Saturday, April 28, 2012

Use 'Em Up

What to do when your pantry of canned goods from last season looks like this at the end of April:
What I consider the new canning season is rapidly approaching.  Typically, they say home canned foods are safely edible for a year, which is the rule I try to live with when it comes to my goodies.  I normally begin canning new and delicious yumminess in mid May.  Hence, it is time to use 'em up to make room for the new goodies.

Today we are leaving to visit my Dear Brother and Sister-in-Law for a day of eats and talks and general shinanigans.  So last night, I spent a few moments gathering some goodies to share with Dear Bro.
I wrapped each jar in a simple sheet of tissue to add to the festivity and keep the jars from bumping together in the simple brown bag.
Then I tossed in some homemade yumminess: Emma's Blueberry Muffins with a Twist
And more yumminess: Himalayan Cinnamon-Berry Coffee Cake

And called it a perfect "May Day" gift!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monroe Peach and Godiva Chocolate Fondue

Yum, just yum.

Peach season is ending quickly in most areas.  You have to run, I mean run, and get yourselves some peaches.

Then head yourself on over to your local wine and spirit, aka liquor, store or Super Target if you are lucky enough to have one and pick up a bottle of delicious Godiva chocolate liqueur.   Head on home to get going on this yummy fondue.  Be sure to make your fondue before you begin imbibing in the liqueur because we all know that nobody can have just one little sip of Godiva.

Peach Fondue, the stuff food dreams are made of.  Use it as a jam, as a dessert topping, or on crepes and ice cream.  If you are feeling really decadent, just eat from a spoon.  One spoonful at a time, though.  Unfortunately, it does not qualify as a calorie free food item.

Monroe Peach and Godiva Chocolate Fondue

4 cups chopped, pitted, peeled peaches
4 tablespoons lemon juice
5 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin
1/2 cup Godiva Chocolate Liqueur


1.  Prepare canner, jars, and lids.

2. In a large, deep saucepan, combine peaches and sugar.  Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil.  Stir in pectin.  Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Stir in Godiva liqueur.  Remove from heat and skim off foam.

3.  Ladle hot jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe rim.  Put on lids.  Place in canner, ensuring they are immersed in water completely.  Bring water to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.  Cool and store.

(Original recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monroe Peach and Cranberry Chutney

Recently, we have been hearing the term "chutney" tossed around like we should all know what the heck it is. When I was a young'un we had mustard, ketchup, mayo and pickles.  Yeah, relish didn't come along in my house til I was in my teens and then it was a store bought, sickly sweet concoction that totally ruined any sandwich it was put on.  With the reemergence of home canning and preserving, we find that we have a host of options now for sandwiches and meals in general.  Hence, chutney.....

Chutney comes from the Eastern Indian "chanti" meaning "strongly spiced" and is a condiment that is composed of any combination of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, vinegar, and sugar.  It is on the "chunky side," which is a good thing for those of us who like to know what we are putting on our food.  It comes in hot and spicy or sweet combinations, which make it a perfect accompaniment for many recipes.  In India, it was usually served with their curried food, providing a nice balance for the spiciness of the curry.  It has adapted to our cuisine and is found here to accompany any number of sandwiches, chicken, ham, pork....

Which brings us to today's post.  So when the Monroe peaches came into season and were available at my local farm market, Stuckey's Farm, I just could not resist the urge to buy, buy, buy those delicious little gems of a peach.  Once I had dehydrated and froze "beaucoup" peaches (which will be discussed as an addendum to today's post) and created all the jam, syrup and canned peach with flavors that I could possible come up with, I was left with a lot of peaches left.  We could only eat so many sliced and diced of the remaining peaches, so chutney it became.  We love it and have gone through almost an entire jar in just over a week.  It goes on everything from sandwiches to toast to waffles to chicken to .......yadayada...

This chutney has a delicious not too sweet taste with a bite.  The peaches are pitted and chopped not too small.  Which brings me to this convenient little gadget that you might want to check out:  Amco Peach Pitter/Slicer.  It made the entire pitting, chopping business soooo much easier.  Definitely worth looking into if you plan on doing much with peaches!

Hope you enjoy!  Let me know what you think once you have tried it.  

8 cups peaches, pitted and chopped
1 and 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 and 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup onion
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine peaches, brown sugar, vinegar, cranberries, onion, mustard seeds, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a large kettle or jam pot (Mauviel Copper 15-Quart Jam Pan with Bronze Handles).   

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil, stirring frequently, until thick (about 30-40 minutes).  You want the chutney to mound on a spoon.

Ladle chutney into hot, sterilized jars and seal with hot, sterilized lids leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.  Place the jars in a boiling water bath canner and process for 15 minutes.  Remove the lid from the canner after 15 minutes and allow the jars to rest in the hot water for 5 minutes longer before removing the jars.

Dehydrated Peaches, aka Peach Candy

Amco Peach Pitter/SlicerAmco Peach Pitter/Slicer
Peaches, Pitted and Sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups water

In a bowl, combine water and lemon juice.
Drop sliced peaches into the water and gently toss to cover them.  The lemon juice helps the peaches to not brown from oxidation.

Place peaches onto dehydrator racks and turn on dehydrator.  When putting slices on the racks, be sure that you leave some room between peaches to aid in drying.  I like to lay my peaches on their sides to speed up drying time.  Let dry for 10-12 hours.

Store sliced peaches in a zip lock freezer bag in the freezer.  They will keep for several months if your children do not eat them first!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Moroccan Preserved Lemon Lusciousness

What can you do with these:
and this:
and this:
Make yourself some Moroccan Preserved Lemon Lusciousness, of course!

Moroccan preserved lemons lend a luscious, full-bodied taste to any recipe.  They are an unusual accompaniment for modern recipes here in the USA.  However, they are a regular for Moroccan or other African, Greek, Italian, and Asian cuisine.  Dice a few preserved lemons to spice up a bowl of steamed veggies like green beans or carrots.  Mash up a lemon with some fresh herbs like dill or tarragon into butter and smother over grilled fish or chicken. Slice thinly and add to your favorite tuna salad recipe for a spicier taste.  Toss some into salsa, tapenade, and ceviche.  Of course they can be added to the traditional meat tangine (Le Souk Ceramique CT-NAT-12 12-Inch Cookable Tagine, Natural Clear Glaze) or Persian rice pilaf.  Garnish your vanilla ice cream.  Anything you add Moroccan Preserved Lemon to will just taste lovelier. 

6-8 lemons (Eureka or Meyer lemons)
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Sea salt (3 tablespoons plus 6-8 teaspoons)
5 whole cloves
3/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-5 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon seeds of a cardamom pod
1 teaspoon black tellicherry peppercorns


(To make these little gems will take two days of preparation and 3 weeks waiting period for them to cure.)

Day 1
Cut lemons in half.  Then cut each lemon half into fourths.  Take out all the seeds.  Cover lemon slices in 3 tablespoons of salt in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Set aside for 24 hours.  Lemons will soften as they sit in the salt.

Day 2
Make spice combination by grinding the following spices in a spice grinder like this one (Cuisinart SG-10 Electric Spice-and-Nut Grinder):  seeds of a cardamom pod, black tellicherry peppercorns.    Then in a small bowl combine the ground cardamom, peppercorns, paprika, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.

Layer the lemons in a large sterilized mason jar (Ball Wide-Mouth Mason Canning Jar 1 Qt., Case of 12) or a French canning jar (Le Parfait French Glass Canning Jar with 85mm Gasket and Lid - 2 Liter).  

Sprinkle each layer of lemons with the spice combination, a dash of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Every third layer of lemon slices, place 1 bay leaf and 1 whole clove on top.

Place a cinnamon stick on the center layer of lemon slices.

Cover the lemons in a mixture consisting of equal parts olive oil and vegetable oil.

Cover with a lid.  Place in a fridge for 3 weeks, giving it a quick shake every few days.  
Keeps of 6-8 weeks after curing time. 

To use the lemon, remove it from the oil and rinse.  Scrape out the pulp.  The pulp can be pushed through a sieve and the juice used to flavor your recipe.  Throw out the pulp.  Slice, dice, or mash the lemon skin and use in your recipe.

Be prepared for a flavor explosion in your mouth when you taste one of these.  Delicious!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lord Grey Tea Syrup Peaches and Then Some

Chocolate's okay, but I prefer a really intense fruit taste. You know when a peach is absolutely perfect... it's sublime. I'd like to capture that and then use it in a dessert.
Kathy Mattea 

Our local farm store at Stuckey's Farm in Sheridan, Indiana, has had the absolutely tenderest and sweetest Monroe Peaches this year.  So delicious that I ended up with three bushels the past two weeks.  After dehydrating and freezing a year's worth then making my pickle peaches, I found myself creeping the blogosphere for delectable peach recipes.  Saving the Season had the most delicious In Tea Syrup recipe I had to try.  Of course, I then had to take it one step further.....

So today's post is really a series of delicious things to do with peaches.

In Tea Syrup (Saving the Season)
Lord Grey Tea Syrup Peaches 

3 pounds Monroe or other type Peaches
3 cups sugar
3 cups water
2 bags Bergamot tea (aka Lord Grey Tea)

Make your simple syrup by combining sugar and water in a heavy saucepan.  Over medium heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the tea bags and bring to a boil.

Prepare the fruit while the syrup is coming to a boil.  Peal the peaches with a blanching method (Place a few in a pot of boiling water for a minute.  Lift them out and plunge into cold water.  Slip off skins.)  Pit and quarter peaches.

In boiling syrup, place a handful of peaches at a time and return syrup to a boil for one minute.  Turn fruit over a few times to heat evenly.

Pack peaches into hot, sterilized jars snugly but not mashing them.  Top off with syrup.  Leave 1/2 inch headspace.  Wipe rims and seal.  Process in a boiling water bath (Victorio VKP1055 Stainless Steel Dual-Use Steam or Water Bath Canner): 20 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts.  

Three pounds peaches yields 3 pints processed peaches.

*As a note, you may use other flavored tea bags as well.  I also used Green Tea for some of my preserves, made in the same fashion.  Delicious.  

Lord Grey Tea and Peach Syrup


1 pound of peach pits and peelings (I freeze my peach pits and peelings as I acquire them from other peach preserve recipes, such as the one above.   Simply take them out of the freezer and allow to thaw before using them).

Water to cover, about 4 cups

4 cups sugar

3 Lord Grey or Bergamot tea bags (may use other flavored tea, such as Green Tea)


Place peach pits and peelings in a large kettle and cover with 4 cups water.  Place tea bags into kettle.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain through a colander, squeezing out juice from peelings.  Measure liquid to have 4 cups (add water if necessary to measure liquid to get the full 4 cups).  Place in a kettle.  Add 4 cups sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil for 10 to 15 minutes.  Do not let it boil over.  Stir frequently.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Process in a boiling water bath canner for 5 minutes.

Lord Grey Tea Peach Jelly
1 pound peach pits and peelings
4 cups water
3 tea bags Lord Grey or Bergamot tea (may use another flavor, such as Green Tea)
7 cups sugar
1 package liquid pectin

Place peach pits and peelings in a large kettle.  Add 4 cups water to cover. Add tea bags to the water in the kettle. (if you really want to cook your jam/jelly in style, look at what the professionals use: Mauviel Copper 11-Quart Jam Pan with Bronze Handles.  Just beautiful!!)   Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes.  Strain juice reserving it and throwing away pits and peelings.  

Measure juice to be sure to have 4 cups, add water if necessary.  Put juice back into kettle.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved over low heat.  

Bring mixture to a full rolling boil for one minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in liquid pectin.  Return to a full rolling boil for exactly one minute.

Put jelly into hot, sterilized jars.  Seal with lids and rings.  Process in a boiling water bath canner for 5 minutes.  Remove jars and place upright on a towel.  Let these babies sit for a full 24 hours to allow the jelly to set.

*This is not a true jelly in the typical sense of the word as you may have little flecks of peach here and yonder in the jelly.  C'est la vie.....  Flecks only add to the taste and texture.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sweet 'n Spicy Zucchini Relish

"It's zucchini season.  Don't make eye contact with your neighbor."

It is that time of year again. When we head out to our gardens and the zucchini looks like it received a double dose of steroids during the night and is now five times the size it was yesterday.  What to do with all that wonderful zucchini?  Why an old fashioned staple of course, zucchini relish with a sweet 'n spicy twist.  I can guarantee that you will love this spicy zucchini relish on or in just about everything:  hot dogs, Dagwood sandwich, potato salad, fried ham slices.....

Dagwood Sandwich

So now you need to head on out to your garden.  Go on with ya.....  Once you get there, pick yourself several zucchinis of a small size not that giant big boy size in the first picture of today's post.   When it comes to zucchini, size matters.  By size, I mean the smaller the zucchini, the more tender and tastier it will be in your recipes.  A big zucchini the size of your thigh is going to be tough and fibrous and not have the flavor of his smaller cousin.  If the steroid fairy has already visited and you are left with the big boy, do not despair.  Before you shred the zucchini, be sure to take out the seeds which will help keep it from being so bitter.  (Here is a little tool that might come in handy if you need to core the seeds out of your zucchini:  Better Houseware Zucchini Corer. Core Zucchinis, Eggplants, Peppers and More Vegetables & Fruits.)  Remember, bigger is not better when it comes to zucchini!

Sweet 'n Spicy Zucchini Relish

8 cups shredded zucchini
6 onions, grated
2 minced jalapeno peppers
3 minced garlic cloves
5 tablespoons coarse salt
4 cups sugar
2 and 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1. Mix the zucchini and onion in a large earthenware bowl. Sprinkle with the salt.  Let stand overnight.

2.  Drain.  Rinse the excess salt off the zucchini, and squeeze out the excess water.  Set zucchini aside.

3.  Mix the sugar, jalapeno, garlic, vinegar, celery seed, turmeric, and nutmeg in a large stainless steel pot.  Add the zucchini mix.  Simmer slowly for 30 minutes.

4.  Mix in the cilantro.

5.  Pack in clean, hot pint jars.  Leave 1/2 inch headspace, and seal tightly with rings and lids.

6.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner, but begin the timer as soon as the jars go into the canner.