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What Grows Together, Goes Together

23 Jun

*****

Uncanny has some exciting news: For the first time in our history, we’ll be available for retail outside of the Sackville Farmer’s Market! We’re very excited to be working with Cocagne River Orchard a family run apple orchard located in beautiful Cocagne, New Brunswick. Owners Denis and Nicole are long-time supporters of buying local and living gently on the land and uncanny is delighted to be working together, highlighting the best of South-East New Brunswick. The orchard is available as a u-pick, so when you’re done picking apples from their beautiful property, please visit their boutique where you’ll find a wide range of uncanny products and other interesting finds.

*****

On the theme of growing and going together is a really special preserve that has been crafted from the abundance of local and readily available ingredients. A helpful way to look at flavour combinations is to tour your garden and look at what’s in season and chances are, those flavours will compliment each other. Right now the rhubarb season is winding down, the strawberries are turning red on the vine and the roses are in full bloom. All the makings of a lovely, summery preserve!

If you’ve never preserved with rose petals before, as I hadn’t, give it a try! Here are just a few benefits:

1. They make your kitchen smell like a fairy tale.

2. They are easy to harvest. Nip them in the bud stage and  give them a 2 minute bath in cool, soapy water and a thorough rinse to ensure no bug friends join the party. They open during the day and the petals are ready to fall out by the evening. Super easy harvesting.

3. The flavour is really subtle. I was worried the preserve would taste like a funeral home, but it added just the right amount of floral note. Don’t worry, this is not a jam you’ll be dabbing behind your ears!

My strawberries weren’t perfectly ripe but I wanted them included in the preserve so I opted for my homemade Strawberry Liqueur. All together, you have three beautifully pink ingredients.

I went with a French style with this preserve, letting the rhubarb macerate for a couple of days before boiling the syrup and adding the remaining ingredients back in. I think it’s a darling of a preserve.

Rhubarb Rose Petal Preserve

2 3/4 pounds of chopped rhubarb

2 3/4 cups sugar

juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup rose petals or petals from 2 small roses. Please make sure they’re unsprayed.

**Optional: 2 tbsp Strawberry Liqueur **

1. Slice the rhubarb and toss sugar and juice of one lemon together and pour into 9×13 pan. Cover with parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.

2. The next morning, strain rhubarb mixture and pour juices into a large pan. Add the juice of your second lemon with the strained rhubarb juices. Bring to a boil and reduce by about half. Stir in rhubarb and fresh rose petals and stir over low-medium heat until the preserve is cooked to your liking. I like a bit of texture, so I reduced my liquid to the setting point and added the fruit in. It didn’t take long to finish and the jam is chunky. If you want a smoother, more stewed-like jam, don’t boil the rhubarb juice as much and give your rhubarb extra time to cook and break down.

3. Remove from heat and stir in your strawberry liqueur. Pour into sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Perfect for Tea Time.

Rhubarb Rose Petal Preserve on Punk   Domestics

Market Day: September 17th

14 Sep

Image: Wikipedia

I love everything about fall; the bright days, the nip in the air, the smell of my neighbours wood fire burning in their stoves and the produce! Pumpkins, squashes, cranberries, apples, quinces, garlic and more. Fall is the signal to slow down and enjoy these last few days before the snow falls. Uncanny has been hard at work to capture the best of this late season and is excited to show case all of this preserved goodness, but it is with sadness that this is the last market day for us. I have found tremendous enjoyment in being a member of the Sackville Farmers Market and the friendships I have made.

I will use these last few weeks before the anticipated arrival of my uncanny babe to gather my own provisions and feather my nest. I know I can rest easily that amongst the joy and chaos surrounding the arrival of a new baby, my pantry is well stocked, the freezer is stocked with pounds of frozen fruit and vegetables and Mr. Uncanny has kept us in good supplies of homemade libations that will warm our hearts when the weather chills.

I look forward to focusing on my growing family, resting and rejoicing in their love over the winter and don’t intend on doing any canning to sell over the winter or spring months. I love the interaction and community in the Facebook group, Twitter and this blog and intend to keep sharing ways to enjoy preserves, how to cook and enjoy local foods and passing along my successful experiments on preserves. I would love feedback if there are ways to make this blog or the Facebook group more enjoyable.

In the meantime, I present the last of my preserves, just in time for the Sackville Fall Fair

  • Salsa Verde
  • Chipotle Salsa
  • Pear and Cranberry Chutney
  • Pepper Jelly
  • Green Tomato and Apple Chutney
  • Lemon-Sage Wine Mustard
  • Cherry Preserves in Almond Syrup
  • Wild Blueberry with Grand Marnier
  • Cardamom Spiced Apple Butter
  • Pear Mincemeat
  • Plum and Port Jam
  • My remaining stock on Etsy

So, please come out and join us at the Sackville Market this Saturday and enjoy the many activities going on around town over the weekend.

 

Jam Exchange: Century Crafts

9 Sep

Have I mentioned how much I adore jam exchanges? It’s a great way to meet other canners, share your knowledge and sample some really tasty jam. Thanks to Steph Chows Jam Exchange, I was paired with Jeanne at Century Crafts and it’s been a real joy. Her jams arrived today and I was so anxious to tuck into them, but took a moment to enjoy a lovely note card and appreciate how these exchanges bring people together you wouldn’t normally meet, but you’re so glad you did.

So, without further ado, check out what I scored:

Love the Beautiful Toppers

Gorgeous Colours

The “Everything” jam has a beautiful, syrupy set, so I’m saving it for my next batch of pancakes. I may just wait until the first snow flies and savour the taste of summer’s bounty, all picked locally and most of it from her own gardens. The Peach Jam did not get saved for a wintery day; it got opened almost immediately and savoured.

Jeanne kept her fruit on the chunky side with a soft set, which is my favourite way to enjoy jam. I love spooning jams over things and I’d much rather have recognizable chunks of fruit and a really soft set, then an almost pureed and stiff jam.  The taste of the Ontario peaches is so prominent and the heady aroma of peaches is remarkable. She did a great job capturing the best of pure, peach flavour and letting the true beauty of peaches shine through.

Since I don’t dig traditional bread, I generously spooned it over some coconut flour bread and tucked in with a steaming mug of tea. It was *so* good.

Peach Heaven

My thanks, Jeanne for a great exchange and for sharing your jams with me. Look forward to more exchanges in the future.

Jam Exchange

14 Jul

Jam Exchange

It’s that time again! Steph at Steph Chows is undertaking her annual jam exchange that I believe is in it’s third or fourth year. It has a wide pool of participants and is actually really simple: send Steph your contact information, whether you’d be willing to ship domestically or internationally and package up 2 jars of preserves. If you have a blog, fantastic! You can blog all about it, sharing what you sent and what you received. Not only is it a great way to connect with other canners, but it’s also fantastic in sharing ideas and broadening your horizons.

Last year, I was paired up with a woman in Toronto who sent me a lovely jar of Blueberry Thyme Jam and Bittersweet Marmalade and I sent her a Sour Cherry Walnut Conserve and Rosemary Apple Jelly. I’m excited to go through my pantry and decide what goodies to send this year.

Deadline is mid-August and all the information can be found here.

Thinking Outside the Jar: Carrot Cake with Marmalade Cream Cheese Icing

18 Jun

With Father’s Day right around the corner, I was at a loss for what to prepare or gift to my wonderful husband. Sure, he’s not *my* Dad (and if my Dad lived near me, you can bet I’d make him something equally fabulous!), but he’s the world’s best Father to our Honey Bear and soon-to-be addition and he deserves a very special treat.

When thinking of sweets or treats, there’s only one thing that comes to his mind. For him, it is the pinacle of all cakes and the only cake he’ll never turn down: The Carrot Cake. And so, I was determined to make him the best darn cake I could find and when you’re pinning your hopes on one cake, make it this one. It’s rich and a bit time consuming, but it’s visually stunning and from sampling bits of cake and bits of icing, I have high hopes this is the carrot cake that’ll top them all:

Classic Carrot Cake with Marmalade Cream Cheese Icing

 

Classic Carrot Cake with Marmalade Cream Cheese Icing

Darlene King for Harrowsmith Country Life, August 2006 (if you haven’t already subscriped to this amazing magazine, please do so. You’ll love it, I promise. It’s worth it for King’s recipes alone.)

For the Cake:

2 cups peeled and grated carrots

3/4 cup crushed pineapple, well drained

1 cup raisins, washed and dried

1 tbsp grated orange zest

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

3/4 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

4 large eggs

1 cup honey (I used maple syrup)

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup canola oil

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp all spice

For the Icing:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature (I used reduced fat for the same reason I order a Diet Pepsi when ordering the Giant Jumbo Popcorn Trough when I’m at the movies…)

2 tbsp butter, room temperature

1/4 cup orange marmalade

2 tsp grated orange zest

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups icing sugar

Garnish:

1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly oil two 8-inch cake pans

3. Placed the grated carrots, pineapple, raisins, orange zest, coconut and walnuts in a large bowl and stir together.

4. In a second large bowl, place the eggs, honey and brown sugar and beat with an electric mixer until light. Add the oil and continue to beat until well mixed.

5. In a third bowl, mix the baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir well.

6. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour your egg/sugar mixture and stir until just combined. Then add the carrot mixture and stir until incorporated. Don’t overmix.

7. Divide the batter evenly into two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

8. To prepare the icing, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and  marmalade until combined. Add the orange zest and vanilla. Gradually add the icing sugar until the icing is smooth and spreadable. Ice the cake once the cake is cooled and decorate with walnut pieces.

Enjoy!

4th Annual Dark Days Challenge

2 Nov

Up for a Challenge?

If the 100 Mile Challenge scares you, how about a modified version? Click on the image above to be taken to the blog Urban Hennery: thoughts on country living, farming, gardening and eating locally.  Dark Days is a challenge to eat locally one day a week from December 1st – April 15, 2011. You’re invited to sign up and if you’re a blogger, you can send in your pictures and write-up a recap on your blog. If blogging isn’t your thing, you’re welcome to write your experiences under the comments section of the Urban Hennery blog. It’s definitely a challenge over the winter months, but you may be surprised how much fresh and local meat, vegetables, dairy and wines are available in your area. You can almost taste the slow cooked beef stew, with hearty chunks of potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions with a glass of local cabernet sauvignon . Check out your local granary and make your own bread for an even heartier addition to your mid-winter’s dinner. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

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