When I made the decision to eat only what I could buy locally, organically and in season (no grocery store), the idea of extending seasons, or preserving things to consume out of their season was something I really wanted to do, but had to learn how. For the first year, I froze tomatoes and fruit. My already taxed freezer space, became non-existent. So I took classes to learn how to can.
I’m a compulsive girl, and I readily admit this. I embraced my new found canning knowledge with verve and gusto, and canned everything in site, with little idea how much canned goodness I could use and without plans for my well stocked larder. (I’m obsessed with the word “larder”)
For some strange reason, I felt as if I had to wait until winter to start using some of the canned stuff, as if I’m a squirrel, or something. Finally, with the colder weather, my inner hoarder has allowed me to start breaking out the canned foods, and I’m working my way through the pantry.
I’ ve been able to put a dent in that which I “put up.” As I type this, there is a slow cooker filled with Rancho Gordo beans, seasoned with a pint of my Escabeche, or pickled serranos, onions, carrots, garlic and bay. This will impart heat and flavor to the beans which will be paired with Dai Due Wild Boar sausages for dinner.
The pickled cucumbers have made a good side for BBQ, and also go very well chopped up in egg salad. The pickled jalapeno and serrano peppers, certainly are a staple and get used in a wide variety of things. Today, I made corn muffins with the cornmeal I got from Homestead Heritage, and added lots of chopped pickled peppers.
The Salsa Verde, which I canned obsessively with the tomatillos from Springdale Farm has formed the sauce for Chilaquiles, a Mexican dish using chicken, fried corn tortillas and cheese (sometimes with egg as well.)
The Salsa Verde also made its way into chicken filling for tamales recently. The other tamale filling, was Chipotles in Adobo, which I mixed into shredded pork. The Chipotles have become my very favorite food to preserve and combined with Richardson Farms Pork roast, was perhaps one of the favorite things I’ve ever made.
Many of the jams and marmalades I made this Fall were for Christmas gifts, and many of those have found their way into other pantries. I have discovered that you can make a really delicious cocktail, from a spoonful of jam, a splash of Vodka and a bit of Topo Chico. The sweet preserves are genius for topping a party brie, or hard cheese as well.
I have yet to make a dent in the tomatoes I canned from my garden and local farms, but I’m focusing my attention on those next. I’d really like to eat what I’ve canned within a year or close to it, from its canning date, so I have another few months. There is quite a lot.
I shall continue to eat my way through what I’ve canned, pickled and preserved not only because it is delicious, but so that I can make room for more.