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Preserving Summer


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#1 trillium

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 09:38 AM

So here in the PNW it's full-on fruit time. I've become obsessed with preserving various fruits, which is kind of crazy considering the hot weather we've been having.

I blame my obsession mostly on Christine Ferber's book Mes Confitures. It's given me all sorts of cool ideas for flavor combinations I might not have considered otherwise. I've made all sorts of stuff in the last few weeks but I think what I'm most looking forward to eating are the raspberry and rose, gooseberry and elderflower and black current jams. The sour cherries I brandiend and bourboned aren't far behind on the list.

I'm contemplating the strawberry, red current, black pepper and fresh mint but the partner, who isn't a sweets eater, is starting to wonder who is actually going to eat all this stuff.

What are some of your favorite flavor combinations for preserving summer?

regards,
trillium

#2 ElfWorks

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 10:20 AM

man o man, trillium, can i send you my snail addy for a jar of those brandied cherries??????

unfortunately, how to do the jams and jellies thing is the one thing my granny failed to school me in. :(
i have to learn how to do this (but i am going to wait til i have a bigger kitchen!)

i love fig and orange preserves. do yall have fig trees up there in pnw?
a friend used to do a strawberry and hatch chili jam that was out of this wortld.

and seriously, if you end up with too many jars.......

:wink:

lisa
"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink
That is the finest of suppers, I think
When I'm grown up and can have what I please,
I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

#3 trillium

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 11:35 AM

We do indeed have fig trees here, the one in the backyard is huge and full of fruit, but I think the apricot tree is going to ripen before the fig. I'm trying to think of floral or herbal flavors that go with apricot. Thyme maybe? Or chillies, habaneros have a nice fruity flavor...hmmm.

The rest of the sour cherries went into preserves I'll finish tonight, these I let steep with the cracked cherry pits to give them a nice bitter almond taste. I only made one jar of brandied cherries, and it was a pint at that. Should I be making more? I've never done that before. I did one in bourbon too, since I'm a manhattan drinker in the winter.


regards,
trillium

#4 ElfWorks

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 02:21 PM

you should do all the cherries you can. GREAT GIFT FOR XMAS!! i am not an apricot fan, but the thyme sounds like a good combo! and i love peach and pepper so the apricot and chili would work. any lavender available? lots of yummy things to do there!

and again... any extra cherries you may have......

(typed as i sit here eating some just purchased at wfm after having read this thread! got all cherry-jones-y)

lisa
"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink
That is the finest of suppers, I think
When I'm grown up and can have what I please,
I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

#5 phaelon56

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 02:51 PM

Good thread. I'm thinking that maybe this needs to be moved over to Cooking so more people will see it and jump in to share their ideas? I'll take the liberty of PM'ing a Forum Host and see what they think.

I like the idea of apricots (which are not high on my list of favorite fruits) with some kind of chili peppers. My favorite West Indian hot sauce (actually my favorite hot sauce aside from Marie Sharpe's) is Matouk's. I looks almost liek a chutney and has a healthy does of mango along with habanero and many other tasty things. I think apricot and habanero might make a great thick hot sauce or even an unusual pepper/fruit jelly.

#6 artisanbaker

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:13 PM

christine ferber will be teaching a class at the www.frenchpastryschool.com in a few weeks

c u there...

#7 redfox

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:30 PM

I just whipped up a couple of jars of fairly basic apricot preserves, with on-sale apricots. I like apricots quite a lot in theory, but supermarket (and even farmer's market) apricots are often insipid and disappointing. Preserving them is a good way to get them to taste like themselves -- adding some almond extract is good for that, too. Preserving in small batches is so easy and fun. I can see how it would become addictive. Now I want to branch out into more exotic combinations, not that we will ever eat our way through all of it. I suppose that's what gift-giving occasions are for!

Don't wait, ElfWorks -- you can do just a few jars' worth at a time, and what's more important for a small kitchen, you don't need a canning pot. You can sterilize and process the jars in a 250 degree oven. It's very very easy, and it works beautifully.

Edited by redfox, 21 June 2004 - 03:31 PM.

"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

#8 ElfWorks

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:33 PM

redfox... i keep thinking i am going to write that cute tyler florence and ask him to food 911 me and making preserves! (but id like to have a beautiful kitchen for him and his crew!) ;)

can anyone suggest some must-reads for learning how-to?

lisa
"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink
That is the finest of suppers, I think
When I'm grown up and can have what I please,
I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

#9 trillium

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:42 PM

Try using the nut meats from the apricot pits to give them a little almond flavor next time, it works really well and is a little more complex and herbally compared to the almond extract. I steep them in the fruit and sugar overnight in one of my Japanese tea bags.

And you're right, small batches really are nice because you don't need a lot of equipment or space.

I thought about lavender in the apricots but hmmm...it wasn't working for me. I wanted to accent the floral and astringent/sharpness part of a good apricot, not the mushy sweetness.

As for moving it to the cooking section, that would be fine, but I put it here on purpose, I think of jams and preserves more as a pastry art then a cooking art...I guess because of the chemistry involved and the fact that it's a sweet. But by all means move it if it's supposed to be somewhere else.

regards,
trillium

#10 trillium

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:44 PM

redfox... i keep thinking i am going to write that cute tyler florence and ask him to food 911 me and making preserves! (but id like to have a beautiful kitchen for him and his crew!) ;)

can anyone suggest some must-reads for learning how-to?

lisa

I really enjoy Christine Ferber's book I linked to in my first post, but she's a little demanding. I started out making jam from the recipe in the Sure-Jel box! Delia Smith has some nice English recipes online that I like.

regards,
trillium

#11 ElfWorks

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:46 PM

well, i wasnt actually thinking lavender with the apricots. i was just throwing it out there.....

i have a friend who does lemons and lavender. unbelievably good! sort of a lemon marmalade.

lisa
"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink
That is the finest of suppers, I think
When I'm grown up and can have what I please,
I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

#12 ElfWorks

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:47 PM

trillium (i keep wanting to call you calvin) , ms ferber sounds a smidge advanced for me. i need the basics!

lisa

Edited by ElfWorks, 21 June 2004 - 03:47 PM.

"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink
That is the finest of suppers, I think
When I'm grown up and can have what I please,
I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

#13 redfox

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 03:52 PM

Try using the nut meats from the apricot pits to give them a little almond flavor next time, it works really well and is a little more complex and herbally compared to the almond extract. I steep them in the fruit and sugar overnight in one of my Japanese tea bags.

Mm, that does sound good. (I seem to recall reading somewhere that the kernels of almond and peach pits contained cyanide -- presumably not much of it, but that's put me off trying to use them in food in the past.) You've got me feeling eager to branch out, quick.

The pectin box is indeed a good place to start! I have a brand called "Ponoma's Universal Pectin" that is specially designed to work well with lower-sugar batches, and they have a good chart and step-by-step basic procedure included in an insert. Works like a dream.
"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

#14 trillium

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 04:32 PM

trillium (i keep wanting to call you calvin) , ms ferber sounds a smidge advanced for me. i need the basics!

lisa

The basics would be the Ball Blue Book I think, or just the recipes from your favorite pectin box.

regards,
trillium (my namesake)

#15 trillium

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 04:35 PM

Try using the nut meats from the apricot pits to give them a little almond flavor next time, it works really well and is a little more complex and herbally compared to the almond extract.  I steep them in the fruit and sugar overnight in one of my Japanese tea bags.

Mm, that does sound good. (I seem to recall reading somewhere that the kernels of almond and peach pits contained cyanide -- presumably not much of it, but that's put me off trying to use them in food in the past.) You've got me feeling eager to branch out, quick.

Yeah, they contain cyanogenetic glycosides which can be converted to cyanide when you eat them. I think it takes 60 - 70 bitter almonds (they have the highest levels) to knock off an adult. You can roast the nuts to kill the enzyme that does the converting if you worried about it, or just stick with the extract.

regards,
trillium

#16 andiesenji

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 06:01 PM

I like the idea of apricots (which are not high on my list of favorite fruits) with some kind of chili peppers. My favorite West Indian hot sauce (actually my favorite hot sauce aside from Marie Sharpe's) is Matouk's. I looks almost liek a chutney and has a healthy does of mango along with habanero and many other tasty things. I think apricot and habanero might make a great thick hot sauce or even an unusual pepper/fruit jelly.

I have been cooking apricots, for the past couple of days. I also have both my dehydrators full of split apricots.

I combine apricots with rocoto (also known as Manzano) peppers. Some people think they are hotter than Habaneros, but I don't. They have an apple flavor and the ones I grow are the same color as apricots when ripe.
They are the only pepper with black seeds and I leave a few seeds in the conserve to identify the hot stuff, just in case the lable falls off.
Some of this I combine with red onion/garlic marmalade which makes a killer sauce for grilled chicken or pork.

I also combine apricots with lime marmalade, layering it in the tall "quilted" jelly jars to make it look like a parfait.

I make a jelly from an infusion of anise hyssop (the root beer plant) and mix that with apricot preserves.

However, the most popular combination I make is apricot/ginger.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#17 andiesenji

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 06:05 PM

I forgot to mention that I also combine apricot jam with my homemade mustard sauce. Everyone who has tried it thinks it is super.

I can't get into ImageGullet so can't post the pics of my mustard making. Or the apricot processing.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#18 beans

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 06:07 PM

I blame my obsession mostly on Christine Ferber's book Mes Confitures.

Now I blame you. :biggrin:

I just got back from running over to Borders Books to purchase their only copy.

#19 trillium

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 08:57 AM

I like the idea of apricots (which are not high on my list of favorite fruits) with some kind of chili peppers. My favorite West Indian hot sauce (actually my favorite hot sauce aside from Marie Sharpe's) is Matouk's. I looks almost liek a chutney and has a healthy does of mango along with habanero and many other tasty things. I think apricot and habanero might make a great thick hot sauce or even an unusual pepper/fruit jelly.

I have been cooking apricots, for the past couple of days. I also have both my dehydrators full of split apricots.

I combine apricots with rocoto (also known as Manzano) peppers. Some people think they are hotter than Habaneros, but I don't. They have an apple flavor and the ones I grow are the same color as apricots when ripe.
They are the only pepper with black seeds and I leave a few seeds in the conserve to identify the hot stuff, just in case the lable falls off.
Some of this I combine with red onion/garlic marmalade which makes a killer sauce for grilled chicken or pork.

I also combine apricots with lime marmalade, layering it in the tall "quilted" jelly jars to make it look like a parfait.

I make a jelly from an infusion of anise hyssop (the root beer plant) and mix that with apricot preserves.

However, the most popular combination I make is apricot/ginger.

These are some great ideas, thanks! My mum loves apricots and loves ginger, so I was playing around with the idea of making something with apricot, candied ginger, ginger juice and maybe thin lemon slices that you simmer for a while before adding them to the preserves. I'm not a huge fruit and meat in combination fan, so the apricot and habenero idea has me wondering how else we'd eat it. How do you add the ginger component?

regards,
trillium

#20 jackal10

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 09:22 AM

What do you people do with all this jam? Large families, or a small tea-house?
Sell it?

This year, like most years, we are inundated with a glut of fruit - gooseberries now, red currant, strawberries, raspberries, greengages, plums coming soon to say nothing of others like elderflower/berry, rose petal, mint, damson etc etc. Ah-ha, I think, I'll make jam. Then I look in the preserves cupboard, and there is still most of last years, and even some of the year before that. I guess we eat the usual amount of jam, but you can't make less than about 10lbs. That is something like 120lbs a year, not counting marmelade, quince cheese, hot pepper jelly etc etc...

We can't eat 120lbs of jam. We maybe eat 12lbs a year, a jar month, if that. We can't even give it away, since most of our friends and family have the same problem.
Help!

#21 reesek

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 09:33 AM

trillium,

where did you get sour cherries? i've tried begging my sister on the east coast to send me some, but she hasn't...i'm dying to try them.

about jams - i'd love to make a really fresh tasting strawberry - they're wonderful fresh right now, but i've always felt that they lose something - get too sweet or too cooked - and lose their vibrancy in jams. freezer jam tastes good to me - how does that process work?

what about (sourish) plums? we have a tree.

awesome thread trillium. i am deeply envious of your fig tree.
from overheard in new york:
Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!
Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

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#22 beans

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 09:36 AM

:biggrin: jackal10, my postal address is...!


I ran into that problem when I lived in Alaska. Nothing as sophisticated as the Fairy Godmother of Jam Christine Ferber but simply lovely, wild berries. Huckleberry, salmonberry, blueberry, thimbleberry, raspberry, cloudberry, strawberry, rose hip, and combinations thereof. Still a few of the jars have remained on my shelf only because I'm trying to enjoy every last little drop I have left.

And if I remember correctly, I was considering doing something with the stone fruits I picked up from the travelling Chelan Produce truck that visited Sitka every few weeks from Washington State. It was a Saturday tradition to hunt through all of the garage sales for extra mason jars on the cheap. :smile:

Edited by beans, 22 June 2004 - 09:37 AM.


#23 andiesenji

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 09:51 AM

I'm not a huge fruit and meat in combination fan, so the apricot and habenero idea has me wondering how else we'd eat it. How do you add the ginger component?

regards,
trillium

The apricot/habanero combination is great with cheese, mixed into cream cheese it makes a great spread.
White cheeses in particular are a good combination. a thin slice of goat cheese on a cracker and topped with a dab of this conserve is yummy.
It is also a good dipping sauce for fritters, for fried mozz sticks, etc.

When I use ginger in one of these, I usually cut it into matchsticks first and steam until tender, then chop and add to the apricots and cook as usual. The ginger will retain its form so one gets little chewy bits of ginger in with the smooth apricot. If I want a smooth product I grate it and cook with the apricots without steaming.

(I make large batches of candied or crystalized ginger and I always slice and steam the ginger first. This way it retains all of the flavor instead of losing some when it is boiled the traditional way. I grow my own ginger and some of the corms are very large and steaming is the only way to make the slices tender.)
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#24 TrishCT

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 11:09 AM

I'm blessed with a huge blackberry patch and for years I've made blackberry jelly for my kids' peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I've found that strawberries make excellent freezer jam. If you're new to jelly making this is a good place to start because the jam requires no cooking.

#25 foodie3

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 02:05 PM

jackal10, i can see your point - i still have canned jars of jam from 2 and 3 years ago.
however, last year i made quince paste and there is none left; i love it with coffee, its also good with fresh cheese.

#26 trillium

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 02:14 PM

What do you people do with all this jam? Large families, or a small tea-house?
Sell it?

This year,  like most years, we are inundated with a glut of fruit - gooseberries now, red currant, strawberries, raspberries, greengages, plums coming soon to say nothing of others like elderflower/berry, rose petal, mint, damson etc etc.  Ah-ha, I think, I'll make jam. Then I look in the preserves cupboard, and there is still most of last years, and even some of the year before that.  I guess we eat the usual amount of jam, but you can't make less than about 10lbs. That is something like 120lbs a year, not counting marmelade, quince cheese, hot pepper jelly etc etc...

We can't eat 120lbs of jam. We maybe eat 12lbs a year, a jar  month, if that. We can't even give it away, since most of our friends and family have the same problem. 
Help!

That's the nice thing about the recipes I've been using. They're for a kilogram of fruit (about 2.2 lb) and you use 80% sugar. The yield is usually around 2 and a half pints. I find that jams don't really taste as good after the first year, so I try not to make more then we can eat or give as presents to friends and family. Most of the people I know don't make jam or marmalade, so I don't have your problem. I'm envious of your glut, besides the gooseberries, fig and apricot, I'm buying all my fruit at the farmer's market. Maybe you should start some eGullet exchange, huh? Your jam for someone else's X.

edit to add: I eat my preserves on steel cut oatmeal every morning all winter long. It helps me not miss the butter I wish I could drown them in and you need fruity dark flavors in the middle of winter.

regards,
trillium

Edited by trillium, 22 June 2004 - 02:23 PM.


#27 trillium

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 02:22 PM

trillium,

where did you get sour cherries? i've tried begging my sister on the east coast to send me some, but she hasn't...i'm dying to try them.

about jams - i'd love to make a really fresh tasting strawberry - they're wonderful fresh right now, but i've always felt that they lose something - get too sweet or too cooked - and lose their vibrancy in jams. freezer jam tastes good to me - how does that process work?

what about (sourish) plums? we have a tree.

awesome thread trillium. i am deeply envious of your fig tree.

I get mine from a couple of different vendors at the farmer's market in downtown Portland. You have to watch the market like a hawk, the sour cherry season is only 3 or 4 weeks so it's easy to miss. I'm sure there must be some one selling them in Seattle...right now!

And hey, if you come to Portland occasionally I'd be happy to stash some in the freezer for you, frozen work just fine in pies.

Freezer jam is super, super easy. If you like that taste better, and have room in your freezer, go for it. I always followed the recipe in pectin box for freezer jam. I don't think you even cook it, just mix fruit and sugar and pectin. It gives you bright, fresh tasting jam with a softer set then if you did a cooked one with pectin. I usually picked the pectins that advertise themselves as good for lower sugar. Strawberries are tough to preserve, I tried the no-pectin route for the first time with them this year and I ended up with very lovely preserved strawberries in a nice strawberry syrup! They have so little pectin I think next year I won't go the purist route and just use pectin.

I'm not that crazy about most plum jams (they seem bland and too sweet to me), but I do love infusing alcohol with plums! It extracts all that nice flavor from the skins and you can blunt the sour with as much sugar as your tastes dictate.

regards,
trillium

#28 reesek

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 02:27 PM

trillium - you are so nice. let me sneak off to the market and see if i can find some sour cherries this week - otherwise, i may just take you up on your offer. i'm sure i'll find an excuse to get to portland in the next couple of months.

do tell more about infusing fruit in liquor. i've noticed that in other threads...i'm very intrigued. what do you do and how?
from overheard in new york:
Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!
Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

#29 jackal10

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 02:47 PM

Damson Gin in the making (from egCI Autumn Preserves) Damsons, Gin, Sugar
Freeze the fruit first for better extraction. Shake every day for a few weeks.
Posted Image

Edited by jackal10, 22 June 2004 - 02:49 PM.


#30 beans

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 10:56 AM

While surfing for recipes on lychee jelly/preserves/jam, I discovered this book: A Passion for Preserves, by Frederica Langeland.

Anyone have a copy? I'd be interested in hearing about it, although I won't be using her recipe for Lemon Curd! :biggrin:

I just purchased a copy for $4.00. :smile:

Yipee! Two packages to arrive next week! This book, and a Kitchenaid Food Processor from Kohl's! eG often places a dent into my kitchen expenditures.... :raz: