Pressure canned taco spice chickpeas: a great pantry staple-Putting Up with Erin
Pressure canned taco spice chickpeas: a great pantry staple-Putting Up with Erin

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself an extreme risk taker, but I do think a little bit of added risk makes any hobby that much more intriguing. For Christmas this past year I received a glorious, long sought after Presto 16 quart pressure canner. When writing my gift list, all I could do was think, “wow.. all the things I can preserve with a pressure canner that I can’t with a water-bath canner…” Admittedly, it’s been sitting pretty in its box for the past month.  I didn’t think it would happen to me, I process foods over high heat all the time, yet the simple word “PRESSURE” kept me real nervous about experimenting. Last night after watching at least five instructional videos, I went for it.

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Picante Pickled Carrots... hot, hot, hot!-Putting Up with ErinPicante Pickled Carrots... hot, hot, hot!-Putting Up with Erin

I had planned on starting this post with, “Since moving away from California…”, but then I realized that not only would that be a bit too cliche, but it’d also be my 1000th time reminiscing with those exact words. So let’s try this instead.. Do you know those hot, Mexican, pickled carrots that light your ass on fire? And no, I’m not talking about the semi-sweet carrots that you’d find at Baja Fresh. These hot and tangy taquería-style carrots are crunchy and a great condiment or side for any south of the border dish. This recipe is straight from Kevin West’s Saving the Season. For those of you who don’t have a copy of the book, I’ve attached the recipe below. I know the preparation looks pretty involved, but I assure you all the chopping and peeling is well worth it for these picante pickled carrots.

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Cinnamon Whiskey Jelly- Putting Up with ErinCinnamon Whiskey Jelly: SOOO good!- Putting Up with Erin

Do you remember those individually wrapped fireball candies? They were always conveniently priced and placed at the local pool, theater, arcade, or some other fun concession stand when I was growing up. I can recall the countless memories and horrible enjoyment of slobbering and sucking the hot saliva away which always resulted in very red and very sticky lips, checks, and fingers.

Fast forward 20 years to me discovering Fireball Whiskey. While it’s hard to deny the sugary goodness of Fireball whiskey, there is definitely a time and a place for it. I had been playing around with the notion of making a Fireball jelly for some time, and decided that rather than overpowering the jelly with the crap sugar and unknown ingredients, I would instead make my own cinnamon whiskey jelly using good old bourbon and cinnamon sticks. I ended up pairing apple cider with the whiskey as I wasn’t trying to make straight up whiskey jello shots… though come to think of it, that may have made the process much more exciting. Nonetheless, with a fifth of added whiskey, I’m not sure if I would choose this jelly for your kids’ next PB&J.

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Salted Caramel Pear Butter- Putting Up with ErinSalted Caramel Pear Butter- Putting Up with Erin

Has anyone else noticed the somewhat recent surge in salted caramel goods: ice cream, candies, Chapstick flavors, your fluffy dog’s shampoo? Or have I just been living under a culinary rock for the past few years? Nonetheless I am more than excited about the new (or not so new) salted caramel fad. I came across this sizable bounty of Asian and Bosc pears at our farmers market last Saturday, and figured I’d buy a bunch as I assume the season for winter pears is coming to an end. Knowing that I wanted to employee my newish crockpot again, I decided on pear butter. This salted caramel pear butter recipe was inspired by a few different recipes, particularly Knit & Knosh. Aside from a couple ingredient substitutions, my main modification was processing this butter in water-bath canner to extend its shelf life. The nice thing about pear butter, unlike pumpkin butter, is that it is completely safe to can, which is a big plus for me as I only consume at most a tablespoon a day.

In other news, as of a few days ago, original recipes from this blog are now featured on Punk Domestics. Check out the red “view my gallery” icon in the left side bar. Punk Domestics is not only am amazing website for finding preserved food recipes, but also a good place to learn about preservation techniques and methods.

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Ever wonder how people make sprouted bread? Me neither… Until now! The answer is sprouted flour, and thus sprouted grains. For Christmas this past year I received a sprout growing kit from the Sprout House. This kit doesn’t include many grains for the purpose of sprout flour, so i’ll have to acquire those at a later time. But what it does include is a plastic sprouting lid that fits any wide mouth-sized jar, and enough seed, pea, and bean samplers to last me a lifetime. Thus far, we’ve tried a few different mixes both in a 2 quart mason jar, and in our apartment-size aquaponics system (photo below). To my surprise, 4oz of dry seeds makes a TON of sprout’lings… so many that we’ve been giving away jars and baggies full of fresh sprouts!! With sprouts growing out my ears, the obvious next step was to try pickled sprouts. I added a generous handful of fatty bean sprouts to some leftover curry cauliflower brine and the result was shockingly tasty. Hey maybe I’m on to something… “heard it here first!!”  😀

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