Posts Tagged ‘preserves’

Pimp that Preserve Entry – Hard Cider for Cold Nights

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Oh dear, the toddler has broken my lap top and I having trouble typing so post this will be short on words.  Especially words with certain letters that will remain a secret as I canot type them.  Cocvxzbined (see what I mean?) with learning wordpress this is a bit of a mess.

In what is becoming an annal tradition, Well Preserved is currently holding their Pimp that Preserve competition.

So I pulled out the rick rack, black paper, white pencil crayons, felted wool and got down to work.

All year I felt like I was not getting any canning done but clearly that was not the case.  This year we made a few batches of jam, then fought with a bushel of peaches, moved on to tomatoes, so many tomatoes, tried two types of cranberry sauce and ended off with Catherine’s favourite beets.

I had the idea of dinner gift packs of pasta sauce and fun pasta from the Italian grocers on the Danforth. Wrapped in bags made of old wool scarves with a fringe.

They’re cute but really what we needed to do was to bottle the cider.

So here is Cubits official Pimp that Preserve Entry.

I call it Hard Cider for Cold Nights.

The cider was primed with local honey and bottled before donning little wool and rick rack sweaters.

Little sweaters and little cinnamon sticks for the smaller bottles.

Come and check out the other entries and vote by liking your favourites here in the Well Preserved facebook community.  How do you dress up your preserves for the holidays?  I would love to see them.

Make Your Own Organic Cranberry Sauce {Enough for both Canadian Thanksgiving and Christmas}

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

I had a lovely evening out last week with my friend Shana.  We went out on the town to a canning class put on by Bernardin in a local church kitchen. Although we’re both becoming rather seasoned canners it’s nice: 

1. To have a nice community event to go to.
2. We kind of like hanging out in church basements.
3. We need to start having real answers when we get asked questions about canning instead of having to admit to some of our bad practices and mishaps (see here, and here for details).

One of the recipes shared by Chef Emerie was for Spiced Cranberry Preserves.  The process is the same as this recipe for cranberry sauce off the rather useful home canning website.  The only difference is that this method uses 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon so no need for cheese cloth. I actually used a 1/4 teaspoon of each. There’s also a good recipe for straight up cranberry sauce which is basically just a larger amount without the spices.  

This is so simple.  Thanksgiving and Christmas Cranberries are essentially just jam so you really can’t go wrong. 

The high pectin content of cranberries really makes this simple though; 10 minutes and you’re set.  Get it? Set?  That’s a jam joke. Really though, I had completely finished this project in one toddler nap and even had time to call my dad and a clean kitchen when she woke up.

I made this recipe twice; once with the spices and one without.  I think they are equally delicious but we’ll be putting them to a taste test on Sunday at Thanksgiving dinner.

So the recipe is: 

4 cups of fresh cranberries {but frozen would work fine too}
1 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon {optional}
1/4 teaspoon of cloves {optional}

makes 4x 250ml jars

Our version is entirely organic. The Big Carrot and Better Bulk {both on the Danforth in Toronto} have  awesome organic spice sections and it is getting easier and easier to find organic ingredients at the grocery store.

I wish I could have found Ontario Cranberries today as they certainly grow pretty close to home, but it seems there are only three commercial cranberry producers in Ontario. The store had frozen and organic from BC, Some from Maine, and then the f
resh organic Quebec ones I ended up choosing. I’m going to keep my eye out at the farmer’s market this weekend as I have a few more cranberry recipes I need to make and the foodies & farmers of twitter tell me there are smaller scale cranberry growers to look for.

Let’s can some cranberries while there’s still enough time to do this for Thanksgiving dinner this weekend:

Prepare your jars and lids by washing and bringing your jars to a boil and in a separate pot bringing your lids to a simmer.

In your best non-reactive pot, combine all your ingredients over medium heat.

Cook for 10 minutes or so.  You’ll see / hear the cranberries burst / split / explode. Here’s a photo of them splitting. They really pop.

I then squished a few up with the back of my spoon just to mix things up a little.

Quickly jar up the preserves with a 1/4inch head room, wipe the rims, put on your warm lids, screw finger tight and then heat process for 10 minutes.  That’s it! You’re done and the star of Thanksgiving dinner with some extra to bring again at Christmas; Ensuring that you remain your parent’s favourite daughter.

All kidding aside, I’m really pleased with how these turned out and would recommend making some both to the seasoned canner and the tenderfoot who is looking for an easy to make preserve that will certainly be well received.

If you would like detailed step by step canning instructions just check out www.homecanning.com.  I really couldn’t lay it out any better and there are even instructional videos.