Preserve madness

Recently I have been digging up old family preserve recipes and doing a lot of research online for recipes. But what generally happens is that I end up stockpiling all these great recipes and then spending one full day turning my kitchen completely upside down and canning, chopping and cleaning up after the mess I make for a good 6-8 hour shift. Yesterday was one of those days. I decided that I was going to make pickled Cauliflower, Branston pickle (for James who loves it) and Tomato Jam.

The cauliflower recipe called for Coriander and I didn't realize that I had missed that on the shopping list til things were already on a boil and well on their way. So I decided to do the neighbourly thing and see if I could borrow some from next door.

Well when I knocked on the door and my neighbour came to the door, I told her it was probably a strange request but did she have Coriander. She scrunched up her nose and said 'Do I have Coriander?'. The way she said it made it seem like perhaps I had offended her. Then she followed it up with "Do you forget what I do for a living' and she proceeded to take me down into her basement where she had a wall full of every spice imaginable. She is in the spice business. She gave me a new product being released by McCormick's called Roasted Ground Coriander. I decided seeing as the recipe called for me to roast the seeds that I would substitute this ingredient into the mix for one batch and test it out. It has a lovely roasted scent and I can't wait til I can try the pickles in about a week.

The tomato jam recipe has a pretty simple list of ingredients:

  • 8 large or 12 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 3 lemons
  • 8 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons preserved ginger, chopped
I reduced the sugar to 6 cups and put ginger in half the batch and fresh chopped basil in the other half. It simmered for about 2 hours til it was reduced to the setting point and came out a perfect spreadable consistency. My personal vote is for the basil. But then it is one of my favourite flavours. But the ginger is still pretty wonderful as well.

At first I was intimidated at the ingredient list for the Branston Pickle. I researched several recipes online and settled on this recipe I chose not to use the 'browning" and other than the fact that it took 2 hours to reduce, it was relatively easy and I learned a few things. I had no idea there were dates in Branston pickle. I am going to make steak and guiness pie on the weekend so we can give it a taste test and see how it compares to the store bought.