The Preserve Swap

I have been looking forward to this evening's preserve swap for weeks. Finally an opportunity to speak with people who are perhaps as crazy about preserving as myself:).

I stood downstairs in my pantry for about 20 minutes perusing the lined up jars to determine what I would bring.

Raspberry Jam - selfishly I only have 4 jars of that left and it is my personal favourite, so the decision was that it would stay right where it was.

Angry Pickled Garlic which was made on a day when I was burning with anger. Those crispy spicy bite sized delicacies should be shared with others. Angry Pickled Garlic - check.

Spicy n' Sweet Pickled Carrots. What goes better in a Caesar than these other than perhaps pickled green beans. I love chopping these babies up and adding them to a salad. Add them to the swap list.

Pickled Shallots with Tarragon - these really need at least another 3 weeks before they are ready to be opened. I don't want anyone to get a substandard preserve, so I will save those for the next swap

Pineapple Jam - with the gorgeous winter weather we have been having it almost feels like spring out there. What better to accompany a sunny and mild winter day than a taste of the tropics. Some lucky preserve swapper will walk away with a jar of these.

Tomato Basil Jam - ooh another personal fav of mine. Great as an alternative to ketchup and so tasty in a toasted panini. The fresh basil from my indoor planters add the perfect snap of spring.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade - I have a few other marmalades to bring, so perhaps these can be saved til next time.

Marmalade with brown sugar and vanilla - an experiment with my favourite ingredients. Fresh vanilla pod which I looooove, brown sugar which adds a nice molasses flavour to the jam and the tartness of seville oranges. Nummies

Onion Garlic Jam - this jam might not be something one wants to eat while mingling at the preserve swap or on a first date. But the flavour of sweet onion, garlic and white wine married with a sharp cheddar or cheese of your choice is a delicious snack and a must bring.

Grapefruit marmalade - I go a bit marmalade crazy in February with Seville Oranges finally being in season and decided why stop with oranges. This refreshing marmalade is so good in the morning.

Apple Earl Grey Almond Jelly - I can't make shortbread cookies when I have this Jelly in the house. Their marriage of flavours would be sure to add 15 pounds to my frame.

Spicy Zucchini Relish - your burger will thank you. Do they serve burgers at The Avro?

Pickled Cauliflower - this is my favourite way to eat cauliflower. Pickled in brine with a bit of a bite, these crunchy pickles will find a good home on someone else's shelves....I hope :)

The jars are all ready to be swapped and find new homes and now I can't wait to see what I can swap these babies for!

Angry Pickled Garlic

Yield - 2 500ml jars

4 cups unpeeled garlic cloves
3 cups white wine vinegar (min 5% acid)
2 tsp kosher or pickling salt (I used pickling)
2 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp celery seeds
4 tsp ground black pepper

In a large pot, boil water and immerse the garlic. Blanch for 1 minute in the hot water. Remove and immerse in cold water immediately. This will help get the skins off the garlic easily and will help prevent the garlic from turning green during the pickling process. Pack the garlic into sterilized jars leaving 3/4 inch space.

In a wide pot, combine the vinegar and salt and bring to boil. Ensure the salt has completely dissolved.

Pour liquid into jars and leave 1/2 inch head space and release any trapped air bubbles.

Seal with warm lids and process for 10 minutes at 200F

This post could really have been titled 'Pissed off and Completely Disenchanted Pickled Garlic' or 'Who Can I Punch Pickled Garlic', but that would be me projecting my anger on some garlic that are probably going to be rather tasty at the end of all this. So I toned it down to 'Angry Pickled Garlic'. If you choose to make them you can tone it down even further and completely lose the 'Angry' part altogether. :)

I learned something about myself today...that pickling and preserving acts almost as a form of meditation for me. I have always loved the 'idea' of meditation but when you get right down to it, I can't sit still for that long. So cross meditation off the list and replace with preserving.

You see, I am currently unemployed. After 18 years working in Marketing and Social Media, recent circumstances had me packaged out of my position of Vice President, Client Services. It's truly was for the best and it has nothing to do with my recent burst of anger.

I had a job interview today. Not sure it was a job I was particularly right for or even interested in, but I am all about networking, meeting new people and to be honest it seems like a great company. I personally like their product and have one myself, so I figured no harm done and I would go for the interview.

I spent a couple of hours researching the organization last night, looked into their competition, took a look at what they are currently doing online, etc. I like to be prepared. Then again this morning, a little more of the same. Got up nice and early, got ready, drove into the city (which took 50 minutes) and arrived a few minutes early only to be told that the person I was meeting was "out with some 'important' people and not expected back any time soon". Just like that, eh? No phone call, no text message, no email, not even a word from the receptionist to tell me this person I was meeting had left a message that she was sorry she had to run out.

Complete waste of my time and left me seething with anger. So by the time I paid the $12 in parking, drove the 50 minutes back and realized I had wasted the better part of my day on someone who so very obviously feels her time is that much more important than mine that I don't even deserve a heads up I had worked myself up into a right state.

What to do...what to do. How do I get rid of this anger. I immediately felt myself walking towards the kitchen where I had a gigantic pile of fresh garlic and started smashing the bulbs on the counter top and tearing the bulbs apart. Then I plunged the poor suckers into boiling water and after a minute of tapping my toes impatiently pulled them out and plunged them into cold water.

After 15 minutes of angrily pulling their skins off I felt remarkably calmer and was ready to boil the vinegar and salt. By the time I had put the garlic in their jars, got the spices ready and poured the boiling vinegar over them my heartbeat was almost back to normal.

10 minutes later, I have pulled them out of their hot water bath and damn they look good. Angry Pickled Garlic you are great therapy and I can't wait til I sink my teeth into you 6 weeks from now.