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!

Snowday pineapple jam

































Yes it is the middle of February and even though our winter to date has been mild it still FEELS like the middle of February. If you live in a colder climate country, you know exactly what I mean. You are growing tired of waking up to the dark, having it be dark by 4pm, looking out your window at your yellow lawn and trees without leaves. Even on sunny days the light has a different quality in February than it does in July. The edges are sharper and everything is crisp in appearance, which only seems to amplify the lack of colour and life outside. You never get those soft, fuzzy days that happen only in the summer.

So this morning when I woke up to see everything covered in a layerLink of bright white snow, I decided what better day to make something tropical, like Pineapple Jam. Pineapples from Costa Rica are lining the shelves of my local grocery store, so after checking to make sure that the pineapples are ripe I chose a couple juicy candidates and made my way home  .

I cut each pineapple up into very small pieces and put into separate wide bottom non reactive pots. Added 6 cups of sugar and let them soak for an hour, stirring once or twice. You will notice this brings the juices out in the pineapple and help dissolve the sugar.

After an hour, I transferred the pots to the stove. I wanted to make a double batch but chose to do it in separate pots, staggering the start time by about 15 minutes so that when I got to the part where constant stirring was required I could concentrate on one batch. The directions below are for one batch.

Turning the heat to medium and adding 2 tbsp of lemon, I stirred the mixture until the sugar had completely dissolved and then I added a small dollop of butter. I wasn't specific with the amount, but it was about a tsp.

Turning the heat to med high, I brought the pineapples to a gentle boil and then reduced the heat, covered the pot and let them simmer for 10 minutes. By now you will notice that the pineapple chunks have begun to reduce in size and the mixture has gotten quite liquidy.

Turning the heat once again to med high I brought the pineapples to a rolling boil stirring constantly. Added 3oz of liquid pectin and stirred again constantly until the mixture returned to a rolling boil and let it boil for 60 seconds and then turned off the heat.

Leaving the pineapples to cool for several minutes so your fruit doesn't float and then ladled into sterilized jars and put in water bath for 10 minutes.

Summer in a jar even in February.