Tag Archives: Canning

Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market Feature: A-Picklin’ Bonanza

3 Jun

Board

Well well well, guess who’s featured on the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market blog again? Obviously it’s me because why would I non self-promote (I’m looking’ out for #1).

Pickled Market Veggies with Whitefish Spread – Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market

We have a new season full of fresh new veggies, and I thought “let’s brine ’em”, and brine ’em I did. I picked up some AMAZING Whitefish Spread from Bay Port Fish and decided to create a board around that (I was also fresh off my Charcuterie Board high). I was going to do asparagus, radishes, and swiss chard stems, but only ended up doing the first two because I wanted to make sure the brines were different enough for each type.

Once you start making fresh refrigerator pickles…there’s no stopping you.

  • Make a mixture of vinegar and water
  • Add some salt, sugar, and spices
  • Bring to a boil
  • Pour over desired vegetables
  • Let cool to room temperature
  • Pop in fridge for 48(ish) hours
  • Say “oh THESE pickled [vegetable name], no, they’re HOMEmade, I’m what you’d call a purist” while enjoying with an unsuspecting guest (however, don’t expect them to want to hang out with you again, this pickling knowledge has gone to your head!)

You can really play with the brine by selecting different types of vinegar (apple cider vinegar will give it a sweetness, while red wine vinegar will give it nice tang), and the herbs/spices you put in will also give great influence (you can go for classic dill, or maybe pair some cilantro and rice vinegar for an Asiany flair). And don’t forget, a pinch (or fistful) of crushed red pepper is always a nice addition for those who are into the spicy arts.

Final

 

To get the full recipes, check it out, and if you find yourself at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, grab some of that Whitefish Spread because day-um, it was soooooo good.

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Salsamania

16 Oct

(the title kind of looks like “salmonella”)

Hear ye! Hear ye! I have taken a flying leap into the world of canning, and let me tell you…it’s not as easy as I thought!

I finally made it to the Farmer’s Market this Saturday, and now we are BARELY hanging on to tomato season. So with this in mind, I’ve literally had dreams about getting to the market and having the farmers look at me and slowly start shaking their heads. “Sorry ma’am, you’ll have your chance next year” NOOOOOO. Well, not to worry. While there wasn’t a huge selection, I got all I needed (and more). I spent about $13 on tomatoes, tomatillos, japalenos, peppers, cilantro, and sweet peppers. I’d say they threw in a good $4 or $5 worth of free merchandise. Economies of Scale! “But wait,” you’re asking yourself, “wasn’t Erica going to get a big haul of tomatillos from her mother’s garden?” Well, friend of friends, here is the haul from her garden:

I’m apologize for the Pirate terminology

Yowza. AND a few of these items were stolen (in the same fashion as before). But, as I stated, not to worry, because I got everything I needed at the market. OR DID I?

I had envisioned making salsa like I did previously, roasting some veggies to get that nice caramel-y flavor, and mixing it with some fresh veggies and cilantro, taste for salt and sugar, and BOOM, can the goodness and laugh all the way to the bank (i.e. cold winter nights with fresh salsa! Ole!). Well, clearly I had not done enough research because guess what YOU CAN’T CAN FRESH/RAW ITEMS. Also, he pH level has to be at 4.6 or lower for water-bath canning in order to react correctly with the heating to destroy any lingering bacteria.  Fun Fact: water has a pH of 7

So how do you make sure the salsa is acidic enough before canning? Well, you have to follow a proven and tested recipe EXACTLY. Too many peppers added may change the acidity, or any other deviation from the recipe can yield ruined results. You also need to boil everything for about 15 minutes before you even put it in the cans and then into the bath. So…no raw. Not even a little. Naturally I started to freak out. I looked through about 17 recipes, and finally settled on this guy:

Roasted Salsa Verde

After frantically looking through recipes upon message boards upon ball jar guides, I decided this one would utilize most of the flavors I want to highlight. I also learned you can substitute peppers for peppers, and tomatoes for tomatillos, AS LONG AS IT’S THE SAME AMOUNT SPECIFIED IN THE RECIPE. I’m sorry, still shaken. So, after a quick trip to the store for some lime juice and tortilla chips, I began the process.

The cans need to boil while everything else is getting prepared, and getting that GIANT pot of water to get hot took…some time. But that’s alright. We roasted the veggies. Tossed them in with cilantro, spices, and a vinegar/lime juice mix, blended it, and simmered it for about 15 minutes.

Slimey/sticky tomatillos. Wonky tomatoes. Everything pre-oven. Pretty pretty pretty.

Well, moment of truth. It’s-a canning time! Now to prepare the jar for insertion.

Try to take your eyes off the mound of onions in the background. Hey! Eyes over here!

Well, guess what, after being boiled for a while, those jars are HOT. Also, the water they’re in are HOT and for some reason I wasn’t being as careful as I should have been and bing-bong-boom I have a burned finger. But, small price to pay for a possible canning victory (we’ll know in a few weeks when I want salsa!). And now on to the water bath:

I don’t know why, but I just love this picture. It’s just soooo avant garde

And after CAREFUL tonging of the jars, they were placed on the counter to settle for 12-24 hours (it ended up being about 28 hours…overachieving)

One. Two. Three. Three jars of salsa. Ahh ahh ahh.

Now that one on the far Left I’m nervous about. You’re supposed to be very careful and exact-measurey about how much space is left between the contents and the top lip of the jar. This was supposed to be about 1/4 in. I didn’t have enough. I FOLLOWED THE RECIPE THOUGH! So that one I’m going to tread lightly as far as ingestion. I’m nervous, but excited.

Well, since I followed the directions PERFECTLY (I hope, god I hope, I did, I’m still freaking out about the possible contamination!) I had/have lots and lots of veggies leftover. So time for Plan A: make fresh salsa!!

I decided to make a half raw and half roasted veggie salsa.

  1. Cut up variety of veggies (tomatillos, tomatoes, jalapeños, sweet peppers, red onion, white onion)
  2. Roast at 500 for about 10-15 minutes (until you get a little bit of a char)
  3. Meanwhile, chop up raw cilantro, red onion, and salt in food processor. Keep chunky. Place mixture in bowl
  4. Add raw tomatoes and some sugar to food processor. Pulse (again, keep chunky). Now before you add this to the  onion mixture, strain most of the tomato liquid out (picture below). Now add to onion/cilantro.
  5. Let oven veggies cool a bit (who am I kidding, I give it about 90 seconds before I get impatient), and add to food processor. Add some more cilantro because, hey, why not. Pulse until combined (this will be less chunky than the raw veggies since they are already softer). Strain (like the tomatoes), then add to raw veggies.
  6. Stir. Taste. Add salt/sugar/more cilantro/lime/strawberries. Add some of the tomato/veggie liquid back for desired consistency.
  7. Feast.

Raw veggies. Sweet sassy molassey

This leftover juice was TASTY. I wish I had some vodka to put into it for a fresh take on a Bloody Mary!

What a fake shot. Like that teeny cup of salsa would be enough for a sufficient snack!

So I often take for granted the use of contact lenses while cutting onions. I normally wear contacts all day, or at least will pop them in when I’m going to the gym, going for a run, or doing something where I have to go out into society. Well today I did not put them in before cooking, so I was stung by that distant yet familiar…sting? Yes. It is still awful. And you know what’s worse? Putting your contacts in for a late evening run AFTER cutting jalapeños and onions all day. Even with multiple hand-washings. No amount of washing is sufficient. I looked really sad.

Yes We CAN

2 Oct

So I’ve taken the plunge. I just purchased a canning kit. It should be here in 5-8 business days (thank you Super Saver shipping, Amazon). I’ve been wanting dip my can into the boiling water that is home canning (bad canning joke, apologies). A few months ago during a cook cook shopping spree (I bought two), I purchased { The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux } by Paul Virant.

It’s a hardcover. Fancy.

I’ve been leafing through this book for a few months now. With no canning equipment. Well seeing as it’s ending tomato season, and I like making homemade pasta sauce and salsa (side note: I made this AMAZING tomatillo salsa with some of my mother’s homegrown tomatillos the other day…I really should have made a post, it was great. I was shocked. But I didn’t think it would turn out so well and I couldn’t find the memory card for my camera SPOILER ALERT it was still in my computer) I should probably be bottling this red liquid gold for future use. And plus, that basically gives me awesome homemade stuff to hand out at Christmas (and Channukah) every year. “Wow, Erica is so talented and thoughtful. And also attractive. So attractive.”

So, I made a list of things I’d like to can in the upcoming months (or weeks, let’s see how much FREE time I will have…in comparison to my current 100%):

  • Salsa (verde-medium)
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Onion Jam
  • Pickled carrots (from book)
  • Dill Pickles (from book)
  • Tomato Jam (from book)
  • Red Wine-Pickled Beets (from book)
  • Peach Saffron Jam (from book, and because I have some Spanish Saffron)
  • Currant Mostarda (from book, if I can find fresh currants)
  • Sauerkraut (from book)
  • and more!

Yes, this is a tall order, but I’m excited! I have my jars and kit on their way, and I’m excited to see what happens! I just hope I don’t mess up the pressure and the glass ends up shattering, and wedging into major arteries in my arm, and I’m bleeding out in the kitchen, all the while my non-insurance is laughing at me…laughing at me all the way to the bank. But enough about blood, back to the culinary arts!

Until my jars (cans? why do we can it canning when it’s jars Jars JARS) come, I have a great list of fall-inspired dishes to play around with. Pumpkin and Sweet Potatoes and Squash, oh MY!

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