6.2.14 Kitchen garden herbs

6.2.14 Kitchen herbs and garden thinnings

“…there is nothing more inspiring than walking into a kitchen that is full of the aromas of herbs as their essential oils mingle with the food.”
— Jekka McVicar

By now, the herb garden’s had enough time to allow for any latecomers. After taking stock, we gathered up replacements for those that didn’t make it through the winter. There are the usual suspects, like parsley and basil, but we also take this as an opportunity to get familiar with some new ones. Into the garden this week:

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) — Perennial. History of use for magical purposes, from which it derives its name. Licorice-like flavor, stems often candied, and young leaves for salads. This is a new herb for us, and accompanies the recent planting of sweet cicely, another anise-like herb from the family Apiaceae that we’re still learning about.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) — Annual. This fragrant, tender herb doesn’t travel well as the leaves are easily crushed, but earns its place in the garden both as a companion plant to tomatoes and as an essential in summer cookery. Though it comes in many tempting varieties, we always make sure to put in a sizable planting of the classic Sweet Genovese. 

Holy Basil (Ocimum basilicum sanctum) — Annual. Also known as Sacred Basil or Tulsi; originally from Thailand, where its grown around Buddhist temples. Our first time with it, we found it at The Herb Farmacy.

Spicy Globe Basil (Ocimum basilicum minimum) — Annual. Also known as Greek Basil, this bush variety grows in a compact mound, and is popular its size, flavor and tender stems. Its spicy sweet flavor lends punch to salads, vinegar, pasta, as well as pesto. We’ve struggled with different varieties of basil, and are trying to plant them later and when the weather is assuredly warmer. This is a new variety to us, and we can easily imagine a whole row of them edging a bed, forming an aromatic miniature hedge.

Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Horapha’) — Annual. More pungent than its Italian relative, Thai basil brings its own fresh brightness to such dishes as summer rolls and rice noodle salads, without which something would seem missing.

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) — Annual. Usually replace every several years, reseeds in between. Part of the French classic fines herbes, blended with tarragon, parsley and chives. Use fresh to enhance eggs, fish, green vegetables, and chicken.

Vietnamese Cilantro (Polygonum odoratum)  — Perennial. Also known as Asian mint, Vietnamese mint, smartweed, fragrant knotweed, laksa leaf and rau ram. Flavorwise, Vietnamese cilantro falls somewhere between cilantro and mint, and is considered a warm weather substitute when it gets too hot to grow cilantro. Though we grew this last season, we only recently became familiar with its culinary uses. It can’t tolerate temperatures below 32°F, and we treat this as an annual.

Green & Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) — Perennial. This non-bulbing herb is worth growing in addition to Florence fennel, as the fronds have a more concentrated sweet flavor. It’s sporadic as a perennial, and we’ve been replanting as necessary.

Hidcote Blue Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) — Perennial. Our original planting of lavender has declined, and we’ve been replacing them with ones more suited for culinary purposes. We look for augustifolia varieties, which have a sweeter taste due to lower levels of camphor.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana) — Perennial. When forced to choose between marjoram or oregano, we prefer marjoram for it’s finer, more delicate flavor. However, it’s not as hardy and we seem to need to replace it annually.

Flat-Leaf Parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitana) — Biennial. We never seem to have enough of this herb, and start the season with at least a dozen seedlings. One plant managed to overwinter this year in a place where it’ll establish a self-seeding patch. We especially like to use flat-leaf parsley combined with thinly sliced red onion, and dressed with red wine vinegar and good olive oil, for a salad-like condiment for grilled or roasted dishes.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) — Perennial. The herb for remembrance, we recently learned that “officinalis” in the latin name marks this useful for medicinal purposes. The piney, resinous flavor marries well with boldly flavored foods, and we especially love the fragrance it brings to a table strewn with sprigs of it. We’re envious of places were rosemary can be grown as a perennial, and where it can take on it’s fullest expression in the garden; here, we make do with annual plantings.

Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis) — Annual. Like a more pungent thyme, summer savory adds a peppery, slightly piney flavor. It marries well with meat and other strongly flavored dishes, and we often use it as a change from marjoram.

Winter Savory (Satureja montana) — Perennial. Similar to its summer twin in flavor and use, we save this one for cooler weather cooking and when the herb garden begins to fade.

French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus) — Perennial. Also known as buckler-leaf sorrel, this variety has a shorter, rounder leaf, and a less astringent flavor than the broad-leaved variety. We added sorrel after enjoying cooking with it this spring.

French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus sativa) — Perennial. Another of the anise-like herbs that when it’s in season dresses up a range of summery dishes, especially cold salads such as egg or potato. It’s struggled to get established, and added another as reinforcement.

Golden Lemon Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus) — Perennial. We think of thyme as the Miss Congeniality of the herb garden — it’s friendly and never seems to mind where it’s placed; attractive enough to shine on its own with a warm, woodsy flavor; and gets along well with others, complementing all wherever it goes. Since lemons remain a challenge to grow here, lemon-like herbs like this one can take their place.

Silver-Edged Thyme (Thymus ‘Argenteus’) — Perennial. It’s hard to resist the many tantalizing varieties of thyme, and we confess that this was an impulse buy. Where the lemon thyme offers some clear culinary advantages to having it in the garden, we liked this one purely for the pretty, silvery color it brings to the herb garden. 

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) — Half-hardy perennial. We’re unable to grow lemon verbena to its full shrub-like expression, but its fragrant citrus flavor puts it on our annual list. It favors sweeter applications, however, it contains the compound citral, same as found in lemongrass, and we use it in much the same way — chopped finely for savory dishes, a little bit goes a long way.

6.2.14 Kitchen herbs and garden thinnings

We come to herbs from their use in the kitchen, and, though we may pick up a tip or two about their medicinal value, this remains our primary love for them. Here’s a small selection of references and links to resources we’ve found helpful in deepening our understanding and making the most of our herb garden.

References

Herbs: River Cottage Handbook No. 10 by Nikki Duffy — One of our favorite of the series and the one we first consult for general information; terrific advice on culinary varieties.

Wild Flavors by Didi Emmons — Learning from Eva’s Garden, a well-known source of herbs as well as foraged foods in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, from a cook’s point of view.

Cooking with Flowers by Miche Bacher — The flowers of herbs are another edible expression of the plant, and this is packed full of ideas on what to do with them.

Herbs & Things and Jeanne Rose’s Herbal Guide to Food by Jeanne Rose — While Jeanne Rose’s Herbal Guide to Food more specifically covers culinary uses, we’ve a sentimental attachment to Herbs & Things, which was our first introduction many years ago to herbs and their various uses.

How to Move Like a Gardener by Deb Soule — Though more oriented towards medicinal uses, this well-known herbalist offers advice specific to growing herbs in Maine, where she’s based.

Culpeper’s Color Herbal — Charming drawings and opinionated notes, this reference for traditional medicinal uses is especially informative for foraged plants.

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Claire Kowalchik — A standby, we consult this for herbs not covered in other references.

The Complete Herb Book by Jekka McVicar — Along with Herbs: River Cottage Handbook, our go-to book for culinary herbs, which the well-known McVicar grows on her herb farm in the UK.

Resources

The Herb Garden at Strawbery Banke Museum — Just across the river from us, we use this local gem as a study garden when in season. The exceedingly knowledgeable and talented John Forti, Curator of Historic Gardens & Landscapes, is aided by the Seacoast Unit of the Herb Society of America in the maintenance of the garden as a teaching tool and community resource. A selection of references are available online, including Heirloom Herbs and their Uses, and a list of John’s Favorite Herbs.

The Herb Society of America, NorthEast Seacoast Unit — The NorthEast Seacoast Unit of this national organization is an active one, and offers an annual series of presentations. See the national website for an online guide to a selection of individual herbs, along with other resources.

• New Hampshire Herbal Network — A gathering of herbalists, herb growers and herb enthusiasts, their upcoming 5th Annual Herb & Garden Day on Saturday, June 7th, offers workshops, plant sales, and delicious food.

The Herb Farmacy — Recently selected Best Herb Nursery in New England by Yankee Magazine, Rita and Brooke offer a wide selection of organic herbs, vegetable starts, flowers, and native plants at their Salisbury, Massachusetts, location.

Posted in cooking, garden | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Sorrel Fettucine + Sorrel Pesto

Sorrel Fettucine + Sorrel Pesto

Like “lemonade in a leaf,” sorrel’s tart and tangy flavor brightens this simple combination of sorrel fettucine dressed with sorrel pesto. Featuring this perennial herb in both the pasta and the pesto delivers a double dose of spring.

Sorrel Fettucine + Sorrel Pesto

Sorrel’s acidic flavor makes this European plant a sought after source of vitamin C, and is also known to aid digestion. When considering sorrel, the younger leaves are best used fresh, while the older ones are more acidic and better suited to cooking, which tames its bite. Culinary uses include tossed on its own as a salad, whisked into a vinaigrette, pureed into a creamy sauce, or cooked into a French-style soup. Smaller leaves may be used whole; the tough stems of larger ones can be removed much as one would with spinach, by folding the leave in half lengthwise and pulling the stem away.

Sorrel Fettucine + Sorrel Pesto
Incorporating sorrel into a batch of homemade pasta and pesto takes advantage of its early season freshness. We had duck eggs on hand for the pasta dough, and their richness plays off the sprightliness of the sorrel. When making pasta, chicken and duck eggs may be used interchangeably, however, duck eggs, with their larger yolk, contain less water and may require an extra splash to compensate.

Sorrel Fettucine + Sorrel Pesto

For the pasta dough, we like using 10 ounces of flour to 2 eggs, a proportion adapted from Paul Bertolli’s Cooking by Hand. We find it’s a large enough batch to make the effort worthwhile, serving 4 amply or 2 with leftovers, yet manageable enough to turn homemade pasta into an everyday affair. This recipe takes easily to experimenting with different flours, just substitute from 2 to 5 ounces of the white.

Sorrel Fettucine

10 ounces all-purpose or 00 flour
2 chicken or duck eggs, about 4 ounces, lightly beaten
½ cup minced sorrel
1 tablespoon water, more if necessary

- Place the flour on the counter or in a bowl, and make a well in the center. Add the herbs and eggs to the well, and stir to combine. Drizzle the water over the mixture and stir again until it forms a shaggy mass. Mix the dough until it feels tacky and fully incorporated, then, if using a bowl, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough loses its surface moisture, is a uniform color, and springs back when depressed, about 4 to 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a small bowl, and let it rest for at least 1 hour before rolling and cutting. Makes 4 portions.

Sorrel Fettucine + Sorrel Pesto

One of the characteristics of sorrel is that it becomes muted in cooking, both in flavor and color, and a pesto helps retain as much of its vibrancy as possible. While the sorrel fettucine and sorrel pesto can be served on their own, we like the delicious affect of layered flavors they create when tossed together.

Sorrel Pesto

1 clove garlic or 2 stalks green garlic, chopped into 1 inch lengths
⅓ cup pine nuts or walnuts
1 cup chopped sorrel leaves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

- Place garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, then add the nuts and repeat pulsing until well ground. Add the sorrel, lemon juice, olive oil and salt, and pulse until it forms a creamy consistency. Transfer the pesto to a bowl, and stir in the cheese. Adjust seasonings to taste. Best served fresh; may be refrigerated several days.

Local ingredients: Sorrel from Stout Oak Farm; duck eggs from Cracked an Egg Farm; and green garlic from Meadow’s Mirth.

Posted in cooking | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Sakura or Cherry Blossom Jellies

Sakura or Cherry Blossom Jellies

Spring is the most ephemeral of seasons in New England. We spend the long winter looking forward to it, then in a flash, it’s over. Take the case of our cherry tree — it sits outside our front door and each year, as it starts to bloom extravagantly, we make plans to salt cure the blossoms, but the flowers always drop before we have the chance. We kept a closer watch this time, then found we’d missed the best time for curing, when they’re still in the bud stage.

Sakura or Cherry Blossom Jellies

With the tree in full bloom, we quickly considered other ways of preserving them, and discovered Sakura Jelly and Cherry Blossom Jam. Unlike what the names would imply, both are prepared with agar agar, a gelatin-like base, to make a kind of Japanese sweet. In place of dried blossoms, we more than doubled the amount of fresh blossoms, then proceeded to gently simmer them in a mix of sugar and water. The simple syrup took on the palest of pink tints, but something seemed missing.

Sakura or Cherry Blossom Jellies

The Gardener then mentioned we had another ornamental cherry tree out back. Its location had made it easy to overlook, but our interest in discovering and exploring the edible plants already in our garden had us seeing it anew.

Sakura or Cherry Blossom Jellies

As soon as we harvested the blossoms, we noticed the difference — these were fragrant while the others were not, and gave the second batch a delicate note missing from the first, while also lending a deeper hue.

Sakura or Cherry Blossom Jellies

You might remember agar agar from high school biology, where it’s often used as a lab culture. It’s commonly found in Asian sweets and, as it’s made from algae or seaweed,is suitable for vegetarians. After infusing and straining the syrup, the agar agar is stirred in and brought briefly to a boil to activate its gelling abilities. The liquid is then poured into a thin layer in a shallow container, and sets up quickly once it’s in the fridge. In comparing the two batches, the paler one, while beautifully translucent, had a slightly grassy taste. The flavor of the second, darker batch was better balanced, with the sweetness playing against a haunting floral note, capturing a little bite of spring. It was also obvious how these could be cute into cute shapes, ready for a Bento box.

Sakura or Cherry Blossom Jellies

To turn jelly into “jam,” we blended them until each was transformed in texture. The pale jelly readily took on a silky, glossy quality, while the darker batch, which had simmered longer, had a harder set and turned out more granular.

Sakura or Cherry Blossom Jellies

There are tweaks to be explored, such as finding ways to infuse the syrup with more flavor, or increasing and controlling color. And though the cherry blossoms are now past their prime, the just blooming lilacs, another edible flower, could easily take their place.

Cherry Blossom Jellies

20 – 40 cherry blossoms
14 ounces | 400 grams filtered water
3.5 ounces | 100 grams granulated sugar
.17 ounces | 5 grams agar agar

- Wash the cherry blossoms; remove the leaves and as much of the stem as possible. Simmer the water and sugar together to dissolve the sugar. Add the cherry blossoms and continue simmering until the syrup takes on color, 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the mixture, whisk in the agar agar, and bring to a brief boil, about 30 seconds.
– Pour mixture in a thin layer in a shallow container, and cool in the fridge until firm. To serve, jellies may be cut into squares or shapes. To make a jam, place in processor or blender, and process until mixture is smooth and shiny, and slightly warm. Sakura jellies and jam may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Adapted from Dessert Professional.

Local ingredients: Cherry blossoms from the garden.

Posted in cooking | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

5.26.14 All the leaves were calling me

5.26.14 All the leaves were calling me

I meant to do my work today —
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
— Richard Le Gallienne

Traditionally, we hold off much of our planting until Memorial Day weekend, at which point we’re safely past any danger of last frost. This year the occasion falls earlier than usual, and instead of rushing things into the ground, we’re trying to plant by following the phases of the moon rather than the calendar. From the The Old Farmers’ Almanac:

• Plant flowers and vegetables that bear crops above ground during the light, or waxing, of the Moon: from the day the Moon is new to the day it is full.

• Plant flowering bulbs and vegetables that bear crops below ground during the dark, or waning, of the Moon: from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again.

Above: Apple tree in bloom with what we now know are edible blossoms, but not too many.

5.26.14 All the leaves were calling me

By holding off transplanting until later in the week, the lunar cycle moves into a new and, hopefully, more amenable quarter, with the added bonus that overnight temperatures may finally budge out of the 40’s. Despite the slow start, there’s still lots going on in the garden. After spending several years of getting established, we hope to get some fruit from the beach plums (above) this season, and the generous profusion of blooms is a promising start.

5.26.14 All the leaves were calling me

The sea kale (above) is also flowering but we harvested only a few side shoots to sample. From Paradise Lot, as described by Jonathan Bates:

The tender spring leaves taste a little like collard greens, but a single plant yields a crop of only a half dozen leaves a year; eating more would put an end to the plant in short order. One alternative is to eat some leaves in the fall after most of the growing has taken place, but we have come to prefer the early spring broccolis. Along with the first six to eight inches of tender new flower stalk growth, the broccolis, or broccolitas, can be eaten raw, mixed into salads, lightly cooked with butter and salt, or added to a vegetable stir-fry.”

We’ll leave the majority of the florets on the plant, where they’ll bloom for most of the summer, then turn into crunchy seedpods, another edible part.

5.26.14 All the leaves were calling me

Every clove of garlic planted last fall came up, and each leaf represents a sheath around the final bulb — the more leaves, the better the protective cover when we eventually harvest and store them. Above: Music garlic.

5.26.14 All the leaves were calling me

Early spring plantings of lettuce greens and kales in the cold frames are waiting to be thinned, and will go into the first garden salad of the season — it’s like a bed of Vitamin Green.

5.26.14 All the leaves were calling me

There’s not quite enough rhubarb yet to make a tart, but we couldn’t resist snatching a few stalks (above) to make a batch of scones.

5.26.14 All the leaves were calling me

First of the season radishes (above), the leafy tops as precious as the roots. To store, cut the greens off and keep in a closed container in the refrigerator, separate from the radishes. The greens are edible and can be sautéed or stir-fried, made into a pesto or a soup; we especially like them in a spring frittata.

Harvesting: Steady supply of asparagus; first of the rhubarb and radishes; and a sampling of sea kale florets.

Preserving: Quick-pickled asparagus.

Posted in garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Putting Up: Quick Pickled Asparagus + Preserving Round-Up

Putting Up: Asparagus

It may be the result of a late spring or that many local farmers are now growing it, but for the first time there’s enough asparagus around to consider putting some of it up. After considering our options (see Resources: Preserving Asparagus below), we decided on quick pickling them, an easy process that can be made up in one-jar batches and keeps much of the fresh crunch of whatever is being pickled. Ball’s 1½-pint jars — a new favorite size — are perfect for packing tall spears of asparagus, and will hold about a pound per jar. As a starting point, we used the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s infinitely variable Refrigerator Spring Pickles, which is more of a template than recipe, and were inspired by the choice of pickling seasonings at A Veggie Venture‘s (via Food in Jars). The following recipe will make up one of these jars, and, if you should be so lucky as to have that much asparagus, may be scaled up for larger batches.

Quick Pickled Asparagus
Makes one 1½-pint jar

1 pound asparagus spears
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 small dried chile pepper
1 cup white or cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon canning/pickling salt
1 tablespoon sugar

- Wash the asparagus, snap off the woody ends, and trim spears to fit in jar, leaving at least a half-inch of headspace. Pack prepared asparagus spears snugly into a clean 1½-pint jar or similar sized heatproof lidded container. Add the peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic and chile pepper to the jar of packed asparagus.
– To make the brine, mix the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a small pot. Bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Carefully fill the jar with brine to within a half-inch of the rim. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate. Allow the flavor to develop for 1 to 2 days before serving. Use within 2 weeks.

Local Ingredients: Cider vinegar from Ricker Hill Orchards; asparagus and garlic from the garden.

Putting Up: Asparagus

Resources: Preserving Asparagus

Canning — Whether in pieces or as spears, hot or raw-packed, you’ll need a pressure canner to process this low-acid vegetable: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/asparagus_spears.html

Pickling — The addition of vinegar to fresh-packed asparagus allows it to be processed using a boiling water canner: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/pickled_asparagus.html

• Quick Pickling — Easy to make up by the single jar, asparagus are covered with a hot brine, and stored in the fridge; includes how to vary the seasonings: http://umaine.edu/food-health/food-preservation/lets-preserve-refrigerator-spring-pickles/

• Fermenting — Curing in a salt and water solution produces lactic acid, which acts as a preservative: http://www.girlichef.com/2010/06/lacto-fermented-asparagus.html

Freezing — Blanching inactivates the enzymes, and helps to preserve color, flavor, and nutrients: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/asparagus.html

Drying — Same as for freezing, pretreat by blanching before drying: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry/csu_dry_vegetables.pdf

Posted in cooking, preserving | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

5.19.14 Asparagus — Roasted with Green Garlic

5.19.14 Asparagus — Roasted with Green Garlic

This week’s harvest of asparagus marks the first real harvest of the season. In a fit of scorpacciata, we’ll be indulging in these as much as we can these next few weeks.

5.19.14 Asparagus — Roasted with Green Garlic

We never tire of them simply roasted, and tossed them in olive oil with a bunch of leafy green garlic from Meadow’s Mirth to round out the batch.

5.19.14 Asparagus — Roasted with Green Garlic

We like how oven-roasting concentrates the flavor, caramelizes the natural sugars, and crisps the edges — about 20 minutes in a 400° oven, or under the broiler if you’re watchful.

Posted in cooking, garden | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Putting Up: Victorian Barbecue Sauce + Rhubarb Ketchup

Putting Up: Victorian Barbecue Sauce + Rhubarb Ketchup

The rhubarb was so late coming up this spring, we thought they hadn’t survived the harsh winter and bought a back-up plant just in case. So when they finally did appear in the garden this week, it hardly seemed fair to have a couple of bags of it left unused in the freezer. To show our appreciation for their annual arrival, we made up a spice-filled batch of luscious Victorian Barbecue Sauce.

Putting Up: Victorian Barbecue Sauce + Rhubarb Ketchup

We first heard of Victorian Barbecue Sauce at one of our “Ask a Master Food Preserver” events at the farmers’ market, when a woman stopped by in search of a recipe for it. Given the vast number of recipes indexed at Eat Your Books, we were surprised to find only one reference. From the Ball Complete Book Home Preserving on the recipe’s origin: “Victorian cooks roasted their meat in huge kitchen fireplaces and enhanced it with homemade sauces concocted from garden staples such as rhubarb. Today’s barbecue chefs can add the same fruity complements to grilled foods as they cook.”

Putting Up: Victorian Barbecue Sauce + Rhubarb Ketchup

For a less chunky version, we slightly altered the original recipe (below) by omitting the raisins, mincing the onion finely, and used cider vinegar in place of white. The sauce cooked down more quickly than expected and, when we went to adjust the seasoning, the taste was unexpectedly familiar. We realized that we’d made a wonderfully delicious rhubarb ketchup and, along the way, discovered how one recipe could be made two ways.

Victorian Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 4 pint jars

8 cups chopped rhubarb
3½  cups lightly packed brown sugar
1½ cups chopped raisins
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt

- Prepare canner, jar, and lids.
– In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine rhubarb, brown sugar, raisins, onion, vinegar, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 30 minutes.
– Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot sauce. Wipe rim, center life on jar, screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
– Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Adapted from “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine.

For Rhubarb Ketchup: Omit the raisins, mince the onion finely, use cider vinegar in place of the white. Further reduce the sauce until thick and spoonable. If desired, blend for a smoother texture. Makes about 4 half-pints.

Local ingredients: Onion from Black Kettle Farm; cider vinegar from Ricker Hill Orchards; and rhubarb from the garden.

Posted in cooking, preserving | Tagged , , | 5 Comments