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Preserving Summer


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#61 andiesenji

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 10:51 PM

I do a water bath on most things as long as they are sufficiently acid, jams, jellies, preserves.
I may use the steam canner for fruit butters, applesauce, pickles, marinara sauce, especially in larger containers
Some things I process in the pressure canner because I know they can be a problem.

Years ago I used to use paraffin on jellies and jams and never had a problem, however the stuff is horribly flammable and you have to have the inside rim of the jelly glass absolutely clean or the paraffin will not made a good seal and will allow mold spores to invade. Jars and lids are relatively inexpensive (unless one goes for the fancy French imports) that it is better to spend a little more money and be safe.

I have both the book by Ferber and the one by Langeland, as well as quite a few others, and do use some their recipes for ideas.
Some of my old books have more information about preserving vegetables and meats. However I do not do as much of those as I used to do.

I still can jugged hare and mincemeat with meat (actually I use ground jerky) and spiced potted meat, venison or duck, which is like a paté. Those have to be processed in the pressure cooker.
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#62 artisanbaker

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 11:17 PM

the first time i saw my boss' family each jam/preserves in france i was very apprehensive about eating something that had not been pasteurised in a water bath.


i now see little reason to use the water bath method and will continue to eat jam/preserves processed as such. if it's moldy or off i toss it but i haven't had any problems.

stay tuned for a review of her class at the fps last week.

#63 ludja

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 11:28 PM

More on red currants, my German buddy stopped by and was eating the left over bits of red and black currant jellies sitting out in the kitchen. He's asked me to get him some red currants this weekend so he can make his grandmother's version of "red grits". I'm blanking on the actual German name for this. Anyway, for those that have too many currants, it might be something to check out.

regards,
trillium

Maybe you're thinking of "Rote Grutze" (umlaut over the 'u') ?

A kind of pudding-like dish with red currants and raspberries? I think I have a recipe for this somewhere but can't remember where... That is a good idea for using red currants though for those lucky enough to have them!
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#64 mags

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 12:04 AM

I'd really like to try making a conserve, with nuts added to my fruit. Does anyone have any experience with that, or recipes to pass on? I'm up to my elbows in sour cherries at the moment, and would love to do something with them -- sour cherry conserve with ginger and hazelnuts, maybe? -- but the market also has organic gooseberries and currants that are calling my name.

#65 chickenlady

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 07:06 AM

This thread inspired me to get both the Christine Ferber book and A Passion for Preserves (I haven't gone through it yet, but now I can hardly wait after Bean's raving). First I made the apple jelly using the fallen green apples from my tree (I had to cook it a second time as it didn't set at first--this is the first time I've made preserves using homemade pectin). Very cool, although mine is a little cloudy due to impatience.

Now so far I've made the strawberry with mint & black pepper, strawberry & pinot noir, and the strawberry and raspberry. The flavor of all are out of this world, not tooth-jarringly sweet like some preserves. They all have a much more complex flavor than any I've ever made. Right now I have white cherries macerating for the white cherry and raspberry preserves and I have a tree full of sour cherries and a gooseberry-laden bush I need to tackle this weekend. Unfortunately my red currant is a little light this year, so I'll have to see if I can supplement with some farmers' market fruit.

I was wary of her instructions to fill to rim and and upend the jars, so I went with the 5-minute hot water bath. I'm sure her method is safe too, but it wasn't any more work to just do the water bath since I already had boiling water from sterilizing the jars (plus, it's the recommended method in my go-to-when-I-want-to-understand-the-whole-process book Putting Food By).

One possible problem I have had with Ferber's preserves: they are a little more sticky than ones I have made using pouches of pectin. I boiled until they reached 221 on my candy thermometer. Is this just a function of the natural pectin or am I doing something wrong? No complaints as far as flavor; the texture is just different than I'm used to.


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#66 andiesenji

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 09:23 AM

I'd really like to try making a conserve, with nuts added to my fruit.  Does anyone have any experience with that, or recipes to pass on?  I'm up to my elbows in sour cherries at the moment, and would love to do something with them -- sour cherry conserve with ginger and hazelnuts, maybe?  -- but the market also has organic gooseberries and currants that are calling my name.

I use nuts in several conserves. Pecans or pistachios in cranberry conserve is the most popular with my friends.
Chestnuts in apple/greengage jam.

Apricot/almond is a wonderful combination. Or peach/almond.

You can actually cook up a small batch in the microwave in a pyrex measure to get a taste of how a conserve will turn out. I do it all the time, takes no more than 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the type of fruit, cooking the fruit in 2 minute intervals. I add the nuts about 2/3 rds of the way through the process.

Edited by andiesenji, 16 July 2004 - 09:24 AM.

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#67 trillium

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 10:07 AM

the first time i saw my boss' family each jam/preserves in france i was very apprehensive about eating something that had not been pasteurised in a water bath. 


i now see little reason to use the water bath method and will continue to eat jam/preserves processed as such. if it's moldy or off i toss it but i haven't had any problems.

stay tuned for a review of her class at the fps last week.

With the amount of sugar used in the recipes (80% by weight ) in my experience mold is really the only thing you really have to worry about. I'm sure that American canning regulations may have a different take, but for some things they tend to err on the side of super, super cautious. It's like those FDA regs that ban fresh unpasteurized cheese (but we see more listeria cases from things like baloney, hotdogs and pasteurized cheese then some countries that eat fresh raw milk cheeses!) or tell you to cook your fowls until they are inedible and dry. I think you have to educate yourself about the risk involved and look at the data and then decide what you're personally comfortable with.

They way I look at it, water boils at 212 F, you've sterilized the jars and lids, you're bringing your jam to 221 F and putting it directly into the the sterilized jars. I fail to see how boiling them in water for another 10 minutes is going to accomplish anything, but if it makes you sleep better at night, then you should do it.

regards,
trillium

edit because I can't spell baloney

Edited by trillium, 16 July 2004 - 10:08 AM.


#68 trillium

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 10:14 AM

One possible problem I have had with Ferber's preserves: they are a little more sticky than ones I have made using pouches of pectin. I boiled until they reached 221 on my candy thermometer. Is this just a function of the natural pectin or am I doing something wrong? No complaints as far as flavor; the texture is just different than I'm used to.

I think it's just the style of jams. I'm guessing the stickiness is from the natural pectin, the amount of sugar used, and the temp you bring it to. It's more like what we would call preserves, I think. People that grew up on pectin pouch jam (like me) find it strange at first, but people that didn't (like a lot of my European friends) find the super-gelled texture of home-made American style jams odd. If you really don't like the texture you can always use the flavor combinations with your favorite pouches of pectin. I have a feeling the flavors will not be quite as clear, but I'm sure the jam would still be good.

regards,
trillium

#69 trillium

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 10:18 AM

I'd really like to try making a conserve, with nuts added to my fruit. Does anyone have any experience with that, or recipes to pass on? I'm up to my elbows in sour cherries at the moment, and would love to do something with them -- sour cherry conserve with ginger and hazelnuts, maybe? -- but the market also has organic gooseberries and currants that are calling my name.

Almonds and cherries are a classic combination too. I think the Ferber book has one with sour cherries, slivered almonds and dried rose petals. It looks lovely in the book. If you don't like her method of flavoring the confiture with pits, you can roast the pit stones first to kill the enzyme in the pits that converts the amygdalin to cyanide. I believe that is what the cautionary note in the American edition of the book suggests.

regards,
trillium

#70 trillium

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 10:21 AM

More on red currants, my German buddy stopped by and was eating the left over bits of red and black currant jellies sitting out in the kitchen.  He's asked me to get him some red currants this weekend so he can make his grandmother's version of "red grits".  I'm blanking on the actual German name for this.  Anyway, for those that have too many currants, it might be something to check out.

regards,
trillium

Maybe you're thinking of "Rote Grutze" (umlaut over the 'u') ?

A kind of pudding-like dish with red currants and raspberries? I think I have a recipe for this somewhere but can't remember where... That is a good idea for using red currants though for those lucky enough to have them!

Yes! That's the name. You thicken the juice of currants and raspberries slightly with a starch to make a kind of thin jelly type pudding. It sounds very tasty and light, I think it would be especially nice in hot weather.

regards,
trillium

#71 beans

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 10:41 AM

I believe that Ferber's book is more for the experienced jam/jelly maker and perhaps something was lost in the translation/intention when she states to fill up the jars.

For years I've skipped the water bath, unless it is absolutely specified (like with tomatoes) and do the inversion method, without problem.

As Frederica Langeland's book points out:

Not many jams require a boiling water bath, as they almost all require more than 10 minutes of processing by the open kettle method.  However if your peace of mind requires this step, if the jam was processed for less than 10 minutes, or if it has tomatoes in it, here's how: ....


I'm planning to try: (the standouts are coming to mind, but am going to some "plain" ones too -- like raspberry, etc.)

strawberry, pepper and mint (how is it???!??!)
pineapple, vanilla and rosemary
blueberry and pinot noir
**(any recommendations for a pinot? I hate how sometimes they have that "barnyard" earthy taste, so I'm weary, but have enjoyed several but cannot remember the vineyard or labels - doh!)

praline milk jam (it seems so foreign to me I must try it)

I have some white cherries, but not nearly enough to do the white cherry raspberry combo. :angry: I'll have to check my market and/or consider munching them down as they are for snacking.


and from Langeland's Passion for Preserves:
garlic-herb marmalade

I also paged through Preserving by Oded Schwartz and will be doing a pineapple-lychee jam beause I have just enough fresh lychees on hand.


I have three other preserving books, one I cannot locate and two rather standard sorts from Ball I inherited from my dear grandmother. Thankfully there still is much more summer! :biggrin:


Oh, currently I'm using a heavy bottomed, stainless stock pan and am considering a copper preserving pan. Who is using one of those? Is it worth it? I know it is a bit of a splurge, but why not have a pretty toy for when I enjoy doing preserves as much as I do? (without having gone to the likes of Sur La Table yet to get a peek at a pricetag as of yet....)

Thanks. I look forward to any comments or suggestions. :cool:




grrrr. typos

Edited by beans, 16 July 2004 - 11:05 AM.


#72 trillium

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 11:31 AM

I believe that Ferber's book is more for the experienced jam/jelly maker and perhaps something was lost in the translation/intention when she states to fill up the jars.

(snip)

Oh, currently I'm using a heavy bottomed, stainless stock pan and am considering a copper preserving pan.  Who is using one of those?  Is it worth it?  I know it is a bit of a splurge, but why not have a pretty toy for when I enjoy doing preserves as much as I do?  (without having gone to the likes of Sur La Table yet to get a peek at a pricetag as of yet....)

Thanks.  I look forward to any comments or suggestions.  :cool:




grrrr.  typos

Her recipes were written for those gasket and clip type jars too, weren't they? Not the ring and lid types we use on this side of the pond.

I've been using my Le Creuset french oven to make the jams, because I don't have to worry about sticking, but I was eyeing the copper pots too! I've been looking at the one offered by Professional Cutlery Direct, which tends to have better prices then Surly Table. But since the French oven is working so well I can't really justify it the $60. What I would really like to find is a skimmer like the one she has a photo of, I find it really frustrating to use what I'm using (a slotted spoon), a flatter bigger skimmer would work better.

regards,
trillium

#73 beans

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 12:10 PM

Skimmer yes! I'm on the hunt for a better skimmer. :smile:

If I know I'm not going to give away the jam and have it myself for my morning usual of a english muffin/toasted bread/crumpet, I tend not to worry too much if a little bit of bubbly foam is there.

I think I'll suggest the pan to my mother for a future gift idea, but I'll stick to my stainless, as it hasn't failed me yet. I just like the angled sides of those copper pans.

I've seen those pricey Weck's at W-S and SLT and though maybe I might pick up half a dozen. Maybe not. They are attractive but have found the old mason/Ball jars to be life long reliables at a more economical price. I guess its fun to eye all of the goodies, but why fix it if it isn't broken?

I found some more Ranier cherries and picked up some beautiful raspberries. I have just enough time to get them started and finish it tomorrow.

#74 hjshorter

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 03:12 PM

I have a flat of strawberries in the fridge to make freezer jam this weekend. :biggrin:

I will be canning spiced blueberries, spiced peaches, vidalia onion relish, and the pear relish in Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis's book.

Priscilla very kindly sent me a spare copy of Fine Preserving by Catherine Plagemann this past spring. Lovely book. I also have guajolote to thank for his recommendation of The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich which is excellent.

Edited by hjshorter, 16 July 2004 - 03:14 PM.

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#75 SethG

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 08:45 AM

Any of you cats have any secrets when it comes to peeling peaches for preserving? I put some in boiling water for a minute, but found the skin still quite firmly stuck to the peaches. Then I put them back in for a couple more minutes, and still couldn't peel them without mangling them.

I think my peaches were underripe. Is this the source of my difficulty?
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#76 andiesenji

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 08:49 AM

Peaches have to be dipped first in boiling water for 30 seconds, then into ice water.
Even unripe peaches should have the skin slip after this treatment.
I make pickled peaches, with unripe peaches and never have a problem with this method.
"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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#77 SethG

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 09:34 AM

Peaches have to be dipped first in boiling water for 30 seconds, then into ice water.
Even unripe peaches should have the skin slip after this treatment.
I make pickled peaches, with unripe peaches and never have a problem with this method.

I did put them into ice water after the first minute. And then again after my second try.

It isn't possible that the skins could loosen and then reattach after further boiling, is it?
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#78 andiesenji

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 09:47 AM

I have never had the problem you describe with peaches. I have had it with nectarines, they tend to hang onto their skins.

What variety of peaches do you have?
"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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#79 SethG

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 10:15 PM

What variety of peaches do you have?

Freaky, wacko peaches?

They were both yellow and white peaches, bought at the lower Manhattan farmer's market. That's all I know. I guess I'll try again with peaches from a different source.
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#80 artisanbaker

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 11:30 PM

i heard monsanto is coming out with a new breed of cling-skin peaches

#81 helenas

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 07:52 PM

I'm trying to think of floral or herbal flavors that go with apricot. 

trillium, hope it's not too late: the perfect match for apricots would be camomile!

The idea comes from Claudia Fleming's GT dessert book: roasted apricots with camomile flowers: i made this into gelato with great success, so it should work for preserve as well i guess.

#82 Kayaksoup

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 08:16 PM

I finally did it...
I special ordered Mes Confitures today. In one week it will be mine! :biggrin:
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#83 trillium

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 10:04 AM

I'm trying to think of floral or herbal flavors that go with apricot. 

trillium, hope it's not too late: the perfect match for apricots would be camomile!

The idea comes from Claudia Fleming's GT dessert book: roasted apricots with camomile flowers: i made this into gelato with great success, so it should work for preserve as well i guess.

Thanks, it's not too late. The figs ripened before the apricots did so this weekend was fig preserves, I think this week will be apricot. Did you just use the dried flowers from the camomile tea?

regards,
trillium

#84 helenas

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 01:07 PM

I used one bag of Stash Camomile tea (plus one vanilla bean split and scraped: using both bean pieces and seeds) for 1 cup of water, 1.5 cups of sugar and pound of apricots. One bag was more than enough to produce a wonderful aroma, and was in perfect harmony with vanilla.

and btw, Collichio has a wonderful recipe for apricot compote in his latest book,
and Ramsay has a mousse with cinnamon in his Dessert one: another apricot flavor combination i remember seeing was cardamon.

#85 trillium

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 09:52 AM

Well, I went out and tasted the apricots, and was very disappointed. They're the bland, large variety with hardly any apricot taste. I don't think I'm going to bother making jam out of them, I'd rather find some that taste better at the farmer's market. When even the birds shun the fruit you know it's a problem! They'd much rather eat the figs.

The fig preserves on the other hand, were a smashing success. I ate the leftover bit on toast this morning and it's very nice. I made a full batch of plain preserves, and a half batch of vanilla and fig preserves. For the next round of ripe fruit I'm going to do something more influenced by some Lebanese fig preserves I've had, and add anise and orange flower water.

regards,
trillium

#86 Sandra Levine

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:10 AM

Priscilla very kindly sent me a spare copy of Fine Preserving by Catherine Plagemann this past spring. Lovely book.

When summer's bounty is over, you can always make the banana jam from this book. It's better than [heresy] Christine Ferber's.

#87 trillium

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:14 AM

Priscilla very kindly sent me a spare copy of Fine Preserving by Catherine Plagemann this past spring.  Lovely book.

When summer's bounty is over, you can always make the banana jam from this book. It's better than [heresy] Christine Ferber's.

The book or the recipe? Or both?

regards,
trillium

#88 beans

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:19 AM

Which recipe? Ferber has seven in Mes Confitures.

#89 Sandra Levine

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:29 AM

Ferber's book is the ne plus ultra, of course, but Plagemann's Banana Jam (most directly comparable to Ferber's Banana with Lemon Juice), is better than that particular recipe. The others have such a strong component of other flavors that I don't consider them "banana jam," but jams with banana. I mean no disrespect to Ferber.

Edited by Sandra Levine, 20 July 2004 - 12:39 PM.


#90 beans

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:34 AM

Here's an update on my jam making....

I learnt a good lesson. I carefully counted out my lids and placed them into my small saucepan of hot water. I tonged them out, quickly wiping them dry after I ladled out all of the jam. Slipped all of the rings on and turned the jars upside down. After a sufficient amount of time went by I turned the jars upright and checked tried the flex test to see if any were loose.

One flexed. :blink:

I removed the band and thought this will be the first jar I will use up on my toast when I noticed two lids adhered together, the bottom one having made a perfect seal on the jar. :rolleyes:

The Preserving book by Oded Schwartz caught me by surprise with listing the approximate weight of the fruit to purchase and somehow I ended up more Pineapple-Lychee jam than I anticipated. Good thing I prepped enough hot jars and lids!

I've gotten a bit anxious with all of this overnight maceration. I'm onto day two with the Strawberry, Black Peppercorn and Mint jam. Guess that allows me some time to get to the store to purchase another box of jars....