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Preserving Recipes

Preserving Recipes/ Summer

A Gift of Nanking Cherries

Recently, someone got in touch with me offering some of her Nanking cherries. I jumped at the chance even though I knew nothing about them. It turns out she has many bushes which were a gift to her husband who remembered them fondly from his time growing up in Calgary. Now, they were a gift to me.

Nanking cherries are a bush cherry indigenous to Asia including China, Japan, and the Himalayas. These cold hardy bushes were introduced to North America in 1882. They set fruit within two years and grow to heights of 15 feet but can be trimmed back. They bloom early in spring with prolific qualities of small red cherries that are only a half inch in diameter and do not have a long shelf life. So, they are best planted at home for delicious fruit used in preserves, wine, liqueur, and syrup. These wonderful bushes will live up to 50 years providing an annual source of heavenly cherries that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

I decided to go in search of a jelly recipe as the cherries are small and pitting them would be very labour intensive. As I only use recipes developed in test kitchens, it took quite a while to find one. Eventually I did on the Bernardin website (not in the book).

The Nanking cherries are stunningly deep pink with a sweet-tart taste akin to a sour cherry but sweeter. Imagine having a bounty of cherries each spring and never having to climb a ladder to reach them! I passed on seeds to fellow growers and preservers with hopes we will see more cherry bushes in our area in future.

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Nanking Cherry Jelly

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Serves: Yield: 9 x 250ml

Ingredients

  • 16 cups Nanking cherries
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 4 TBSP lemon juice
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 package fruit ‘original’ fruit pectin crystals (powder)

Instructions

Extract Juice:

1

Wash cherries. Combine with water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil crushing with a potato masher. Reduce heat and let cook about 35 minutes. Pour into a dampened jelly bag or cheesecloth lined sieve. Let the juice drip for 2 hours or overnight without squeezing which will cause a cloudy jelly.

Prepare Jelly:

2

Measure 6 cups of extracted juice. Put in a large Dutch oven. Add lemon Juice. Whisk in pectin to dissolve. Bring this mixture to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down. Add sugar stirring constantly. Bring back to a boil and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and skim.

3

Ladle into prepared hot jars leaving a ¼ inch headspace. Wipe the top of the jar clean and place on lids and rings tightening to ‘finger-tip tight’. Process in a boiling water or atmospheric steam canner for 10 minutes adjusting for altitude. Let rest 5 minutes. Remove from canner and let rest for 24 hours. (refer to the Bernardin website or book for details about canning)

Preserving Recipes/ Summer

Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette

 

Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette

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Ingredients

  • Sour Cream Pastry
  • 2 and ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter cubed
  • ½ cup cold shortening cubed
  • ¼ cup plus 2 TSBP sour cream
  • 2 TBSP ice water
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette Filling
  • 5 cups rhubarb chopped, 2 cups strawberries quartered
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup store-bought or home-made amaretti crumbled

Instructions

1

In a food processor, blend dry ingredients. Then add butter and shortening and process until the mixture looks like course meal. Mix sour cream and water together and add to the bowl and blend together until pastry starts to come together in a ball. Bring together into a ball, divide in two, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap to cool in the fridge or to freeze.

2

For the galette, use one half of the pastry. Roll out in a circle at a thickness of ¼ inch. Remember to leave 2 ½ inches that will fold over the strawberry-rhubarb mixture. Place the pastry on a parchment line rimless baking pan.

3

Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette Filling

4

5 cups rhubarb chopped, 2 cups strawberries quartered

5

¾ cup sugar

6

1/3 cup flour

7

1/3 cup store-bought or home-made amaretti crumbled

8

Sprinkle the amaretti on top of the rolled-out pastry. Mix remaining ingredients and pile in the middle of the pastry. Spread around leaving 2 ½ inch edge. Fold the pastry over the filling, pleating it to create the edge. Bruch the pastry with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

9

The filling will look nicer if you brush the fruit with a glaze such as melted apple or rhubarb jelly.

10

Bake in the lower rack of a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 50 – 55 minutes.

Preserving Recipes/ Summer

Rhubarb Ice Cream

 

Rhubarb Ice Cream

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 lg egg yolks and 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla (instead of vanilla, 1 tsp grated orange rind

Instructions

1

Prepare ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

2

Step 1:

3

4 cups chopped rhubarb

4

¼ cup sugar

5

1 TBSP lemon juice

6

Mix in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, for 12-15 minutes until the fruit is soft and liquid is absorbed. Cool. Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender.

7

Step 2:

8

2 lg egg yolks and 1 large egg

9

2/3 cup sugar

10

1 cup whole milk

11

2 cups heavy cream

12

1 tsp vanilla (instead of vanilla, 1 tsp grated orange rind

13

Whisk together eggs, sugar and milk. In a saucepan, heat the cream until it starts to bubble at the edges. Don’t boil. Temper the egg mixture by gradually adding drizzling the hot cream into the egg mixture. Blend and return to the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture coats a spoon and appears to be custard-like. Make sure it doesn’t boil. Pour the custard through a sieve to remove any bits. Allow it to cool in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and then refrigerate until very cold. I let the custard chill for 24 hrs.

14

Step 3:

15

Mix the rhubarb puree into the custard. Pour into the frozen bowl of the ice cream maker and churn using manufacturer’s instructions. Put into freezer containers leaving at least a 1.5 inch headspace. To prevent crystallization, put a piece of parchment paper on top of the ice cream and then add the lid.

16

To serve, bring the ice cream out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes to soften and make it scoopable.

Preserving Know-how/ Preserving Recipes/ Summer

Chive Blossom Vinegar

The blossoms of chives are bountiful at this time of year. While blossoms can be used to adorn salads, soups, or meats, they can also be used to create a flavourful shelf-stable vinegar to please the pallet the whole year through.

I make many herb vinegars, but I love the chive blossom vinegar for its gorgeous rosy colour and delightful taste. Once it is ready, it will make a super vinaigrette or an addition to a sauce to brighten the taste. Because vinegar is acidic (at least 5%), it is an environment unconducive to most bacteria. It is possible for some yeasts and molds to grow in this environment so if you notice mold or see bubbles indicating yeast fermentation, don’t use it. But overall, herb vinegars are safe. I’ll note that herb infused oils are another story. Oils with herbs and/or garlic create an environment highly conducive to the worst bacterium clostridium botulinum (you got it – the botulism bacteria). It is possible to safely produce herb-garlic infused oils by acidifying the herbs and garlic, but please refer to the National Centre for Home Food Preservation for specific instructions about how to do it safely.

Making chive blossom vinegar, like all herb vinegars, is a two-step process. First, the sanitized herbs are placed in a sterilized Mason jar (warm) and hot vinegar is poured over. The mixture is left to steep for 2 weeks although you can decide to use a shorter time if you wish. At the end of the steeping period, the blossoms or herbs are strained out. I use two steps: First, strain using a sieve reserving the liquid. Second, pour the liquid through a dampened coffee filter to remove small sediment. The second phase of the process involves sterilizing the glass jars you will use to store the vinegar and heating the herb-infused vinegar to just below boiling point. Then de-cant the vinegar into the warm jars or bottles leaving a ½ inch headspace. Cool, put on lids, caps or corks, label and store in a cool, preferably dark location.

The particulars:

For chive blossom vinegar I use white wine vinegar and about ½ cup of blossoms for 500 ml. It’s really a matter of how many blossoms I can get my hands on.

Sanitizing solution: Blossoms or herbs should be knocked gently to remove insects or debris. It is recommended that they be quickly submerged in a solution of ½ tsp household bleach to 3 cups water, then thoroughly rinsed and patted dry.

Jar sterilization: Use the dishwasher cycle if you have it or submerge the jars or bottles in boiling water for 10 minutes. Invert on a towel and fill with the hot vinegar while warm. If you are using bottles with corks, use only new corks and sanitize them by dipping them in boiling water 3 or 4 times.

Getting creative: As the herbs begin to produce, it’s possible to create various infused vinegars. Strong herbs blend well with apple cider vinegar or even white vinegar. Milder herbs like chives, basil, tarragon blend well with white wine or champagne vinegars. Fruits also make super vinegars. You can experiment to determine what you enjoy.

The chive blossoms are here and ready to be used as culinary accents or to be infused into vinegar for a gloriously tinted vinegar with a gentle chive background ready to elevate your vinaigrette to new heights!

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

 

 

Preserving Know-how/ Preserving Recipes/ Spring

Spring Greens and Dressing

With the unusually warm weather we’ve had, the greens are peeking up heralding the delights of spring salads, lighter meals, and herb-infused dressings. There’s nothing like the taste of spring greens in a simple dressage. They are bright, fresh, full of taste and texture and make a super meal as the days warm.

If you got a jump-start on planting by starting seeds indoors, you might already have arugula and spinach. If not, you will soon will as the garden grows. Or stop by the Kimberley General Store or Sideroad Farm for fantastic spring greens. Soon asparagus will be out too, according to Farmer Morris in Barrie. And who can say no to ramps, young Dandelion leaves, purslane, colourful violets and the myriad herbs shooting up. We’ve got the makings of a great salad!

So that brings us to the question of vinaigrettes. What dressing suits the beautiful fresh spring salad? Many say, “keep it simple”. The taste is really in the greens so don’t cover it with big bold flavour. According to many chefs, a good vinaigrette is all about balance: acid to oil, sweetness to salt, an emulsifier and seasoning to taste. In general terms, the ratio of acid to oil is one to three. It isn’t essential to add an emulsifier like mustard, but it does help to make a creamier dressing. For sweet balance, go easy: just a dash of honey, maple syrup, a small teaspoon of home-made jam, jelly, or conserve, or even honey-mustard can do the trick. If you want to add minced shallots, or wild leeks, chopped herbs or zest of citrus, go for it.  I make herb vinegars like tarragon or chive blossom which adds a subtle flavour to the vinaigrette, but you can use white wine vinegar, white balsamic, apple cider, red wine, rice wine, balsamic, sherry or champagne vinegar. There are no doubt great recipes around, but here’s mine to go with a young spring salad.

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Spring Salad Dressing

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Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP herb vinegar (choose what you have)
  • 3 TBSP cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (or use honey-mustard for sweetness)
  • ¼ tsp honey (or switch up the sweet addition – whatever moves you)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

1

Sometimes I add more Dijon for a more mustardy dressing like you might find in a French bistro. If you increase mustard, remember it is salty so adjust the S&P at the end just before serving.

2

Whisk the dressing in the salad bowl for 30 seconds before adding the greens. Gently toss the greens with your hands. Season.

3

For the greens, collect or purchase young spring greens. Add Dandelion leaves and chopped wild leek leaves if you have them. Colour is important so adding violets (unsprayed of course), Dandelion petals or chive blossoms is a great idea. Make it a meal? Sure, add steamed or grilled asparagus, goat cheese, shaved parmesan, hard boiled eggs quartered, toasted nuts, good quality tuna in oil, or add grilled fish or meat on the side. And voila’, a salad to celebrate Spring.

 

Preserving Recipes/ Winter

Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblano

Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblano

Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblano

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This is a great dinner in a bowl soup. Delicious and filling.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups corn
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 1 celery stalk chopped into small dice
  • 1 potato (Yukon Gold or red) chopped into small dice
  • 1 roasted Poblano pepper chopped fine
  • 1 small white onion chopped fine
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 TBSP flour (regular or gluten free)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • Top with chopped coriander and a squeeze of lemon or lime

Instructions

1

Roast the Poblano: on the BBQ, under the broiler or on top of the gas flame until blackened. Put the pepper in a bowl covered with plastic for 10 minutes to release the skin. Peel and chop.

2

In a Dutch oven, melt 1 TBSP butter and sauté the carrot, celery, onion, and potato until it sweats and softens. Add the tomato paste and poblano pepper and stir. Add in coriander, thyme, a pinch of cayenne. Push the vegetables to the side and melt in second TBSP of butter and flour. Mix for 1 minute. Add in heated broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the milk (warmed). Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. For serving, add cilantro and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Some people also add toasted pumpkin seeds and/or cooked bacon or pancetta. It is entirely up to you.

3

If you are freezing this soup note that the milk will separate but as it warms during reheating, it will blend together again. To avoid this, omit the milk and freeze the soup. Add the milk before serving. Always warm liquids before adding to the soup to avoid curdling or separating.

 

 

Preserving Recipes/ Winter

Getting Creative for the Holidays

There is no doubt that I get inspired at this time of year to create gifts from all the things I have preserved over the year. Why spend time in a mall when you can hunker down and make your own beautiful and delicious gifts? Here are some of the gifts I’ve been making so far in anticipation of gift-giving.

Dried Herbs

This year I have made Herbes de Provence, a mixture that is wonderful with chicken or sprinkled over roasted potatoes. I put the mix in cute little jars for gifts to my foodie friends. As always, I grow herbs for tisanes and teas. I found small bottles with corks for my ‘quiet spirit’, lemon balm, double mint, and anise and bergamot teas. Add a ribbon and you have a lovely gift for those who enjoy herbal soothing drinks. How about pairing a relaxing tea with lavender bath salts? Yup, my many lavender plants produce plenty of flowers for both cooking and for adding to Epsom salts and lavender essential oil. That’s a perfect way to indulge in a little self-time during the busy season.

The Christmas Meal

This year I put together gift boxes with Cranberry Sauce (with and without Port), Cranberry Mostarda and a package of dried herbs to add to make an onion-sage stuffing for the bird. It’s an all-in-one gift. The Cranberry Sauce is just one less thing to make for the hostess. The Cranberry Mostarda is an Italian condiment that blends mustard with cranberry and is delicious on turkey or ham sandwiches or with a grilled cheese. The herb mix can be thrown into the stuffing mix or used to season the turkey, chicken, goose, or capon.

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without mincemeat. It is the flavour of the season. I always make Pear Mincemeat (vegan) that is excellent for creating baked gifts or even as a stand-alone gift. I make pear mincemeat tarts, squares (think date square with mincemeat instead of dates), warm it and serve with ice cream or incorporate it into a Christmas morning muffin.

Hostess Gifts

Jams, jellies, and pickles are always welcome gifts at any time of year. For the holidays, I try to think about the people receiving the gifts. For the cheese-lovers, two or three wine jellies to accompany the cheese. For the meat lover, Peach-Ale mustard and White Wine, Sage, and Honey Mustard. For the pickle lover, a variety of pickles – dills, bread & butter, pickled carrots, asparagus, or beets. For the Caesar drinker, spicy pickled beans. For families, hot cocoa mix and homemade marshmallows.

This time of year inspires creativity and a desire to give something meaningful to friends and family. Let’s celebrate all the bakers, preservers and creators who keep traditions going and who keep the spirit of the season alive and well.

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

 

Fall/ Preserving Recipes

Sage and Roasted Walnut Pesto

Sage and Roasted Walnut Pesto

Sage and Roasted Walnut Pesto

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sage leaves compressed
  • 2 cups parsley leaves compressed
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts roasted until lightly browned
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Roast walnuts in a 350 degree oven until brown. About 5 to 10 minutes.

2

In a food processor, with the engine running, drop the peeled garlic through the feed-tube until finely chopped. Put sage and parsley into the bowl and whiz it until it is fairly finely chopped. With the engine going drizzle in the olive oil. You may need to adjust the amount to achieve the texture you like.

3

Stir in the parmesan and chopped walnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that the parmesan is salty so add salt after the cheese has been added.

4

Serve with penne or spirals (pasta that will hold the sauce), regular or gluten free. If you want, add fried sage leaves for a little extra pizzaz. I freeze this pesto in food grade plastic containers.

 

 

Fall/ Preserving Recipes

Foraging in the Neighborhood – Plum and Crab Apple Jam

Crab Apples

While on a recent walk into my village, I spied three grand crab apple trees positively laden with ruby red, blemish-free apples. When I got home, I emailed the owner of the house and asked if they had any excess apples I might pick. They said all the apples were excess since they didn’t do anything with them. Baskets in hand, and a promise to deliver some canned goods, I went down to collect the beauties. There’s nothing like foraging in your own neighborhood!

Crab apples (malus coronaria) are the only indigenous apples to North America. They are abundant, not sprayed, and are mostly free for the picking. Crab apples are high in Vitamin C and minerals. A great option to preserve for winter in many ways.

I made crab apple jelly (of course). The high pectin makes it easy to get a good set without adding commercial pectin. From the pulp I had after extracting the juice, I ran through a food mill which left a smooth rosy coloured puree to which I added a small amount of corn syrup and made crab apple fruit leathers using my dehydrator. Delicious snack. I also tried a pickled crab apple recipe which was a disaster. Despite pricking the apples all over, my apples burst during processing and ended up looking like a rough apple sauce! The taste was good but aesthetically unappealing. I also made a jam with plums which turned out to be quite nice. Tart from the crab apples but balanced from the addition of the plums. This recipe is from Canadians Topp & Howard.

For further information:

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Plum and Crab Apple Jam

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Serves: 6 - 250ml jars

With crab apples still in abundance, try various approaches to preserving this fruit as a jam, jelly, pickle or leather. They can also be fermented and turned into crab apple cider. So flexible, so inexpensive, so good for you!

Instructions

1

3 cups quartered, unpeeled crab apples (washed) in 1.5 cups water plus one 4-inch cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes until soft. Remove the cinnamon stick. Press apples though a food mill or sieve to remove skins and solids.

2

To the puree in a Dutch oven, add 4 cups of sliced blue or purple plums. Add 5 cups of sugar and ¾ cup of red wine or grape juice. Bring to a rapid boil for 20 minutes stirring frequently. Check the gel. Remember both crab apples and plums are high in pectin so look for a loose set. It will firm up as the jam cools.

3

Ladle into hot 250ml jars and process in a water-bath or atmospheric steam canner for 10 minutes adjusting for altitude. Let rest 5 minutes before removing the jars.

 

 

Fall/ Preserving Recipes

Cranberries in Fall – Harvest Moon Jam

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. It seems so meaningful to give thanks to mother-nature’s gifts of the harvest, to those who grow our food and to those who prepare meals. You really can’t think about Thanksgiving without thinking about cranberries. I’m a huge fan of using cranberries not only at Thanksgiving but all year round.

Cranberries (genus vaccinium) is native to North America particularly the East coast. They grow in bogs and swamps relying on bees for pollination since their pollen grains are too heavy for the wind to carry. According to Acadian History, First Nations people were observed eating cranberry sauce with meats in the mid fifteen hundreds. It is likely cranberry sauce was being consumed for hundreds if not thousands of years before that. Cranberries are high in Vit C and are powerful antioxidants. Most available cranberries are commercially grown using extensive pesticides to control pests and quality. Not only is this bad for human health, but it is lethal for the pollinator bees! Efforts are being made to improve capacity for growing cranberries without pesticides which is a huge step in the right direction. If you can, buy organic cranberries. If they aren’t available, prepare a solution of 2 tsp baking soda to 1 litre of water and give the berries a quick dip. The alkaline solution will remove many of the pesticide residues (works for many other fruits and vegetables too).

Cranberry sauce, with or without orange or rum; cranberry mostarda a condiment combining cranberries and mustard which is excellent with ham, pork or cheese; cranberry juice; cranberry relishes, chutneys, conserves; cranberry and orange loaf, and the list of cranberry recipes goes on and on. One of my favorite recipes combines cranberries with pears and several spices for a lovely deep red and very flavourful jam. This jam appears in many preserving cookbooks going by different names like, Holiday Jam or Christmas Jam. I think of it as “Harvest Moon” jam.

For further information:

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Harvest Moon Jam

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Serves: 4 - 250ml jars

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the harvest, celebrate the growers and cooks, and be thankful for nature’s generous gifts.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 pound ripe peeled pears shredded (1.5 cup)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TBSP grated orange zest plus ½ cup of orange juice
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ground cloves and ground ginger

Instructions

1

In a pot, combine cranberries, pears, water, zest and juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until cranberries pop. Stir in sugar and spices. Bring back to a boil stirring until sugar dissolves. Off heat crush fruit with a masher. Return to the boil and cook about 10 minutes until the jam reaches a gel stage (217 – 219 degrees).

2

Put into hot jars and process in a water-bath or atmospheric steam canner for 15 minutes adjusting for altitude. Let rest five minutes before removing the jars.