Preserving oven dried tomatoes and peaches

We’ve all had those days where a line-up of cooking and baking projects have left the kitchen upside down, with every mixing bowl dirtied and an army of utensils soiled. With any luck, there’s a empty spot on the countertop on which to set a wine glass or a coffee cup (depending on how you choose to face the mess) and then there is no other choice but to wade in and get it done.

These days, I am having more of those situations than I care to disclose. With recipe development for the cookbook in full swing and late-summer canning projects tucked around family meal prep, it is difficult to stay on top of clean up, even though I aim to ‘clean as you go‘ every time.

messy kitchen

Danny is usually an amazing help with dishes, but all last week he was laid up with a badly sprained ankle, and I was on my own – not just for the pots and pans, but for all children and household duties. Whew!

Which is why, at 8-o-clock in the evening, when faced with several pounds of peaches and tomatoes to preserve, I decided that semi-dehydrating them was the best course of action. [Read more…]

12 ways to preserve the August harvest (without canning)

I keep telling myself that September is going to be my big canning month, and it very well might be; I can’t say no to the bushels of tomatoes and crisp new apples beckoning at the markets during the fall.

So far, I’ve pickled a few jars of asparagus and made my usual strawberry honey jam, there was a batch of sweet relish, too, but I am not regularly turning my kitchen upside down with mega home canning projects. Oh, the cookbook is taking care of keeping us in dirty dishes just fine, thank you very much.

That said, I am still preserving the beautiful summer produce here and there, by freezing, roasting, packing in oil and drying. These are just some of the options to saving the season.

[Read more…]

Slow-Cooker Cran-Apple Butter

Today I’m guest posting for Andrew as part of the October Unprocesed challenge. You can find me on Eating Rules with a sweet and simple recipe for Slow-Cooker Cran-Apple Butter.

From the post:

“Smooth, spiced apple butter has become an integral part of autumn around here, with alternating flavorings such as vanilla bean, cinnamon, and cardamom taking turns jazzing up the fruit spread.

This year I’ve been obsessed with mixed fruit butters and couldn’t get the thought of adding fresh cranberries to my apple butter out of my head. It turns out that the tangy, deep red preserve is one of the prettiest and most flavorful of them all.”

Read the rest and get the recipe over on Eating Rules. I’ll see you in the comments!

Note: I know I talked about delivering a recipe for chocolate beet cake today… it will come this week, I promise!

Happy Thanksgiving Monday to my Canadian readers!

Crushed Tomatoes: Canned or Frozen?

Written by Shaina of Food for My Family.

Here today, gone tomorrow. Or so the saying goes. The tomatoes that seem to fill every square inch of my farmer’s market will surely be around for another week, but then they will slowly disappear, being replaced by an overabundance of winter squash and pumpkins. The pumpkins are coming.

What’s been priceless to me during the long winter months, however, is having those tomatoes around. Store-bought tomatoes simply do not sing as do their locally-grown counterparts. They lack the depth and character of the heirloom varieties that stare back at me in my backyard and on the farmers’ stalls. They are devoid of flavor. (In my opinion, at least.)
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Spiced Apple Preserves

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

A couple of years ago, I thought I had the apple preservation thing covered. After all, I regularly did applesauce, apple butter and apple jam. What else was there to do beyond that trio of nearly perfect preserves?

Then one day, while flipping through Eugenia Bone’s terrific book, Well-Preserved, I spotted a recipe for spiced apples. It had you shred the apples on a box grater, squeeze them to pull some of the water out, and cook them briefly with just a bit of sugar and spices before canning.

[Read more…]