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21 June, 2012

With a little help…

Comments : 1 Posted in : Fixins, Staples on by : Lauri Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Great creations rarely happen without a jumpstart of some sort.  When I have ingredients I love, but don’t want to waste, I tend to trawl the web for ideas and recipes, then adapt what I find to whatever’s on hand.  These gorgeous sunset-hued beauties are apricots from a farm stand in Gilroy, CA, where I passed through last week.  The owner brought me about two pounds of harder apricots so they would survive the long drive down the I-5, and survive they did:  they were luscious as of about Sunday, and I’ve been noshing on them all week.  But now, when they’re a color beyond imagination and sweet as candy, it’s time to do something with the rest of the batch.

Lucky us — I found this:  Homesick Texan’s 2009 post, entitled simply “How to Make Apricot Jam“, is one of the most practical, clearly written descriptions I’ve seen on how to fruit preserves.  I’m planning a spiced apricot version with a hint of almond — I’ll let you know how it turns out.  (Might be a great muffin filling!)

I’ve really been enjoying my foray into putting things in jars over the last couple of years.  sliced sweet peppers in brineIt evokes memories of my childhood, when I was blessed with two grandmothers and other relatives who put up jam, preserves, corn, sauces, made their own ice cream, and taught us to revel in the joys of living in California’s produce wonderland.  That lesson sticks now, and I’m finding myself building a canning habit:  when faced with a batch of sweet “white” peppers (actually the palest of green) that are firm and fresh but don’t have more than subtle flavor, I sliced them up and threw them into an impromptu light cider brine — we’ll see what they’re like after about a week in the refrigerator.

Are you making the most of summer?  Find a farmer’s market, find a local farm event (like the Capay Tomato Festival on July 14?) and chase that bliss, baby.

Next challenge:

This week’s big box of goodies brought both garnet yams and kohlrabi.  The latter looks like little aliens with big, leafy hair, and is entirely new to me.  Can’t wait to dive in — watch this “space” for the results!

1 COMMENT

One thought on : With a little help…

  • Jaydip
    August 4, 2012 at 6:26 am

    I know we do the “meals based on what’s available” and actually just had a conversation about that just this evening as we threw together some rice, garden veggies, etc. for our dinner! You certainly have a plethora of options at your fingertips … and we have many things handy and available too given our locale. There is a definite shift going on … and I think it’s a good one!

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