Canning isn't just about putting food in jars and letting it sit and sit-it's about sealing in the taste of each season and making food from scratch with more interesting and unique flavors. Farmer, restaurateur, and local food advocate Jamie DeMent offers her recipes and tricks for preserving fresh ingredients and interesting creations. Canning in the Modern Kitchen is ideal whether you're a novice canner or an experienced cook on the hunt for new recipes and novel techniques.
Her delicious recipes go beyond the obvious jams, marmalades, and jellies-the book includes ideas for sauces and unexpected ways to preserve produce and meat. She covers a variety of techniques including basic water bath canning and oven canning, and lays out the equipment needed for successful canning. And, most importantly, she'll include detailed safety information to make your canning journey as smooth as possible.
First Chapter or Excerpt
Introduction Today I'm a farmer, restaurateur, and writer. My life revolves around food--growing it, selling it, writing about it. Our farm is an idyllic spot in the heart of North Carolina, on the banks of the Eno River. We raise heirloom produce and heritage breed pasture-raised meats with a wonderful team of folks who work and live on our farm. We work together, live together, and do a lot of eating and celebrating together. The meals we enjoy are built around what we grow and would not be possible without preserving food from one season to another. Luckily, I was born and raised in North Carolina. My family on both sides is full of strong-minded, colorful women who loved to cook--grandmothers, great-aunts, cousins, friends closer than cousins--all women who showed their love through their cooking. Some of my earliest memories are being in my grandma's "canning kitchen" three generations deep, tiny baby hands next to arthritic fingers stuffing okra into jars and stirring big, steaming pots of vegetables. There was always a medley of voices of all those women, who taught me not just to cook but to love and nurture. I can stop almost any moment of any day and bring back memories of that warm kitchen and feel loved and protected all over again. I use techniques from that kitchen in my farm kitchen every year. I make sauces, pestos, compotes, jams, and jellies to carry treasured flavors from season to season. And then I use my preserved food to feed our farm family and friends for the rest of the year. If you are new to canning and feel anxious about the processes, never fear: Canning in the Modern Kitchen will walk you through the basics and start you with tasty but classic canning treats. If you're an experienced canner, you'll find plenty of flavorful recipes that will expand your repertoire and enrich your pantry. Every recipe has been tested in my kitchen--indeed, many are family favorites that I rely on year after year to add zest and delight to the dinner table. As you'll see, canning can be fun as well as delicious! So let's get started by looking at the most common home-canning methods. Chapter 1 Basic Fruits and Vegetables Let's begin with the basics. There are some things that are so delicious in their natural state that you want to eat them year-round just that way--in their most simple form. The recipes in this section preserve fruits and vegetables in their purest forms and give us a great place to start learning about canning! Peaches I'm starting with peaches because they are my single most favorite thing to eat canned--straight out of the jar. They are great as a snack alone or as a wonderful addition to salads and desserts. I make them in pint jars to keep myself from eating a whole quart in one sitting! This recipe uses fruit juice instead of sugar as a base because the canned peaches will be more versatile for later use if they are less sweet. The best ripe peaches, depending on where you live, tend to be available between June and August. MAKES: 7-8 pints Get your boiling-water-bath canning equipment ready and have your jars sterilized and ready. 8 pounds fresh peaches 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/2 gallon white grape juice 1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set it to the side. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the peaches into the boiling water, making sure they are all submerged. (Work in batches, if necessary.) Blanch the peaches for about 3 minutes, or until you can easily peel the skin off a cooled peach by hand. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the peaches to the ice water. Let them cool in the water for 1 minute. 2. Using your fingers, quickly remove the skins from all the peaches. Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, and put the halves in another large bowl. Add the lemon juice and gently stir to evenly coat the peaches (this prevents them from turning brown). 3. In a large stockpot, bring the grape juice to a boil. While the juice is heating, carefully pack the peach halves into hot, sterilized jars, leaving about 1" of headspace. 4. Once the juice has reached a rolling boil, carefully ladle or pour the hot juice over the peaches, leaving 1/2" of headspace. Gently tap the jars to make sure all the peaches are completely surrounded by liquid and there are no air bubbles. Add more hot juice now if needed. 5. Wipe the rim of each jar carefully with a clean towel to ensure a good seal, and carefully place the lids and rims on. 6. Follow your boiling-water-bath canning process and process for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude based on the chart on page 24. Pears We have a pear tree, an old Bartlett variety, that produces more fruit than we can keep up with, so I preserve the fruit as it ripens. The pears can always be baked or frozen, but canning lets you keep some of that fresh pear crunch. This recipe doesn't use sugar, so it gives you more flexibility in how you can use your preserved pears in later recipes--as a savory salad, or dinner additions, or sweet pie fillings. MAKES: 4 pints Get your boiling-water-bath canning equipment ready and have your jars sterilized and ready. 6 pounds firm, ripe pears 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1. Wash, peel, core, and cut the pears into halves or quarters and place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and gently stir to evenly coat. Let the pears soak for 2 to 3 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. 3. Pack the pears into hot, sterilized jars. Carefully pour the boiling water over the pears, leaving 1/2" of headspace. Gently tap the jars to make sure all the pears are completely surrounded by liquid and there are no air bubbles. 4. Wipe the rim of each jar carefully with a clean towel to ensure a good seal, and carefully place the lids and rims on. 5. Follow your boiling-water-bath canning process and process for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude based on the chart on page 24. Excerpted from Canning in the Modern Kitchen: More Than 100 Recipes for Canning and Cooking Fruits, Vegetables, and Meats by Jamie DeMent All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.