I’ve found that canning in february has it’s perks…eventually. or,
Eventually i found that canning in february has it’s perks. Basically what i’m sayin’ is; at first thought canning carrots in feb was a brilliant idea. you know, good chance of them being local and all. and then the only carrots i could find anywhere were cal-organic.
I mean, i’m in new england for cryin’ out loud! carrots are supposed to grow on trees here no? …so i’m there with my 5 lb bag of well-traveled agribiz carrots thumbing though a myriad of canning books looking for something to get excited about when as luck would have it excitement came knocking at my door –
By way of a friendly neighbor carrying a paper bag swelling it seemed, to it’s seams with these:
“peggy’s been reading your canning blogs and when i came home from work today with these, she told me to bring some over to you…thought you could use some.” joy!
(i must admit this event has bumped me up a notch in my own book(blog?) – i mean isn’t it legend that christine ferber’s neighbors come from miles around with offerings of the choicest of fruit that she may grace it with her preserving prowess? i imagine the wild and delicate alsace fruit lay quivering in their rustic french baskets praying to be handled by her royal jamness…)
ok, my neighbor lives just across the street, works at windy hill farm, and would probably give me the apples whether i canned or not, but still… these are the things i think about. of those carrots and apples i made this:
more on that later. because there happens to be a 2nd series of events that prompted me to make yet another batch of something carroty this feb.
ok, so we’re driving back to LIC from the berkshires and about 30 minutes into the trip we make our routine stop here to pick up milk, bread etc for the coming week. and of course what do i see? local gorgeous vermont-grown carrots! what’s a can jammer to do? buy them of course!
another thing that happens around this time of year: i start to get antsy about using up all of my freezer-preserved produce in anticipation of the coming season. rhubarb and strawberries’ days are numbered in the late winter months because they are some of the first things to spring forth in the new season. these two happenings combined prompted me to combine these to happenings, and so i made this:
carrot apple butter with cardamom
adapted from the joy of jams, jellies & other sweet preserves
4 pounds carrots
about 4 cups water
3 & 1/2 pounds tart apples
4 cups sugar (i use raw)
teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cardamom seeds pint and 1/2 pint mason jars food millyield: approximately 5 pints (this recipe can easily be cut in half)1. peel and slice carrots thinly. put into preserving pot and barely cover with water. bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, until tender.
2. while carrots are simmering peel, core and slice apples thinly. when carrots are just tender add apples and continue to simmer until both are very soft.
3. while the carrots and apples are simmering, break open the cardamom pods with the end of a pestle or the like. take out the black seeds inside and discard the green casings. the seeds will be easy to grind with a mortar and pestle. they are quite sticky, so i stay away from an electric spice grinder when i am grinding them by themselves.
4. when the carrots and apples are soft put them through the medium screen of a food mill.
5. put milled carrots & apples, sugar and ground cardamom into the preserving pot, heat at first on medium-low until the sugar dissolves. once sugar has dissolved raise heat a bit, stirring more frequently as the butter thickens.
it is done when it becomes a shade darker, a bit glossy and a spreadable thickness. you should be able to drag your stirring spoon across the bottom of the pot and form a clean line, the butter hovering on either side for a second or two before it folds itself back over the bottom of the pan. mine took about 30 minutes. while the butter is cooking, prepare your canning pot and jars.
6. when butter has reached sufficient thickness, take off heat and stir in vanilla extract.
7. fill pint and half pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, wiggle the jar a bit and run a spatula around the insides to get rid of air bubbles.
8. hot water bath process for 10 minutes.