Monday, August 25, 2014

Canning for a New Generation

This recommendation is a little late in coming, but it is sincere and heartfelt.  I had Liana Krissoff's Canning For a New Generation on my Amazon wishlist for almost a year before I finally broke down and bought it.   Matt was enthusiastic about our garden, and kept telling me "we should can stuff!"  I finally broke down and bought the book in an effort to appease him without actually canning.  But this year Matt's enthusiasm and our garden doubled in size, and I dubiously tried my hand at preserving.

Every recipe I've tried has exceeded my expectations.  If you preserve or are interested in preserving, this book is worth every cent.

So far I've made:
Strawberry lemon jam
Strawberry jam with Thai herbs
Chamomile scented strawberry syrup
Spiced strawberry butter
Plum cardamom jam
Honeyed bread and butter pickles
Hot pickled okra
Pickled peppers
Peach Preserves
Green Apple Applesauce

And they've all been so, so good.

In addition to the wonderful, surprising recipes, the book is a fun read. Krissof includes personal anecdotes and helpful information on preserving food.  Oh, and everything is either high sugar or high acid - so no pressure cooker needed.  Just be sure to be stocked up on sugar and vinegar before you crack the book open.

The most surprising for me was the strawberry chamomile syrup and the spiced strawberry butter (imagine apple butter, but strawberries instead).  Krissoff suggests spreading the strawberry butter between the layers of a cake.  I've done it twice and both times different people told me it was the best cake they'd ever had.

The strawberry syrup is delicious and pretty fun to have around.  You can make it with any flavor tea you like.  I put it in sparkling water, but recently I've taken to making strawberry ice cream sodas.  I don't have any pictures of this because I do it late at night (when pictures of food die), and because I drink them too fast.

She doesn't use fruit pectin, but instead uses the natural pectin found in green apples.  Again, I was dubious, but I quartered my green apples, threw them in with my peaches this weekend and watched it all gel together.  Not using pectin means none of your liquid is being absorbed and the flavors should stay more pure.  I don't know if this is exactly true, but I will say it was the peachiest flavored peach preserves I've had.  I'm looking for any excuse to eat it (biscuits, sourdough bread, toast).  Plus she gives instructions on how to preserve the apple puree and bake it up in a cake later.  You have to respect a woman with so many ways to use canned goods in cake.

The book is divided into seasons.  So even if your garden is dying like mine, there's still fall (applesauce!) and winter to go.

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