On the depths of one’s pantry


l-r:  Jars of green tomato chutney, and then peach, regular and black bean/corn salsas, in their overexposed glory:  Sweat equity in small packages.

***NOTE:  Roasted Garlic Jelly and Cranberry Mustard recipes now in the comments!  Happy Thanksgiving all.

Now that we’re on the back end of the gardening calendar, I suppose I have to talk about either future or past gardening things.  There’s salad and veggies happening outside, of course, and I am sure I will continue to bore you about those kinds of harvests.  But recently, and as the calendar dictates, I have begun to raid the pantry for our meals.  It’s been an interesting trip, going down this road of harvests past.

Every year I take on a bit more canning.  It is a mild madness I have; it’s some kind of packratting/hoarding instinct certainly but it’s also pretty deeply rooted in the love of good old food.  I’ve told you before how an assessment of one’s canning season really needs to be taken when you’re done with the season:  you will find then what it is you truly shouldn’t have bothered with (beet greens) and what you will never have enough of (many, many things).  Well!  If I have one thing to share so far this season, it’s that I am really glad I put away a lot of weird things.*

The weekend before last, the child and I went to the butcher’s to pick up our half-pig.  (Next weekend it’s time to pick up the cow.)  Stuffed, now, in the new freezer is about 100 pounds of various piggy parts, from smoked hocks to jowl strips to back fat to many 3# hams (of which more later).  Our first meal was a couple of pan-seared pork chops, and I deglazed the pan with a tiny bit of local sherry and…some of my roasted garlic jelly, making a bit of a sauce.  Holy CATS!  Tasty! Then Thursday I browned a 3# shoulder and stewed it for the afternoon in the crock pot with green tomato chutney, carrots, celery, garlic and onions.  My gosh that went down easy.  And there’s leftovers!

Anyway, here’s my lesson.  I am not much of an open-a-jar kind of cook, never have been…but, now that I have more than just plain old jams, tomato sauces, and applesauce downstairs, all bets are off.  It’s time to get out a jar of homemade madness and see what happens.

*These things aren’t really “weird” so much as they’re a bit beyond the pale of the expected pantry fare.  They’re things like salsas, savory jellies, chutneys and mustards (I’m particularly pleased with the roasted pear/apple moutarde and the cranberry mustard downstairs right now: both will be welcome atop leftover turkey on Friday.)  We’re not too pickle-happy here but pickled red onions atop a salad is delightful.  There’s also stuff I haven’t canned at all, like herb vinegars and sauerkraut too.  Yes, it is quite true, I have shoved prepackaged condiments out the door with my quest for all-local, mostly homemade goodies.  Nothing beats mayonnaise, or salad dressing, from your birds’ eggs and your own vinegars.  Madness, I tell you!

10 responses to “On the depths of one’s pantry

  1. roasted garlic jelly????? i’d love the recipe. no, i NEED the recipe! please share!!

  2. And cranberry mustard….look what you’ve started, would you add the recipe for cranberry mustard, please?

  3. I live vicariously through you (which is my way of saying I’m so impressed!). We just picked up our new chest freezer this morning, and I’ve convinced myself that I will get a pressure canner.
    I can’t believe the former vegetarian is eating pig and cow! Slathered with your own goodies.

  4. Yes, please to the recipes! The roasted garlic jelly sounds interesting, kind of like the onion wine we made one year, not something to have on it’s own but fun to cook with. I also made several new things this year including green tomato chutney and pickled jalapeno relish. Were having fun exploring as well. Could liven up a long winter!

  5. Jayedee, Pamela and Judy: I’m not in a place to copy the recipes out today BUT you should put this book on your wishlists as it’s where I got the majority of my more inventive canning recipes this year. I’ll make another post once I get the time…the cranberry mustard is really quite yummy. And as Judy says it kind of jazzes up pretty normal dinners.

    CC, and with your access to local goodies (even olives, not of the surrender monkey variety) that vicariousness runs both ways. BUT, I am so glad you bought the freezer! Yay. With it you can put off your eventual pressure canner purchase. And yeah, little old vegetarian me; I wonder what Meathenge would think. (“About time,” probably.)

  6. So not a rush request, since I don’t need one more thing right now either.
    Have a nice Thanksgiving. I’m not even asking how your date with the turkey went.

  7. Okay! Happy Thanksgiving, all. In between polishing silver and crumbling up stale bread for the stuffing, I thought I would write up the recipes for Roasted Garlic Jelly and Cranberry Mustard. Both of these recipes are from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (400 recipes). So, well, because these recipes are for canning, the quantities are huge. But here goes:

    Roasted Garlic Jelly (yield: ~(9) 4-oz jars)
    3 medium heads garlic (I used 5)
    1 T olive oil, divided
    1 T balsamic vinegar, divided
    1 cup dry white wine
    2/3 cup water
    1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
    3 T lemon juice
    3 cups granulated sugar
    2 pouches liquid pectin

    Cut off the heads of the garlic with a sharp knife, exposing cloves. Place on small baking sheet or small casserole. Top each head with the balsamic and olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in preheated oven until garlic is golden and very soft, 45-60 mins. Let stand until cool enough to handle and separate/pinch out the softened cloves from their skins. Discard skins.

    In med. stainless saucepan, combine roasted garlic, wine, water, white balsamic and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over med. heat, then reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes.

    Transfer garlic mixture to a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth set over a deep bowl. Let drip, undisturbed, for about 30 minutes. Measure 1 2/3 cups garlic juice. If you do not have the required amount, add up to 1/4 cup dry white wine or water.

    Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.

    Transfer garlic juice to a large, deep stainless saucepan. Stir in lemon juice and sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam.

    Quickly pour jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ of headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar, screw the band down until resistance is met, and then increase to fingertip-tight.

    Place jars in canner, ensuring they’re completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process 10 minutes. Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars and let cool and store.

    Cranberry Mustard (yield: ~(7) 4 oz. jars)
    1 cup red wine vinegar
    2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds
    1 cup water
    1 T Worcestershire sauce
    2 3/4 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
    3/4 cups granulated sugar
    1/4 cup dry mustard
    2-1/2 tsp ground allspice

    In a med. stainless saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and add the mustard seeds. Cover and let stand at room temperature until seeds have absorbed most of the moisture, about 1.5 hours.

    Prepare canner, jars and lids.

    In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine marinated mustard seeds with their liquid, water, Worcestershire sauce. Process until most of the seeds are well chopped. Add the cranberries and blend until chopped.

    Transfer mixture to a stainless saucepan and bring to a boil over med. heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Whisk in sugar, dry mustard and allspice. Continue to boil gently over low heat, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by a third, about 15 minutes.

    Ladle hot mustard into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more hot mustard. Wipe rim. Center lid 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 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

  8. Thank you. It sounds great.

  9. Oh! Homemade mayonaise. You’ve never tasted mayo like it. Especially with our own aged and unique apple cider vinegar. Yum!

  10. You’re welcome, Pamela. Bon appetit!

    Freija, yeah. So wonderful it’s beyond words. Thanks for the link to The Vinegar Man, too…quite a lot of helpful hints on there!

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