Monthly Archives: December 2010

Canning 2010: A recap

So like a lot of people in 2010, I caught the canning/preserving bug. And I got it BAD. This bad:

…and this is probably missing a few batches. Seriously.

We started with Jam, then went to Roasted Marinated Peppers, then Fruit Butters, then Pickles, then Chutneys, then Tomatoes, then Apples, and finally a few odds and ends like Pomegranate Champagne Jelly.

What Worked

Food in Jarsmethod for fruit butters was awesome. I made cherry and blueberry butter this way before apple and pear butters later on. The blueberry butter was really fantastic, and I ran out of it far too quickly as I gave most of it away. Apple Butter was great, but definitely more of a pain than other fruit butters.

Lots of jam – maybe too much? Nah.

Living near Dondero Orchards made a lot of this possible. (CRFM too – especially for tomato seconds!) When in season, most of their PYO fruit is around 99 cents/lb. It helped me go a little crazy with things like peaches (Peach Jam, Jameson Ginger Peach Jam, Spiced Peach Butter, Li Hing Mui Peach Jam, Lady Grey Peach Jam…) I missed a few things like cherries and most of the strawberries (thanks, bar exam!) but I plan to change that in 2011. I also found quite a bit of late season produce on Freecycle, and made friends with some local farmers. I look forward to using all my resources to make 2011 equally as awesome.

What Didn’t Really Work

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Green Tomato Chutney. Its an ok way to use up green tomatoes – but I think next year I will try to eat them in Fried Green Tomato BLTs or make another salsa verde.

Goals for Next Year

Continue to make: Blueberry Butter, Tomato Jam, Apple Butter, Canned whole tomatoes, Jameson Ginger Peach (maybe Jameson Ginger Cherry next year?)

I made lots and lots of jam. I think I’d like to make more jellies. Maybe some more traditional “preserves” and/or fruit in syrups.

Also, fix pickle recipe – they came out delicious but waaaay too mushy. I think I need to be more exact, or process them less or something. My fridge pickles were tasty, though.

New ideas Brandied cherries (maybe with amaretto?), Maraschino cherries, More quince recipes, Salted Caramel Pear Butter, Strawberries!, Ancho Apple Butter. I looove the Apricot Amaretto Jam I made – maybe I can make a Raspberry Amaretto Jam.

As far as more immediate projects, I am flirting with spending around $50 to ship a crate of Meyer Lemons here because I’ve never had them. Not exactly local, I know, but its winter and citrus is never really local here anyway.

Oh, and I fully plan on participating in the 2011 Can Jam. Stay tuned!

Dark Days: Braised Shortribs

Though I am a bit late to the party to join the 4th Annual Dark Days Challenge, I am going to post anyway. I really like the idea of focusing on SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients, and with CRFM‘s Winter Market down the street, I really have no excuse not to.

A couple of weeks ago at  I picked up some beautiful short ribs from Highland Thistle Farm and planned on using them for a special occasion. What is more special than a Christmas blizzard? They haven’t reported our snow totals yet, but I suspect we got somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-16 inches. Hard to tell, though, as most of the snow is still blowing around, even though I can finally see some blue sky out there. Its like living in a snowglobe!

Anyway – shortribs. I also got a new Dutch Oven for christmas (Thanks Mom!) so the first thing that came to my mind was a braise. I guess this is technically a french-style braise. I’ve starting cooking pot roast like this (thank you Barefoot Contessa!) but today used what I had in my kitchen. Ok, so the wine wasn’t local, but it certainly was delicious! I know there is a local vineyard around here somewhere – I promise that when I visit the vineyard I’ll get enough to make this 100% local.

Snowflake Kitchen Braised Shortribs

1 package local shortibs [Mine was about 2.5 lbs, including bones]
1 large onion, diced [Wayne's Organic Garden long-keeping onions are small, so I used two small ones]
Two cloves garlic, sliced [From a 4H project in Tolland County]
One can tomato puree [My own, canned this September]
Carrots, chopped in small pieces
Chicken stock [though Beef stock would work well too, I just always have chicken stock on hand]
Red wine [I used the very last of our Old Vine Zinfandel Bota Box]

Dry the shortribs then dust them with flour, salt and pepper. Brown on all sides in a dutch oven, then remove. Add chopped onions and carrots and saute for a few minutes, then add garlic. In a few more minutes, add the tomato puree. Add equal parts red wine and stock, then nestle the shortribs back in. Add a few bay leaves, if you have them. Put the dutch oven a 350 degree oven for at least 4-5 hours – the longer the better. I started mine around 1pm and plan to eat dinner around 7.

You can serve it as is, but I prefer to serve it over some parmesan polenta. I also remove the short ribs and puree about half of the veggie mixture to give the sauce some richness. The combination of pureed veggies with some small veggie chunks is perfect for me, but puree (or not) to your liking.