Friday, September 3, 2010

End of Summer Canning

Tomato Jam with Cinnamon Basil and Crystallized Ginger
Tomato jam is great for grilled chicken sandwiches, delicious with pesto on grilled bread, and perfect with fresh mozzarella on a piece of country wheat toast. You don't have to add the ginger or the basil. You can add whatever seasoning or spice you like. With this recipe you will get significantly less yield than a tomato sauce, but to me, it's worth it for the super-sweet concentrated tomato taste.

3 Quarts of your favorite heirloom tomato, chopped
1 Cup sugar
2 Cups white wine vinegar
4 Inches ginger, minced
10 Pieces crystallized ginger, diced
1 Bunch cinnamon basil (or other spicy basil such as Thai or Mexican)
Salt and pepper, to taste

-Boil the tomatoes with sugar, vinegar, and ginger.
-Stir frequently and reduce to a very thick mixture (almost a paste).
-At the last moment, stir in the crystallized ginger and basil.
-Season with salt and pepper.
-Process jars in boiling water bath.

Jupiter Grape Jam with Balsamic and Rosemary
Jupiter Grapes are a seedless table grape available from the finger lakes region of New York state only for a very short window. They are super flavorful like concord grapes (maybe a little juicier), but because they are seedless you can use them to make jam (with the whole fruit), not just jelly (strained). This jam is less sweet than most and can be used as a sauce for quail, in a mini tart, or just with pb on a sandwich.

4 Bunches Jupiter grapes, pulled from the stems and rinsed
4 Sprigs rosemary
1 Cup Balsamic vinegar
Generous amount of Black Pepper
Salt to taste

-Boil the Jupiter grapes in a large pot with a little bit of water and 1/2 of the Balsamic vinegar until quite thick.
-Then, season the jam to your taste with the remaining vinegar, black pepper and salt, add the rosemary and allow it to steep for 30 min.
-Remove the rosemary, bring the mixture back to a boil and can it.

Tomatillo Salsa
This is one of my favorite recipes to make this time of year and it is so SUPER easy! You do need two very important pieces of equipment, however: a cast iron pan, griddle or grill and a blender. Can this and you will be feasting on summer bounty for the rest of the winter, or as long as your supplies last....

3 LBS of fresh tomatillos, leaves removed and fruit rinsed
4 Jalepenos
2 Heads of garlic, roasted in aluminum foil in a 300F oven until soft (20 min.)
2 Cloves garlic, raw
2 Bunches fresh cilantro
Fresh lime juice to taste
Salt to taste

-Heat your cast iron pan until it is extremely hot.
-Do not add oil.
-Drop in your tomatillos and jalepenos, blackening them on all sides. You will need to move them around to blacken them evenly. Also, you will want to do this in small enough batches where all the tomatillos can touch the bottom of the pan for more even cooking/blackening. You could also do this on a grill/griddle or barbecue if you prefer.
-Then just toss all of your blackened tomatillos and jalepenos in your blender with the roasted and raw garlic and cilantro.
-Blend (you can leave it a little chunky). Then season your salsa with salt and lime juice. You can just stop there and enjoy your creation on chips right out of the blender, but if you have slightly more restraint, bring it to a boil on the stove top. You may want to reduce the salsa a little if you feel like it is too watery. If so, this is the time to do it. When you have reached the consistency that you desire, taste it again to make sure that you still have all the acidity that you want and can it.

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