6 posts tagged with “home preserves”

  • The Canadian Food Experience Project: Preserving summer’s heat in hot sauce

    Under pressure of a deadline and filled with hunger pangs six years ago, I set out to can something.

    I had been abiding by the restrictive rules of the 100-mile diet for work and I had a column to write to update readers about my latest local food discoveries. I was in need of new material and preserving seemed the logical next step after my dismal failure trying to make yogurt.

    I also had a hankering for pickled beans, though I’d never preserved anything before. I didn’t even own a mason jar and never used one for anything more than a drinking glass.

    Still, I set about to make me some pickled beans, doing what any canning virgin would do in my circumstances. I turned to the great Google gods for help. They didn’t let me down, turning up an easy-to-follow recipe with seemingly simple steps for creating some briny beauties.

    I won’t lie. I was scared of canning anything. The fear of botulism or some other food-borne illness stayed with me as I worked in my tiny apartment kitchen like an annoying editor hovering over me as I toil at my computer.
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  • Peach Tree
  • Boat bench snacks: a recipe for fall fruit leather

    My dad has never eaten at McDonald’s.

    I don’t think his German sensibilities would allow him to do it.

    My mom never bought us Count Chocula or FrankenBerry cereal, on account of her own German sensibilities, no doubt, though once a year, she caved to a chorus of pretty pleases from my sister and me and bought us a box of Froot Loops.

    She did it reluctantly. We loved her all the more for it.

    There was one treat that defied the odds, though, in our home. My mom’s best friend from high school, now living in Florida as the wife of an American soldier, came to visit one early 1980s March Break.

    She brought the best junk food with her — every sugary, marshmallow-filled, fibre-free cereal that we only wished as Cheerios-eating children we could get in Canada. And she brought Fruit Roll-Ups before they made their trek to grocery store shelves north of the border.
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  • Peach Tree
  • Of wild violet jelly and career-limiting moves

    My boss bought me a chocolate chip cookie yesterday.

    A kind gesture, yes, but don’t be fooled into thinking there was anything altruistic about this. I’m certain this was a pity cookie.

    You see, my boss has taken to teasing me about my dining habits of late. I often tell him that he could pick an entire meal’s worth of food on his way home from the office, given he traipses through a forest that’s akin to a wild produce section.

    There’s garlic mustard, burdock, wild garlic, ramps, mayapples and plenty of dandelions.

    He laughs when I tell him this. Pokes fun at me because that’s where I stock up on the makings of pesto, jelly, frittata and stir-fries. Inquires about the welfare of my husband and whether he’s still alive or has wasted away on weeds. I’m certain he thinks I come home from work and put myself out to pasture in my backyard, grazing the night away like a cow.

    In fact, he has not-so-subtly hinted that’s what he thinks when he said my name and “out to pasture” in the same sentence recently. I’m fairly confident he wasn’t talking about my career.

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  • Peach Tree
  • Vinegar Vitae: Listen to your mother — Rose hip vinegar Part 2

    Rose hip vinegar with a mother | eatingniagara.com

    My mom is about to fall off her chair if she’s reading this.

    I believe you should always listen to your mother.

    My mom is now about to be disappointed because I don’t mean her. I mean a vinegar mother.

    Five weeks ago, I threw some foraged rose hips into a mason jar with a bottle of wine and a gelatinous glob, and called it vinegar in the making.

    The gooey substance (aka the glob) was really quite beautiful. It was the mother from an unpasteurized cider vinegar, that stayed suspended in the wine, like a jelly fish frozen in time. Despite its sedentary ways, it was meant to move my concoction along nicely from wine and rose hips to the fermentation finish line where it would become vinegar.

    Three weeks passed. That’s the minimum time my research led me to believe I’d have to wait for the mixture to go from boozy to biting. I started to think my mother would need months to work her magic. The fruity liquid still tasted like wine, albeit really, really bad wine.

    So I ignored her. Stopped peeking every few days into the dark, warm cupboard where I had set my mother to work with the wine and rose hips. And then I cracked the cupboard door while going stir crazy while sick last week. Shocked by what I saw, I pulled it back all the way and stared at my experiment with a furrowed brow.

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