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Are too many plums falling from a local tree? Beans gone wild in the garden? Or maybe you just crave the perfect pickle or can’t stand the idea of only tasting cherries a few weeks a year. It may be time to dive into canning, fermenting, pickling and preserving. Urban hipsters may be fueling the trend the past few years, setting sauerkraut bubbling in vats all over San Francisco kitchen counters, but preserving food goes way back. You may even want to try Nostrodamus’ recipe for quince jelly. We talk with experts about preserving food, share recipes and techniques, and take your questions.

Recipes from Karen Solomon and Kevin West

Guests:
Kevin West, author of "Saving the Season: A Cook's Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving" published by Knopf
Alex Hozven, owner of Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley
Karen Solomon, author of "Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It," and several ebooks on Asian Pickles

  • Dean

    Isn’t fruit preserved as jam basically candy? The typical recipe includes a ton of sugar, and on top of that surely a lot of the fiber is lost. It seems to me the best way to preserve fruit is with a dehydrator.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      Dean one doesn’t need to use sugar when making jam or jelly. Have cooked down a big batch of plums for two days in the slow cooker with the skins on, because we avoid sugar whenever possible.

      • Dean

        Hmm… I’d be curious to know what happens to the fiber content in non-sugar jams versus dehydration. Probably somebody has researched this.
        Also on Wikipedia it says that pectin, which I gather is used in making jams, is usually made from dried citrus peel, which if organic would be healthy but I wonder, if not, how much pesticide content ends up in the pectin.

        • Beth Grant DeRoos

          Actually you can cook apple peels to make your own pectin. We pick our own non sprayed fruit so no issues with pesticides.

      • Snapdragon55

        Interesting … just finished cooking down 2 quarts of plums with skins into plum butter w/marsala. Had no choice but to add about 3 cups sugar (across 11C results, but still low-sugar) & the butter still came out tart & a bit astringent. Plums are from a free neighbor’s tree & they are quite pucker-y this year (no clue why). Have a new pot on today with plums, pear puree (from freezer) and Fuji apples … much better, but still had to add some brown sugar to take the bite off for sweet-toothed friends. The tart version, now canned, I’m keeping as it’s delish stirred into steel-cut oats & a wicked mystery ingredient when subbed for ketchup in meatloaf.

        • Beth Grant DeRoos

          There are different plums. Some can be very sweet, while others like one batch I made earlier this week were tart. I used stevia as a sweetener for that batch.

          • Snapdragon55

            Haven’t tried stevia ~ I gather it’ll survive BWB processing without turning bitter? I know it is naturally grown vs the sugar substitutes which I regard as far worse than a couple of cups of cane sugar.

    • Christine Czarnecki

      Dean, all the fiber is still in the fruit and therefore in the jam or preserves, especially if you are doing stone fruits like plums or apricots (especially apricots, as the peel is paper thin).

      I just went to a canning class, and the instructor said that she made her fruit jams with a proportion of 4 parts fruit to 1 part sugar – not very sweetened. But remember, if your fruit is sweet, you need less sugar, but there is of course natural sugar (fructose and glucose) present in ripe fruit.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Canning, Pickling and Fermenting but no dehydrating with an awesome Excalibur dehydrator?

    Just finished up canning twelve jars of no sugar plum preserves, twelve quarts of applesauce, and some pickled cauliflower. Soon it will be thirty quarts of tomatoes, peaches, pears, apricots.

    Also quarts and quarts of dehydrated berries, peaches, pears, tomatoes and most vegetables. All in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

    Anyone who backpacks, camps knows dehydrated foods are lighter and I personally appreciate how they hold the flavour better. And its so easy to make a quick meal with dehydrated foods.

    Have told so many people to listen to today show.

  • April

    Is there any other “canning” that I can do with plums, other than jelly or “no sugar preserves”? (We have a tree with tons of plums this year, but I’m not very excited about plum jelly.)

    • Christine Czarnecki

      We, too, have plums that are throwing themselves at us right now.

      Last year, after making many plum pies and plum kuchens and plum galettes (and on and on), I found a recipe for a Plum Mostarda, a plum condiment that is rather like a chutney. The recipe I used was from Laurent Tourondel’s cookbook. _Fresh From the Market_. It is for a recipe which is made fresh (to serve with duck or pork), but I am going to see if it can be canned or at least frozen.

  • Candis Meetra Dastmalchi

    In reference to the woman talking about pickling eggplants, I’d like to point out that there are several recipes for pickling eggplants. My family is middle eastern an we eat all kinds of pickled eggplant, from chopped with other vegetables to whole and stuffed with mint and garlic. It is referred in several recipes as torshi (Farsi for basically, “that which is tart/ sour”). If she checks into recipes searching eggplant torshi, she will find many.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Please explain how LYE is safe with food. Newbie here…

  • Jonathan Choi

    please give links for those plum recipes! the Plum Ketchup and Plum cheese sound great and we have TONS of plums!

  • Stefani Leto

    I’m so excited about this topic. My sister and I have made jam and other preserves together for years — we sing “Jammin'” while we do it, much to our children’s amusement. We just discovered marmalade a year or two ago, and Sunday have a date to can 50 pounds of peaches.

    My question involves preserved roasted red peppers. I bought some canning books in Italy and when I opened a jar of Peperoni sott’olio last night, the vinegar taste was overwhelming. Where can I find a preserved pepper recipe that isn’t all vinegar? I have the same problem with my cippolini onions.

  • Allan Griff

    extremely IMPORTANT
    THE SPEAKER SAID CANNING IS LIKE PASTEURIZATION
    IT IS NOT
    PASTEURIZATION IS 60 C, STOPS WINE FERMENTATION, WHICH IS WHAT PASTEUR INVENTED IT FOR
    MILK TOO
    FOR LOW-ACID AND NONACID FOODS, YOU NEED 120-125 C
    BOILING AT 100 C WILL DEACTIVATE BOTULISM TOXIN BEFORE CANNING AND BEFORE EATING BUT NOT THE SPORES

    BUT YOU STILL NEED 120+ TO KILL THE SPORES THAT ARE IN THERE UNLESS YOU HAVE COMMERCIAL ASEPTIC MACHINERY.
    YOUR GUEST POOHPOOHED THE BOTULISM WORRY, COMPARED IT TO PLANE CRASHES, I AGREE IT’S SIMILAR IF YOU OR I ARE THE PILOTS. THERE WOULD BE LOTS OF CRASHES IN SUCH A CASE. IT’S EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND MUST BE UNDERSTOOD BY ANYONE DOING SEALED CANNING OF ANYTHING.

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