There were ramps this morning at the farmer’s market. They are expensive but I splurged and got four bunches. One small jar is now pickling in the fridge. I just used a typical brine recipe and an old baling jar since I wasn’t actually canning these. The whole thing has me thinking about serving a pickle buffet next weekend at a potential Memorial Day picnic. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
Some cold weather in California limited the citrus supply I usually get from my in-laws so I thought this winter would pass without any citrus canning. However, a few weeks ago I spied some nice looking meyer lemons in my Whole Foods and bought a bunch to turn into marmalade.
FRUIT: 2 pounds meyer lemons
SOURCE: Whole Foods
RECIPE: Meyer Lemon Vanilla Bean Marmalade
YIELD: 6 half-pints
Lemon curd, candied kumquats, and two kinds of strawberry jam made it into our larder since last we spoke but never got documented here. Papa and I got a doozie of a late season flu shortly after the citrus was canned and once we recovered the end-of-school chaos began. We had a short reprieve where we made two kinds of strawberry jam before heading with the family to Germany for a wonderful vacation.
Truthfully though we haven’t been canning too much so far this year because we have a lot left from last year. We give a lot of jams away at our holiday party and last year circumstances prevented us from having the party so we have a lot of jam still in the pantry. But now that we’re back in the country I’m getting all twitchy about the apricots that are about to be through, and the tomatoes that are on their way, and I wonder if I can still get blueberries? So, expect to see more of me here soon.
Hey there! So yeah, last time we talked I was drying tomatoes. Not too long after that I canned two bushels of apples as applesauce, half chunky, half smooth. One bushel’s worth went to my brother and his family the other we kept. I think we might run out. My husband also made hard cider and even got a bottle capper thing-a-ma-jig. I had intended to tell you all about it but it happens every year at some point, usually in September, I cannot cope with even thinking about canning for one more second. Often I still have canning left to do, applesauce for example, and so a bushel of apples sits in my kitchen for weeks until the fruit flies drive us crazy. It’s like I use all my September/October/November energy in the canning frenzy that is August.
But about this time, just after the new year, I start thinking about getting down the canning pot. I’m lucky enough to have family that lives in The Golden State so this year I remembered to ask if they would mind sending some citrus our way. While citrus fruits are more plentiful in our stores this time of year I can never get the variety or freshness that they can at their farmer’s market. Shortly after the first box arrived we made a double batch of marmalade. I used a proportion of 2 oranges to 1 lemon. It was a little loose in the jars but hopefully in a few weeks it will have set up nicely.
In the meantime I think I’m going to make some curd with the lemons from the second box and I’m hoping for a third box to make limoncello. I’m also hoping for kumquats, I might just eat them before they get in a jar though. Anybody else making anything citrusy out there?
FRUIT: 8 oranges, 2 lemons
SOURCE: the in-laws
RECIPE: on the sure-jell box
YIELD: 12 half-pints canned plus 4 half-pints in the fridge
Have you ever grown or seen Juliet tomatoes at the market. They’re kind of like a mini roma tomato and while they are too small for me to bother peeling and canning whole they are just the right size to dry. There are lots of methods for drying tomatoes including the age-old sun-dried variety. A few years ago I picked up an excalibur dehydrator on craigslist and that is what we use for all of our drying.
I’ve been drying the juliets from our garden all summer as they’ve ripened but I also ordered a half-bushel from the farm for an all out, run the dehydrator non-stop for a week, drying bonanza. Next year I should really try to get a quarter bushel at a time. We cut each tomato in half and toss them on the dehydrator tray. They should be arranged cut side up but honestly, there are just too many of them for me to worry about it.
They shrivel down to a pretty small size, nickel or quarter sized I’d say, so I usually use more than a recipe calls for. Most often I rehydrate them in some hot, even boiling, water before adding them to a dish but this year I want to experiment with grinding them up into a powder and adding it to sauce and soups. The flavor is so intensely tomato. We store them in a couple of vacuum-sealed canisters and I keep a small jar of them in the kitchen pantry.
The other day at the farmer’s market I realized that I hadn’t yet canned any peach slices! Katie doesn’t seem to like them in her lunch anymore but we use them in smoothies all winter long. Plus, I can them with a lighter syrup so they are great to use for making cobbler or crisp too. I use the same method as usual and ended up with 5 beautiful golden quarts.
FRUIT: half-bushel of peaches
SOURCE: farmer’s market
RECIPE: the usual
YIELD: 5 quarts
We never seem to can enough whole tomatoes. I just don’t seem to be able to get the amount of romas we want/need from our CSA farm. This year we were able to get 7 quarts and 3 pints worth canned with a flicker of hope for a smaller second batch. We’ll see if that happens. Next year I want to look into an additional source, we’ve tried growing them and we just never get enough to can. There is nothing like opening a jar of canned tomatoes in February to bring you back to summer.
FRUIT: half-bushel of roma tomatoes
SOURCE: CSA farm
RECIPE: from the Ball Blue Book
YIELD: 7 quarts, 3 pints