Saturday, August 13, 2011

small batches

I am enjoying the concept of small-batch preserving this year.  In past years, I have gone all wild with 20 lbs of peaches or cases of strawberries, but this year, I want to try things that may or may not work.  So I see it as cutting down on the waste.

I am completely uncomfortable with my first effort at sauerkraut.  Perhaps my kitchen was too warm, maybe I was overtired and added too much salt.  But it is at a loss of only one small cabbage and either 4 tsp or 4 Tbsp of salt, so the experience was worth it to me.  I'll be working up another batch once I find a suitable cabbage.

My small-batch experiments this past week involved Pickled Turnip (Lift) and plum jam.  The Lift (from Canning for a New Generation) is a resounding success, all pretty in pink with tasty tart turnips.  I need to build a sandwich to put it on now!
cooling on the counter
Peel, slice and blanch your turnips.  Layer into a jar with celery leaves and a few slices of pickled beets.  Pour hot vinegar/water/salt mixture over the top.  Add a little extra pickled beet juice because you really like that pink Easter egg color.  Cool on the counter; cap; refrigerate.  They are ready in 3 days, although I snuck one early and it was definitely what I tasted in that sandwich in that Arab joint in Manitou Springs!

3 days later!

I am actually surprised I have not tried plum jam before.  The recipe is very easy, not even involving pitting them.  The pits are skimmed out just prior to canning.  

boil with some water

add sugar and lemon juice, cook until pulpy

jar up and eat the leftovers
As always, altitude is tricky in this one.  We don't boil well at just under 7000 ft above sea level, so I am never sure whether to give something an extra few minutes - brown rice, for example - or to just go with the normal time.  My jam may be a little less jammy than I'd like, but again...4 jars.  I have no doubt it will be eaten, it just won't be given away as a gift LOL.  In my post-jam research, I realized that plums are naturally high in pectin, especially if you are taking advantage of the skins and pits (that sounds so very wrong!).  So although my initial set test - watching slightly cooled jam slide off a wooden spoon and looking for sheeting - indicated I should let 'er boil for a few minutes more, I see this is not actually warranted.

I think I'll be printing off a copy of that natural pectin level chart of fruits so I can be aware during future jam sessions.

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