We pickled fiddleheads on the weekend after plotting about them earlier in the month.
Waterbath Canning Recipes
We’re thrilled to be part of the 1,400 people participating in the Food In Jars Mastery Challenge this year. Each month features a different challenge and this one brought marmalade back in to our lives. We decided to throw our hat into the ring by making a no-fuss honey marmalade recipe that’s heavily inspired (and includes) one of our favourite nightcaps: Scotch.
I’ll be the first to admit there’s a whole lot going on here so let me get some of the core details out of the way for skimmers and they can skip to the recipe if they want while others may want to dig a little deeper below:
- This is an easy recipe. No need to zest your orange and I wanted simple from the get-go.
- Yes, you can make marmalade with honey – and it’s awesome! It’s a bit thicker than gooey jam but I tend to eat it for dinner (it’s awesome with goat cheese on toast or used to glaze a ham) but the texture is closer to thick honey than runny jam. You can cook it less if you prefer it to be runny.
- This is a 2-day recipe – although the overall time is longer than you might expect this is for good reason – it saves a lot of manual work in zesting your citrus! Day 1 is about 20 minutes of active time (and about 30 minutes total) and day 2 is about 20 minutes of active time (and about 2.5hours total cooking time)
- Yes, you can skip the Scotch. Replace it with 1/4 cup water. You should know it’s not boozy (the alcohol cooks off) and the Scotch takes it away from a sweet breakfast condiment (though it does fine there too) and transforms it into an ingredient that can be used at any meal. I’ve chopped some and tossed it with brussels sprouts and added other to a teapot with loose leaf tea (just strain before serving).
- Yes, I used a ridiculous Scotch for this. A 16 year-old Lagavulin. I would do it again – adding 2 ounces of an exquisite Scotch at the end of the process extends what would otherwise be a single drink into more than a pint (we had 7 * 4-ounce jars) of goodness. You can skip the Scotch or use something else but this was a lovely addition and I happened to have a bottle getting dusty on the shelf!
All the formalities are out of the way – let’s get on to the process (you can skip ahead for the honey marmalade recipe at the end if you’d rather):
It`s been a year of preserving for the can jammers – a massive thanks to Tigress who has been an awesome hostess – I can`t imagine the work she goes through every month to wrap up our monthly adventures and I plan to spend a lot of time on her site this year as the seasons cycle back from whence we`ve came.
This recipe is something we rarely do – it`s a near invention of ingredients. We`ve taken a proven recipe for applesauce (that I know to be `by the book`) and supplemented some of the fresh apples and swapped them with ones we dehydrated. As our recipe called for 12 pounds of apples, we dehydrated 3 of them. This reduced their water content but should keep the rest in check. I am more than confident (I wouldn`t eat it or feed it to my family otherwise) but thought I should be open in case you try the same.
I wanted to call this jar William Told but I thought that it`s given name (William Tell) was a cryptic enough reference to apples:
Note (Oct 17, 2013): The recipe below was developed almost 4 years ago. It’s a little confusing to read but I’ve decided to leave it as such. While it’s perfectly safe and the story may be interesting, I prefer to make applesauce with far less sugar than I used to – and I think the results are better. Click here for my latest applesauce recipe. This is about as easy as it gets – set aside a few hours and you`ll be off to the races. This applesauce will be as good as it gets – it took me 5 or 6 hours to turn 75 pounds of apples into 9 liters of sauce (36-1 cup bottles) but you could easily do six cups of peeled and cored apples at a time in an hour or two (including canning – the basics of which are covered here).
My tastes seem to be changing as I get older. I still love ultra-spicy things but my entire palate around preserving is becoming far more simple, especially with fruit. I`m hedging more and more to the simple techniques used by generations long past with as little sugar as possible.
I’m a guy. Not always a stereotypical male (I was a jazz-dancing, figure-skating, sequence-wearing kid after all) but I do sometimes fall into the trappings of all things male. When I started focusing on preserving as a way to augment our pantry I fell into a mindset that’s an absolute cliché for the male species (being fair, this also applies to many females I know as well but I need to tell a story so I’m sticking to it):
More is better.
I was practically a neanderthal. I didn’t know what I was going to do with 24 jars of strawberry jam but I wanted to have them.
I like to think that I’ve somewhat mellowed:
A tale of two pickles between today and tomorrow – two different techniques that yield very different results, both with their own advantages. Today’s article is about quick dills – pickles that can be made and enjoyed within a few weeks and will peak in several months.
I’m just not that into you – well not that into sweets anyhow. But some things are like heroin of the preserving world – this is one of them:
Yesterday’s post revealed pickles that can be eaten in weeks of inception and will peak within months. I make a batch to hold me over to my true love – the long setting dill.
Like all preserving; there is no substitute for fresh. Cucumbers are best for pickling when they have been harvested less than 24 hours. That’s a tall order for most grocery stores – pick your own makes this an almost certain guarantee while the roadside stand may come down to trust.
Clean your ‘cukes like it’s 1999 (that means well). 4-inch is standard length. Be warned of large baskets – picking them in bulk is often cheaper and you get to hand select your pickles.
Secret important tip from a source that would kill me if I shared (and you’ll find it on the Internet): before pickling, cut the blossom end off your cucumbers (this helps the bring penetrate) and surround in a bath of ice water (heavy on the ice, light on the water). Make them as cold as possible before pickling. Think of Siberia. This will help ensure a firm, crispy, pickle.
1. Prep 4 pounds of pickles per above.