Fox & Food: Canning and Preserving 101

credit: Tom Hopkins Photography Jacques Pepin Beach Plums

Audio clip:

You can't make summer last any longer but can (sort of) freeze time for some of your favorites and enjoy them later.  Fox News Radio's Lilian Huang Woo speaks to experts chef Jacques Pepin, author Alana Chernila and Jarden Home Brands canning expert Jessica Piper about canning and preserving seasonal favorites.

Take a LISTEN:

Photo credit: Jennifer May The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila
Photo credit: Jennifer May
The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila

 

Preserved Lemons

MAKES ½ GALLON

My first preserved lemon came to me several years ago in my friend Ron's kitchen. He's one of those cooks who always has some new food on his counter, and on this day, he stuck a fork into a cloudy jar and pulled out a bite of lemon. "Eat this," he commanded.

I remember the moment well because a taste like that will make a memory cling. It was everything about a good fermented pickle, and everything about a lemon, but mostly about a brand-new taste I'd never experienced. I wanted to eat the whole jar. I wrote down the recipe and swore I would start a batch that day. But I'd never fermented anything and, intimidated by the process, I put it off. Time passed, and I forgot the feeling of tangy, salty rind in my mouth. Until, that is, I tasted it again, this time in my friend Janet's kitchen. Again with the fork, and again with the "eat this," and again I thought that this might just be the most wonderful and perfectly balanced taste I had ever experienced. When I finally got it together to create a jar of my own, it was so simple I kicked myself for missing out on all that time I could have had preserved lemons whenever I wanted.

Now I'm never without a big jar in the fridge, and I sneak them into all sorts of dishes. They're pretty wonderful anywhere you might use an olive or capers, really for any dish that could use a little tart saltiness. Preserved lemon rinds also do wonders to a chicken when you slide them under the chicken skin before roasting. Or use your lemon booty to make Preserved Lemon Hummus (page 97) or one of my favorite quick pastas, Fettuccine with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic (page 168). If you have trouble finding lemon juice without additives, check the juice aisle of your local health-food store. I find this a good amount of lemons for six months, but feel free to halve the recipe and use a quart jar. I love Alice Waters's suggestion to add bay leaves and cardamom pods to her recipe in Chez Panisse Fruit, and those additions have become standard in my lemons, too.

3 pounds organic or unsprayed lemons (10 to 14 lemons)

1 cup kosher salt

10 cardamom pods

6 bay leaves

2 cups lemon juice, or more as needed (this can be fresh squeezed or bottled, as long as it is 100% lemon juice without chemical additives)

 

1 Scrub the lemons to remove any residue. For each lemon, cut off the tip. Then cut the lemon lengthwise, leaving the end intact. Cut it again lengthwise at a 90-degree angle to the first cut. The lemons will be quartered, but still attached at one end. Have ready a sterilized ½-gallon jar or two quart jars.

 

2 Measure the salt into a medium bowl. It might feel like a lot, but it's the salt itself that preserves the lemons, and it needs to fill all the spaces between the lemons in the jar. Put the cut lemons in the bowl, a few at a time, and rub the flesh of each lemon with salt. Put a few tablespoons of salt in the bottom of the jar. Push the lemons into the jar, making a layer of lemons. They will release juice and smoosh a bit--this is good. Now scoop some more salt from your bowl and add it to the jar, along with a few cardamom pods and a bay leaf. Salt a few more lemons in the bowl and transfer them to the jar, repeating the process until you have filled the jar. You want to use all the salt in the bowl, so be generous in your layers, and dump any leftover salt into the jar at the end. Press the lemons down with a wooden spoon to release more juice. Then pour the additional lemon juice into the jar so that it fills all of the space around the lemons and covers the lemons entirely. Cover the jar with a sterilized lid and shake well.

 

3 Let the lemons ferment at room temperature, giving the jar a gentle shake or a turnover every day or so. In 3 weeks, the lemons will be ready to eat, and you can transfer the jar to the refrigerator. tense moments · As you salt and smoosh your lemons, some of them might break apart at their connected end. This is fine! The lemons will salt up just as well in quarters. Also, a few lemons might float up above your brine, and this is okay, too. If this happens, you have two choices: you can simply discard those top lemons after the fermentation process, or you can rig up a system to keep all the lemons down, as one of my blog readers taught me. Break a skewer into pieces the same diameter as the jar so you can fit them into the jar just above the brine in an "X." This makes a little cage to keep all the fruit under the brine.

 

Storage notes

  • Store in the refrigerator in their jar for 6 months to 1 year. Discard if the lemons get moldy or too soft.

 

Note

  • Sterilize jars either by submerging them in boiling water for 15 minutes or running them through a dishwasher with an extra-hot temperature setting.

credit: Tom Hopkins Photography Jacques Pepin Beach Plums
credit: Tom Hopkins Photography
Jacques Pepin Beach Plums

Beach Plums in Alcohol
Excerpted from Heart & Soul in the Kitchen, © 2015 by Jacques Pépin. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Makes two ½ -pint jars Enough beach plums to fill two 8-ounce jars ½ cup grain alcohol ..." cup light corn syrup ¼ cup good tap or bottled water I always have a few jars of alcohol preserved cherries, apricots, or plums in my cellar. For this recipe, I use the tiny astringent and tart beach plums (Prunus maritima) that are plentiful at the beach in late summer. Called prunelles in French, they grew wild when I was a kid, and when we tasted them, they were so harsh and sour that our tongues would stick to the roofs of our mouths. It is important not to pull out the stems of the beach plums. If you do, the alcohol will seep into the resulting hole in the fruit and make it mushy. Some people make preserved fruits with brandy or vodka. I like to use grain alcohol, which is 190 proof, and dilute it with good water and corn syrup. The beach plums should be either deep purple or gold in color; when they are just reddish in color, they are not ripe enough to preserve. Fruit in alcohol is usually served in cognac glasses as a digestive after dinner. I also dry fresh juniper berries in the microwave oven for a couple of minutes to use in stews or
sauerkraut.
Trim the stems of the plums to ¼ inch (do not remove them). Wash the plums and dry.
Pack into two 8-ounce jars.
Using a whisk, mix together the alcohol, syrup, and water in a bowl. Fill the jars with the
mixture and tighten the lids.
Place in a cool place, like a cellar, or refrigerate. After 1 month, enjoy anytime.

credit: Tom Hopkins Photography
credit: Tom Hopkins Photography

 

Sliced Dill Pickle Recipe:

Makes about 5 (16 oz) pints

 

PRESERVING METHOD:

Waterbath Canning

Ingredients

DIRECTIONS:

  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  2. TIE pickling spice in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.
  3. COMBINE vinegar, water, sugar, pickling salt and spice bag in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until spices have infused the liquid.
  4. PLACE 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and 1 head of dill into each jar. Pack cucumber slices into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover cucumbers leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and re-measure headspace. If needed, add more pickling liquid to meet recommended headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  5. PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

 

Apple Butter Recipe 

  1. STIR sugar, brown sugar, instant pectin, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in a bowl until well blended. Set aside.
  2. ADD apples and lemon juice to food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add apple puree to pectin mixture. Stir 3 minutes.
  3. LADLE jam into clean jars to fill line. Twist on lids. Let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes.
  4. SERVE immediately, refrigerate up to three weeks or freeze up to one year.

from Freshpreserving.com

Reduced Sugar Berry Jam

Makes about 4 (8 oz) half pints

PRESERVING METHOD:

Jam Maker

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cups crushed berries (about 1 1/3 lbs or four 6-oz containers)
  • 3 Tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Classic Pectin
  • 1/2 tsp butter or margarine
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. CLEAN berries by rolling back and forth in an open towel. If dirt is obvious on berries,rinse carefully in cool running water and drain thoroughly. Crush berries one layer at a time using a potato masher. Measure required quantity of crushed berries and remaining ingredients for your recipe; set aside.
  2. SPRINKLE pectin evenly over bottom of the Pot fitted with the Stirrer. Add crushed berries evenly over pectin. Add butter/margarine to help reduce foaming.
  3. PRESS jambutton - the cook time will automatically default to 21 minutes. Press enter.
  4. WAIT 4 minutes for appliance to sound 4 short beeps indicating that it is time to add sugar. Add sugar gradually while Stirrer continues running. Place the Glass Lid on the Pot.
  5. THE APPLIANCE will continue to automatically stir your ingredients while it cooks. Stay within earshot of the Jam & Jelly Maker, the appliance will beep again at the end of the process signaling jam cooking is complete. Press cancel, unplug the appliance and immediately remove Glass Lid.
  6. REMOVE Stirrer using a pot holder. Skim foam, if necessary, from top of jam.
  7. PRESERVE berry jam immediately, using 1 of the 3 ways listed here.

 

1Cherry pie filling

Cherry Pie Filling:

Makes about 8 (16 oz) pints

PRESERVING METHOD:

Waterbath Canning

 

Ingredients

 

HALF RECIPE:

DIRECTIONS:

  1. DRAIN thawed cherries in a colander, placed over a large bowl, stirring occasionally, until 8 cups of juice have been collected, about 2 hours. Set liquid and cherries aside.
  2. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  3. WHISK together 4 cups cherry liquid, sugar, ClearJel®and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil until thickened and mixture begins to bubble. Add lemon juice. Return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add reserved cherries all at once. Return to a boil, stirring constantly but gently. Remove from heat.
  4. LADLE hot cherry pie filling into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  5. PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner 35 minutes for pints and quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Quick Tip: Store remaining 2 cups cherry liquid in Ball® Plastic Freezer Jars. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year. Use the cherry juice to flavor lemonade and citrus soda or drink straight for a tangy beverage!

 

 

1Back To Her Roots_Strawberry Rhubarb Jam 2

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

MAKES: 6 HALF PINT JARS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups crushed strawberries (about 1½ to 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 3 to 6 stalks)
  • 6 tablespoons Ball Classic Pectin
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  • 5½ cups sugar

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  2. Combine strawberries, rhubarb, pectin, and lemon juice in a large saucepan, stirring to blend in pectin. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  3. Return mixture to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam, if necessary.
  4. Ladle hot jam into a hot jar, leaving ¼-inch headpsace. Remove air bubbles. Clean jar rim. Center lid on jar and adjust band to fingertip-tight.
  5. Place jar on a rack in a boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled. Water must cover jars by at least 1-inch before processing.
  6. Bring water to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Cover canner, and process jars for 10 minutes (time starts when full boil begins).
  7. Turn off heat, remove cover, and let jars cool in the water for five minutes. Then, remove the jars from the canner, and place on a towel on the counter to cool completely--do not retighten any bans that have loosened.
  8. Cool 12 hours. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. Label and store jars. Any jars that have not sealed should be stored in the fridge and eaten within a week.

 

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