Tag Archives: Preserves

Preserved Lemons

So I am trying something that I have been leery of in the past – preserving lemons. IMG_0001_2 There is a very funny article at jenmenke.com that explains my trepidation with making these. However, I had a bunch of Meyer lemons languishing in the refrigerator, a box of kosher salt, and a few days off from work.  To me that equals experimentation day.

1/20/15

So, I scrubbed the lemons and removed the last bit of the stem that was left on each.  IMG_0003I then put a couple of handfuls of salt in the bottom of my current favorite canning jar.  Then I Took each lemon and cut it into quarters, but not cutting all the way through, leaving it to open up into connected quarters.  Sprinkling salt into the quarters, I pressed them as best I could into the jar, compacting them as I went.  I also added salt to each layer of lemons that I placed into the jar.   I was surprised at how many fit into the jar!IMG_0004I am, apparently, supposed to leave these on my countertop for 7-ish days then keep them indefinitely in the refrigerator.  We will see!  I will post updates as myIMG_0007_2 experiment goes on.

 

 

 

Squash Marmalade

 My grandmother made wonderful preserves.  One of my fondest memories is walking with her picking wild blackberries growing along side her road.  She would make the best jellies, preserves, and cobblers from those.  My cooking adventure started with learning how to make preserves and jams.

My favorite preserve to make right nowIMG_2165 is a Squash Marmalade made from Butternut Squash and oranges.  It is a bright, sweet, smooth marmalade that goes well with any type of bread (particularly well on English Muffins), as well as roasted chicken or pork.  The squash really mellows out the zest of the orange, for those who think that marmalades are too strong.

There are a few things that you will need to make any type of preserve:  A large, heavy pot, at least 5 quarts.  a medium size pot to boil the lids in while the preserves are cooking, a good thermometer that will read at least 225 degrees F, a long handled spoon for stirring, and clean, intact jars.

Here is the recipe:

10 cups cubed butternut squash (Acorn will do nicely, just more of a hassle to peal.  If you hat peeling hard squashes, delicato squashes are great!   Just remember to remove the seeds, before you start cutting these up.

6 large oranges – I use Cara Cara or Moro when available.  Navel will do as well.

1/2 cup water

Pectin – 2 packets will work well with this much.

10 cups sugar.

1 vanilla pod, split in half and the beans removed.  Reserve both parts.

IMG_2281Cut the oranges into halves, or quarters.  Very thinly, slice each section.  Place the sections into a sauce pan and add the water.  Simmer until the slices are tender10 minutes, or so.  Pour into a strainer.  Save the water, and the slices.

In a large bowl, combine the pectin and the sugar with a whisk.

Place the squash into a large heavy dutch oven.  Add the water from the oranges.  Cook this until the squash is soft.  Once soft, puree half of the mixture in a heavy duty blender.  Mash the other half with a potato masher.  Add the puree back into the pot

Stir in the sugar/pectin mixture and cook on low.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Once dissolved, add the vanilla pod and the orange slices.  Increase heat to high and bring to a hard boil.  Cook until the thermometer reads 225.  At this point, the mixture should be fairly thick.

Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the vanilla beans, and ladle into sterilized jars.  Wipe the rims of the jars to clean any preserves that ended up there.  Cover with lids and secure.

Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Allow jars to “age” for 2 weeks in a cool, dark place.

Notes on processes:

Sterilizing jars

I sterilize my jars in the dishwasher on the strongest setting.  I also vigorously boil the lids in a pot while everything is cooking.  It is imperative that your jars be as clean as possible.  Botulism is not fun.

Water baths:

This is a further step in killing any organism that may try to grow in your preserves.  This is simply taking the finished preserves and placing them in a large pot, covering them in water and bringing this to a  rolling boil.  This does 2 things:  It drives out more air from the jar, creating a stronger vacuum.  Additionally, the steam created within the jar will further sterilize the preserves.

For more information, Food 52 has a wonderful section on preserving.  Check it out!