like a thing of magic. Or it seems magical to me.

250 Home Preserving Favorites is a comprehensive recipe and instruction book that includes A Primer on Preserving, and chapters on Jams (Single-Fruit, Mixed-Fruit, Micro-Mini, and Special Jams, Spreads, and Mincemeats), Conserves, Marmalades, Jellies (Fruit Jellies, Savory Jellies), Fruit Butters, Chutneys, Recipes Using Preserves and even Jam Glam: Jar Decorations and Gift Ideas.

I found the book well laid out and easy to use and understand. I whipped up two of the delicious preserves, Pineapple Chutney and Shiraz-Cabernet and Lemon-Thyme Jelly. The chutney is sweet and spicy and savoury and perfect with grilled chicken and pork. I would even serve it with a nice cheese platter. The jelly is sweet and tart and floral, great as a condiment or even a glaze for a roast.

You will find the two recipes excerpted from the book, below, for a delicious taste of this great preserving book. It's that time of year, time to get canning!

Shiraz-Cabernet and Lemon Thyme Jelly

Makes about seven 4-ounce (125 mL) jars
Shiraz-Cabernet wine has notes of black pepper and cedar (from the Shiraz) and hints of smoky plum, black currant and vanilla (from the Cabernet). Read the label on the bottle for a flavor description of the wine and choose one that appeals to you.

3 cups Shiraz-Cabernet wine 750 mL
1 cup loosely packed small fresh lemon 250 mL thyme sprigs (or 1⁄4 cup/60 mL regular thyme), large stems removed
2 tbsp strained lemon juice (see tip, page 303) 30 mL
1 package (1.75 oz/49 or 57 g) powdered pectin
31⁄4 cups granulated sugar 800 mL

1. In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot, combine wine and lemon thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain over a bowl, squeezing leaves; reserve liquid and discard leaves.

2. Measure exactly 21⁄2 cups (625 mL) of liquid (add water if there’s not enough liquid); pour into clean pot. Stir in lemon juice. Stir in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

3. Add sugar in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Return to a full boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Boil hard for 1 minute.

4. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

5. Ladle quickly into sterilized jars to within 1⁄4 inch (0.5 cm) of rim; wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten just until fingertip-tight.

6. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (for details, see page 20). Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until set. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks.

Use kitchen scissors to cut lemon thyme into tiny sprigs.
The small jars used for this jelly are great for gift-giving.

Mmmm, wine is always in season..

Pineapple Chutney

Makes about four 8-ounce (250 mL) jars
This colorful chutney goes well with ham, roast pork, pork chops and chicken.

4 cups chopped fresh pineapple 1 L
2 large apples that soften, peeled 2 and diced
11⁄2 cups chopped red onion 375 mL
1⁄3 cup chopped red bell pepper 75 mL
1⁄3 cup chopped green bell pepper 75 mL
1 tbsp grated gingerroot (or 1⁄2 tsp/2 mL 15 mL ground ginger)
1 tbsp minced hot pepper, such as jalapeño 15 mL
13⁄4 cups packed brown sugar 425 mL
1 cup cider vinegar 250 mL
1⁄3 cup sultana raisins 75 mL
1⁄2 tsp ground cloves 2 mL
Pinch salt

1. In a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine pineapple, apples, onion, red pepper, green pepper, ginger, hot pepper, brown sugar, vinegar, raisins, cloves and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often.

2. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often and reducing heat further as mixture thickens, for 40 to 50 minutes or until thickened. Test for doneness (for details, see page 325).

3. Ladle into sterilized jars to within 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) of rim. Remove any air pockets and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding chutney; wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings just until fingertip-tight.

4. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (for details, see page 20). Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until cooled. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks.

One medium pineapple will yield about 4 cups (1 L) chopped.
Varieties of apples that soften when cooked include McIntosh, Cortland, Empire and Russet.

Recipe Suggestion
Stir into plain yogurt for an interesting dip for veggies or chicken wings.