Tuesday Night Canning Club

3 Feb

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.

Pickled Kumquats

Adapted from Vanilla Garlic.

Ingredients:

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?

An oyster fork and a glass of wine helps at this step

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.
8 cloves.
14 peppercorns.
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.

Hello, gorgeous!

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!

Success! Pickled kumquats, of all things!

The Bear approves...

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.

Lemonade Concentrate

Adapted from Wellpreserved.

Ingredients:

8-10 lemons. I used Meyers and Eurekas. All organic.

3 1/4 cups of sugar

Water

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.

Yellow gold!

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.

Fresh! Exciting!

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.

Ingredients:

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.

Home stretch!

6. Ladle the mixture into jars. Leave 1/4- 1/2 inch head space. Put on your sterilized lids. Process for 15 minutes.

Summer (of '09! Late! My bad!) in a jar!

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!

Gasp!

Look at those jars, all in a row! And it's only February!

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.

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14 Responses to “Tuesday Night Canning Club”

  1. Joel February 3, 2010 at 1:18 AM #

    full on humbled…and seriously we will all have to meet some day…

    Briggsy I am in total love with what you are doing, love the blog and know it’s time to take the double S, you, Dana and I out for a drink. 🙂

    Really adore all of the writing you are doing, your approach to canning and writing.

    By chance, are you on twitter…been trying to find you but think you are not there and didn`t want to miss you by chance….

    Good on you for canning, shooting pics and blogging in a single night – that`s a tall order. 🙂

    Joel

    • ohbriggsy February 3, 2010 at 10:35 AM #

      Thanks, Joel! It’s good to hear some positive feedback from a blog I respect as I get started. Aww, shucks! Double S and I would love to go for a drink and hear about all of the awesome stuff you’re doing! The look and design of your blog is sweet, and I love all the experiments you do. I’ve been following your sous vide adventures–very exciting! I’ve only experienced sous vide on top chef–would love to give it a try.

      Yeah, I was a monster last night: canning, picture taking and living to blog about it. Now I’m too tired to work, but meh! Speaking of, any camera recommendations? My birthday is coming up and the old point and shot isn’t cutting it!

      I am on twitter–haven’t tweeted (!?) yet. I need to get on that, and stop all my citrus canning! I just looked you up on twitter and am following you there, so you can find me in your inbox.

      Now I’ve gotta find a carrot recipe that I’ll like. I’ve been experimenting this week with quick carrot pickles, and have been getting opinions. Still undecided though!

  2. sonja February 3, 2010 at 7:24 AM #

    love the pictures! and the oyster fork + wine for seeding kumquats: awesome advice. you make summer so inviting! can’t wait to try me some lemon gold!

    • ohbriggsy February 3, 2010 at 10:35 AM #

      thanks! couldn’t do it without ya!

  3. growandresist February 3, 2010 at 9:05 AM #

    Wine indeed makes all tasks easier! You seriously did go all out. I can’t wait to hang out and drink amazing drinks with your bounty. Mmm! Nice!

    • ohbriggsy February 3, 2010 at 10:37 AM #

      thanks, friend! lets trade our pickled citruses! maybe we will have to have pickled fruits (and that’s maybe what we should call our friend group/joint blog?! ) in our drinks at our superbowl party?

  4. growandresist February 3, 2010 at 1:29 PM #

    YES! Pickled Fruits. Love it! Awesome!

  5. Diana February 3, 2010 at 3:07 PM #

    Really like what you are doing with this site. Canning can be a really solitary event and this makes it more communal!
    Diana

    • ohbriggsy February 3, 2010 at 3:14 PM #

      Thanks a lot, Diana. I just wrote you and Ashley regarding having a conversation this week. Thanks for writing me back, and I look forward to talking to you guys!

  6. Tom Huffman February 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM #

    Dude, I never knew what a kumquat was until I saw this. Picked some up at Trader Joe’s this week–I missing out! It’s sort of like an orange and a meyer lemon had a dwarf baby that has a more refined flavor than its parents. They’re so good eaten whole with the rind and all (minus the seed)–the contrast between the rind and the inside is awesome. Now as for pickling them…you may remember I love all things pickled. A pickled kumquat may just be too much goodness for me. I’m terrible in the kitchen, but this sounds and looks worth the effort.

    • ohbriggsy February 28, 2010 at 8:11 PM #

      hey huffman! im glad you tried some. they are incredibly intense! would you like a jar of the pickled kumquats? i could send you one if you want. the pickled ones are a blast to the taste buds! they’re super intense plain, i’m thinking of trying them with dressings and marinades. havent gotten around to it yet–anyway, if you want a jar, let me know!

      • Tom Huffman March 3, 2010 at 10:36 AM #

        That sounds awesome–sent my address via Facebook mail. You’re right about the intensity. It’s funny how some in the same batch will taste just like a tiny orange, others are way more sour than a lemon, and then a few occupy the perfect place in the middle. Can’t wait for the pickled ones! I might be eating them straight from the jar. You know you want pics of that.

  7. Libby February 27, 2010 at 7:35 PM #

    Looks like you were ambitious. Those pickled kumquats look amazing! I made some salt-cured kumquats a few years back that were really nice with baked chicken, maybe that would work for these, too?

    • ohbriggsy February 28, 2010 at 7:22 PM #

      yeah, i was very ambitious on that day! i havent found much fo a use for the kumquats yet, but i’m thinking meat or salad dressingd\d. thsnkd for the chicken heads up. also, i heard you were in st. louis. i grew up there! webster groves. whereabouts are you?

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