Category Archives: Preserving

Tomato Peach Balsamic Jam

Tomato Peach Balsamic Jam

The upside of seasonal eating has gotten enough play.  Today we turn to its darker side.  To the part of eating seasonally where summer ends and I am supposed to set aside perfect peaches for pumpkin soup and root vegetables.  What kind of solace is that, I ask?

In the coming weeks I’ll settle in, I know, remembering the unexpected heights that Brussels sprouts can reach and that miso-roasted squash and kale salad.  I’ll even delight in planning our vegetarian Thanksgiving menu.  Eventually.

But for today, let’s talk about holding onto those peaches for as long as we can.

This recipe is the love child of this sweet tomato jam and this savory peach jam.  It was inspired by a tomato and peach salad we ate all summer and a tomato and peach gazpacho served in the cafe of my favorite bookstore.  And like all my good jam ideas, I later learned that Marisa had it first.

This jam is equal parts peaches and tomatoes by weight, but the result is more sweet than savory; the umami notes of tomato and balsamic add just a whisper of intrigue.  As you’d expect, it’s most at home alongside a soft cheese or spooned over a piece of salmon, but it’s no slouch in a sandwich or vinaigrette either.

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Zucchini Relish

At 2 a.m. I was still in the kitchen. Peach jam in the canner, tomato jam out of the canner, three trays of fruit leather in the oven, tomatoes and peaches in the dehydrator, prepping zucchini relish.  This is what I always forget in those dreamy, carefree spring months when I plant my garden or sign up for a CSA (or, this year, do both): The harvest season is also a season of all-out frenzy.

This recipe is here to help.  You will find both emotional and practical relief as you reduce two truly gargantuan zucchini to five tidy pints of the hot dog relish you remember from childhood.

Pile it onto a field roast sausage with that better-than-ketchup (and I don’t say that lightly) tomato jam and a beery mustard, and you’ll almost forget about the boxes of ripe pears in the basement still awaiting your attention.

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Any ideas for those pears? Continue reading

Citrus Sugar

It’s unfortunate that we’re not supposed to eat sugar anymore, because at this time of year I’m zesting citrus like mad and there’s nothing like a little (or a lot of) sugar to tame the delectable bitterness of orange and lemon peels.  Think marmalade, think lemon-olive oil cake, think whole wheat quick bread with orange zest and brown sugar.  Need more ideas?  I loved this recent post from Food In Jars.Orange Zest Sugar from emmycooks.comThis isn’t a recipe so much as a good idea: before the next time you peel or juice a (washed, organic) lemon or orange, scrub off the zest with a microplane first.  Zest the fruit directly into a bowl to catch every drop of oil and essence from the peel.  Add sugar.  For this batch I added 1/2 c. granulated sugar to the zest of one orange and half a lemon.  Mash it around to help the sugar absorb the flavor of the zest, then leave the bowl uncovered at room temperature for a day or two, stirring occasionally, until the zest is completely dry.  Transfer to a sealed jar for storage. Continue reading

How to Make Applesauce

I have a book in which I record, from time to time, the big and small adventures in our family’s life.  I mean to write in it every day, just a sentence or two.  More often, weeks or even months go by between entries.  I try to catch the important stuff, though, when I do sit down to write–milestones and anecdotes from our daughters’ lives, travels we want to remember, loving moments with our extended family.  And, of course, what’s happening in the kitchen.Our family’s book begins with applesauce.  It was an October when I started the family journal (abandoning, in the process, my girls’ individual baby books) and we had just turned our three trees worth of apples into a year’s worth of applesauce.  So in a way, I think of making applesauce as the beginning of each new year.  At this time of year I often flip back through the years contained in my book and marvel at how fast life changes.  And how each chapter is even better than the last.

Applesauce, though, is a constant in our lives.  Every year we lighten the groaning branches of the apple trees in the fall, piling box after box of apples into the house.  We sort the apples, setting aside the unblemished best for eating and sharing.  We eat and bake and dry as many apples as we can.  And the rest become applesauce for the year ahead. Continue reading

What’s Cooking: October 2012, Week 2

I’ll give you a clue about what’s cooking around here….But first, this: I was just reading about October Unprocessed, a project that has inspired literally thousands of people to take a pledge to eat only unprocessed foods during the month of October.  I’d say I’m an avid home cook, but reading about this made me reflect on what it would mean for our family to take that pledge.  No Os cereal for the baby.  No granola bars for the kids on the go.  No MSG-laced almonds at happy hour.  (I don’t know if they really have MSG.  But probably.)  It would be kind of a big deal.  Have any of you taken the pledge?  Do you think you could?

And hey, what’s cooking in your kitchen this week?  Please feel free to leave your seasonal favorites and links in the comments! Here’s the weekly glimpse into my kitchen.

In the Kitchen

Menu 1:  Tune in to the Virtual Vegan Potluck on November 1 for a rich and creamy (vegan) roasted celery soup.  We had it with homemade beer bread and cabbage and apple salad.Menu 2: J grilled sardines for maybe our favorite sandwich of all time: crusty bread, swipe of mayo, generous smear of dijon mustard, crunchy lettuce, grilled sardines.  Try it.  We had them with a cooked-greens salad and a beet-and-orange salad.  (There I go again with the many-salads thing.  So decadent!)

Menu 3: We made a tomatillo pizza with cilantro pesto (recipe soon!) and had it with a roasted carrot and avocado salad.Preserving

Today I canned 26 pints of applesauce (which meant four loads in the canner; maybe I’ll do quarts next year) and started a gallon of sauerkraut.  Someone remind me to check it in a few weeks, please!I also dried the leaves from a bunch of celery and made a kind-of-amazing homemade celery salt.  So far it’s gone on soup and buttered bread, and I can’t wait to sprinkle it on deviled eggs.  What else should I do with it?

On My Plate

How many apples are in a bushel?  I think I’ve still got at least that many in the basement.  What are your favorite or most unique things to do with apples?

Thanks for Cooking with Emmy Cooks!

Epicurean Ramblings made our favorite Healthy Cookies.

Blue Kale Road made chickpeas from scratch and used the broth in a gorgeous-looking Kale and Polenta Stew.  I can’t wait to try it.  (I also want to make most of the other recipes on that site, and I’ve loved the ones I’ve tried.  Check it out.)

Thanks again for being part of the Emmy Cooks community!  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, add the RSS feed to your own reader, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Saffron Peach Jam

Welcome to Emmy Cooks!  You can see some of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are June, July, and August).  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, add the RSS feed to your own reader, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

By this time of year, our shelves are well-stocked with jam.  We’ve been making it all summer: Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry.  Rhubarb, cherry, three kinds of plum.  We eat plenty of jam–on yogurt and oatmeal, in sandwiches, with fancy cheese–and still, we will make it through the winter.  We have plenty of jam.

But it’s hard to stop.  And really, can there be too much jam?  Extra jars make welcome gifts, and I never seem to find myself with much left over when summer rolls around again.So I was happy to spend a day in the kitchen with a box of organic peaches last week.  They arrived on my doorstep courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission (full dislosure: the peaches were given to me at no charge, but the opinion that peaches are great is entirely my own).  We ate one after another after another.  And then it was time to make more jam.

I asked you for your peach preserving ideas.  I browsed the Sweet Preservation website.  I flipped through Mes Confitures.  I couldn’t decide.  So I made some of everything.  I made a sweet, chunky peach jam with a vanilla bean scraped in.  I made a tangy peach chutney with a lot of grated fresh ginger.  And, at Hannah’s suggestion, I made this Saffron Peach Jam.

It’s based on a recipe from The Preservation Kitchen, but it’s a good deal sweeter than the version in the book.  Some people say that saffron tastes spicy, or purfumey, or that it tastes like the sea.  Here it simply provides an earthy, savory counterpoint to the sweetness of the peaches, subtle enough that my six year old loved the jam but intriguing enough that I have gone about my days plotting uses for it.  I’m going to spoon it onto rice pudding and ricotta-topped toast.  I’m going to layer it into my next frittata sandwich in place of the tomato jam.  I’m going to serve it on a cheese plate.  But meanwhile, it’s just been going straight on toast.

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Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

Welcome to Emmy Cooks!  You can see some of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are June, July, and August).  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, add the RSS feed to your own reader, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Are you a condiment person?  Here’s an easy test: is there a shelf of your fridge (or three or four) jammed with little bottles and jars of sauces and oils and pickles and mustards and relishes and jams and chutneys and maybe, way at the back, an unopened jar of truffle butter that came from Italy, ahem, years ago?

Or is that just me?

I love all those delicacies in little jars, so it’s no surprise that I’m a fan of Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars website.  I bought the Food in Jars cookbook as soon as I saw it appear at Book Larder, and it has been a big part of my summer.  First off, there was that Maple-Roasted Almond Butter we all loved, and then I consulted with Marisa (I mean her book) about jams all summer long–for the record, we see eye to eye.  Marisa (I mean her book) even deserves the thanks for those candied cherries that I couldn’t bear to puree into cherry butter.  See why I like her (I mean her book) so much?And that was before I made this tomato jam.  Continue reading

Basil Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta and Tomatoes

I found this picture on the camera the other day:I asked J, “Why did you take this picture?”

J asked me, “Why did you put a glass of basil in the cupboard?”

Well, for about a million reasons, of course!  First, you all convinced me that I should keep my basil on the counter in a vase of water–and hey!  That really works!  Second, the counter was messy and I needed a little more space.  Third…well, ok, two reasons.

When there’s more basil than I have room for, it’s pesto time.  At this time of year, if you have a glut of basil yourself, consider making a big batch of pesto and freezing it in ice cube trays.  (Not because you’d limit yourself to one cube of pesto, of course–just because it defrosts more quickly than if you freeze it in a bigger block.)  And if you’re making pesto to freeze, it might as well double as dinner, right?This is, to me, the perfect pesto.  It’s saucy and flavorful with no one component overwhelming the others.  It tastes like summer, which we’ll appreciate with nostalgia soon.  But for the moment, why not enjoy it with whole wheat pasta and summer’s perfect Sungold tomatoes? Continue reading

Spicy Pickled Peppers

While we’re enjoying September’s fine harvest of assorted spicy peppers, why not preserve a few to enjoy when the season is over?

Honestly, my standard method for preserving peppers (of any kind) is to slice or chop them, pile them into a freezer bag, and put them in the freezer.  But you don’t need a recipe for that, do you?

You don’t need much of a recipe for this, either, but I always like to pickle a jar or two of mildly spicy peppers to enjoy in the fall.  This a a quick refrigerator pickle, which takes little time beyond slicing the peppers and simmering a simple brine for five minutes.  The investment will pay off many times over, since it only takes a few of these pickled pepper rings to spice up any meal. Continue reading