The Summer 2008 issue of Edible Nutmeg included an article on putting by written by Sherri Brooks Vinton. that’s the first I’d heard of her. I tried her Spiced Carrots Ice Box Pickles recipe and they were absolutely delicious and a big hit with friends and family.
I’ve been making this recipe ever since, well worth sacrificing prime real estate in my refrigerator (along with some other spicy ice box pickling projects).
But I’ve been wanting to find a method of making this so that I could store it outside the refrigerator. I don’t can much, but when I do, I only use tested recipes from the experts.
Up in the loft of Patti Popp’s new barn, Sherri shared the secrets and safety measures for home canning.
Pickled Asparagus was the cold-pack demo. Cold-packing is when the food goes into the jar raw. Classic Strawberry Jam was the hot-pack demo. Hot-packing is when you cook the food before canning. The strawberry Jam was made in the old style, with no pectin. You need to cook it for a long time, to let the sugars thicken the jam. You can also use a commercial pectin or you can make your own pectin.
Like baking, canning is more about chemistry. The ratio of ingredients is paramount. Luckily for us, the recipes have all been worked out and we just need to follow them exactly and faithfully for safe results.
The book is fantastic. Sherri takes you through the various food preparation and preservation techniques. It is chock full of advice for economics, time savings, and safety. It reads well and you feel like the author is in the kitchen with you. (A trait I have previously admired in Julia Child!) It is organized by food for the purpose of making it easy for those who may have come home from the market with too much of a good thing. Sherri suggests having canning parties to make it more interesting.
The book, like Sherri, is centered around locally-sourced foods. She says, “For home food preservation, sourcing local food really is the only choice.” I guess you could preserve food from the Big Y, but why would you? Almost everything they sell, they sell year round (it’s always in season somewhere in the world) and it was grown by a stranger.
I made the scapes in olive oil (preservation method is freezing) and I am looking forward to getting a crock and trying out fermenting vegetables.
You can catch another demo and signing at the Westport Farmers Market on June 24,2010 from 11 AM – 1 PM. The market is at Imperial Avenue, Westport CT.