Thursday, April 8, 2010

Building up the pantry!

I have the preserving bug right now. I've never canned anything before but in the past couple of months I've bottled everything in sight ... It started with Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam from our garden and that got me going, pickled garlic (quite mild straight from the jar) also from our garden, garlic sauce - garden again, rhubarb chutney - parent's garden, blueberry sauce (kind of like cranberry) with PYO blueberries from the very excellent Blueberry Farm up Akatarawa Valley, Hazel nut syrup, and dabbling in liqueurs with a hazelnut liqueur start up, and a blueberry liqueur in the works as well.

This has all been easy and fun so far and really tasty. The hardest bit was trying to find an actual book on preserving. There was very little around: theory A is that it's so basic, why bother telling anyone how to do it?; theory B - no one does it anymore, so no point in producing this type of cookbook.

Anyway I did find an excellent book from the 1980s - Digby Law's Pickle and Chutney Cookbook - which is a dumb name because it's far more comprehensive than pickles (not my favorite) and chutneys (yum). In fact pick any fruit or vegetable and go to the index and there will be some sauce or vinegar, relish etc to drop it into.

It's great to be weaning ourselves more sections in the supermarket - Paul Newman, you're going down next...