I was kind of a little bit too much today. It was February 2nd, and I still had some citrus left over from my travails with these acidic tarts in January. But it was 61 degrees in Seattle, the total yard rehab (more to come on that, friends!) was calling my name, and it was time to start buckling down for the February challenge of the can jam. Carrots, BT dubs. I know! Right?
But I wasn’t done with citrus. My infatuation with canning lemonade concentrates to mix with booze out on the deck this spring had overtaken me, plus I had kumquats, and some extra time in the afternoon. What was I going to do with 3 pounds of kumquats? What was I going to do with the two extra hours of the afternoon (which turned into six plus)? What was I going to do with the lemons that were going to end up rotting if I didn’t use them? I decided to go a little overboard, because it’s what I seem to do best lately.
First, I made pickled kumquats.
Adapted from Vanilla Garlic.
3 lbs kumquats, scrubbed clean, seeds removed, and cut in half. You could also just make a few slits in them so they absorb the brine. This step is the most time consuming part of this recipe, maybe about 30 minutes?
2 tsp sea salt.
4 1/2 cups vinegar–I used 3 1/2 cups of white vinegar, 1 cup of cider vinegar.
1 1/2 cups of sugar.
3 cardamom pods.
2 small cinnamon sticks.
1 star anise.
1 peeled thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped.
1. Place scrubbed and halved kumquats into a pan. Cover with water. Add salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Drain and set aside. The kumquats look intense at this step. The peels are soft and the flesh, well, looks like this:
2. Meanwhile, put vinegar and spices into another pot and bring to a boil. When you reach boil, add kumquats and simmer 1-3 minutes. As these first two steps are happening, start the water in your large canning pot.
3. Put the kumquats and brine into sterilized jars. Make sure kumquats are covered by water, and make sure that there is 1/2 inch of head space.
4. Process the jars for 10 minutes at a full boil. Then take pot off heat and let cans sit on rack or in pot for an additional 5 minutes. I heard all my pops during this step!
Serve with meat, cheese, or in drinks. I’m gonna follow Vanilla Garlic’s suggestion of putting them in martinis. Have I told you my new drink of choice lately? Vodka, roses lime or fresh squeezed lime juice, olives and olive juice. Equals crazy delicious.
Next, I made Lemon Squash, as popularized by wellpreserved. OK, I know I could buy some bougie lemonade or Newman’s Own or something, but the idea of canning my own concentrate for adding to plain old water, seltzer, or bourbon, well, it just did something for me. Something big.
Adapted from Wellpreserved.
8-10 lemons. I used Meyers and Eurekas. All organic.
3 1/4 cups of sugar
1. Scrub all the lemons, Zest four of them.
2. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water. When you’re done cleaning and zesting, toss the lemons into the water. As previously discovered, leaving the lemons in boiling water for about 3 minutes (less for the zested lemons or for overly ripe lemons) makes the juicing process a lot easier. Save the water that the lemons boiled in, you’ll use it soon.
3. Squeeze your lemons after they have cooled a bit. You need 2 cups of lemon juice. I removed the seeds, but didn’t bother removing the pulp. If you can, start your canning pot and sterilize your jars.
4. Put 2 cups of the reserved lemon water, the zest, and the sugar into a pan and slowly bring to a boil.
5. Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, remove from heat.
6. Stain through cheesecloth or a fine strainer.
7. Ladle into sterilized jars and then hot water process for 10 minutes.
Speaking of, that was a good song, wasn’t it? Listen to this while you imagine yourself chillaxin’ on a hammock sippin’ this come spring…
OK, so I really wanted to finish my lemon stash so I made one more thing. I was very tired at this point. But, as Phil said,
Raspberry Lemonade Concentrate.
Adapted from Just The Right Size.
As I’ve previously have mentioned, Double S is a berry freak. We still have bags and bags of berries (rasp, blue, and black!) in the freezer, and we need to get those cleared out so we can fill the freezer up again this summer. Tasting our raspberries, fresh picked and quickly frozen from Double S’s mom’s prize winning (in my mind) raspberry bushes, was a real kick in the face…of summer! So I decided to use a recipe I read from January’s can jam, and substitute frozen raspberries for frozen strawberries.
5-6 cups frozen berries.
4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice. I used Eurekas, Meyers, and a few limes to get to 4 cups. I was running on (citrus) fumes by this point.
3 cups sugar. I cut the sugar in half from the original recipe. I’ve done this successfully before in other recipes because I just can’t stomach such sweet recipes, and the citrus is sufficiently acidic, and these little numbers probably won’t last long on our shelves.
1. Sterilize your jars. Stat your canning pot so it’s ready.
2. Puree the berries in a blender or food processor. This was easier after they had sat out for awhile. Set aside.
3. Scrub all the lemons. Zest 4 of them. Squeeze them until you have 4 cups of juice. Remember, putting them in boiling water for a few minutes helps. See above.
4. In a pot, put the berry puree, sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Heat it up slowly. Do not bring to a boil. if you can mange to read one of those annoying food thermometers (read, you didn’t purchase it from target because you had a gift card), heat it to 190 degrees.
5. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a fine strainer.
6. Ladle the mixture into jars. Leave 1/4- 1/2 inch head space. Put on your sterilized lids. Process for 15 minutes.
Just the right size recommends adding vodka to this…
At the end of my 6 hour can-a-thon, I had something to show for it!
Breaking: Update on last week’s Tuesday night fermentation club. Both ferments are still proceeding nicely. I’m moving the lime pickle into the sun whenever possible, and putting it near the heating vent at night. I forgot that salt corrodes metal, so I changed the metal lids on the preserved lemon and the lime pickle, and added a protective layer of saran wrap. Both ferments smell amazing.