Johnny Appleseed in a Jar

A cultural icon; forbidden fruit.  The apple has quite a history!  It also happens to be one of my favorite foods to put up.  Dried, sauced, buttered, and baked, the delicious possibilities are endless!  Last fall was the first time I had canned my apple pie filling.  In years past I would follow the recipe given below but instead of processing in a bwb, I allowed the mixture to cool and then filled Ziploc bags with 2.5 cups filling and froze for future baking needs.  If you decide that the freezing method is the way to go, just be sure to follow this oh-so-important final step before filling your pie shell or else your pie will become a watery mess!  Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 cup clear jell; the additional sugar keeps the clear jell from clumping when added to the filling.  Stir mixture on medium-high until thickened.

apples & filling

Apple Pie Filling- yields 7 quarts

6 quarts fresh apples – in case you’re wondering, Cortland apples make the best pies!

5 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups clear jell – cook type

2 1/2 cups cold water

5 cups apple juice

3/4 cup bottled lemon juice

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

Wash, peel, and core your apples.  I use one of these nifty all-in-one contraptions and wouldn’t have it any other way!  Last fall I canned apple mincemeat and prepared my apples by hand; NEVER AGAIN will I make that mistake!  Not only did it take forever, but my hands were so tired!

Place apple slices in a large bowl of water containing ascorbic acid to prevent browning, drain, and set aside.

In a large pot combine sugar, clear jell, cinnamon, nutmeg, water, and apple juice.  Stir ingredients until well blended and cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to thicken and bubble.  Add lemon juice and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Fold in drained apple slices, mix well and immediately fill prepared jars leaving 1-inch headspace.  Wipe rims, adjust two-piece lids, and process in a boiling-water bath for 25 minutes.  Remove jars and place on a wire rack, undisturbed for 12-24 hours, so seals may properly set.

pie filling

I cracked open my first jar about 2 weeks ago for a baking adventure and I was very pleased with the outcome.  Unfortunately, before I can share that delicious recipe I first need to share the two canned stars that made it shine!

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning and Food Preservation.

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Super Citrus Marmalade

citrus bowl

I love the bright, vibrant flavor of fresh citrus; a true spirit lifter when the doldrums of winter creep in.  Wanting to maximize the season, I put up several recipes this year including a double batch of this favorite from last year’s citrus season.  But the end is coming near and this is so bitter-sweet, just like taste of this delicious multifruit marmalade.

4 citrus marm

Super Citrus Marmalade - yields 5 half-pint jars

4 lbs assorted citrus fruit: I selected 2 lemons, 1 pink grapefruit, 2 tangelos, and 3 blood oranges.

6 cups granulated sugar

Wash the fruit in warm, soapy water and pat dry.  Remove the zest from the fruit with a serrated-edge peeler.  Be careful to not remove too much pith or your marm will end up bitter.

skinned citrus

Stack the zest peels and chop into small pieces; in a large pot combine zest and 2 qts of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Supreme fruit by cutting away the pith, and then segment to remove from membranes.  Be sure to do this over a large bowl so you can collect the juice.  Remove seeds and set aside.

peeled citrus

Bundle seeds in cheesecloth and securely tie the ends so they cannot escape.  Drain zest in a fine-mesh sieve and reserve the cooking liquid.  Combine zest, segmented citrus and juice, 4 cups of the cooking liquid, sugar, and bundled seeds.  Bring to a hard boil and cook until the mixture reaches 220°F, approximately 35-40 minutes.  Be sure to stir regularly to prevent contents from scorching.

Once the marmalade has reached your desired set, turn off the heat and remove the cheesecloth bundle.  Ladle into hot, sterilized pint jars, wipe rims, and adjust two-piece lids.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove jars from canner and allow to cool on a wire rack, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours so seals may properly set.

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan.

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Muffin Madness

Yesterday was one of those days where I wanted nothing more than to spend every available minute in the kitchen. And with the exception of a few domestic chores, that is exactly what I did! I’ve had muffins floating around my brain for the past few weeks and decided the time had finally come to test out a few ideas.

It’s no secret that I have a wicked sweet tooth! I put too much sugar in my coffee, cake is my favorite food, and if allowed I could easily put down back-to-back pints of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food and Half Baked. Yeah, it’s that serious. Fortunately, I posses enough self-control to keep myself from going overboard! I’ve found that a daily dose of sweetness is just enough to keep me on the straight and narrow. So when I was dreaming up healthy alternatives to the cake-like muffins I really wanted to make, I was reminded of all my jams and jellies quietly calling out to me from the basement.

jam-filled almond oat muffins

Jam-Filled Almond Oat Muffins

1 cup AP flour

1 1/4 cup oat flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 cup vanilla soy milk

1/2 cup light brown sugar

the fresh-squeezed juice from a medium-sized orange (approximately 1/4 cup)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/3 cup fruit butter, jam, or jelly of your choice (I used blueberry butter and peach butter)

sliced raw almonds

granulated sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400°F.  In a medium bowl whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, vanilla, brown sugar, oil, and orange juice.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until barely blended; be careful to not over-mix the batter or your muffins will become tough.  In a separate bowl mix fruit spread and almond extract.  Fill muffin cups halfway with batter and spoon in 1 tsp of the fruit spread, then top off with more batter.  Lightly dust on a bit of granulated sugar and a sprinkling of sliced almonds.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.  Transfer muffins to a wire rack and allow to cool 5-10 before eating.

Recipe yields approximately 14 muffins.

strawberry banana oat muffins

Strawberry Banana Wheat Bran Muffins

3/4 cup AP flour

1 cup oat flour

1 cup wheat bran

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1 cup vanilla soy milk

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup mashed banana

1/2 cup mashed strawberries (frozen and then thawed work best for mashing)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F.  In a medium bowl whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl mix eggs and brown sugar until smooth; add milk, vanilla, wheat bran, oil, bananas, and strawberries and mix until well incorporated.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until barely blended; be careful to not over-mix the batter or your muffins will become tough.  Pour into muffin cups and lightly dust on a bit of granulated sugar and top off with a strawberry.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.  Transfer muffins to a wire rack and allow to cool 5-10 before eating.

Recipe yields approximately 18 muffins.

Both of my taste-testers were very happy with the outcome of these recipes, so much so that one suggested I open a bakery.  While I don’t think they are that amazing, judging by the ratio of eaten to non-eaten muffins left on the counter, I had better make another batch, SOON!

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge.

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Some Like it Hot-Hot-Hot

Looking back, it was around 2005 when my love affair with capsaicin began.  During this time I could be found wearing mandarin collars and stunning imported silks, mainly because I was a server in one of my best friend’s family owned restaurants.  Sukhothai started it all.

Ever since, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to heat things up in the kitchen… and in the garden!  For the past 3 years I’ve grown Chinese Five Color peppers and this year will be no different.  Not only do these little babies pack a serious heat-punch, they also add a burst of vibrant color anywhere that needs a little livening up!

Chinese 5 color peppers

Last fall, I made the strategic decision to head over the river and through the woods and set up camp in my old stomping grounds… but not without first harvesting all my remaining produce still growing about the property!  With several quart boxes in tow, I was now faced with the challenge of preserving these bright beauties to be savored during the cold winter months.  In years past I’ve both frozen and dehydrated them, but never have I pickled them!

pickled peppers

Pickled Peppers

4 qts peppers – I used Chinese Five Color

4 cups distilled white vinegar

4 cups water

4 tsp pickling salt

olive oil

Wash peppers thoroughly.  Remove core, seeds, and stems of large peppers and coin; small peppers can be processed whole with stems intact.  Make 2 small slits in whole peppers.

Mix vinegar and water; heat to boiling.  Be careful to not boil your vinegar too long as it is rather volatile.  Tightly pack peppers into sterile, hot jars and pour the vinegar-water on top, leaving 3/4″ headspace.  Add 1/4″ olive oil and a pinch of salt, if desired.  Wipe rims, add two-piece adjustable lids and process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove jars from canner and place on a wire rack for 12-24 hours, undisturbed, so seals may properly set.

Makes 8 pints.

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe courtesy of Putting Food By

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Southwestern Pot Pie

Sooooo, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted.  Yes, I know you are aware of that.  However, in my defense, mid-September I packed up and moved out.  Yep.  Left it all behind.  Over the river and through the woods I went.  Literally.  Then, in October I was promoted.  A good career move?  Yes indeed!  Is it incredibly stressful?  YOU BETCHA!  I traded in a 500 mile/week commute for 60.  Unfortunately, I’m still putting in the same amount of hours.  This is still a good thing.  No really.  It is.

So, with the new life and new work comes less time and I’m surprisingly ok with that.  I’m spending my time living, laughing, and loving.  This is a very good thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think about the blog.  A lot.  Every time I embark on a new canning adventure, or cook up something delicious I want to share it with you.  Really, I do.  But then days turn into weeks, and weeks fade into months; then, the season has passed.  And in my draft que those forgotten posts hibernate until their season of plenty returns.

Now you know where I’ve been and why the blog is so quiet.  It’s not that I’m no longer canning, preserving, and obsessing over food, because I am.  TRUST ME!  I just lack the required time to write about it.  Now that my days are darker and the air is colder I’m hoping to change that.  But, I make no promises.

We can thank my bestie for giving birth and a much needed 4 day holiday weekend for this very tasty season-appropriate recipe.  Friday I headed back over the river and through the woods toting food and a few other necessities, in exchange for cuddles with that sweet little baby boy.  She and the hubs had lunch and dinner, I got to feed, rock, and snuggle baby Grey!

Southwestern Pot Pie

1 pt tomato salsa

1 pt Spicy V8

1/2 pt water

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed.

1 butternut squash neck, peeled and cubed.

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup kidney beans

1 cup northern beans

1 cup corn

a light sprinkling of cinnamon

olive oil

1 small box cornbread mix

1/3 cup milk

1 egg

In a large pot heat oil over med-high heat and add onion; sauté until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Stir in sweet potato, squash, salsa, water, V8, and cinnamon.  Heat mixture until boiling.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until potatoes and squash are tender.  Stir in corn and beans.

In a medium bowl combine cornbread mix, milk, and egg.  Spoon on top of vegetable mixture.  Cover; simmer approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Images and content copyright © 2012 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian

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Corn Cob Stock

Often I find myself wondering how something so simple can be so delicious?  That very question was running through my mind as I was putting up another waste-not-want-not recipe.

Several weeks ago I stopped by the farm to pick up my yearly bounty of sweet corn.  Typically, I freeze the kernels and the cobs are cooked down and transformed into a sweet, honey-like jelly; this year, however, I wanted to do something a little different!  Yes, corn was still frozen and cobs were cooked, but instead of adding sugar and making jelly I jarred that savory, sunbeam-yellow liquid and canned a big ol’ batch of stock!  Three gallons to be precise!

This recipe is soooo easy-peasy; you need just two simple ingredients: corn cobs and water.  That’s it!

Corn Cob Stock

Corn Cobs

Water

Place cobs into a large stock pot and cover with one inch of water; you may need to cut your cobs in half to get them to fit.  Bring pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes.  Strain liquid through several layers of cheese cloth or a coffee filter.  Fill sterilized pint and or quart jars, reserving 1/2″ headspace.  Wipe rims, adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight and process at 10 pounds in a pressure canner for 20 minutes.  Place jars on a wire rack and allow to cool, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours so seals may properly set.

Corn cob stock must be pressure canned to ensure safe shelf-stability.  If you do not own a pressure canner you can freeze it, just be sure to allow enough headspace so your jars do not break as the liquid freezes and expands!

I probably used anywhere from 24-30 cobs to make my stock, but I also had two large stock pots reducing at once!  I knew this was going to be delicious so a double batch was definitely in order!

PDFBadge

Images and content copyright © 2012 Danielle R Limoge.

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Fruit-Infused Vinegar

I can’t believe almost a month has passed since my last post, which by the way, was only a picture!  Lame, I know!  What can I say, life has taken a turn and unfortunately it isn’t in the direction of my garden.  When I take something on I throw everything I have at it.  In the past it was sewing, then food growing, and now my career.  I also happen to be someone who refuses to fail; when I’m told I can’t do something I will stop at nothing to prove you wrong.  Well, I finally hit a wall.  I’ve been struggling for months, refusing to admit what everyone else has been telling me.  I. can’t. do. it. all.

I can’t work 14 hour days, take on custom orders for PixyPatch, blog, and maintain close to 2000 square feet of growing space.  There I said it.  –>Insert HUGE sign of relief (and defeat).<–  Something has got to give and unfortunately it’s the garden.  Fear not friends, I’ll still be around, I’m just scaling back.  Way back.

Over the past month I’ve done a bit of canning, dehydrating, and cooking.  As to when those posts will actually make it onto OGT has yet to be determined.  I whipped up a delicious vanilla-ginger rhubarb jam several weeks ago and I’d love to share it while rhubarb is still in-season, but I make no promises! :)

I am however going to share a quick recipe for fruit-infused vinegar.  It is the perfect addition to all those fresh-from-the-garden salads!

Strawberry-Infused Vinegar

2 cups fresh fruit: I used strawberries but plan on trying cherries, blueberries, and peaches!

2 cups distilled white vinegar

Place fruit and a bit of vinegar in a food processor and purée until smooth.  Combine liquid fruit and remaining vinegar in a sterilized quart jar, add lid and shake.  Allow mixture to sit in a cool dark place for 10 days; shake daily to blend flavors.

Strain vinegar through several layers of cheesecloth or coffee filters and discard solids.  Vinegar will keep at room-temperature for up to a year.

Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe courtesy of Put ‘em Up.

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Wordless Wednesday: Spring Peas

 

Image copyright © 2012 Danielle R Limoge.

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A Post For The Impatient

Twenty-one days.  That’s it my friends.  We’re talking three short weeks between germination and harvest.  And just what is this presto-pronto-producer you ask?  Why the undervalued radish of course!

When I planted my first garden in ’91 the only veggie request I had was from my father; he asked for radishes.  To this day, I remember sitting in the kitchen watching him enjoy a plate full of those crunchy, lightly salted, ruby-red radishes, that I oh-so-proudly grew.  I too share his excitement over that cruciferous vegetable: they’re delicious raw, cooked crisp-tender, fermented, and (I can now say) pickled!

Pickled Radishes

2 large bunches of radishes (I used French breakfast, but any variety will do!)

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

4 tsp sea salt or any non-iodized salt such as kosher

1/2 tsp brown mustard seed

1/8 tsp whole coriander

1/4 tsp black peppercorns

3 cloves garlic – sliced

Coin radishes and place into a bowl of ice water.  Set aside.  In a large sauce pot combine water, vinegar, salt, and sugar; stir to dissolve sugar and bring mixture to a slight simmer.

Fill each sterilized pint jar with the above mentioned spices, add one clove of garlic to each jar, then add (drained) radishes; fill jars with hot brine, leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and add two-piece adjustable lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove jars from canner and allow to cool on a wire rack for 12-24 hours, then store for up to a year.  Yields approximately 3 pints.

This recipe also produces a delicious refrigerator pickle; however, you should wait two weeks before enjoying so the brine can properly develop!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Canning Homemade.

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Hello, it’s me again.

I’m baaack!!  Well, kind of.  Life has once again gifted me with a crazy twist of fate.  I’ve been traveling for work; so much so that my only free time is now on the weekends.  I’m also relocating.  The when, however, is very much up in the air.  All of this is completely my doing, kind of.  I could have stayed where I am, content, but teetering on “what if”.  I’m someone who craves change, like shake-up-your-snow-globe change.  If I were not standing on the cusp of a brand new growing season, my bags would be packed and a POD would be in-route.  But I blame my gardens and the state of nirvana which they provide.  Dirt therapy grounds me and I enjoy my sanity!

So, with that being said I can finally admit that am sooooo far behind with this year’s gardens.  My tiller remains in the shop, I killed a third of my cold-weather transplants, and my warm-weather seedlings still have their cotyledons!  So yeah, you could say I’m freaking out… in an overly calm, Danielle kinda way.  I think the only thing that has kept me from losing my shit is the fact that I’ve been harvesting carrots, mustard greens, radishes, lettuce, and kale since early March; that, and my kitchen looks like fermentation nation! :)

I haven’t done much “new” weekend cooking, it’s all been quick and dirty.  I’ve been focused on using my stock-pile of frozen veggies for one-pot curry meals, and lots of last winter’s canned bean, veggie, and pea soups.  Although, several weeks ago I managed to whip up a quick preserved lemon couscous.  Unfortunately, it has taken me almost 3 weeks to share!  Looking on the bright side, if any of my readers decided to preserve some of their own citrus fruit, you only have to wait another 10 days or so to give this recipe a whirl! ;)

Salt-Preserved Lemon Couscous

4 salt-preserved lemon wedges, diced (I used my Fancy Schmancy ones.)

1 cup couscous

1-1/4 cups water

1/2 cup toasted nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

lots of kale, de-ribbed and cut into ribbons

lots of mustard greens, cut into ribbons

1 onion, chopped

2 cups napa cabbage petioles, chopped

2 cups carrots, cut into sticks

1 red pepper, diced

Bring water to a boil, add couscous and stir; remove from heat, add salted lemons and cover.  Heat a small cast-iron pan over medium heat, add nuts and toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes; transfer nuts to a bowl and set aside.  Place a touch of oil in a large wok and sauté carrots and onion over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes.  Add cabbage petioles and red pepper and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Wilt mustard greens and kale over crisp-tender veggies and season with a bit of pepper.

Place a bed of lemon-salted couscous on a plate, add your veggie medley and top with a sprinkling of toasted nuts. Enjoy!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge.

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