Thursday, August 8, 2013

Red Currant Jelly – Red Currant Sorbet

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Making jellies is a bit more involved than making jams, but when red currants are in season I make the time. This jelly is classic and so is the recipe – simple and straightforward – currant juice, sugar, a splash of lemon juice and a dab of butter - et voila!

The results are fit for a King (or his Queen); you will feel like royalty when spread that scarlet sweetness across your morning scone. With the pulp that is left over from the jelly-making you can throw together a quick Currant Sorbet: Red Currant Jelly for breakfast, Red Currant Sorbet for dessert…what a wonderful life!



6 lbs Red Currants

4 ½ cups White Sugar

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1/2  Tablespoon Butter


Place the currants into a large pot, and crush with a potato masher, flat back of a large spoon,  or berry crusher if you have one. Pour in 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the fruit through a jelly cloth or cheese cloth, let drain for a minimum of 2 hours, then measure out 5 cups of the juice. If you do not have enough juice boil some more water and pour gently over pulp, let drain. Reserve pulp for a simple sorbet (recipe below). You may keep pulp in the refrigerator for several days.

Pour the juice into a large saucepan. Turn heat to high, add sugar all at once. Stir constantly.When sugar is dissolved add Lemon Juice and Butter. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat; continue stirring constantly. Allow to boil for 5 minutes continuing to stir.

Remove from heat and skim off foam (if you have any) from the top. Ladle or pour into sterile 1/2 pint jars, filling to within 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth. Cover with new sterile lids and rings. Process covered in a bath of simmering water for 10 minutes.
Remove, let cool, check seal.  Store on cool, dark shelf for up to one year.

Simple Red Currant Sorbet


1 1/2 cups Water

2 cups Sugar

4 cups Red Currant juice made with leftover pulp

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Vodka (makes a little less icy)


Take the 4 cups of pulp you reserved from making jelly, place in the work bowl of a food processor, process until smooth, but not puréed.

Combine the water and sugar in a medium-sized pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add Lemon Juice . Turn down heat. Add pulp. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes,  stirring gently. Remove heat, stir in Vodka let cool slightly.

Strain the fruit through a jelly cloth or cheese cloth, let drain for at least 2 hours.

Place the strained juice in a shallow pan; an 8" x 8" or 9"x 9" cake pan works well. Place the pan in the freezer. There is no need to cover it.

After 2 hours, stir it around, bringing the frozen edges into the center. Return to the freezer.

Sorbet should be ready to serve about 4 to 6 hours after you first put it into the freezer. Longer than that it will be difficult to scoop,but you can cover and keep in the freezer for a week or two.  Soften at room temperature for maybe 10 minutes before serving. Scoop into dishes and serve.

You may also follow this recipe using other fruit juices...try pineapple, lemon, mango or what have you.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Preserved and Pickled is once again honored to have been chosen as a Canbassador for the Washington State Fruit Commission. Last year we preserved some Pickled Italian Plums, Nectarine Jelly and Boozy Peach Sauce. This year we received a big box of peaches and decided to keep with the boozy theme.  What can I say, there is just something about the peach and bourbon combination that tickles my taste-buds.

What exactly is the Canbassador program, you might ask? Well,  I received a box of stone fruit (this year it is strictly peaches) from Washington State which I was encouraged to preserve (like I needed encouragement), blog about my efforts, and use as a resource - great resource, check it out, so noo problem, right?

Since my Boozy Peach Sauce is so delish, and since its really sweet to have that summer-peachy-sunshine taste during those cold winter months (here in the Northeast, anyway), it was a no-brainer. 

Since I practice preserving, believe in simple, elegant pairings, and am always on the lookout for unique combinations of flavors for my pickles and preserves, Jim Beam is my bourbon of choice for these highly distinctive, divinely delicious, uniquely Bourbon Peach Preserves.  

Bonus, Kentucky Bourbon is part of American history: "Bourbon history, much like the Beam family bourbon dynasty, mirrors U.S. history. Rebellion. Progress. Heroes. Facts. Legends. It's why bourbon is, and will always be, America's Native Spirit—a spirit the Beam family has had a tremendous hand in helping to create, foster and grow, both in the U.S. and abroad, as key players in a great American story" (find link below). 

"America's Native History", "The Canning Revolution" - it just goes together like Apple Pie and Vermont Cheddar. So get in the kitchen and tell me you don't agree.



10 pounds or 20 large Peaches (more or less), Pitted and  Sliced into halves or quarter segments

1/4 Cup Honey

1/8 Cup Sugar

 3 1/2 Cups Water

1 Pint Bourbon, more or less

2 slices Lemon or 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

8 Quart Jars

I used wide-mouth jars and I highly suggest you do to, because it is easier to get your ingredients in and out.

Simple Syrup - Syrups should be made at least the day before, it needs to be cool when packing your fruits.  The good news is it can set in the refrigerator for a bit. According to Putting Fruit By, you can estimate 3/4 pint of syrup for each quart jar of fruit. For a Light Syrup dissolve 2 cups Sugar to 4 cups water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  When sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat and return to room temperature.  Place in container. Refrigerate at least overnight. Can be stored in refrigerator and used within a few weeks.


Peel and cut peaches.  To keep them from browning, place slices in a gallon of water mixed with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Combine Honey and Water and in a non-reactive pot over medium heat (or have your Simple Syrup ready).  

Bring honeyed water to a boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly.  Allow to simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. If using Lemon Juice, you will add directly to jar with Bourbon when packing.

Have sterilized canning materials and Hot Water Bath read to go.  Pack Peach Slices into hot, sterile jars. Discard lemon slices from honeyed water.  Ladle over fruit, leaving 1/2 inch head room and making sure there are no air pockets. 

Alternatively, add 3/4 tablespoon Lemon Juice and 4 tablespoons Bourbon to each jar (I prefer this method). Fill to 1/2 inch of rim with Simple Syrup leaving 1/2 inch head-room and checking for air pockets.  Cap. 

Either method, boil in Hot Water Bath for 10 minutes. (This means do not start the timer, after you have immersed the jars, until the water is rolling.) Remove jars, set to cool, check lids.

Rest for a minimum of two weeks on a dark, cool shelf before opening so the flavors can mingle.  May remain on cool, dark cellar or pantry cupboard for a year.  Refrigerate after opening.

What To Do With Them:

UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE - Sprinkle a well-buttered, flat (9x9 is nice) cake pan with brown or raw sugar, then layer with slices of drained fruit. If halved put the pit side down. Cover with butter cake batter (or yellow cake batter) and bake until done. Serve with
crème fraîche or fresh whipped cream with a splash of the juice. (You can follow this recipe for any variety of preserved fruits - try Rhubarb)

ROASTS - Warm Bourbon Peach Preserves and serve with roasted pork, chicken, or especially  duck.

CAKE GLAZE - Mix the preserved juice with enough confectioners’ sugar to make it thick and creamy, but still runny enough to pour, then spoon it over simple cakes, muffins, cupcakes, or sweet rolls.

BOURBON PEACH POPSICLE - Puree the peaches and juice, pour in a mold, freeze with Popsicle stick.  Need I say more?

ICE CREAM – Pour it on.


Thursday, January 3, 2013


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In England, pickled onions are enjoyed regularly. They are eaten with fish and chips, as part of a Ploughman's Lunch, with meat pies, and so many other savory dishes. There are hundreds of commercial varieties available, both across the pond and here in the States, but nothing beats a jar of homemade pickled onions.

Tiny pickling or button onions are readily available beginning in the autumn and well into the winter. Small white boiling onions, cippoline onions, shallots and even a few sliced yellow or white onions can be pickled separately or all together. You can also use a variety of vinegars, although it seems malt is the traditional choice for the Brits.

Overall this recipe is fairly quick and easy with results that are crunchy and delicious.  Once you try pickled onions you will always want to keep one or two jars on the pantry shelf so you may readily add that little 'something special' to your lunches and brunches.



2 pounds pickling Onions, peeled (see note below)

4 teaspoon Basic Pickling Spices plus 4 dried red chili peppers

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 cups Malt Vinegar

1  cup Distilled White Vingar

1/2 cup Water

3/4 cup  Sugar

TIP: Peeling pickling onions is time consuming. To speed up the process top and tail the onions,  place them  in a large bowl and pour enough boiling water over to cover. Leave until cool enough to handle and  the skins will just slide off. Do not leave your onions in the water once they have cooled or they will start to go mushy.


Place the spices (except the red chili peppers) into a bit of cheesecloth and tie tightly, put the 4 chili peppers into a mini processor and pulse until they are in small bits. 

In a large stainless steel pan mix vinegars, water and sugar. Heat to dissolve the sugar but do not boil. Let the pot simmer for a good 20 to 30 minutes to make sure sugar is dissolved.

Add the spice bag and chilli peppers, simmer for another 20  minutes. 

Pack the peeled onions into clean, sterilized pint jars. Pour over the vinegar and spice liquid (after removing your pickling spice bag) filling the jar to 1/4 inch from rim.  Check to be sure there are no air pockets. Seal the jars and process in a Hot Water Bath for 10 minutes, or allow to cool and store in refrigertator.

The onions will be ready to eat after about one month, but are more flavorful if rested for two before opening. Once you've popped the top it is best to keep them in a refrigerator or cool pantry.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


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Splash Hard Cider (or Cider or Apple Juice)

5 Pears ( 5 1/2 Cups Pear Sauce)

4 Tablespoons Diced Fresh Ginger

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

2 Fresh Jalapenos (diced) included seeds for spicier Butter

1 Cup Honey

2 Cups Sugar


This can either be a one or two day process. If you start early in the morning, you can work on this butter throughout the day while you get other chores done around the house.  You can also start cooking down the sauce, remove from the stove top and let it cool, than continue to cook the next day, or you can even slow cook using your oven. Read the directions all the way through and see what will work best for your schedule.

Use a large heavy bottom pan that can be used in the oven and on the stove top, add splash of hard cider, cider or apple juice.

Take 5 pears, wash, cut off stem and blossom end.  Cut into small pieces.  Add to pan with cider.  Heat on medium low, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft.

Run fruit through a Food Mill using a fine screen.  Return to pan. 

Add honey, sugar and diced ginger.  Cook over low heat stirring regularly until sauce begins to thicken.  You are going to want your sauce to reduce by half at the very least. This can take 4 to 6 hours. Here is where you can set your oven to 250 degrees and reduce overnight, or throughout the day stirring occasionally.  The point is to have intense flavor in a thick fruit butter. 

When your butter has reached the desired consistency, process your jalapenos. Jalapeno peppers add heat and flavour, but if you are cooking with them, you need to exercise some caution. It is best to wear a pair of gloves when handling the jalapenos.

Once you have washed the jalapenos, use a sharp knife to split them open and scrape out the seeds .  Then mince them in a mini food processor or coffee grinder.  Add to your pear butter.  Let it simmer for about 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust honey and or sugar if you like.  Let simmer for another half-hour, to an hour to let the flavors meld.

Now you are going to want to get your canning jars sterilized. The dishwasher is great for this.  If you don't have a dishwasher you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes. Keep the jars in hot water until they are used or leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until ready to use. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot pear butter.

Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.

Fill them to within 1/4 inch of the top, wipe any spilled pear butter off the rim, seat the lid, and finger tighten the ring around them. 

Put them in the Hot Water Bath and boil pint jars for 5 minutes and quart jars for 10 minutes.

If you would like to do a Pear Butter that is not spicy,  follow the same recipe removing the jalapenos. Halve the amount of honey and sugar and then adjust for flavor accordingly. Use crystallized ginger instead of fresh, and add 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.

There you have it, a little bit of heaven in a jar!