This year, I’ve had the great fun of participating in the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge. Each month, I undertake a themed food preservation project with the goal of learning something new. We’re already halfway through! Here’s what I’ve made so far:
- January: Citrus–Cara Cara Orange and Meyer Lemon Marmalade
- February: Fermentation–Failed Fermented Carrots (oh, so bad!) and Amish Friendship Bread (oh, so good!)
- March: Herbs–Compound butters (sage and smoked salt, rosemary and shallot)
- April: Use Up Preserves–Barbeque sauce, raspberry jam bars, various tomato dishes (I also took a canned goods inventory, and discovered that we need to be more diligent about eating tomatoes, because at that point I wasn’t through the 2017 ones).
- May: Berries–Strawberry Balsamic Jam
- June: Jam–Strawberry Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (I then went into July with Rhubarb Rosemary, Strawberry Peach, Brown Sugar Peach, and Strawberry Maple Butter)
- July: Stonefruit–Aforementioned peachy jams, canned cherries, cherries in bourbon
Other than learning new things, the most enjoyable part of the challenge is seeing what people all over the world do with it. The themes are pretty broad, so people are creative. I never would have thought to do compound butters without other people doing it, for instance, and now I’m in love.
Favorite recipes so far include:
Strawberry Balsamic Jam (I made this twice. One small batch was not enough).
Sour Cherry Preserves with Bourbon
Rosemary Shallot Compound Butter (There is no recipe. Mince about a tablespoon of shallot. Crush about the same amount of dried rosemary. Beat it into maybe a quarter cup of softened butter. Store in the freezer. Use to saute sugar snap peas, lose your composure.)
In the coming months, I’ll tackle: Tomatoes, Pickles, Relishes, Chow Chows, or Piccalili, an October Wild Card, Apples, Pears, Quince or Persimmons, and Holiday Giving. Some of these will be easier to do something new (what have I ever done with quince?) than others (what else can I do with a tomato, at this point?).
The only problem is I’m running out of jam jars.