Fall project: Preserve something
September 28, 2011
I know I can’t keep time from marching on, nor can I stop summer from turning into fall. But I can make the flavors of summer last all year long. And you can, too. By preserving them.
It’s no special trick. Cooks have been salting, curing, brining, fermenting, canning, jamming, freezing, and drying foods for eons. Home preserving sort of fell out of favor for a while there – mid-century cooks newly had people like Del Monte to can their tomatoes, so why not let them? – but today we know that no Del Monte tomato will ever taste as good as ones from your own back yard.
So preserving is back.
My grandmother used to make pickled green tomatoes. She served them as a side dish with meats, almost like a condiment. And really, the bright taste and crisp texture of a pickled green tomato was the perfect complement to a rich, earthy brisket. Or a veal chop. Or roast chicken.
I’d been missing them, those tart, garlicky pickled tomatoes from Nana’s kitchen. So last year, I made two big jars and gave one to Dad.
Big, big hit.
This year I made them again. The pictures in this post are the tomatoes in their brine. Aren’t they gorgeous? And they taste even better than they look. Here’s my recipe for pickled green tomatoes.
Tomato pickles don’t tickle your fancy? Here’s my recipe for oven-dried tomatoes.
Or perhaps you’d like to try your hand at canning. It’s really pretty easy, and having one of these canning tool kits makes it even more so. For a complete explanation of all the whys and wherefores of canning, join me on Saturday at Ramekins Culinary School in Sonoma for Can Do: Beginners Canning Workshop. We’ll be making recipes I developed for a Bon Appétit story a couple of years ago – Fresh Tomato Sauce, Green Tomato and Red Onion Relish, Cinnamon Plum Chutney, Three-Apple Applesauce, and Caramel-Pear Butter.
But whether you come to the class or not, try one or more of the recipes. Or cure, ferment, dry, brine, or freeze something else that strikes your fancy this fall.
It’ll make for a little bit of summer the whole year through.