Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dried Fruit Conserve (Minced-no-meat)

Dried Fruit Conserve

Twelve months, twelve different preserves, many new friends, and lots of amazing recipes later, we are nearing the end of Tigress' Can Jam.  Thank you, Tigress, for all of your hard work and excitement, which allowed us to revisit the classic preserves of our family histories, and gave us courage and inspiration to test out new ingredients.

This month's ingredient, dried fruit of any kind...  My first thought was to try to make a sticky toffee pudding-like jam that I could preserve!  After quite a bit of research, I couldn't come up with a recipe that I was comfortable enough to can safely.  

My wife suggested trying mincemeat.  Every holiday, we make a conscious effort to make as much of our meals as possible ourselves, as local as we can.  But my father-in-law always buys terrible, chemical-tasting mincemeat tarts.  We knew that we could definitely make ‘better than grocery store-bought’ tarts.  And, if we could make them, we would be able to tweak them until we actually like mincemeat! 

Many traditional mincemeat recipes we found called for using suet, this just didn't appeal to us.  We wanted to capture the flavor of mincemeat, without the meat.  Funny, since we typically add homemade bacon to almost everything!  Still remaining skeptical that we would like mincemeat, I found a recipe for a dried fruit and nut conserve in Topp and Howard's, Small Batch Preserving.  I wanted to add some more dimension, so I added dried apricots and dried figs, and then adjusted the measurements of all of the dried fruits. We found that the mixture also lacked in liquid so we increased the amount of apple juice.  

The end result?  We really, really liked it! The texture retains some crunch from the pears and apples and the dried adds a concentrated depth of flavor. I am excited to make my own pastry and introduce my father-in-law to a new version of his favorite holiday treat.  We hope he likes it as much as he likes our marmalade – every time he sees us, he returns an empty jar to be replaced with a full one!  Nothing beats the feeling of someone loving what we have carefully chosen to preserve this year.  Thanks again, Tigress, for such a fantastic experience.

Dried Fruit Conserve (Minced-no-meat) 

2 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and diced
2 Bosc Pears – peeled, cored and diced
½ cup of diced Medjool dates
½ cup of diced dried Calimyrna figs
½ cup of Thompson Raisins
½ cup of dried Cranberries
1 cup of Apple juice
2 cups of lightly packed Brown sugar
3 tbsp of Lemon juice
½ cup of chopped Pecans
1/8  tsp each of ground allspice, ground nutmeg and ground ginger

This recipe yielded 5 - 250ml Jars

1 – Place apples, pears, dates, figs, raisins, cranberries and apple juice in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes or until fruit is tender, stirring occasionally.

2 – Stir in sugar and lemon juice. Return to a boil, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, until mixture forms a light gel, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

3 – Remove from heat and stir in pecans and spices.

4 – Ladle into hot jars and process for ten minutes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Doce de Marmelo (Marmelada)


This months theme for the Can Jam of apples, pears or quince had me excited to try something that brings back so many childhood memories. One of my favorite snacks as child was a simple sandwich of toast with marmelada. Growing up in a Portuguese home we always had marmelada around. It never clicked with me until a few years ago that it was very similar to Membrillo or quince paste.

I was at a friends cottage this summer and he pointed out 2 Quince trees he had in his garden that were loaded with fruit. I knew that I wanted to try making my own "doce". I figured that if he was growing quince in his garden that it would be pretty easy to get some at one of our local markets. No so. I tried a few markets and when I was able to find some the price per fruit was just too high. I mentioned my search to a friend at a great neighborhood bakery that makes their own preserves, Flaky Tart and she offered to share some that she had picked at home. This made my day, I was finally going to try making my own childhood favorite.

I called my mom and asked her for her recipe and as her recipes go, it was very free formed. Some of this, a fingers worth of that. The recipe was very short on time and temperature details, so I really just used it as a guide and referred to a few books for similar takes on quince paste. The color. It never got to a golden orange-y stage but the flavor was as I remembered. I also think I left it on the heat to long and it set much harder than I expected.

Doce de Marmelo (Marmelada)
(translated directly from Mom's hand written note pictured)

Clean the quince well and dry. Peel, core and quarter. After, place in a pot and add water as high as the thickness of one finger, more or less (one finger sideways).

After it's cooked pass the fruit through a food mill. Add as much sugar as there is fruit and cook over a low heat and always stir so it doesn't burn on the bottom. When it's ready put it in jars.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bunch o' Pepper Jelly

I thought this month’s Can-Jam theme was definitely going to be apples, so I was very surprised when peppers were announced!  I had already started planning to make an apple butter for the first time, which I’ll still have to try anyway.  One other thing I had yet to try and make was a jelly. All of the preserves I have made this year were either a pickle or a jam (one mustard though – does that count as a pickle?). 

I’ve incorporated peppers into many of my recipes this year.  I liked using their heat to add more dimension to some of my preserves, and loved the addition of chipotle to my BBQ sauce as well as ancho in my zucchini relish.  But this time I was struggling with peppers as the main ingredient.  I really wanted to try a jelly and searched around for different recipes to start as my base.  One thing I kept encountering in most recipes was the inclusion of pectin; I’ve really tried to avoid using it, and luckily haven’t had anything that relied on it so far this year.  So, I kept on searching and found that the answer to avoiding those packets of pectin lay in the ingredient I thought would be the theme – apples! 

I found a recipe online at Simply Recipes that looked and provided an excellent base for me to work with for my pepper jelly.  The only problem that I ran into in following the portions listed was the thickness of the initial mash – I had to add 2 cups of water to make it loose enough to drip.  This is probably due to the different levels of pectin in different apples, and that I also added the whole bag of cranberries which basically doubled the amount (hey, I didn’t want them to go to waste!).  I also wanted to vary all the pepper flavors that I was working with, so instead of using only jalapenos, I added some habaneros and a poblano in place of the green bell pepper. You can vary the heat here by removing or adding the seeds in your peppers. I wanted to make sure my wife, not much of a chili head, would enjoy this so I left out quite a bit of the seeds.

*UPDATE* I really enjoyed the flavor of this jelly. There was a good mix of chili flavors and they were all present. I loved the addition of the cranberries to help with the appealing reddish jewel like coloring. As soon as everything cooled down enough we gobbled up a jar, spreading it on a fresh baguette with some fantastic triple cream Saint-Honoré. I would have liked things a bit hotter, next time I may leave in the habanero seeds as well.

Bunch o' Pepper Jelly
(adapted from Simply Recipes)

4 pounds of Granny Smith apples - unpeeled, chopped and include cores
5 Jalapeno Peppers - 3 seeded and 2 with seeds included, chopped
2 Habanero Peppers - seeded and chopped
1 Poblano Pepper - seeded and chopped
8oz of Crannberries
5 cups of water
3 cups of white vinegar
3 1/2 cups of sugar (7/8 of a cup for each cup of juice)

This recipe yielded 5 - 250ml Jars

1 - Combine apples, including cores, peppers, cranberries, water and vinegar in a pot. Bring to a boil on high then reduce heat to medium-low to simmer for about 20 minutes. The apples, peppers and cranberries will soften. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks or burns. Mash everything with a potato masher.

2 - Ladle everything into a sieve suspended over a large bowl. Allow it to sit for several hours (I let it go overnight). If the pulp is too thick and nothing is coming out you can add more water, you will want to end up with 4 cups of juice.

3 - Pour juice into a large pot and add the sugar (7/8 of a cup for each cup of juice). Heat gently and stir to make sure nothing sticks or burns.

4 - Bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes and skim off any scum. Start to test to see if the jelly is set on chilled plate (I put 2 plates in the freezer when I started to boil the juice). I also had a candy thermometer and pulled it when it hit 220f.

5 - Prepare jars and lids, ladle jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch of head space and remove any air bubbles. Hot water process jars for 10 minutes.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Plum Jam with Bay & Vanilla

Plum Jam with Vanilla & Bay

Such a crazy week and I'm leaving this one down to the wire. After reading a post on Well Preserved I was reminded of a great resource for finding interesting and new flavor combinations. The Flavor Bible has been on my shelf for months and I never thought of using it for coming up with flavor pairings that would work in a Jam. I had intended on making a plum jam because we had such a variety of different plums and there were more than we could eat. Flipping over to the Plum section of the book, the very first listing that jumped out at me was Bay Leaf and Vanilla. I had to try it. I love sweet and savory combinations and this one sounded like a winner, especially since we were going to use our own homemade vanilla extract (Beans + Vodka + Time = tasty goodness).

I have to say that I loved how this turned out. It's very sweet but the bay just gives it hint of something herbal and it really works. I think if I would change anything next time I would lessen the sugar and add a few extra bay leaves.

Plum Jam with Bay & Vanilla
(adapted from Whole Living)

3 pounds plums, pitted and quartered
3 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 bay leaves

This recipe yielded 5 - 250ml Jars

1 - Combine plums, sugar, lemon juice, salt, vanilla and bay leaves in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, mashing with a potato masher and skim off any scum from the top.

2 - Boil and stir frequently, until the bubbles slow down. Place some small plates in the freezer and use them to test if your jam has set.

3 - Prepare jars and lids, ladle jam into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch of head space and remove any air bubbles. Hot water process jars for 10 minutes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Lucky for me this months Can Jam theme ingredient was ready very early here in Toronto. Our growing season has been so warm that every crop has been popping up at our markets at least 2 weeks earlier than normal. We have loads of plans for tomatoes in the coming weeks. We have a tomato conserva recipe that I really want to try from Paul Bertoli's Cooking by Hand. A ketchup is also something that would be great to try out (replace and skip the Heinz for good!). There is the now annual jars and jars of sauce (second year in a row makes it annual now!)

So far I've made some mustard and relish and for the last few of our summer cookouts we needed some good old Barbecue sauce. I wanted to start with very basic recipe for our first canned barbecue sauce. The only thing I couldn't resist was adding some more heat. The recipe called for some chili flakes but that wasn't nearly enough so I added some chipotles in adobo. I love the sweet and smokey heat they add to anything and figured it was the perfect addition to give this basic sauce a bit more of a boost.

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
(adapted from the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving)

20 cups of chopped tomatoes
2 cups of chopped onions
1/4 cup chipotle chiles in adobo
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp of hot pepper flakes
1 tbsp of celery seeds
1 1/2 cups of lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup of white vinegar
1/3 cup of lemon juice
2 tbsp of salt
1 tbsp of ground mace
1 tbsp of dry mustard
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of ground cinnamon

This recipe yielded 4 - 500ml Jars

1 - In a stainless steel pot, combine tomatoes, onions, chipotles, garlic, hot pepper flakes and celery seeds. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently until everything softens, about 30 minutes.

2 - Pass the the mixture through a food mill. Keep passing the seeds and skins through the mill until they are dry and all the pulp has been extracted.

3 - Return the mixture to the pot and boil, stirring occasionally, until cooked down by one quarter. Add brown sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, mace, mustard, ginger and cinnamon. Return to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened, about 30-40 mins.

4 - Prepare jars and lids, ladle sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch of head space and remove any air bubbles. Hot water process jars for 20 minutes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Zuchinni Garden Pepper Relish

Zucchini Garden Pepper Relish

I knew exactly what I was going to make when zucchini season came around. A few years back a friend was gifted a few jars preserves and one of them was a zucchini relish. I've never been a fan of the nasty green stuff served at a BBQs, but this zucchini relish was nothing like that and I loved it. I really wanted to make my own batch and since this month's Can Jam theme was "cucurbits", the timing was right.

My wife joined me, helping out with all the prep work. Everything was ready to go in the pot, and as soon as all the ingredients started to warm up on the stove, my wife commented on how great everything smelled. She kept saying how much it reminded her of something, and how familiar it was. With a light bulb moment she ran over to her mother's recipe box that is crammed with old recipes for family favourites and newspaper clippings from years ago. She shuffled through the cards and found a section with all of her mother's preserves, and plucked out a card with recipe for "Mild Mustard Pickle Relish".

The card itself had a history of its own, a bit dog eared, a bit of food spatters and some scribbled notes in the corners. Now what I found amazing about all this, was how the smell triggered such a vivid memory for my wife. The scene was painted lovingly of her mother making this relish while she helped as a young girl. I loved how all of this was preserved. How a simple act of cooking brought out a far memory. It was pin pointed to that recipe card in a matter of seconds.

The recipe I chose seems to be pretty generic as a few of my books' versions were very similar. I wanted to add a dimension of heat so I added some Jalapeno peppers and some ancho chile powder. We tried this one immediately and loved it. It was fabulous with some pork chops we had that evening. I'm sure it will be fantastic at a family BBQ in few weeks were we can enjoy and recall the fond memories it stirred up of my wife's Mom.

Zucchini Garden Pepper Relish Zucchini Garden Pepper Relish Zucchini Garden Pepper Relish

Zucchini Garden Pepper Relish
(adapted from the Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving)

4 Medium Zucchini finely chopped (about 1 1/4lbs)
2 Medium Onions finely chopped
1/2 Sweet Red Pepper finely chopped
1/2 Sweet Green Pepper finely chopped
2 Jalapeno Peppers finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp Pickling Salt
1 1/4 cups Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Dry Mustard
1 tsp Celery Seeds
1 tsp Ancho Chile Powder (optional)
1/2 tsp Tumeric
2 tsp Cornstarch

This recipe yielded 4 - 500ml Jars

1 - Toss together zucchini, onions and peppers in a large non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and stir well. Let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2 - Drain vegetables in a sieve and rinse, then drain again, pressing out excess moisture.

3 - Combine drained vegetables, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery seeds, ancho chile powder and tumeric in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and continue boiling gently, uncovered for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

4 - Blend water and cornstarch, stir into vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid thickens, stirring often.

5 - Remove hot jars from canner and ladle relish into jars to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Process jars for 10 mins.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cerejas com Aguardente

Cerejas com Aguardente

With the World Cup on and my team about the hit the pitch against Brazil in a few minutes I wanted to give this month's preserves a little Portuguese nod. I wanted to make something that we could use as a dessert topping and in a cocktail. As the summer heats up I will be pulling out our Ice Cream maker and one of these will be the final topping on a tasty homemade sundae. I'm also really looking forward to using one of these in a Manhattan instead of one of those nasty nuclear red jarred supermarket Maraschino cherries.

Where I adapted this recipe was in the alcohol I used. Aguardente is popular Portuguese brandy that is made by using the spent grape must after wine making, very similar to an Italian grappa. I also added a touch of Amaretto to add an hint of almond flavor.

Cerejas com Aguardente
(adapted from the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving)

approx 4 cups of Cherries
2 cups of Water
1 cup of Sugar
1 tbsp of Aguardente
1 tsp of Amaretto

This recipe yielded 2 - 500ml Jars

1 - In a saucepan, over medium heat combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add the cherries, stirring constantly, and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.

2 - Using a slotted spoon, pack cherries into prepared hot jars to within about 1/2" of top of jar and add the Aguardente and Amaretto. Ladle hot syrup into the jars to cover the cherries leaving 1/2" of headspace. Remove any air bubbles, adding more syrup if needed. Seal with prepared lids and hot water process for 15 minutes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pickled Asparagus

I think this month there will be lots and lots of pickled asparagus. I knew the minute that this months theme was announced that it was my first choice. The other ingredient that shared this months theme spotlight was rhubarb, and I am not a fan. I've never enjoyed it, last year's strawberry/rhubarb jam and rhubarb chutney sit ignored on our storage shelf and I always side step them for other favorite preserves.

I've read about using the asparagus as garnish in a Ceaser... mmm that sounded tasty, so here is the recipe that I used, not much was adapted although there was an error in my printed copy as the sugar was missing from the ingredient list. I made one jar with the chili and 2 without so I had a variation. Can't wait to try these in a few weeks.

Pickled Asparagus
(adapted from Well Preserved by Mary Anne Dragen)

approx 5lbs of Asparagus
4 cups of Water
4 cups of White Vinegar
1 large Onion peeled, halved and sliced in 1/4" slices
6 cloves of Garlic
3 tbsp of Pickling Salt
3 tbsp of Sugar
3 tbsp of Mustard Seeds
2 tbsp of Dill Seeds
Chili Peppers (optional - I used 2 small Serrano's in 1 jar)

This recipe yielded 3 - 1L Jars

1 -Trim Asparagus spears to jar length - I used a great tip from Well Preserved here! They should stand at least 1" shorter than the rim of the jar.

2 - Perpare your canning jars and lids

3 - Combine water and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and keep the mixture at a simmer.

4 - Working with 1 jar at a time, place a third of the onion slices, 2 cloves of garlic, a chili pepper if using, 1 tablespoon each of sugar, salt, mustard seeds and 2 teaspoons of dill seed. Pack the asparagus in each jar tips down. It helps to lay the jar on it's side - I really wish I had used a wide mouth jar for these. It would have prevented damage to the spears and made loading the jars much easier! Pack them in tight.

5 - Pour hot vinegar liquid into the jars leaving 1/4" headroom and seal with prepared lids. Hot water process jars for 20 minutes.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lemon Sage & White Wine Mustard

Lemon Sage & White Wine Mustard

I wasn't sure what I could make for this months Can-Jam Herb theme, I was a little stumped. The only thing that kept coming to mind was mint jelly... and I'm not exactly a fan. So I remembered a post from last months Allium Can-Jam for a Garlic & Lemon mustard.. I loooove mustard, and have quite a few different jars on the go at one time, but I have never tried making my own, until now.

After flipping through my books I landed on a recipe that sounded like it would be a winner, Lemon, Sage and white wine. The only adaptation I made was replacing a 1/4 cup of the yellow mustard seeds with brown, simple reason... I was short on yellow mustard seeds and had a bunch of brown seeds on hand.

Lemon Sage & White Wine Mustard
(adapted from The Complete Book of Home Preserving)

1 bunch of fresh sage
3/4 cup of Dry White Wine (I used a Chardonnay)
1/2 cup of Yellow Mustard Seeds
1/2 cup of Brown Mustard Seeds
1 cup of White Wine Vinegar (must have at least 5% acidity)
Grated Zest & Juice of 2 Large Lemons
1/2 cup of Honey
1/4 tsp Salt

This recipe yielded 5 - 125ml Jars

1 - Finely chop enough sage leaves to measure 1/3 of a cup and set aside.

2 - Coarsely chop remaining sage leaves and stems to measure 1/2 cup and place in a stainless steel saucepan with the wine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring and pressing the leaves to release their flavours. Remove from heat, cover and let it steep for 5 minutes.

3 - Transfer sage infusion to sieve placed over a glass or stainless steel bowl and press the leaves with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid. Discard the solids and return the liquid to the saucepan. Add the mustard seeds . Cover and let them stand at room temperature until the seeds have absorbed most of the liquid, about 2 hours.

4 - Prepare canner, jars and lids.

5 - In a blender (or food processor fitted with a metal blade), combine the marinated seeds and liquid with vinegar. Process until blended and most seeds are well chopped, I kept a slightly grainy texture.

6 - Transfer mixture back to the saucepan and add lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, salt and reserved chopped sage. Bring to a boil over high head, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and boil gently, stirring frequently, until volume has reduced by a third, about 20 minutes.

7 - Ladle hot mustard into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Process jars for 10 minutes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Carmelized Red Onion Relish


This month started with another low acid warning! Much like the warning we received for last months theme, the carrot, we were given another ingredient to can that was low on the acid meter, the Allium family. I chose to adapt another recipe from a published source to make sure that I was keeping the acidity at a proper level.

My first thought was some sort of Balsamic Onion Confit. I sampled one a while back that was an excellent pairing with a foie gras tourchon and loved its sweet and sour tang. I hit the few books I had and found a quick and small batch recipe for a Caramalized Red Onion Relish. The ingredient list was short and to the point and looked to contain everything I needed to make something that resembled that confit. I changed up the basic red wine called for in the recipe for some Commandaria, a desert wine from Cyprus that is similar to a Tawny Port. I figured it would give the balsamic a boost and add another dimension to the flavour.

I'm really happy with the end result. A soon as I sampled a taste I immediately thought of running out to get some crusty bread and some sharp aged cheddar for my take on a ploughman's lunch.

DSC_0126 DSC_0102

Carmelized Red Onion Relish with Commandaria
(adapted from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard)

2 large red onions, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup of Commandaria Wine (or dry red wine)
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp each of salt and freshly ground pepper

This recipe yielded 4 - 250ml Jars 

Combine onions and brown sugar in a heavy non-stick skillet. Cook uncovered over medium-high heat for 25 minutes or until onions turn golden and start to caramelize, stirring frequently.

Stir in wine and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporated, stirring frequently.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove hot jars from canner and spoon relish into jars to within 1/2 inch of rim and process for 10 minutes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pickled Rosemary Carrots


With all the warnings on the low acidity scariness that is the carrot this month, I decided to not stray too far from a published recipe found in Well Preserved by Mary Anne Dragen. I really wanted to have something on hand that would be a good accompaniment to have with some charcuterie. Haven't been able to try them yet, but I hope to report back good results in a few weeks.

DSC_1218 DSC_0001

Pickled Rosemary Carrots
(adapted from Well Preserved by Mary Anne Dragen)

3 Cups of Water
3 Cups of White Wine Vinegar (must have at least 5% acidity)
1/4 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Cup of Pickling Salt
2 Tablespoons of Mixed Peppercorns
6 Cloves of Garlic
6 Hot Red Chili Peppers
4lb of Carrots - cut into sticks about 4 inches long
6 Sprigs of Rosemary

This recipe yielded 5 - 500ml Jars

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and peppercorns and bring to a boil and simmer for 5 mins.

Take 1 hot sterilized jar at a time, add 1 garlic clove, 1 chili and 1 sprig of rosemary. Pack the carrot sticks tightly into the jars standing them upright. Pour the liquid in the jars and leave a 1/4" of head space and hot water process for 15mins.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Seville Orange Marmalade

Seville Orange Marmalade

My first attempt at marmalade was using a very non-traditional citrus ingredient, the Buddha's Hand Citron. But I still wanted to try making marmalade with the traditional Seville orange. Seville's have just recently started appearing at shops here in Toronto so I loaded up on and started out with trying 2 different recipes.

The first recipe I used was from a recent episode of Good Eats. I've always liked Alton Brown's show for his mix of science and cookery. For a contrast I used a recipe that an old neighbor of mine was glad to share. As a columnist at the Toronto Star he would publish his wife's recipe annually when Seville orange season rolled around.

What I wanted to see by trying out the 2 was how different would they be? Alton Brown's recipe can be made in a day, Ayesha's took 3...  Would Alton's scientific approach trump Ayesha's tried and true, year in year out version? Alton's was tasty, but I really did prefer Ayesha's in the end. I followed both to the letter but the texture of the peel in Alton's was still a bit to hard and bitter, I think it could have used a longer boil to soften it, or was it the lack of soaking time that Ayesha included in her process?

Seville Orange Marmalade

So now after all that Marmalade making I have over 20 jars completed. Looking at all the fantastic ideas that have started rolling in for the Tigress Can Jam, I'm now inspired to try something outside the marmalade realm. When I do decide to make seville orange marmalade again I will be going with Ayesha's recipe. Below is her recipe as it was given to me.

Ayesha's Seville Orange Marmalade

8 Seville Oranges
8-12 cups of water (I used 10 cups)
6 cups of sugar

This recipe yeilded 8 - 250ml Jars

Look for fruit with soft, shiny skin, never mind the warts. Eight oranges will do first time out. Wash and dry the fruit.

Seville Orange Marmalade Seville Orange Marmalade

With a sharp knife, slice the whole oranges as finely as you can - skin, pith and pulp. But be careful not to cut the seeds or let them dry out - they contain the pectin and you'll need them.

You can either leave the seeds with the mixture to boil, skimming them off just before you bottle the marmalade, or put them in a cheesecloth bag, leaving them to boil until you remove them again just before bottling.

Put the sliced oranges into a large bowl, earthenware if possible, and for every orange you started with, add a cup or a cup-and-a-half of water, depending on how thick you want the marmalade to be. Cover the bowl with a cloth (not plastic wrap) and keep it for two or three days at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Now the first boil: with a lid on, simmer the fruit in a large pan for an hour or two - until the peel feels soft when you squeeze it between your fingers (don't burn yourself!). Pour the fruit back into the large bowl to cool.

The secret of the second boil is not to do it all at once. Measure four cups of the fruit into the pan with three cups of sugar and boil rapidly for 15 or 20 minutes. When it starts to thicken, put a small amount in a dessert or tablespoon and put it in the fridge. If, after a few minutes, you detect a skin on the surface, it's ready.

Take the pan off the stove and let it cool for five minutes (while you remove the seeds) before putting the marmalade into sterilized jars and hot water process.

Seville Orange Marmalade

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Buddha's Hand Marmalade

When I walked into Whole Foods to see what kind of Citrus they had on hand I spotted a basket of Buddha's Hand Citrons. I have been intrigued by this fruit after seeing it used in an episode of Iron Chef and it was once featured in an issue of Cooks Illustrated. I just had to have it, but what the hell was I going to do with it? It smelled amazing! The peel was so fragrant and it perfumed my entire kitchen. I had to figure out a way to use it for the Can Jam.

I searched through all my books and nada.. Lots of other citrus recipes but nothing for the oddball Citron. Off to google I went and I found 1 recipe from a blog - Dan's Kitchen. I started with this as my base and varied slightly from there. In the linked recipe he mentions to use the only peel but I thought that it would waste too much of the fruit. In Harold McGee's book, On Food and Cooking, he mentions that most of the pectin is contained in the pith. I had a taste of the Buddha's Hand and it wasn't very bitter, so I decided to keep much of the pith from the fruit's fingers. I had 2 meyer lemons on hand that I added to mix. This added some moisture since the Buddha's hand lacked any pulp. I wasn't sure how the Amaretto would work here but I liked the idea of adding an almondy element, so I went with it.

I was very happy with the end result; this was my first attempt at any marmalade. The marmalade managed to keep the distinct fragrance that I loved about the fruit.

This recipe yielded almost 5 - 250ml Jars

1 Buddha's Hand Citron
2 Meyer Lemons
5 cups of water
3 cups of white sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 tablespoons Amaretto liquor (optional)

Break down the Buddha's Hand by cutting each "finger" and cut away peel from the base. Thinly slice the Buddha's Hand and Meyer lemons. Reserve the seeds from the Meyer lemons (the Buddha's hand had no seeds) wrap them in cheesecloth.  Place everything into a bowl and cover with the water to sit for about an hour.

Transfer the contents of the bowl into a pot and bring to a gentle boil for about 30-45 minutes. At this point remove the cheesecloth, let it cool and squeeze out any remaining liquid back into the pot. Add the sugar and Amaretto and stir until completely dissolved. Let the mixture come back to a gentle boil for 45-60 minutes until it reaches 217-220°C on a candy thermometer or do a set test on a small plate in the freezer. Stir in the lemon juice about 10 minutes before the cooking is complete.

Prepare your jars and lids for canning, I filled 5, 250ml jars with 1/2" of head space and hot water processed them for 10 minutes. Great instructions over at Tigress in a Jam on hot water bath canning.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What can I can for the Can Jam?

Last summer I was very intrigued by the prospect of making my own Jam and Pickles. I had never made my own, but I have many fond memories of my mother making preserves from her over abundant garden. Growing up we had great blackberry jams and canned peaches that barely lasted the winter because they were so good.

Our first attempt started with a basic strawberry jam that involved the use of pectin, not something that my mother ever used but it was the first recipe we had. I wanted to find ways of not using additives to set the jam. Through a few google searches I came across Wellpreserved.ca and and I started to read the daily entries. And they lead me to Tigress in a Jam where I came across the project that I and about 134 others will be partaking in, once a month for rest of this year. You can read about it further by following the link in the sidebar button for Tigress' Can Jam.

The theme for January is Citrus, and what will I be making? I'm not sure... I went to the market and I came back with the above haul, I wanted to taste 1 of each of the citrus they had in at the time. Cara Cara, Blood, Navel, Kumquats, Grapefruit, Clementine, Sunburst Tangerine, Satsuma Mandarin, Meyer Lemon, Minneola and my favorite odd ball of the bunch the Buddha's Hand Citron. I've also been flipping through my canning books trying to narrow down what I want to make and I keep coming back to one thing, a Traditional Marmalade. Figures that the one citrus fruit that wasn't at the shop or in season yet is a Seville Orange. I am going to have a fun time eating and using the various citrus that are stacked up in that bowl. Who knows...I may end up with a 12 citrus varietal blend of Marmalade!