Thursday, November 17, 2011
Isn't this a lovely pantry? Unfortunately, it's not mine. It's a picture I found on the internet. I really should take a picture of mine, but it's not really photogenic. You see, I live in a 1970s bilevel. Think of it as the "Very Brady" house....complete with the stairway right at the front foyer, which means you go up or downstairs right away. There is no basement. The kitchen didn't have a pantry at first - we added one where there was a desk space complete with walnut stain and a wall to ceiling cork pegboard once was. We put a pantry in that spot, and in it, we keep mostly storebought goods for immediate consumption. You know, cereal, granola bars, soup, spaghetti sauce, etc.
My real pantry is downstairs - next to what we would have called the "family room" in the 1970s. It's the laundry room, and it's where our furnace and hot water heater is, in addition to my home canned goods and my vast collection of herbs and spices (I have a bit of a problem - I have a spice addiction). On any given day, there's a couple crocks fermenting something or other. Once fermentation is complete, my pickles go out to my "cold cellar" - our attached garage where you might find a bag of apples, a couple heads of cabbage, some hyacinths to force and my lime green Ford Fiesta. Off in another corner is the chest freezer, filled with quarter of a local Tamworth hog, venison from the buck my son shot, and soon a quarter steer from another local farm. Plus soup from our Michigan Lady Food Blogger's soup exchange, homemade pasties and some frozen french fries and pizza rolls. So, the whole scene isn't really fetching....but just imagine the scene above when I describe my preservation highlights for this year:
McClure's Style Pickles - Brooklyn and Detroit natives will recognize McClure's pickles...they are delicious. My take on them is one of my most popular canned good. Andy and I canned them when both the kids were at camp this past summer and we were in the midst of a power outage. I made well over 24 pints - we're down to 17 jars left.
Strawberry Jam with Natural Pectin - my second most popular blog post of all time - well over 6,000 page views just this year. My family eats strawberry jam by the gross. I currently have 12 half pints and some various and sundry jelly jars full left. This jam was the subject of several farmer's market demos this past summer.
Grape Jam - haven't blogged about this yet so I can't post a link, but my sister in law sent my husband home with a grocery bag full of Concord grapes so I tried the grape jam recipe from Linda Ziedrich's great book about sweet preserves. Have you seen her blog? It rocks.
Salsa #5 - this salsa recipe is the best home canned salsa recipe I have ever made. We ate so much of it already that I had to call a farmer friend in October to see if she had any tomatoes left so I could make some more. Luckily, our mild autumn gave me a reprieve....I got some more put up and right now I have 24 pints left and a few extra quarts. This recipe was also the subject of a farmer's market demo.
Cherry Berry Spoon Fruit - I adore American Spoon Foods, a northern Michigan purveyor of all sorts of wonderful fruit preserves. This is my take on their Cherry Berry Spoon Fruit, which is a no sugar added fruit spread they make specially for our hometown Ann Arbor Zingerman's Deli. I made just 4 pints of this treat this year, because I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it worked out very well. I'll make more spoon fruit next year.
Cherry Preserves - I had to fix my first attempt, but my 5 half pints came out fantastic! They will be great holiday gifts
Peaches - My friend Ellen and I canned these one Friday night in August. I have 6 quarts total left to get us through the winter.
Stewed Rhubarb - It's what I do every May at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market. Can't wait to make a crisp in January. Rhubarb tastes like spring to me, and tonight on my way home it was all snow squalls. I will need rhubarb in January.
Pickled Green Beans - My friend Martha and I made these beauties early in the season. I have only one jar left.
Sauerkraut and Jalapeno peppers - I wild fermented both of these, and the currently reside in our garage. I will make some kapusta for Thanksgiving and I have already made several batches of pickled eggs with the peppers.
So, what have you preserved so far this year?