Category Archives: Preserving

Georgia Peach Jam

The topic for the Food in Jars mastery challenge for June is jam. As I live in the Peach State and the first of this year’s Georgia peach crop has just started to show up in local farmer’s markets it seemed the ideal candidate to turn into jam.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comSadly, the Georgia peach crop for 2017 is estimated to be 80% down due to a warmer than average winter followed by a spring freeze, so I need to take advantage of what I can get my hands on before the supply dries up.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comMy jam is based on Marisa’s recipe from “Food in Jars“, although I tweaked the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg from the original recipe.

The jam turned out really well and will be a welcome reminder of this year’s crop when the limited supply disappears.

If you have any spare jam, you can use it to make a decadent treat: bellini truffles. Click here for the recipe.

Peach Jam

2 lbs fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped

2 cups granulated sugar

Zest and juice of a lemon

0.25 tsp cinnamon

0.25 tsp nutmeg

3oz pack of liquid pectin

Put the peaches and sugar in a large non-reactive pan and stir well to combine. The peaches should start releasing their juice. Bring to a boil and add the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook over high heat for 15-20 minutes.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comAdd the pectin and and bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. The jam should have thickened. Remove from the heat.

Pour the jam into sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: Three 8oz jars

 

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Serviceberry Shrub

I wrote last year about my delight in discovering a serviceberry tree on public property in my neighbourhood, which gave me the chance to do a spot of urban foraging and make something delicious from the berries I picked.

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comI’m glad to say that I have subsequently spotted a few more serviceberry trees within walking distance of my home meaning I can grab a decent haul of the sweet red berries but leave plenty on the tree for other foragers and birds.

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comThe window for picking is relatively short. There was about a one week period where I was making daily strolls to pick berries from the abundant supply. I then returned from a couple of days out of town to find that the trees were bare of berries and that was it for this year.

Luckily I had gathered enough to make something delicious. Last year I opted for a sweet, thick syrup, perfect with pancakes. This year I decided to turn my berries into a shrub, or drinking vinegar. I make these regularly, especially when I have a glut of strawberries or blackberries, but have never tried with serviceberries before.

The result is absolutely delicious; it’s a pity that I’m going to have to wait another year until I can make some more.

Serviceberry Shrub

Ingredients

12oz fresh serviceberries

1 cup distilled white vinegar

Granulated sugar

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comPlace the berries in a glass or ceramic jar, crush lightly and add the vinegar.

Leave to steep for 4 days, stirring or shaking daily.

After 4 days strain the fruit. Then add the sugar: I use a 2:1 liquid to sugar ratio but you can adjust to your personal taste. After straining I had around 10 fl.oz. of liquid so I added 5oz of sugar to it and then gently heated it in a pan over medium heat, stirring regularly until the sugar dissolved, about 10 minutes.

Once the shrub is cool, bottle it and store in the fridge.

I usually drink my shrubs diluted with sparkling water.

Pickled Garlic

The topic for the May Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was cold pack canning, which as the name suggests, involves putting the food in the jar cold and uncooked before adding liquid and processing. It is a quick and straightforward method but some vegetables and fruits are more suited to this treatment than others.

pickled garlic from britinthesouth.comI found this month’s subject more challenging than previous months purely because of finding something suitable to preserve. I prefer to use seasonal produce from the farmer’s market when I can and many of the best candidates for cold pack canning simply weren’t in season yet.

Luckily, as the clock ticked away towards the end of the month, my friends at Riverview Farms came to the rescue, bringing bundles of freshly picked garlic to the farmer’s market. This wasn’t the dried old stuff with papery skins that you find in the supermarket but plump and juicy garlic cloves not long out of the ground. They are easy to peel and large cloves means it is a quick and easy exercise to fill the jars and before you know it you have some good looking jars of pickled garlic stashed away.

pickled garlic from britinthesouth.com

I followed Marisa McClellan’s recipe for “Pickled Garlic Cloves” from “Preserving by the Pint”, using homemade pickling spice. Her recipe made 3 half pint jars but I only managed 2, probably because of the large garlic cloves I had.

Pickled Garlic

1 pound fresh garlic, peeled

2 cups red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon pickling salt

2 teaspoons pickling spice (see recipe below)

Put the vinegar in a nonreactive pan, add the pickling salt, and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt.

Put a teaspoon of the pickling spice mix into each of the two half pint jars, then pack the garlic cloves as tightly as you can into the jar. Pour the hot brine over, leaving half an inch of headspace. Tap the jars to eliminate any air bubbles, wipe the rims, apply the lid and ring and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Yield: 2 half pint jars

Pickling Spice

3 tbs yellow mustard seeds

1 tbs coriander seeds

1 tbs whole allspice berries

1.5 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground ginger

2 inch cinnamon stick

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

Make the pickling spice mix, Lightly crush the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allspice berries and cloves using a pestle and mortar. Break the cinnamon into small pieces and rip up the bay leaves. Add to the mix along with the red pepper flakes and ground ginger. Mix well to combine.

pickling spice from britinthesouth.com

 

Quick Pickled Sweet Peppers

I’m a sucker for eye catching produce and in particular am often unable to resist the colourful pepper section at one of my favourite Asian markets in town. They have a vast array, ranging from mild to really hot, including many you simply wouldn’t find in a regular grocery store.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comLast time I was tempted by the red poblanos, which I turned into pepper jelly, but this time a pile of sweet, mini, multi-coloured bell peppers caught my eye. They were the perfect subject for the quick pickle treatment for this month’s Food In Jars Mastery Challenge.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comAs the name suggest, quick pickles are fast and easy. You simply make a brine with vinegar, water, sugar (or another sweetener of your choice) and spices. As they are kept in the fridge they do not need any sort of water bath processing or special equipment. Just prep your vegetable of choice, stick it in a jar, pour over the hot brine and you will soon be enjoying crisp, tasty pickles.

The taste of your final product will be heavily influenced by your choice of pickling spice. Of course, you can just go out and buy a jar of ready made pickling spice but where is the fun in that? Make your own and you can customise the flavour and spice level to your own liking.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comFor my quick pickles I loosely followed a recipe from Cathy Barrow’s “Mrs.Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry”. I started with her basic spice mix but cut back on the cinnamon, which I often find overpowering, and made it a little spicier.

This was a quick and fairly simple recipe and the peppers were ready to eat within a day of making them. I’ve already enjoyed them on veggie tacos and added to sandwiches and salads. They may not have the shelf life of water bath processed pickles but they don’t look like lasting long anyway.

Quick Pickled Sweet Peppers

12oz mixed sweet mini peppers

1 cup water

1 cup white or apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tbs salt

1 tbs granulated sugar

1.5 tsp pickling spice (recipe below)

Pickling Spice

3 tbs yellow mustard seeds

1 tbs coriander seeds

1 tbs whole allspice berries

1.5 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground ginger

2 inch cinnamon stick

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

Make the pickling spice mix, Lightly crush the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allspice berries and cloves using a pestle and mortar. Break the cinnamon into small pieces and rip up the bay leaves. Add to the mix along with the red pepper flakes and ground ginger. Mix well to combine.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comPrep the peppers by washing them and cutting them into thin slices. As I used small peppers they were the perfect size to fit in a jar. Larger bell peppers will work but might need cutting down to smaller strips. Pack the peppers into a sterilised quart jar.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comIn a nonreactive pan combine the water, vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar and pickling spice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour the brine into the jar, ensuring the peppers are covered. Once the jar has cooled down pop a lid on.

Leave for about 24 hours before trying. Store in the refrigerator and use within a month.

 

 

 

 

Red Poblano Pepper Jelly

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.comI have cooked many times with poblano peppers and until last week all the poblanos I’d ever seen were either a bright and vivid dark green colour or a glossy chocolatey brown.

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.comSo I was delighted to find some bright red poblanos mixed in with the green at one of my favourite markets and couldn’t resist grabbing a bagful of them. A quick google search led me to rickbayless.com where the Mexican cooking guru enthuses about the red poblano.

Poblanos take a long time to ripen to red so most are plucked from the vine whilst still green, hence their limited availability. I tried his recipe for “fettucine with butternut squash and red poblano crema” and can heartily recommend it.

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.comThe rest of my pepper haul was destined to make a batch of red poblano pepper jelly, jelly being one of the options for March’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge. Pepper jelly is one of my preserving staples in the summer when peppers of all shades are abundant in our CSA box, but making it with red poblanos would be a first for me. They are slightly hotter than their green counterparts , with a sweeter, more fruity flavour and, as I discovered, make a fantastic jelly.

I’ve already served it in the classic pairing of goats cheese and pepper jelly but it would also make a great glaze for meat or vegetables, be the perfect condiment for a grilled cheese sandwich, or add a kick when whisked into a salad dressing.

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.comThe recipe is based on one for “Sparkling Sweet Pepper Jelly” from “The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving”. As the name suggests, this recipe leaves you with small jewel like pieces of pepper suspended in a bright, glowing jelly, making it visually appealing for the table as well as delicious. It also means that you have quite a bit of chopping to do to get the tiny pepper pieces but the result is worth it and once that bit of prep is done it is a pretty simple recipe.

red poblano pepper jelly from britinthesouth.com

Red Poblano Pepper Jelly

1.5 cups finely chopped red poblano peppers

0.75 cup white wine vinegar

3 cups granulated sugar

1 pouch liquid fruit pectin (I used a 3oz pouch of Certo liquid fruit pectin)

Combine the chopped peppers, vinegar and sugar in a non reactive saucepan (stainless steel or enamel).

Bring to the boil over high heat and boil hard for a minute, stirring constantly.

Add the liquid fruit pectin, bring to the boil again and boil hard for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Ladle the jelly into sterilised jars, leaving half an inch of headspace.

Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Yield: 3.5 cups

 

 

 

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Collard Green Kimchi

The February topic for the Food In Jars Mastery Challenge was salt preserving. My only previous experience of this was a batch of preserved lemons a few years ago so I thought I would venture into unknown territory and have a go at making kimchi.

collard green kimchi from britinthesouth.comThe winter goodies at one of my local farmers markets included eye catching bunches of young collard green leaves, which I thought would be a good candidate for kimchi with a southern twist.

collard green kimchi from britinthesouth.comThe project also gave me a good excuse to go and explore the aisles of one of the great Asian supermarkets in town to pick up Korean red pepper powder and a big bag of fine Korean sea salt.

The recipe is loosely based on this one from minimalistbaker.com but with quite a few tweaks along the way.

I wanted my kimchi to be vegetarian so the first step was to make a batch of vegetarian fish sauce. For this component I turned to this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for a deeply savoury sauce made from shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce.

While the sauce was cooling I prepped my collards, washing and drying them before cutting them into bite sized pieces and layering with generous amounts of salt. They were then turned regularly for a number of hours, drawing out moisture and leaving the leaves tender. I used young leaves, which are smaller and more tender to start with than regular collard leaves, but they would work although might need a little more time in the salting process to get tender.

While the salting process was taking place I made a spicy paste from ginger, garlic, Korean chili, onion and the vegetarian fish sauce.

collard green kimchi from britinthesouth.comAfter rinsing the excess salt from the collard leaves and patting them dry again they were thoroughly coated with the spice paste before packing into a jar to ferment.

collard green kimchi from britinthesouth.comI was delighted with the result, which tasted great with a good burst of spiciness. I’ll definitely be making more kimchi in the future.

Collard Green Kimchi

Vegetarian Fish Sauce

3 cups water

0.25oz dried shiitake mushrooms

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Soak the dried mushrooms in one cup of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. This makes them easier to slice and you can used the soaking water when cooking to add more shiitake goodness to the final sauce. Make sure to strain out any grit from the soaking liquid.

Slice the mushrooms and add to a small pan with the soaking liquid, 2 more cups of water and the salt and soy sauce. Combine all the ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, 30 – 40 minutes. Strain and set aside to cool.

Spice Paste

3 tbs fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

10 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

0.25 cup Korean red chili powder

1 small onion, peeled  and roughly chopped

0.5 cup vegetarian fish sauce

Place all ingredients into a food processor and whiz until combined into a paste.

Vegetables

1 small bunch young collard green leaves (5-6oz)

4 green onions, sliced into half inch pieces

Remove the stalks from the collard leaves and slice into bite sized pieces. Wash well, drain and dry. Layer the leaves in a bowl with generous amounts of sea salt between each layer. Weigh the leaves down (I used a nest of smaller bowls) and leave for half an hour. Then turn and massage the leaves, ensuring they are still well coated with salt, weigh down once more and leave for another 30 minutes. Repeat this process a further 3 times, by which time the leaves should have lost some moisture and become noticeably tender.

Rinse the leaves to remove any excess salt and then place on paper towels and pat dry.

Next comes the fun part. Put the leaves in a bowl and add the sliced green onions. Then add the spice paste and mix by hand, making sure the vegetables are thoroughly coated with the paste.

Once well combined pack the mixture into a sterilised jar, pressing it down well. Put the lid on and leave in a cool dark place to ferment. Leave for at least 2-3 days and periodically taste to see how the flavour is developing. Once you are happy with it, put it in the fridge. I left mine for a week before refrigerating.

collard green kimchi from britinthesouth.com

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Lime, Lemon & Honey Marmalade

If you wander into a typical British supermarket looking for a jar of marmalade, it is unlikely that you will be disappointed. We love the stuff, so your only problem is going to be making a decision from the choices on offer. The majority of jars will be classic Seville orange marmalade, but even then you’ll have the choice between fine cut, thick cut or even peel free. Then you have variations on the orange theme, with added whisky or ginger, before moving on from oranges to the other citrus fruits.

Lime, Lemon & Honey Marmalade from britinthesouth.comI have never met a marmalade I didn’t like but if pressed for a favourite I think I would have to opt for Rose’s lemon and lime marmalade. The sharpness of the fruit really wakes up your tastebuds, especially on a cold winter’s day. It is fairly easy to find on this side of the Atlantic but I’ve always thought about having a go at making my own version and was finally inspired to do so by the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge, an excellent idea from Marisa of the Food in Jars blog: 12 monthly challenges throughout 2017, each one designed to improve a particular canning or preserving skill. January’s challenge is marmalade, so I had no excuse not to give it a try.

Lime, Lemon & Honey Marmalade from britinthesouth.comIn looking for a recipe I was spoilt for choice. My well stocked shelf of preserving books offered many possibilities before I even ventured online. In the end I opted for one of my most used volumes, “The River Cottage Preserves Handbook” by Pam Corbin. As well as writing and appearing on TV, Pam used to own a preserves company and is a judge at the World Marmalade Awards, so is well qualified.

You can find a clip of her making Seville orange marmalade here.

Lime, Lemon & Honey Marmalade from britinthesouth.comI went with her whole fruit recipe but tweaked it a little, replacing some of the sugar with local honey. The whole fruit method is quicker and easier than the sliced fruit technique of marmalade making but can result in a less delicate and slightly more bitter final product. I made a few batches of this recipe, using different proportions of limes to lemons and was delighted with the final marmalade every time although I finally settled on a 50:50 ratio as my favourite. It sets well, and has a wonderful balance of sharpness from the fruit, sweetness from the sugar and honey, and a pleasant, slightly bitter, finish.

Lime, Lemon & Honey Marmalade from britinthesouth.comIt is worth making just to fill your kitchen with that wonderful citrus aroma on a cold January day.

Lemon, Lime and Honey Marmalade

1lb fruit, preferably unwaxed (I went with approximately 50% limes / 50% lemons but you can tweak the ratio to your taste)

4 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup honey

Scrub the fruit, place in a pan and add 6 cups (48fl.oz) water to cover. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the fruit is tender and the skin can be easily pierced with a fork (about an hour).

Remove from the heat and leave until the fruit is cool enough to handle. Make sure you keep the cooking water.

Slice the fruit in half and use a teaspoon to remove the pulp from the peel. Put the pulp in a sieve over a bowl, remove and discard any seeds but retain the pulp and juice.

Then slice the rinds to your desired thickness. I went for a fine shred, which is a little more time consuming but I simply prefer a finer shred in my final marmalade rather than thick chunks.

Put the sliced fruit, retained pulp and juice and 3 cups (24fl.oz) of the retained cooking liquid into a pan, and add the granulated sugar and honey. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring to a rolling boil and boil rapidly until the setting point is reached. Between my different batches this took anywhere from 25-35 minutes, so it is best to check that you’ve achieved the setting point.  Just to be on the safe side, I used two different tried and tested techniques to make sure. I used a thermometer to check when it had reached 220 degrees F, and then to be certain I did a “crinkle” test, dropping a little bit of marmalade onto a saucer that had been in the freezer for a few minutes. After letting it cool for a minute or so, if it crinkles when you push it with your fingertip, you are good to go.

Remove from the heat and leave for a couple of minutes. Stir gently to disperse any scum that has formed on the surface during the boiling.

Pour the marmalade into sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: Five 8oz jars

Lime, Lemon & Honey Marmalade from britinthesouth.com

 

 

 

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