I spent most of Labor Day weekend gardening and canning, which is likely why I am so happy. I thought I would share a few recipes from the weekend.
Hard Boiled Egg
Fresh eggs are not fun to peel after they have been hard-boiled. In fact, if you garden a lot, and thus have super short fingernails, peeled a freshly laid hard boiled egg is nearly not worth the effort. Ahem, until you cut open the egg to share with your mom and she gasps at the color of the yolk. Yes, I found fresh eggs, hard boiled and laboriously peeled, are the most impressive to a newbie. The color is, hum, I won’t get too poetic here, since I am not, but let’s just say that it is the color of the sun in that one perfect sunset in your mind. Preferably the one on the Ligurian coast. In summer. After hiking the Cinque Terre. While eating fresh pesto.
Put egg in cold water, covering by one inch.
Add a small handful of salt to water. Actually the amount that fits into your fingertips if you scoop a bit.
Bring to a boil, turn off heat.
Cover for 10 minutes. No more.
My mom, who has some sort of crazy fresh corn fetish, can’t seem to eat corn that is more than 24 hours out of the ground. Or so I always thought until she brought day-old corn to my house for lunch. Still, she bought it at a great farm up by her house, near where I grew up, and the ears are super crazy stout and corn-y. I am quite sure it isn’t organic or and there is some mysterious Monsanto-like thing they do to them to get them so large. I generally don’t care because they are that good.
This is adapted from Deborah Madison, Local Flavors, because everything in that book is insanely delicious.
1 ear corn, apparently day-old is fine
small handful peas or green beans, whichever you have– green beans cut on the bias
2 handfuls of small tomatoes, cut in half — yellow teardrops, red, whatever
1 small zucchini, cut into chunks — if you can actually grab one out of the garden before it explodes in size
1 small fresh onion, diced
knob of butter
handful of whatever soft herbs you have, cut into chiffonade
fresh goat cheese
Blanch the corn briefly, remove from water and dump green beans in water if using.
Cut kernels off corn.
Remove beans from water.
Heat butter on stove and add onion. Saute until soft.
Add zucchini, saute until soft.
Add beans and tomatoes, saute.
Add herbs and give it all a stir.
Serve, crumbling goat cheese on top at table.
Super fast with not that much.
2 pints raspberries
6.5 cups sugar
I heat the sugar in a 250 degree oven to get it hot for a bit while I boil the jars and mash the raspberries.
Place raspberries in an oversize pan. (You really need larger than 4 quart or you risk it boiling over, which really sucks).
Add sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a heat proof spatula, scraping down sides.
As soon as it is at a rolling boil, time it for one minute, stirring constantly. Do not cook more than necessary, it alters the flavor.
Add pectin, stir another minute. Depending on how thick you like your jam, you can put it up now or boil another minute or two.
Pour into jars and seal.
This is a semi-recipe adapted from one Novella Carpenter kinda outlines in City Farm. Because they are not sweetened, they are great for breakfast and as a savory accompaniment to dinner, especially pork.
Wash plums well.
Pack tightly into hot, sterilized jars. Place lids on jars.
Heat for 1 hour. Add more plums.
Process for 15 minutes in pressure canner.
This jam can be tricky. Don’t thicken the juice enough, and you have grape syrup rather than jelly. Not really a bad thing since the Jupiter grapes are insanely delicious. If you boil too much, the fresh tang of the grape is gone, though you have a more jam-like consistency. I pretty much make this for myself, since I appreciate the flavor of the generally runny jam I end up with. I find regular folk tend to fixate on the runnyness and it ruins the whole jar for them.
6 pounds grapes, preferably Jupiter
7 1/2 cups sugar
2 packets pectin
Boil grapes and sugar together until thickened slightly, stirring frequently.
Add pectin and bring back to a boil for one minute. Check set.
I happen to pickle just about everything and I happened to have a bit of a glut of Jupiter grapes, even after making jam. So, I thought that pickling them would be nice. I just ate a whole jar.
2 pounds red grapes, Jupiter are best
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups sugar
handful of green cardamom
1/2 handful black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Heat vinegar, sugar, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon and salt in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Boil jars. Remove from heat and pack with clean grapes. Make sure that only one cardamom seed goes in each jar.
Place lids in hot water to soften seal.
Pour heated vinegar over top of grapes.
Seal and place in hot water. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Let jars cool in water.
Because I bought case each of grapes, raspberries and plums over the weekend, the farmer I buy from gave me the restaurant price for each and also tossed in a nice big bag of peaches. Yummy, only I was already flush with peaches and had two melons from the back yard that were teed up and ready to be eaten. Because I usually buy two cases of peaches for putting up at the end of the season and I am not a big fan of peach jam, I decided to just pickle them. It’s easy. Super easy since I am super lazy and don’t peel them since I won’t be giving them away.
4 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 handful black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick per jar
1 piece star anise per jar
4 pounds peaches, chopped up in big chunks
Bring sugar, vinegar and water to the boil. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Place peaches in syrup and boil 10 minutes.
Spoon peaches into jars with syrup to half inch from top.
Process 10 minutes.