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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Imagined Asked Questions

It's fig, glorious fig season here in Georgia, and while looking at the two fig preserve recipes in my book I realized I hadn't made something clear. Some figs, as many of you probably know, are—like some tomatoes—not quite acidic enough to can in a boiling-water bath unless acid is added; here I use lemon and lemon juice, in quantities that should be—and have been, in my experience—sufficient. (The USDA/NCHFP, e.g., suggests 2 tablespoons lemon juice per quart of preserved figs in a light syrup; my recipes each make 4 half-pint jars and call for 1 lemon and 3 tablespoons, respectively.) What I didn't make clear is that the lemon or lemon juice in those two recipes (slow-roasted fig preserves with lemon, and honeyed fig jam with sesame seeds) is necessary for preservation purposes and should not be viewed as optional. These preserves, like most in the book, are low in sugar, so you need the added acid to make sure the pH is in the safe range. If you don't have lemon juice or aren't comfortable making a not-sugar-saturated fig preserve, these recipes make such small quantities that you could certainly just skip the canning and keep them in the fridge, from which they'll quickly disappear.


Ott, A. said...

I just read about your book "Canning for a New Generation" and stumbled upon your blog. I am a canner as well and last summer when I was talking to some of my co-workers about canning I was completely surprised as to how skeptical or unaware of how to can. So I am hosting a "Canning Week Blog Party" on my blog next week (Aug. 23-27) and hope to educate and encourage other bloggers to can. I would love for you to stop by, we will be posting lots of tips, recipes, and have linky parties and give-a-ways all related to canning. It should be a lot of fun.

Liana Krissoff said...

A.: I'd love to!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Liana. I recently purchased your book and have really been enjoying it. The first recipe I tried was the tomato and cashew chutney...awesome ! I was getting ready to make the tomato and basil jam on page 176 and noticed that some of the instructions seem to be missing. The recipe never states what to do with the cooked apples- I'd guess they get strained and added back but I wasn't sure exactly when to do that. If you could let me know what that step is, I'd really appreciate it...ripe tomatoes are standing by ! Also, since I'm asking about this recipe, I seem to be having trouble finding sherry it okay to substitute it with a 5% acidity vinegar of another variety ?
Oh, and I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to ask you these questions... I couldn't find a place to email you.

Thanks so much !

Liana Krissoff said...

Nichole: You're so right—there seems to have been a paragraph that was dropped here! After the paragraph that ends with you boiling the apples and lemon in the tomato juice, it should read:

"Dump the tomato solids into the bowl and place a sieve over the bowl. Pour the apple and lemon mixture into the sieve and press as much of the juice and apple pulp through the sieve as you can. Discard the solids."

Then you go on to put everything back in the rinsed preserving pan.

As for the vinegar, I used high-acidity (7%) sherry vinegar here not just for the flavor but because the acid is necessary to help the mixture gel, but too much extra liquid (a lower-acidity vinegar, for example) could negate that effect. You could try using 1/2 cup cider vinegar (5% acidity), but you'll probably get a looser set.

Thank you so much for pointing out that important missing graf. It'll definitely be fixed in the next printing!