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Monday, August 16, 2010

break out the toast

   So when food becomes your hobby and cooking (in all it's various forms,for this post it's preserving) is a normal activity you have various memories,good and bad. Good would be finally getting the right seasoning mix in a very "complicated" and legendary dip,taking that first bite... absolute heaven,I mean really it was that good. Not so great memory could be making some recipe ( I don't even remember now exactly what it was...) and putting way too much white wine in the sauce and essentially ruining dinner... thank goodness for garlic bread and a bag of frozen green beans. The recipes and the meals come and go. The emotions can run high (when attempting your grandmother's London Broil recipe,to serve to HER...on her 90th birthday) and coast along nicely without a care in the world when making this classic lasagna from a real pioneer woman.
       I decided to get into canning and preserving this summer for two reasons: 1. It's a timeless skill and definitely teaches you patience in the kitchen ! (did I mention the free steam facial when you process the jars,it's totally worth it.) 2. In the heart of winter you can enjoy canned tomatoes that were packed way back last summer and when you taste those tomatoes in a soup,lookout! here comes all the flavors of summer,dang. The tomatoes are really delicious and well they rank right up there with blueberries. Thanks to modern technology we can freeze blueberries and enjoy them in muffins in January,but when you make a rich,hint of cinnamon,citrus-wrapped blueberry preserves,...talk about some memories.
        I happen to have a day off recently and found myself wanting a snack. I like desserts,but usually a simple dessert or "snack" for me might be a piece of toast with some butter and jam of some sort. I tell you what, I love bread and when that piece of bread met the blueberry citrus preserves,folks memories were made. Ok so it's not that dramatic,but this preserve recipe is easy and the flavors sing together. Enjoy.

Blueberry Citrus Preserves
-Linda Ziedrich
-The Joy of Jams,Jellies. and other Sweet Preserves,pg78
*This recipe makes about 3 1/2 pints or 7 half pints
Ingredients:
2 3/4 pounds blueberries
1/3 cup strained orange juice
1/3 strained lemon juice
1 TBL grated orange zest
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
6 cups sugar
Directions:
1.In a preserving pan,combine all of the ingredients. Heat them over medium heat,stirring gently,until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes,stirring frequently.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a cloth. Let the pan stand at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
(at this point you can go on with your day.I started them fairly early,for 2 reasons: a. you can get this going and get things accomplished while it sits, b. you can finish it and still have your evening left to enjoy,in my case to clean up and put up groceries)
3. Return the pan to the heat and bring the contents to a boil. Continue to boil the mixture until the syrup has thickened a little. Test it by removing the pan from the heat,dropping a little of the preserves on to a chilled dish and drawing your finger through the syrup.If the path remains clear,the syrup is this enough. Remove the cinnamon stick from the pan.
4. Stir occasionally while allowing the preserves to cool for 5 minutes, and ladle the preserves into half-pint or pint mason jars. Add lids and rings, and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath (ie. free facial).
  This book is pretty great and the preserves are even better, talk about summer in a jar. Go grab some toast,butter and enjoy!

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