Happy autumn! While yesterday’s high of 89F was a bit of an anomaly here in coastal NH, boots and sweater season has officially begun (for me). After just 5 months of living in Portsmouth I feel as if it might be home for a while… and by “a while” I might mean for the foreseeable future (woah, right? That’s kind of a big deal for me). The people, the culture, the beauty of the area/environment (hello fall colors) continues to amaze me in a completely unexpected way. That being said, let’s see how I feel after my first NE winter. I’m really trying to hold off for a couple more days before diving into fall time fruits and veggies, but as the abundance of apples, squash, and pumpkins at the farmers’ market grows so does my canning excitement (I just bought a vintage Apple Machine today!!).
A couple weeks back, we took a field trip down to the Boston Food Swap for the purposes of “seeing how they do it” and to get the word out about our swap. Albeit the Boston swap had a pretty different feel from ours: security to get into the building (glad we were on the list), free tooth brushes and mouth wash in the bathroom, and free tea, coffee, and beer on tap (that’s what I’m talking about), we confirmed that we aren’t completely screwing it up… whew! As a last minute effort to make something worthy of another city’s swap (I really had no clue what to expect) and because I had 5lbs of ripe to over-ripe limes that I needed to use up ASAP, I threw together this tasty mojito jelly. While I’ve been known to make liquor based jellies in the past, for the sake of a reliable set I decided to omit the rum this time. I probably should have let it set up a little bit longer than I did, but all in all the Boston swappers went crazy for this jelly.
Didn’t I promise more peach and tomato recipes? Well here you have it. Since moving to New Hampshire earlier this year (buying a car helps) I’ve been on a bit of a PYO fruit kick. First blueberries, then raspberries, herbs, peaches, and now apples… A couple weeks ago I put up some pickled yellow peaches that I acquired from Union Lake Peach Orchard in Barrington, NH. Not only did I promise the two sisters at the Orchard that I’d be back for more, but with news of their Belle of Georgia White Peach harvest I honestly couldn’t stay away. Bouncing around the Seacoast region (i.e., let’s pick a green spot on Google maps and go there) the weekend before last, we decided to pay the Orchard a visit, and boy am I glad we did. When we arrived at the peach stand they only had a couple dozen of pre-bagged lots left. As usual, I bought a bunch of something without a specific recipe in mind. With another 15 pounds of small tomatoes from the beau’s garden in haul I started exploring peach and tomato concoctions. This recipe is a slight modification on a recipe I found in Southern Living, the big difference is that I decided to can my preserves as I don’t have nearly enough fridge space for this tripled recipe.
After jarring up 7 half pints of this fruity, herby preserve, I had tons of leftover syrup/liquid. Instead of tossing it, I figured with all the added pectin I could easily make a jelly. To do so I simply poured the liquid through a fine mesh strainer then canned it per usual. Easy peasy and I had 7 quarter pints of jelly to take to the Seacoast Food Swap last Sunday! Don’t you just love byproducts?!
A little over a week ago you may recall me bitching about how behind I was on canning tomatoes this season. Well here ya have it folks… behold… tomato jam! Oh, this isn’t just any tomato jam, this is an extra smokey char broiled tomato jam. While I realize that the season is coming to an end and it may be too late for a few of you to find good tomatoes, better late than never, right? I started this season off by first making pickled cherry tomatoes and have a few more recipes that I have yet to share (hint: preserves, sauce, etc.). This past Sunday we spent some time in the garden, and despite the overwhelming weeds there were still plenty of tomatoes to be harvested (thanks permaculture). 15lbs of juliet tomatoes to be exact. With over half of them being deemed as ‘seconds’, and the fruit flies centering in on their smelly good target, I needed to use them up fast. I plan on using this smokey jam in place of BBQ sauce and ketchup… smokey tomato jam and sweet potato fries, oh man, on man!
We are heading up to the Common Ground County Fair put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) in Unity, Maine this weekend. The fair is focused on celebrating rural and sustainable living in New England. I’m looking forward to the various workshops and events, in particular the “Making & canning low-sugar jams” as well as the “wine-making made easy” sessions. I’ll report back on Monday. Have a nice weekend and as always, thanks for putting up with Erin. 🙂
Three times in the past two weeks I’ve been approached with the same type of proposition: “Hey Erin, I have X-amount of X-item… you can pickle that, right?” “Sure, unload your time sensitive goods on me and I’ll figure it out…”. The weekend before last, we ran into a friend downtown who had stumbled upon a ton of local wild oyster mushrooms (apparently it’s that time of the year). “Someone told me the best way to preserve mushrooms is to pickle them, so I’m looking for a pickler…” Local mushrooms foraged by a friend that need pickling? Heck yes, we’ll do it! Be we, I mean the beau. Aside from the occasional advice in making sure he didn’t put up botulism in a jar (“mmm, that sounds good. I’ll have that”), my only role in this here mushroom pickle was supervisor’ess. In need of inspiration, the internet was consulted and the recipe by Marisa from Food in Jars featured on In a Pickle was the winner. While our tasked bounty of fresh mushrooms only produced ~2 half pints of pickles, the byproduct was a flavor filled mushroom stock that we used in a soup later that evening.
I’m kind of dragging my feet here, it’s well into tomato season and I haven’t yet pulled out my pressure canner. I don’t know about you, but my tomato consumption (due to the large amount of stews/soups/chilies I make) skyrockets during the winter months. My over enthusiastic plan for this winter was to put up enough tomato concoctions (sauces, pastes, stewed, diced, etc) to last me through the winter without buying a single canned tomato product… but then… I remembered the last time…
… Last summer, before the birth of this here blog, without a care in the world and absolutely no plans for the day, l I was frequenting the Baltimore Saturday morning farmers’ market, when I came across a vendor selling tomato seconds (i.e., tomatoes that aren’t as pretty as the rest). I quickly scanned my mental rolodex of canning ideas, and over-zealously and sooo naively decided that I wanted to put up 25 of generic marinara sauce. Super! This lead to the not so successful bike trip across town, to return home and realize that not only was this going to be an all day affair, but also that in order to avoid using a crap ton of citric acid additive that a pressure canner was needed… which I didn’t have at the time (my enthusiasm was waning). Hours (like 7 of ’em) later not only was every vessel in the kitchen that somewhat resembled a pot in use, but every inch of me and my kitchen was splattered in red sauce (remember your childhood art project where you blew paint through a straw? Ya like that…).
© 2017 Erin A. Urquhart All Rights Reserved.