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Preserving Summer


trillium
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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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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?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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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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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.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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 (log)
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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....

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Well, how did the Strawberry, Black Peppercorn and Mint jam go? The strawberries I used early this year had so little natural pectin that what I ended up with were very nicely preserved/candied strawberries in strawberry syrup using her method.

And Sandra, there are no sacred cows in this thread (that I noticed), you can disrespect away if you wish, I was more interested in knowing if there was another preserving book I "had" to have!

Last night I started the third batch of fig preserves, this time I used about 3 small leaves of rose geranium and 2 teaspoons of anise to flavor the figs. I also substituted some of the sugar for honey. I'm worried that I put in too much anise and not enough rose, but we'll see how it does after the second cooking this evening (or not... I'm not sure I can face boiling jam in an un-airconditioned kitchen with temps 100+). I plan on adding some blanched almonds to one jar, and pine nuts to another, just for variety.

regards,

trillium

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The strawberries set quite nicely. I mixed in a few nearly-ripes from a different grower to take advantage of the pectin. I wonder if the very fragrant perfectly ripe ones cooked down a bit more as a result... I ended up with 3 half pints and one that is about 3/4's full. I haven't had time to sample yet but I couldn't help but swish a finger through and taste some of the foam after all of the ladling and lidding was done. It was delicious.

The blueberries seem to be going the syrup route. :sad: We'll see. I may have to toss the lids, rubber spatula them out into the pan for a revisit to boiling for a better set. Meh. My aunt has been making preserves all of her life and even blueberry syrup happens to her as well.

How are the ones going with the nuts? It sounds intriguing to me, however I'm finicky about nuts being toasted and crisp. Does the preserves soften them?

Edited by beans (log)
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Great thread here, especially given the season. Just like to add that I've made preserves for about 6 years now with a much lower sugar % than those mentioned here, just for personal flavor (and texture) preference.

I.E., strawberry preserves are about 10% sugar, the strawberry/raspberry was 15% sugar, etc. I macerate them overnight, cook the liquid to around 220 F, then add the fruit. I do, however, store the jars in a small refridgerator downstairs even though the jars are sterilized and sealed, just in case.

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I put the nuts in unroasted, so they're already a little soft to begin with. I'm sure that the preserves would soften them. I'm not sure how roasted nuts would do, but I've had fairly crunchy nuts packed in honey in Italy, so maybe if you roast them first you'll retain some crunch.

It's funny about fruit... my mum is doing all the blueberry jam since she has the bushes, and she never has got syrup, in fact she felt that one of this years' batch set too hard and is a little rubbery. I made the plain apricot jam last year out of the Ferber book and it was a thing of beauty, perfectly textured, and wonderful to eat in Feb. The batch I completed last night was different in many ways. First, they refused to be peeled after their sugar and lemon bath, simmer and overnight stay in the fridge. It just wasn't happening, so I went ahead and left them as is, so of course they didn't exactly break down enough to make "jam" and what I've got is 4 pints of apricot preserves. I'm using Tiltons, which are a small, very flavorful but somewhat dry variety. Last year I don't know what I was using. I'm going to try and make apricot ginger next weekend, and I think I might slice the 'cots if I end up with the same type, since they refuse to give up their peels.

I'm intruiged with the idea of using less sugar, Micheal M, especially with some of these fruits that are already so sweet to begin with. How do you go about deciding the %? How is the texture compared to an 80% sugar jam?

The 4th batch of fig jam was figs (duh), a mixture of raw sugar and dark brown molassas sugar, bitter and sweet orange peel and orange flower water. I think it is my favorite of all the figgy ones so far. You get sugar, fig, aromatic flowery orange notes and then sort of an astringent, bitter orange note (like marmalade). I have to say I'm so tired of making fig jam that I didn't bother to chase the raccoon out of the tree the other night, even though she was carefully testing the fruit and only picking the ripest ones.

regards,

trillium

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I was in Surly Table yesterday and picked up a canning rack as I've got my eye on some tomato projects which does require that added processing.

I almost fainted when I saw the price on those Weck jars. $18.95!!! Eeks, my $7 dollar case of Ball from Walmart are just fine.

My neighbour came over with a large case of "gift" strawberries stating he loves strawberry jam. Reminded me that my cousin, when not on the boat during the commercial openings, will pick salmonberries for his neighbour so long as she splits the jam up with him fairly. :rolleyes:

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I have to say I'm so tired of making fig jam that I didn't bother to chase the raccoon out of the tree the other night, even though she was carefully testing the fruit and only picking the ripest ones.

Lucky and smart raccoon. :laugh:

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Majorly digging catching up on this discussion.

Heather, so glad you brought up Fine Preserving -- Trillium, I thought of it immediately when you mentioned small-batch preserving in particular ... I have tried may wonderful things over the years thanks to Mrs. Plagemann's revolutionary (to me at the time) small-batch philosophy. There is an M.F.K. Fisher-annotated reissue extant, which is interesting, but the original publication is a beautiful little book all by itself.

And unusual and wonderful flavor profiles. Got a row of nearly triffidic towering Sungold and Sweet 100 cherry tomato vines burgeoning with green fruit just now, planted predestined for Mrs. Plagemann's Spiced Cherry Tomato Preserve, which is the BEST THING EVER with roast chicken, according to the Consort, who is an authority on roast chicken accompaniments. Also, got some beautiful Red Flame grapes I'm watching like a hawk, or at least like the local Scrub Jays, to be harvested at just the right moment for her Spiced Grapes, another great table relish with winter menus.

I have remembered and forgotten about 20 times to get a copy of Mes Confitures -- must take care of that little problem TODAY. I am intrigued by the 80% sugar by weight ... I have always used 75% sugar by weight, and eschew pectin. This year's strawberry preserves, put up at peak of season, turned out very well, riffing on Mrs. Plagemann's instructions combined with those in the Ball Blue Book.

And as for apricot, I think thyme is good apricot, and basil with peach.

And on food safety: If the jars are clean but not pre-sterilized, doesn't a 10 minute water bath after filling also sterilize? I have usually sterilized the empty jars and then also processed in a water bath, but man wouldn't it be nice to eliminate one of these boilings.

Priscilla

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Hmmm. I think I need to buy more books, no? (But there are already a few on the way that I'm planning to sneak into the house and hope no one notices).

Thyme with apricot sounds promising, lessee, I want to do apricot with fresh and preserved ginger, the one with chestnut honey, almonds and pistachio, the chamomile and now thyme. That's a lot of apricot jam, especially since I've decided the ones on the tree aren't good enough -- even the racoons and scrub jays leave them alone! I grow a very strong French thyme, not the sweeter tasting English ones, but I'll bet if I just use a little it will work. I was eyeing the tarragon, I love pear and tarragon together and there are Asian pears ripening on the tree that are looking good.

For food safety, if the empty jars are sterilized, the lids are sterilized and your jam is brought to 220 or higher and then jarred, I really don't see why a further bath is necessary. I guess I'd wonder where and how the contaminate was introduced you're trying to get rid of with that extra bath.

regards,

trillium

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  • 2 weeks later...
For food safety, if the empty jars are sterilized, the lids are sterilized and your jam is brought to 220 or higher and then jarred, I really don't see why a further bath is necessary.  I guess I'd wonder where and how the contaminate was introduced you're trying to get rid of with that extra bath.

Trillium, a late answer to your question: bacteria could come from your ladle, funnel, the towel you use to wipe the rim of the jars, or most likely your hands. I'm sure you're right about the extra bath being overkill-- but I keep doing it anyway, I can't help myself.

Last night/this morning I made Ferber's Litchi/Raspberry/Rose Water jam. The sample I tasted was certainly delicious. But I gotta say I think her boiling times are often understated. I'm still very inexperienced in judging the "set" of my jellies/jams. But when I made the green apple jelly I boiled my apple juices longer than she recommended and still think the jelly looks a bit loose in the sealed jars on my shelf. A batch I put in the fridge is set up better but still I think it could be firmer. It's too soon to say regarding the raspberry/litchi, but I boiled it at least five to ten minutes longer than she recommended before I thought it would set up right.

And I think she neglects to mention that the litchis should be roughly chopped. She just says to pit them, but I don't think she really wants whole or half litchis floating in your jam. I fished them all out after I realized they weren't going to fall apart after cooking. I then chopped them roughly and tossed them back in.

Other than that, I'm very excited about this jam! I'm going to try to make the peach/saffron jam tomorrow.

Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Trillium, a late answer to your question: bacteria could come from your ladle, funnel, the towel you use to wipe the rim of the jars, or most likely your hands. I'm sure you're right about the extra bath being overkill-- but I keep doing it anyway, I can't help myself.

Last night/this morning I made Ferber's Litchi/Raspberry/Rose Water jam. The sample I tasted was certainly delicious. But I gotta say I think her boiling times are often understated. I'm still very inexperienced in judging the "set" of my jellies/jams. But when I made the green apple jelly I boiled my apple juices longer than she recommended and still think the jelly looks a bit loose in the sealed jars on my shelf. A batch I put in the fridge is set up better but still I think it could be firmer. It's too soon to say regarding the raspberry/litchi, but I boiled it at least five to ten minutes longer than she recommended before I thought it would set up right.

And I think she neglects to mention that the litchis should be roughly chopped. She just says to pit them, but I don't think she really wants whole or half litchis floating in your jam. I fished them all out after I realized they weren't going to fall apart after cooking. I then chopped them roughly and tossed them back in.

Other than that, I'm very excited about this jam! I'm going to try to make the peach/saffron jam tomorrow.

I sterilize my ladle and funnel when I do the jars and don't wipe the rim of the jars because there is no need to the way I fill them, so I guess it all boils down (ha ha) to personal technique. I'm used to doing using sterile techniques in lab, but really, I don't want to install a tissue culture hood in the kitchen! Everybody has to do what's comfortable for them, though, and maybe if I had small children around I'd feel more paranoid about it.

The photos of the litchi jam show whole litchis suspended in the jam, I'm fairly certain. But I'm sure it's more practical to have them cut up. I think some of this stuff is not really intended to be eaten the way I think of jam anyway (spread on a piece of bread).

As for the boiling times, it really depends on the amount of water in your fruit that you have to drive off by evaporation, and the amount of pectin you have in fruit. Greener fruit will have more pectin. From what artisanbaker wrote about her class in this forum, I think that she likes the "natural" set of fruit so much she's willing to sacrifice a consistant product for it. In other words, I'm guessing not all of her jams set perfectly either, unless she has a gift for picking fruits that have the right amount of water, pectin and acid (and maybe she does!). I also think that it's hard to find fruit growers that don't over-irrigate their produce in the US, but it might be different if you're growing it yourself. If you don't like the taste of jams that are cooked a longer time you can always experiment with adding a little of the liquid pectins out there.

I've been contemplating the peach saffron too, it sounds really good. I wasn't able to find any more good apricots for making jam, which has been a total disappointment, so maybe I should do some peach ones.

regards,

trillium

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