Summer Canning Series: Cherry Pie Filling Recipe

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Now that we’ve covered a few of the basics of canning, I wanted to move on to one of my favorite things to can in the summertime: pie filling.

I adore pie, but my family doesn’t need pie weekly. All too frequently my pie cravings hit in the dead of winter, when it’s hard to get good, fresh ingredients for pie. Those cans of filling from the grocery store just don’t cut it for me, so I’ve taken to making my own pie fillings from fresh peaches and apples when they come in season.

This year I decided to expand my pie filling stash to include cherries, thanks to a stock-up sale our local store had recently. Pie filling is quite easy to put up and requires only a few ingredients.

As in jam, the fruit is cooked slightly before packing into jars. Blanching the fruit helps soften it and allows you to pack more into the jar. The trick is to get as much fruit as possible into the jar – too much liquid and not enough fruit will result in a soggy pie when you pop the seal months down the road. Cherries pack into jars fairly easily, but you can use a wooden spoon handle to press the fruit down and remove any trapped air bubbles.

Like many other canning recipes, this calls for lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice is recommended rather than fresh juice; pH levels are very important in canning and bottled juice has more consistent pH. [Read more…]

Salmon

The Benefits of Cooking with Canned Fish (Recipe: Salmon Croquettes)

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Fish is something that we used to eat more of, and somehow moved away from. I like to eat fresh fish, but sometimes our schedules get filled at the last-minute and we’re stuck having to throw a gorgeous piece of fish in the freezer for another time.

It always works out fine in the end, but I hate that period of ingredient anxiety and feeling of urgency attached with buying fresh fish.

Salmon

Luckily, I’ve taken a second look at another option.

Until recently, I hadn’t considered canned salmon. Like everyone else I grew up with canned tuna, but for some reason canned salmon held a spot in my mind also occupied by anchovies and pickled herring. However, prompted by the desire to get more omega-3s in my diet without spending big bucks on fresh sustainable fish, I grabbed a pack of cans from my local warehouse store.

I’m happy to relay that canned salmon can be used any place you often use tuna: salads, sandwich spreads, filling in homemade sushi, and more. [Read more…]

Grilled Vegetables (Recipe: Balsamic Grilled Carrots)

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Things are really heating up around here – literally. We’ve had more than a dozen days of 100-degree-plus temperatures, and summer only started on Tuesday. In a way, this makes grilling sound more appealing. After all, what’s a little bit of fire when you’re already baking?

However, the grill doesn’t have to be all about meat. While corn on the cob is undoubtedly the side dish of the season, try exploring the rest of summer’s bounty over the flame. Cherry tomato skewers, planks of summer squash, and thick slices of eggplant will liven up any cookout and provide many more nutrients than that bag of potato chips.

I used to hesitate about grilling vegetables out of concern they would slip into the fire. Foil packets are an easy solution, but I find they don’t impart that particular grill flavor we celebrate.

Luckily, in the past few years specialized grill tools have flooded the market, making it simple to grill pizza, jalapeno poppers, dice-cut vegetables, and more. We have a simple basket that can hold enough vegetables for a dinner party and cleans up in a snap.

[Read more…]

U-Pick for a Fruitful Summer (Recipe: Blackberry Vanilla Clafouti)

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Luscious, sun-warmed berries might be the greatest food around. Every spring and summer my family heads out to a nearby farm to pick as many berries as possible. For only 30 minutes of work we end up with enough berries to make jam, pie, muffins, cake, turnovers, and more. And don’t forget all the berries just for snacking – it’s hard to resist filling your belly as you grab the fruit off the bush.

U-pick farms are a great economical option for fruit-loving families. Because you’re doing all the work and no packaging or transportation is required, farmers can charge less for their produce than in stores or even at the farmers’ market.

[Read more…]

Pea Plant

Salute Spring! Peas (Recipe: Pea-camole)

Join us as we Salute Spring with a week-long series featuring the finest fruits and vegetables of the season. Written by Megan of Stetted.

Peas make me optimistic. After a cold winter, they’re the first of the spring plants to push through the dirt and begin reaching toward the sun. Once the tendrils start their grab, they’ll climb as high as you let them, only stopped by the limit of your trellis. They are harbingers of things to come, with lovely white blossoms leading the way for plump green pods.

If I had known how sweet and crunchy fresh peas could be when I was a child, I probably would have not shunned them as I did, choking down only what was necessary to be able to leave the table.

My son has no such qualms about peas. He gobbles them up as soon as they’re shelled, leaving the possibility for even attempting a recipe almost impossible. I can’t fault the kid.

[Read more…]