Country Traditions

January 16, 2011

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores

Filed under: canning, family, gardening, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:23 am
Balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar
Image via Wikipedia

Back in November, at�the height of apple season, I decided to try making vinegar as a way to use up all the apple cores and peels that were left over from making dried apples. I thought I’d wait to see how the vinegar turned out before sharing the recipe. It finally appears to be as close to vinegar as it’s going to get, so here’s the story.

The recipe I used was from an old cookbook my mother picked up at a garage sale years and years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve just got some photocopied recipes from it now, so I’m not sure what the title of the original book was. I think it was probably the White House Cookbook, circa the 1890s. We had a copy of that one along with a few others from the same era, and I spent many an hour as a little girl happily reading through recipes for horehound cough drops and walnut catsup, instructions for cleaning lace, and five-course breakfast menus. What a different world – but still one I could somehow imagine myself in. Occasionally, my mother and I would try out a recipe or two. We even found our favorite Christmas cake recipe – a dense mace-scented white cake studded with hazelnuts and raisins – in one of the old books (they really knew how to bake back then).

via Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores.

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January 15, 2011

Marmalade is way easier than it looks – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Filed under: canning, family, recipes, wisdom — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:25 pm
Today I made marmalade......mmm!

Image via Wikipedia

The first step is to peel the fruit. We’ve made lemon, lemon-orange, and orange marmalade, but you can use pretty much any citrus fruit.

We looked around a bit and settled on this recipe primarily because of its simplicity. It scales well. For a large batch, just keep peeling and cutting fruit until the pot is full or your hands were tired. You can also scale down–grab a couple of oranges from the cafeteria and you’ll make a lot of friends in your dorm kitchen.

The peels need to be cut into little slivers for the appropriate texture in the marmalade. If you stack up the pieces, you can cut a bunch at once.
Marmalade 06

Many recipes recommend removing the white pith because it is bitter. Other recipes recommend removing the pith and reserving it, cooking it along with the fruit in a cheesecloth bundle and removing it at the end, presumably to allow extraction of the pectin. Many jam and jelly recipes call for pectin to be added, but it isn’t needed for marmalade because of the amount of pectin already present in the skin and pith of the citrus fruit.

Some recipes call for a blanching or soaking stage. The primary purpose of blanching is to remove the bitterness from the pith and peel. We like bitter marmalade, so we left in most of the pith and didn’t soak or blanch the peels or fruit. That also keeps the recipe simple– just slice up the fruit and throw it in the pot with the peel pieces.
Marmalade 08

The fruit and peel are cooked in water until they’re good and soft. It takes a while (about an hour), but once you’ve got a nice simmer going, you can ignore it pretty well.
Marmalade 12

The sugar goes in. Lots of sugar. The original recipe calls for 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar (with ten lemons). The 4 cups of water barely covered the raw fruit (in a saucepan with roughly equal depth and diameter). For scaling the recipe up or down, you can use that as a rough guide: pour in water a cup at a time until the fruit is almost covered, then once everything’s soft add as much sugar as you did water.
Marmalade 15

Stir in the sugar, and bring it up to a boil, stirring regularly.
Marmalade 28

The original recipe says to cook it until it’s 220 degrees fahrenheit. If you’re one of the few with a well-calibrated thermometer, congratulations. For the rest of us, put a spoonful of the proto-marmalade on a cool plate. If it’s still runny after cooling for a minute, keep simmering a little longer. It should show signs of jelling after cooking for 45 minutes to an hour.
Marmalade 19

That’s it. You’ve made marmalade!
Marmalade 20

But now you’re wondering what to do with it. We recommend spreading it on a freshly toasted english muffin. Or maybe a crumpet.

You can put the rest of it in a bowl, let it cool, then keep it in the fridge and use it. Or you can can it. Canning is not as scary as it sounds. You pour the warm marmalade into warm jars, wipe the rims clean, put a clean lid and rim on them and boil the jars covered with water for 15 minutes.

There are lots of kinds of canning setups but the simplest is a pot with a spacer to keep the jars off the bottom. While you can get dedicated canning kettles with jar racks inexpensively, you don’t really need any special equipment. Rules of thumb: your pot needs to be deeper than your jars so you can cover them with water, and the jars shouldn’t rest on the bottom of the pot, so as to avoid thermal stress. You can put a small wire cooling rack, a vegetable steamer, or an array of skewers tied together in the pot to keep the jars off the bottom.
Marmalade 21

After boiling the jars, you can ladle out some of the water and lift your jars out with an oven mitt. However, a set of jar lifting tongs doesn’t cost much and makes that step easier. A wide mouthed funnel is nice since it keeps stuff of the rims of the jars, but is also not necessary, especially if you get wide mouthed jars.

The folks who make Ball jars have some nice overviews of canning techniques.
Marmalade 30

You may recognize our technique as one common in mathematics. We have reduced a difficult problem (what to do with 75 pounds of citrus) into a problem whose solution is well known: what to do with many jars of marmalade.

 

via Marmalade is way easier than it looks – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Lady marmalade: learning to make citrus preserves – Telegraph

Filed under: canning, family, recipes — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:22 pm
Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...
Image via Wikipedia

Lady marmalade: learning to make citrus preserves – Telegraph.You can either use whole fruit (simmering before shredding), which gives a darker, less bright-tasting preserve, or you can shred the peel before cooking, which gives a lighter, fresher preserve. As Nick cuts the rind from a kilo of blood oranges, he tells me that it must be cooked until absolutely soft before the sugar is added. Not doing this properly will result in hard bits of rind (it doesn’t soften further once the sugar is added) and a poor set (the pectin you need for a good set is extracted during this stage).

Other key points are to use granulated sugar – caster just sinks to the bottom of the pan – and to warm it in a low oven first (this helps it dissolve). Once the marmalade is made let it sit for 12 minutes before potting as the peel will distribute better. All the other technical stuff you need to know is in Nick’s recipes opposite. Start by making one type then go with your imagination. I fancy lime with a slosh of rum, and blood orange with rosemary. Anyone for shredding?

 

December 9, 2010

For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press

Filed under: canning, gardening, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:50 pm
Inside a canned food factory. Engraving by Poy...
Image via Wikipedia

What can I can?

Fruits (including tomatoes) are the most popular, along with preserves like jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. Fresh veggies, and things like meat, fish and poultry are also possible.

What’s the deal with acid?

Canning foods are either deemed high or low-acid. Low-acid foods are things like meat, fresh veggies (except tomatoes) or milk, and high-acid foods include fruits, pickles, and jams. The amount of acid affects what method you should use to can safely — pressure canning for low-acid foods, boiling-water canning for high-acid.

What do I need?

Proper jars, a jar lifter or rack, a small spatula to deal with air bubbles, a wide-mouth funnel, a boiling water or pressure canner, and a well-tested recipe. Remember that some methods, like ‘open kettle’ canning or the use of paraffin wax, aren’t agreed upon as safe by all experts.

How long should jars be boiled?

That depends on factors including the type of canning, jar size, type of food and even altitude — which is why it’s important to stick to the recipe.

How long will it keep?

Home canned food should be eaten within a year.

via For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press.

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For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press

Filed under: canning, gardening, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:49 pm
Inside a canned food factory. Engraving by Poy...
Image via Wikipedia

What can I can?

Fruits (including tomatoes) are the most popular, along with preserves like jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. Fresh veggies, and things like meat, fish and poultry are also possible.

What’s the deal with acid?

Canning foods are either deemed high or low-acid. Low-acid foods are things like meat, fresh veggies (except tomatoes) or milk, and high-acid foods include fruits, pickles, and jams. The amount of acid affects what method you should use to can safely — pressure canning for low-acid foods, boiling-water canning for high-acid.

What do I need?

Proper jars, a jar lifter or rack, a small spatula to deal with air bubbles, a wide-mouth funnel, a boiling water or pressure canner, and a well-tested recipe. Remember that some methods, like ‘open kettle’ canning or the use of paraffin wax, aren’t agreed upon as safe by all experts.

How long should jars be boiled?

That depends on factors including the type of canning, jar size, type of food and even altitude — which is why it’s important to stick to the recipe.

How long will it keep?

Home canned food should be eaten within a year.

via For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press.

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