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What Are You Preserving, and How Are You Doing It? (2016–)


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1 hour ago, Toliver said:

I was thinking the same....but along the lines of what I know as an "avocado picker" (click).


I have one of those. I lined it with some inch-thick foam to cushion the fruit (plums would split on the mesh).


They can be a bit aggressive on softer fruit, or if it's firmly attached. For my Eureka lemon tree I had to really yank the fruit and that sometimes broke the little branch it was attached to.


I haven't yet got the Fisker I mentioned but it's on my list. Planning to attach a funnel-like collector underneath with a tube that runs down the shaft (either mosquito netting or PVC). I should be able to cut off multiple fruits without moving the blades too far. Not sure what the bottom end of the tube will have but maybe a peg to hold everything back and then just open it over a bucket that's close enough to avoid bruising the fruit.


(Got this idea from a video of an automatic apple picker)

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39 minutes ago, Toliver said:

Please be careful with this combo of a garlic clove in olive oil. It can be a thriving environment for botulism. Read more info here (click).


There's a process now for acidifying the garlic to remove the botulism problem, based on research from U of Idado: https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8568.pdf (including recipe).

 

The original research paper and a bunch of other preservation stuff is at https://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/consumers/food-specific-resources-home-food-preservation

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We have one of those puckers but it makes a mess in a dense tree messing with next season's greenies. A ladder would work but my balance is impaired. Ya go with the seasonal flow.

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33 minutes ago, jbates said:

They can be a bit aggressive on softer fruit, or if it's firmly attached. For my Eureka lemon tree I had to really yank the fruit and that sometimes broke the little branch it was attached to.

 

Why I prefer the up and close twist method

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I guess I'll call this short term preserve. Bought a pound container of figs at TJ's and they were under-ripe and tasteless, so I chopped them up and made fig compote with a pinch of cardamom. Will likely freeze it in 2 portions. Hoping that co-worker who has a friend with a fig tree comes through this year.

 

IMG_20200909_133828.jpg

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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I am always amazed at how a couple days mellows and rounds the flavors of a marmalade. My orange, lemon, craisin one I mentioned above is really excellent now. It will be repeated once I reclaim my kitchen in 3-1/2 weeks :)

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On 9/8/2020 at 4:54 PM, jbates said:


They can be a bit aggressive on softer fruit, or if it's firmly attached. For my Eureka lemon tree I had to really yank the fruit and that sometimes broke the little branch it was attached to.

 

On 9/8/2020 at 5:28 PM, heidih said:

Why I prefer the up and close twist method

 

A cautionary note: my father, who made his living as a citrus grower, always admonished us kids against either method. Twisting or breaking the stems leaves the tree open to disease in a way that a clean cut can't. He asserted that the clipper was the best way to preserve the health of the tree, even if it's the clipper-on-a-pole so useful for tall trees like avocados.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Our family's annual salsa-making weekend went off with only small hitches. First was the difficulty of rounding up enough canning lids; we usually go buy them along with more jars to ensure that we have enough. There have been no lids to be found anywhere around here for a month. By the time we realized the shortage, even Amazon couldn't come through in time. We were able to round up enough unused lids from previous years to know we could fill several dozen jars.

 

Then came the tomato shortage! I had purchased some beauties (beefsteaks, not canners) at a roadside place on the way, and it's a good thing I did. Our usual place ran very short, and we got the last of their stock for the year. Peppers and onions were readily abundant. We ended up with 30 pints of salsa to be split 3 ways: not the largesse we'd hoped for, but still a good way to enjoy last summer in the coming winter. Assuming we'll be able to plan anything next year, we think we'll plan to move next year's canning weekend into August, rather than wait for Labor Day.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'm not canning anything this year, but have been seeing the alarm over the lid shortage for 2-3 months.   Another thing I have heard is that some of the newer lids are not sealing after processing, some experienced canners are claiming 20-30% failures.  The going theory is something changed in the sealing material on the edge of the lid and it is not behaving as previous material.   

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I scored another smallish batch of tomatoes, including some Romas, and made another batch of salsa one night. One of the advantages of doing this alone was that I got to do it on my own time scale, which is to say I decided along about 9 p.m. to make the salsa that night. The cooking went into the wee hours of the morning - oh, remembrance of happy times past! - and I canned it the next day, out on our deck. Behold, my Midnight Salsa.

 

20200917_121137.jpg

 

One jar didn't seal, I think because I overfilled it. It's in the refrigerator now, soon to be used.

 

Next up: harvesting and saving a bunch of my sage and rosemary. I see I considered salt-preserved sage way back in 2005, but have no recollection of doing so! @JoNorvelleWalker referred to her salt-preserved sage here in 2018. So I've cut and rinsed a bunch of sage leaves for that purpose; as soon as they've finished drying in dish towels I'll layer them with canning salt. I don't know that I want to do that with an entire bush' worth, though. What other strategies are there for preserving sage through the winter? Whirr it up finely and mix into butter or olive oil? I know I'll want pasta with sage brown butter this winter, but am not sure that can be done with anything but fresh sage.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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16 minutes ago, Smithy said:

Next up: harvesting and saving a bunch of my sage and rosemary. I see I considered salt-preserved sage way back in 2005, but have no recollection of doing so! @JoNorvelleWalker referred to her salt-preserved sage here in 2018. So I've cut and rinsed a bunch of sage leaves for that purpose; as soon as they've finished drying in dish towels I'll layer them with canning salt. I don't know that I want to do that with an entire bush' worth, though. What other strategies are there for preserving sage through the winter? Whirr it up finely and mix into butter or olive oil? I know I'll want pasta with sage brown butter this winter, but am not sure that can be done with anything but fresh sage.

 

Margaret always makes sense to me.  https://awaytogarden.com/freezing-garden-herbs-fruit-vegetables/ And she has a NYT column now :)

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/gardens-and-gardening  

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This is the sage I put into salt this morning. It's about 2 cups of salt and sage combined, and I can't see taking up more real estate that way although I think it will be delicious. (Maybe I'll do a second batch.)

 

20200917_141349.jpg

 

...and this is what I have still to pick and preserve or use. There's another pot, with a different variety of sage, at the other side of the house. 

 

20200917_141200.jpeg

 

Thanks for the column links, @heidih!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Thanks, @Smithy!  I forgot all about my jar of salt preserved sage leaves.  Yes, I indeed have a jar of salt preserved sage leaves.

 

 

How big is that jar, Jo?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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43 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Only one liter.

 

 

That's still a pretty good size. Since I've never done this before, I'm curious about the appropriate ratio of salt to leaf. Does that 1-liter jar contain, say, 3/4 liter of salt? More? Less? A photo or two would be helpful, when you have time.

 

I started out by laying sage leaves flat over a layer of salt, then covering with salt and repeating the process. I quickly realized that there's be far more salt than sage in the mix, so I started over. Now the leaves are touching; some are curled; they've all been shaken and aren't in neat layers, but the leaves all seem to have salt contact. I think it will all be delicious.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

 

That's still a pretty good size. Since I've never done this before, I'm curious about the appropriate ratio of salt to leaf. Does that 1-liter jar contain, say, 3/4 liter of salt? More? Less? A photo or two would be helpful, when you have time.

 

I started out by laying sage leaves flat over a layer of salt, then covering with salt and repeating the process. I quickly realized that there's be far more salt than sage in the mix, so I started over. Now the leaves are touching; some are curled; they've all been shaken and aren't in neat layers, but the leaves all seem to have salt contact. I think it will all be delicious.

 

Lots of salt.  Not sure a picture would be worth it.  I think it will all be delicious.

 

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Along with my usual tiny batches of apricot and raspberry jams, I made some plum jam this year. Others here have probably made something similar to this, but it's the first time I've made a Mulled Wine Plum Jam and I just love it. I made a REALLY small batch from maybe about 300 to 350 grams of prune plums and the finished jam only filled a 240 ml container at the end. I had to eat a couple of plums for quality control (ha) and didn't reweigh after, so can't provide a real recipe, but there are lots online. I don't know why I've never tried this one before. 

 

I winged it a bit based on a couple of recipes - recipes suggested red wine, but I finished off the remains of a bottle of dry rosé, ha. I didn't have nutmeg and used a splash of Grand Marnier in place of orange juice or orange zest. 

 

Basic recipe is to cook equal amounts wine and sugar (I used about 1/3 to 1/2 cup or so?) until slightly thickened, remove pits and cut plums into pieces and add to sugar mix along with cinnamon stick or two, 4 or 5 cloves and splash of Grand Marnier. Cook in a shallow and wide pan until desired thickness - I can tell by stirring and how much of a trail the spoon makes, but you can always use the refrigerated plate test. Obviously I'm not doing any water bath stuff when I only make 1 or 2 of these, so it just goes into a canning-type jar and into the fridge once it cools. 

 

I didn't bother removing the plum skins because I like them! And I apologize for the hungry bite I took before taking the photo, but I really love this stuff. Maybe it's all the booze in it, ha!) Why did it take me so long to try making this? 😄

 

1472179853_PXL_20200918_162232452(1).thumb.jpg.59af6be6678ede604233afbcf73bad52.jpg

Edited by FauxPas (log)
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I like to leave the skins as well. So much flavor. We had several varieties in the lower orchard. Night critters have ended harvesting possibilities. Just looking at yours brings back intense flavor memory. I have used farmers market ones in last couple years. So so - oh that tart sweet and fragrant mix. I think I need a fan ;)

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Six pints of caponata, to use up the eggplant harvest. Most of this will go in Christmas gift baskets. I'm thinking of baskets with more of a savoury theme this year: i.e., stuff you'd put on a baguette for appetizers. This, maybe some fig and olive tapenade, some chicken liver pate, some country pate (I can pressure-can both of those to make them shelf stable), a log of goat cheese, a jar of pub cheese, and a baguette. You think? Also contemplating what I might could do with fresh ricotta to flavor it for cheese spreads, but that'd mean too much work close to time; much easier to buy logs of goat cheese.

 

Anyway, the caponata:

 

caponata.thumb.jpg.2d2afea7befb4a4cfa918741538eb065.jpg

 

It's a tad on the sweet side, but great with a strongly flavored cheese.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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1 hour ago, kayb said:

Six pints of caponata, to use up the eggplant harvest. Most of this will go in Christmas gift baskets. I'm thinking of baskets with more of a savoury theme this year: i.e., stuff you'd put on a baguette for appetizers. This, maybe some fig and olive tapenade, some chicken liver pate, some country pate (I can pressure-can both of those to make them shelf stable), a log of goat cheese, a jar of pub cheese, and a baguette. You think? Also contemplating what I might could do with fresh ricotta to flavor it for cheese spreads, but that'd mean too much work close to time; much easier to buy logs of goat cheese.

 

Anyway, the caponata:

 

caponata.thumb.jpg.2d2afea7befb4a4cfa918741538eb065.jpg

 

It's a tad on the sweet side, but great with a strongly flavored cheese.

 

Your gift baskets sound amazing! I'd stick to the purchased cheese logs, you're already making so many items. 

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2 hours ago, kayb said:

Six pints of caponata, to use up the eggplant harvest. Most of this will go in Christmas gift baskets. I'm thinking of baskets with more of a savoury theme this year: i.e., stuff you'd put on a baguette for appetizers. This, maybe some fig and olive tapenade, some chicken liver pate, some country pate (I can pressure-can both of those to make them shelf stable), a log of goat cheese, a jar of pub cheese, and a baguette. You think? Also contemplating what I might could do with fresh ricotta to flavor 

 

Anyway, the caponata:

It's a tad on the sweet side, but great with a strongly flavored cheese.

 

Nice selection. When I did baskets for business clients I went with cheese that is ok to sit out in case it has to wait on a desk or doorstep if they are not around when you deliver.  Is the caponata on the sweet side because your tomatoes were awesomely sweet or?

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