Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Da Da

Today's adventures in Master Preservers...we entered the realm of "Fruit Spreads and Syrups" and twice today got to break into groups and create.  The kitchen at the Eureka Co-Op was filled with the smells of lemons, ginger, strawberries and the sounds of crashing pans, timers and laughter.  My group made "Quick" Lemon-Ginger Marmalade. I'm not sure about the "quick" (thus the quotation marks) since much time was spent separating the membrane and seeds but the end results were worth it. I've never been a huge fan of marmalade, probably because commercially created versions are sticky sweet but this version was SO flavorful. I can't wait to recreate it in my own kitchen.  Most of us had some experience with water-bath canning but it's good to correct and adjust our processes and even understand the reasons we do what we do. 

While we made our Lemon-Ginger Marmalade, other groups made a Mango Salsa and Apple Pie filling. The smells were heavenly.  I feel as if we dirtied EVERY bowl and pot in that kitchen on the way to finishing these three projects. After washing the mountainous pile pots and pans followed by a brief lunch break, we gathered in new groups for another project.  This time I worked on a low-sugar blueberry freezer jam (the jury is still out on the flavor of this particular recipe) while the other two groups created Fig Jam with dried figs and Strawberry-Kiwi Jam. Again, the fragrance was so heavenly, we couldn't resist poking our heads into the projects the other groups were working on.  I have plans now to expand my repertoire beyond my beloved blackberry jam and have my sites set on marmalades.  I know exactly what to do the next time I see a great deal on lemons!

This course is so fun, I'm not even sad in giving up my coveted Saturdays. I'm learning so much and am well on my way to being a much more confident canner. Monday evening, we'll do some pickling, including a chutney which is another step outside my comfort zone.  Somewhere in there, I need to conjure up a homework assignment for a class presentation (we each have to do two) and, after the great jobs done by this morning's over-achievers, I have some work to do.

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