Sure, we all love cranberry sauce served alongside the turkey or ham on Christmas Day, but especially when slathered on the day-after sandwich. But I propose that there is another condiment that is equally (if not better) suited for festive seasonal fare: curried apple chutney. Made out of local apple varieties and warming, fragrant spices, it’s the perfect complement to your starring bird. Best of all, this is a recipe that not only can be made ahead, but actually improves with time. This recipe is safe for water-bath canning, so you can prepare the chutney quickly and easily, then store it on the shelf until you’re ready for the big day.
Curried Apple Chutney Recipe
Continue Reading Make-Ahead Curried Apple Chutney for Christmas (and Leftovers)
I grew up in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York, where apples abounded. In the autumn, we’d go to one of the local orchards to pick our own. I especially loved the crisp, sweet-tart Macintosh apples, which have the perfect combination of satisfying crunch and flavorful juice.
For the last 22 years, I’ve lived in Northern California, and while the produce here is generally unparalleled, our apples are, at least for eating out of hand, pretty lackluster. Some may have the right crispness, but are either puckering-ly sour or insipidly sweet. Others may have the right balance of flavor, but suffer from mealy texture.
However, the one surefire way to conjure up the flavor of the apples of my youth is by cooking them down into a rich, smooth apple butter. Slathered on an English muffin or swirled into a warming bowl of morning oatmeal, it transports me back in a single bite.
Continue Reading Everything’s Better with (Apple) Butter
In preserving, as with most things, it’s all about the right tool for the job. To the untrained eye, one mason jar may look more or less like another, and while it’s true they all get the job done, each has its strengths. For example, wide-mouth jars with shoulders are particularly good for when you need to pack things in and not have them float, like pickles or whole fruit. I have a cache of more than 50 quart jars that we use almost exclusively for our annual tomato-canning extravaganza. And while you can never have enough half-pint jars for jams, I also really love the tiny 4-oz. jars expressly because they make quick, cute and inexpensive gifts.
But there are two jars that have particular use: The Ball 12-oz. quilted jars and 24-oz. pint-and-a-half jars. Each of these is 50% larger than their standard counterparts (half pint and pint, respectively), and each has a straight, cylindrical profile. This, then, makes them perfect for canning long, narrow things, like asparagus — and green beans.
When I’m feeling a bit peckish, I don’t grab candy. Salty snacks and crackers have a siren song, but even then I can navigate those waters. No, my ultimate go-to bite is a pickle. It ticks all the boxes: Cool, juicy, salty, tangy. And if it can be a bit spicy, so much the better. Dilly beans tick all the boxes. You can settle in front of the tube with a big bowl of popcorn; I’ll curl up with a jarful of these slender, spicy spears.
Continue Reading Bean There, Jarred That
Use summer's best blueberries to make Slow Cooker Blueberry Butter from the cookbook Food in Jars.
With summer in full swing and farmers’ markets overflowing with ripe produce, this is the time of year when people in the know go canning-crazy. And with this must-have summer cookbook, Food in Jars, by canning-blogger and FN Dish contributor Marisa McClellan, you could be one of those people this year. Marisa likens preserving to investing in the stock market, where you buy low and sell high: You buy in-season fruits and veggies when they’re at their peak and relatively cheap and then reap the rewards year round with jars of can’t-be-beat preserves. All it takes to get started is Marisa’s precise, easy-to-follow instructions and no-fail recipes.
In Food in Jars Marisa includes all the basics, like jams, fruit butters, jellies and marmalades, and also savory preserves like pickles, salsas and relishes. Also not to be missed is the chapter on preserving tomatoes — who doesn’t long for the taste of summer tomatoes all winter long? And then there are recipes for whole fruits, like peaches, apricots and plums. Plus, with Marisa’s friendly voice, stories and helpful tips, you’ll feel like you’re canning along with a friend.
Continue Reading Cookbook Giveaway: Food in Jars
You know you want to make this delicious, booze-spiked peach butter.
Eating a ripe, juicy peach is one of summer’s best gifts. (Thanks, summer!) But — and I hate to be the one to bring this up — these little balls of edible sunshine aren’t going to be around forever. Savor delicious summer peaches on a dreary winter day (or next week, at least) by making this booze-and-spice-spiked peach butter. Here’s how you do it.
Continue Reading Make Your Own Bourbon Peach Butter
Help us celebrate the end of 2010 with a round-up of all your Cooking Channel favorites. This week we’re looking back at the shows, recipes, foods and photos you loved the most.
#1 Blog Post of 2010: “Loving Two Fat Ladies”
When Cooking Channel announced it was bringing back the wry, dry and sly ladies of the kitchen, Two Fat Ladies fans went nuts. We couldn’t be happier to watch them every Saturday night, and chuckle along at their saucy antics.
• Read the Post
• Catch the Two Fat Ladies Marathon on New Year’s Day
• Make their Original Recipes
• More Two Fat Ladies on the Blog
Continue Reading Top Blog Posts of 2010
A little effort today means fresh tomatoes for months to come.
The end of summer means that once again my husband and I, along with a couple of friends, are undertaking a major tomato canning extravaganza. We work together to stock all of our shelves with jars of tomato-y goodness for the year to come, methodically processing the fresh tomatoes from firm, whole fruit to bubbling red jars of liquid summer.
Continue Reading Canning Tomatoes: Many (Dirty) Hands Make Light Work
Cucumber Jam, Pickled Squash and Hot Pickle Relish
I’ve always been intrigued, if a bit intimidated, by the canning process. My parents stopped canning when I was about waist-high, so while I dreamed of having a root-cellar (yes, I live in an apartment, but, hey, it’s my dream) full of canned goods, I’d never actually canned anything.
So when my friend (and canning aficionado) Margaret came home from a vacation to a two-wheelbarrow crop of cucumber and squash, I was thrilled to help her put it all up (and get half the results).
Continue Reading Canning: Pickles, Relish and Jam