Now that cool weather has arrived, it’s time to work on apples. Local orchards have bushels of fruit begging for my attention. I put up applesauce every year: it stores well, can be used in lots of ways, and is surprisingly easy.
I use tomato paste all the time. Sometimes I need up to half a cup, sometimes just a little bit. When I make my own, I can store it in the sizes I tend to need most, so I have no more partly used cans in the fridge.
It was Auguste Escoffier who devised the now-famous dessert, Pêche Melba, in the early 1900s. It consisted of fresh peeled peaches, slightly sugared, with raspberry purée, served over vanilla ice cream in a swan carved of ice. The dish has become a classic,
I prefer to eat local food, sourced as close to the farm as possible: I get fresher food, I help support the nearby farming community, and it tastes amazing. Sometimes, though, I make exceptions. Let me tell you about my experience with peaches.
I get asked this a lot: is making jam hard? People tend to assume it takes a lot of time; that every batch is unmanageably huge; that it’s scary and uses weird equipment. All this is so, so wrong. You can make jam in a skillet or saucepan in less than an hour.
We had snow and hail last week, but it’s in the 90s today: welcome to springtime in SE Michigan. I’m working on the garden this week – first setting the chives and all the other herbs to rights, and then planting my favorite tomatoes.
Looking at my preserves cupboard, I can see it’s been a good year for jams. Let’s see … there’s cherry jam three ways, blueberry-ginger jam, spiced tomato jam, strawberry-vanilla butter, peach, and apricot jams. But there are still a few gaps!
Necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes you hit a roadblock; something knocks your plans horribly askew. So it was for me this week, when I planned to reduce a half-bushel (25-26 pounds) of tomatoes to thick tomato paste.
I love berries of all kinds, and am lucky to live where lots of them grow. Recently I bought some freshly picked blueberries at a farm stand: they were delicious! Some went into muffins, some on cereal, some were just eaten as a snack.
You don’t have to make huge batches of jams or pickles. Take this example: in a small batch, Strawberry-Vanilla Butter uses only 1½ quarts of berries, and yields 3 half-pint jars (plus a bit extra for toast or snacking.) You may double the recipe,