Tag Archives: Food Preservation

Strawberry Fields Part 1: Compote

Two weeks ago I ventured across the river to my friend’s farm.  There, I spent my Sunday morning alone in the quiet fields picking the essence of Summer: sun-ripened, perfectly sweetened strawberries.  Last Sunday I did the exact same thing.  In total my efforts yielded 50 quarts, which translated into hours and hours of washing, hulling, and preserving Summer’s most sought after fruit!

quart containers

In preparation for the harvest I was planning on bringing home, I started formulating my plan of action.  I had already decided that half of my fruitage would end up frozen to be enjoyed in the off-season, and there was definitely going to be a lot of shortcake baking taking place, which eliminated several more quarts.  Now, what to do with the rest?  After flipping through my collection of food preservation books, I finally narrowed it down to three mouth-watering recipes.  First up: strawberry orange compote.  Oh yes!

strawberry compote jar-spoonStrawberry Orange Compote - yields 8 half-pint jars

4 quarts of strawberries, hulled and quartered

grated zest and juice of one lemon

grated zest and juice of one orange

2 cups granulated sugar

In a large pot combine strawberries, sugar, orange and lemon juices and their zest; bring to a simmer over med-high heat, stirring often.  Lower the heat to a minimum and gently simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.  You will end up with a slightly reduced, but still runny mixture.

Ladle into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace; remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, adjust for elevation.

strawberries & sauce

So far my favorite way to enjoy this slightly sweetened sauce is drizzled over a bowl of creamy vanilla bean ice cream.  Absolute heaven if you ask me!

ice cream & sauce

I also canned a batch where I excluded the zest, therefore reducing the pectin content, which resulted in a slightly looser, but equally delicious sauce.

PDFBadge

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Tart and Sweet - 101 canning and pickling recipes for the modern kitchen by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler.

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Apple Butter

Many moons ago, I cooked up my first batch of apple butter.  It was surprisingly simple and tasted better than anything I had growing up; and from what I remember, the jars my mom would bring home tasted pretty darn amazing!  This no-fail low-maintenance method is my constant go-to when making apple butter.  It is so easy you’ll wonder why anyone would choose a different route!

If you want to make apple butter, the first thing you need to do is make applesauce: reada perfect recipe for putting up during the off-season!  The directions for unsweetened applesauce are in the beginning of the linked recipe; although, I highly encourage anyone who loves vanilla and maple to make the “awesome sauce”.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed!  When apples come into season this year, I’m making a batch of vanilla-maple apple butter!

apple butter

Apple Butteryields approximately 9 pints

9 qts unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground allspice

4 cups sugar

Place 6 qts of applesauce in your slow-cooker (or however much fills it to within 1-inch of the rim), add the spices and 2 cups of sugar; mix well.  Set heat to high and cook for an hour with the lid vented; resting the lid on a long wooden spoon works well.   Reduce the heat to low and allow to continue cooking for an additional 8-10 hours.

Once the mixture has been reduced by half, add the remaining applesauce and sugar.  Stir and cook several more hours allowing the flavors to mix.  When the apple butter has reached your desired thickness, using an immersion blender, purée mixture into a creamy consistency.  Ladle into hot, sterilized, half-pint jars and remove air bubbles; wipe rims, add two-piece lids and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, or for as long as your altitude requires.

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe courtesy of PickYourOwn.org.

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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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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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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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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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Plain-Jane Gets A Makeover

Every January the blogosphere is buzzing with citrus inspired recipes and various preservation techniques.  Like any good food-enthusiast, I too shared a post, as well as embarked on a few new adventures.

I’m no stranger to using salt as a method of preservation for herbs, but fruit is something entirely new for me!  When stepping onto new ground I like to explore various recipes; typically, I start off down the plain-Jane path and then detour trying something with a little more zip.  This is exactly what happened when I preserved lemons.

Feel free to try these recipes with your favorite citrus fruit, I just happened to have a bunch of lemons on hand.  Next time I think I’ll give it a go with limes… or maybe a mix!


Plain-Jane Salted Lemons

8-10 lemons, scrubbed clean and dried.  (You can use any variety available, most people tend to use Meyer since they are more mild.)

1/2 cup sea salt

sterilized quart jar  and metal ring

coffee filter or tightly knit cloth, such as muslin

glass fermenting weights (optional)

Cover the bottom of your jar with a layer of salt.  Cut off each end of the lemon and quarter.  I’ve seen a lot of people only cut off the blossom-end and then “almost quarter” the lemon, keeping it whole.  Either way will work, I’ve found that wedges pack into a jar better than a whole lemon.

With each layer of lemon, add another layer of salt; continue with this pattern until you have filled the jar.  Press down on your lemons to extract the juice.  Make sure your lemons are completely submerged; you may need to use the juice of an additional lemon or two to accomplish this.

Place glass weights on top the fruit to keep it submerged in the juice; wipe the rim and cover with a coffee filter and adjust screw-on band to hold it firmly in place.  Allow to lemons to cure for 5 weeks, then transfer to the refrigerator.

If you do not have glass weights, using clean hands, press down on the lemons each day to keep them submerged in juice.

Fancy Schmancy Salted Lemons

2 lbs lemons, scrubbed clean, dried, and quartered

9 Tbsp sea salt

1/2 Tsp brown cardamom seeds

1 Tsp black peppercorns

1/2 Tsp paprika

1 Tsp cayenne

16 cloves

1-1/2 Tsp sugar

Grind cardamom seeds, peppercorns, and cloves in a mortar and pestle, add to remaining spices; mix well.  Cover the bottom of your jar with a layer of spiced salt and add a layer of lemons.  With each layer of lemon, add another layer of spiced salt; continue with this pattern until you have filled the jar.  Press down on your lemons to extract the juice.  Make sure your lemons are completely submerged; you may need to use the juice of an additional lemon or two to accomplish this.

Place glass weights on top the fruit to keep it submerged in the juice; wipe the rim and cover with a coffee filter and adjust screw-on band to hold it firmly in place.  Allow to lemons to cure for 5 weeks, then transfer to the refrigerator.

If you do not have glass weights, using clean hands, press down on the lemons each day to keep them submerged in juice.

I ended up making a delicious lemon couscous over the weekend, so be sure to check back for that post!!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge.  Spiced Lemon recipe adapted from Hungry Tigress.

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The Precursor Post

Last weekend I gave myself the daunting task of cleaning out the fridge.  As some of you probably know, this chore can get pretty hairy, literally!  Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as I originally anticipated; turns out I only had one unidentifiable substance lurking in a container hidden in the depths of the fridge!

As I began drafting out that adventure it dawned on me that I had yet to share my tomatillo salsa post, which happens to be the star of my upcoming recipe!

Each year I try to select unique, unusual, or new-to-me vegetables to grow.  The tomatillo just happens to fit all three of these criteria.  Native to Mexico, this nightshade resembles a small, unripe tomato.  Enclosed in their paper-like husk, they develop into a green, yellow, red, or purple fruit.  It is recommended that you grow more than one, since single plants rarely set fruit due to their high rate of self-incompatibility.  I planted three and they ended up producing an obnoxious amount of fruit… all season long!  Note to self: plant only two this year!

Since I ended up with so many tomatillos, I needed to find different ways to preserve them.  One was to make tomatillo salsa!

Tomatillo Salsa

5 1/2 cups chopped, cored, husked tomatillos (Wash them well since underneath the husk lies a sticky film!)

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped and seeded green chili peppers  (I used my Chinese 5 color peppers.  You can substitute a sweet pepper should you not want a hot salsa, you just can’t change the amount!)

1/2 cup white vinegar

4 Tbsp bottled lime juice

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro

2 Tsp ground cumin

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 Tsp pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a large stainless-steel sauce pot and bring to a boil over med-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Ladle hot salsa into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Wipe rims, adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Place jars into a boiling-water bath canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Process both pints and half-pints for 15 minutes.  After the recommended processing time, remove the canner lid, wait an additional 5 minutes.  Remove jars and allow to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for 12-24 hours.

Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe courtesy of Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving

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The Numbers Are In

294.  That is my “unofficial” jar count for the 2011 growing season.  I say unofficial because sometimes I gift a jar (or two) before I remember to write down how much a recipe yielded; other times, I just forget all together.

This year’s number is slightly less than what I had anticipated, but then I remembered I did not put up beans (thank you cucumber beetles) or whole tomatoes (due to having quite a bit left over from 2010).  Had I not cooked-down most of my tomatoes into sauce, and had not fought the worst bug battle to date, I’m sure my jar count would have surpassed 2010’s unofficial count of 342!

Here is a glimpse into my just-off-the-kitchen, perfectly polished, meticulously arranged, and precisely labeled dry storage/canning pantry.  In my dream home it would be an entire room!!!

What you don’t see is my upstairs closet packed pull of the remaining jars!  I couldn’t get a decent picture, so just imagine 19 dozen more jars neatly packed into ball half boxes, all labeled and dated!  Yeah, you could say I’m a little neurotic.

And encase you were wondering what delectable goodies fill those jars in waiting, I’ve got the rundown of what went into last year’s canner.

SAUCES & CONDIMENTS: vanilla maple & plain applesauce, spicy & plain pasta sauce, ketchup, and bbq sauce.

SOUPS & STOCKS: tomato-garlic, 10 bean, split pea, vegetable stock

JAMS, JELLIES & MARMALADES: strawberry-rhubarb jam, clementine marmalade, grape jelly, quince jam, love apple jelly, tropical peach jam, tomato jam, malibu peach jam, corncob jelly, vanilla-pear jam, raspberry-apricot jam, raspberry jam, cherry-vanilla jam, yellow tomato jam, apricot jam, white grape peach tea jam, and strawberry-blueberry-rhubarb jam.

CHUTNEYS & FRUIT BUTTERS: vanilla bean peach butter, quince-apple chutney, peach-apple butter, rhubarb chutney, and spring conserves.

PICKLED: chard stems, radishes, and dilly scapes.

SALSAS & TOMATOES: tomato salsa, peach salsa, summer salsa, stewed tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, and tomatillo salsa.

FRUITS & VEGETABLES: carrots, roasted eggplant (it’s almost pickled), beets, and peaches.

Yep, I think that covers just about everything!  I may revisit this post (at another time) to link the recipes.

After skimming over all of those tasty titles, you may have noticed that a large number of them have yet to make it onto the blog.  Lets just say I’ve got plenty of future posts at the ready!  Who knows, maybe this will be the year I finally catch up… but I wouldn’t bet the farm! :P

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

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