…aka “I’m Not Dead! I Swear!” I wonder how some bloggers do it, as I am (obviously) having a tough go at keeping you folks updated. For starters, there’s that whole 9-5 thing. And trying (yes, still) to get something of a garden up and running. And doing that market thing, and that swap thing, and that crazy national program thing. On top of the fact that all I want is sunshine and garden and kayaking and exactly NOTHING to do with my computer right now. That said – its still that time of year. That time where I crave at least the barebones of a plan, otherwise I won’t function.
You could also title this post “Yet another preserving plan that I probably won’t stick to, but my neurotic self at the moment requires a plan.” It also may be a bit generous in calling it a plan. Ahem.
I will be the first to admit, this “plan” is not going to work. Last year, there were similar grand plans. Quick recap: no brewing (its expensive!), limited foraging, ok on pantry staples, no pickled fruit (no excuses, just fail), and I still dont have a dehydrator. The CSA thing, though – I’ve got that one down (stay tuned – more coming on that).
So what does 2012 have in store?
1. Low sugar, no pectin fruit preserves. I swear some of my preserves got sweeter a few months down the road. Also from a health perspective, less of the granular white stuff is probably a good idea.
2. The stuff the weather robbed me of last year. Namely, peaches (thanks Irene), cherries (thanks early spring rain) and raspberries (I totally seemed to blank on them).
3. Fruit preserves beyond jam and veggie preserves beyond pickles. I’m still pretty sure I’m not a jelly fan, and I do make my fair share of fruit butters, but I need to move more beyond jam. I made a tomato bam last year completely on a whim last year – threw some cherry tomatoes in a pan until they burst and then cooked down until they were spreadable on toast. Why why WHY did I only make two jars? And have the presence of mind to give one away? My first jam of the year was an empty-out-the-freezer cherry rhubarb plum concoction around the same lines – no pectin and very little sugar. I made a bunch of fridge pickles last year and a few counter ferments, but not a whole lot that I enjoyed.
4. Pressure canning. I have a pressure canner. Time to get it calibrated. No more excuses. Chicken stock and beans, then moving onto chili and pulled pork.
5. Dehydrating, if budget permits. More likely though, oh friends with dehydrators, is bartering in exchange for some time with your equipment. Consider yourselves fairly warned.
6. Foraging (again). Started off right with elderflowers and ramps! Someone please take me wineberry hunting this year?
Specific Preserves on the Docket:
Rhubarb [which I will finally get my hands on this weekend!]: Rhubeena, lots frozen for mid-winter jam, Plain ol’ strawberry rhubarb for Jon’s Mom
Berries & Cherries: Whole berry preserves, pickled, berries in syrup, in booze, bams and butters. Boozy cherries & berries in whiskey or amaretto (but dont pay for the Luxardo). Pates de fruits?
Stone Fruit: Whole in syrup, pickled, in booze. More of that crazy addictive Plum Butter
Sauces/Condiments: BBQ (Rhubarbbq & Peach), Salsa Negra & Salsa Verde, Tomato Paste, Ketchup, Mayo & Dijon Mustard
Apples & Pears & Quince: Apple & pear sauce in pints, way more than one batch of Vanilla Quince Butter
Tomatoes: Dehydrated, Roasted/Pureed/Canned, Roasted/Frozen, Bam, Tomato Powder
Peppers: Pickled, Fire Roasted, Pureed (for soup), Harissa, Piperade, Sofrito, Muhamarra
Herbs, Garlic & Onions: Herbes Salees, Lots more dried bunches. Roasted garlic & caramelized onions in the freezer, pestoes, pickled onions (for fish tacos!), Garlic & Onion powder.
Miscellaneous: Blanched & frozen greens, Blanched & frozen corn. Pureed (frozen) Pumpkin. Branch into other extracts than vanilla (almond?)
It all starts this weekend at the opening day of the 2012 Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market. Kate Payne and I will see you there!