terça-feira, 14 de setembro de 2010

Daring Cooks' Challenge - September 2010 - Food Preservation

Blog-checking lines: The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Mandatory: he wanted us all daring cooks to try canning or freezing one of the recipes presented in the challenge.

Variations allowed: If we were familiar with home canning and would like to make our favorite up to date recipe, we were free to make this recipe.

John gave us all a great biochemistry class. He explained everything about preserving and canning food at home. He also presented some very interesting recipes of aplle butter and preserved tomatoes. You can check these recipes out at the Daring Kitchen website.
I myself did some research about the subject and found two recipes that really attacted me: Pear butter and an apple and onion chutney. I'm crazy about chutneys and I love pears. So, as variations were allowed, I decided to give a try to them.

Pear Butter
4 pounds medium pears, quartered and cored
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup orange juice
Place pears into a large pot over medium heat, and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot and keep them from sticking, about 1/2 cup. Cook until the pears are soft, about 30 minutes. Press pears through a sieve or food mill, and measure out 2 quarts of the pulp. Pour the pear pulp and sugar into a large saucepan and stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in the orange zest, nutmeg and orange juice. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to mound in a spoon. When the mixture begins to thicken, stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. This will take about 1 hour. Ladle the pear butter into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by sliding a metal spatula around where the pear butter touches the glass. Wipe jar rims clean, and seal with lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. The water should cover the jars by 1 inch. Check with your local extension for exact processing times for your area.

This recipe was found at allrecipes.com. Nice and easy. I wish you were here to taste this. W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L!

Easy Apple and Onion Chutney
1.8kg cooking apples
900g onions
3 - 4 plump garlic cloves
60g fresh root ginger
1 large red chilli
1l distilled malt vinegar
550g muscovado sugar
2Tbspoon ground tumeric
1Tbsppoon salt
Peel, core and chop the apples. chop the onions, garlic and ginger. Deseed the chilli, if liked, and chop. Put the apples, onions, garlic, ginger and chilli in a large preserving pan. Pour in the vinegar and stir in the sugar, tumeric and salt. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for about 1 hour until thick. Stir often as the mixture reduces, to avoid it catching on the botton of the pan and burning. Spoon into hot sterilized jars, cover with vinegar-proof seals, label and store in a cool, dark place for about 1 month before using.
This one is from the amazing book Jams & Chutneys _ Preserving the Harvest, written by Thane Prince. I love this book. The recipes are clear and the pictures are beautiful. There is also a very comprehensive chapter on preserving techniques.

I tasted the chutney while is was simmering. A bit bitter but good. Now I have to wait a whole month to taste the final result. I promise I'll come back to this and tell you what happened, ok?

Thanks, John. It was an amazing challenge. Sure I do too eat4fun!

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