September 28, 2010
One of my lovely market customers is getting married up in Pennsylvania! I am so excited to be a part of her shower. Her Mom placed an order with me to create her favors using a Pear theme. I took a photo of the finshed product for you to see above. I made two batches of organic spiced pear butter and custom-labeled each jar with Jessica’s Bridal Shower and the Date.
This is a photo of the first wedding favors that I created for my fellow foodie and blogger Kasey Fleisher! I was so honored to be a part of her special wedding in the Napa Valley. Her blog is called Eating / SF. She picked some wonderful flavors, the one pictured above is Black Forest Jam a mixture of fresh blackberries, callebaut chocolate and chambord.
This recipe is inspired by Christine Ferber. When Figs are in season in Florida, I rush to can this beautiful jam for the winter months ahead. The preparation is simple as this jam is macerated overnight to allow the figs to absorb the sugar and lemon and turn the most amazing and beautiful purple color in your bowl.
Balsamic Fig Jam
2.5 lbs fresh figs (I love mission or turkey)
1.75 lbs granulated sugar
Juice of one medium lemon (1/8 cup)
1 Vanilla Bean (split)
Added the following day: 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
Rinse the figs, slice them into smallish bite size pieces. Place the figs in a non-reactive bowl or container and mix with sugar and lemon and vanilla bean. Place this container in the fridge overnight or at least for 6 hours. When you take it out, you will have a beautiful purpleish mixture.
Pour this mixture into your preserving pan. At this time you can also prepare your jars in the water bath canner. This fruit should yield about 5 eight oz jars. Add the balsamic vinegar and pepper to the mixture. Bring the mixture up to the boil and cook for at least 5 minutes, probably no longer than 10 depending on the width of your preserving pan. The mixture will get beautifully thick on your spatula and that is how you know it is ready for your jars. If you do not feel confident, place a plate in the freezer, take a teaspoon of the jam from the preserving pot and place on the cold plate. Put back in freezer for a moment, take the plate out and “push” the jam with your finger, if it wrinkles, it is ready! Remove the vanilla bean from the mixture and ladle into your sterlized jars. Place in your waterbath and boil for 12 minutes to be on the safe side.
This jam is fabulous with sharp cheeses.
September 14, 2010
I was so excited to find out that my friend Kristi’s Grandfather has two huge Sand Pear Trees in his yard in Lake Mary which is the next little town over from Longwood. This is the only variety that grows in Central Florida and is similar to an Asian Pear, but has a lovely grain to it and is bursting with pear flavor. She has brought me about 50 pounds of them so far, and I developed this recipe to make a delightful chutney that pairs beautifully with cheese, pork, fish or chicken. This recipe was inspired by one that I found in one of my favorite books called Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp & Margaret Howard. The prep time on this is about 45 minutes and the cooking time is about 60 to 75 minutes.
6 lbs Peeled and Chopped Pears (1/4 inch cubes)
2 lbs Chopped Tomatoes (I used Plum, grape would be nice too)
2 lbs Chopped Peaches
1 cup Thompson Raisins
2 lbs Brown Sugar
5 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Chili Flakes
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp fresh ground cloves
2 oz Crystallized Ginger Chopped Fine
I have a 13 qt Le Creuset Dutch Oven that I use for this recipe. The mixture cooks down quite a bit, but if you use a smaller pot, you will have splatters everywhere. Chutney is so simple in that you can bung all the ingredients in the pot at one time, give it a few huge stirs and set the fire going. Bring this up to a boil and then turn the heat down a bit for a hard simmer. Let this cook down until nice and thick. This should take anywhere from 60 to 75 minutes depending on how hard you let this boil. Stir at least every 10 minutes to ensure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. You will be left with a gorgeous, sweet chutney that takes so much of its color from the tomatoes. The yield on this is about fourteen 8 oz jars. Plenty for your winter larder!