BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘food preservation

Give a Boy (and a Poppy) Some Blueberry Pie

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My blueberry blackberry homemade butter crust creation.

My blueberry blackberry homemade butter crust creation.

Berry pickin' source in Albany.

Berry pickin' source in Albany.

I don’t often haveĀ  pie for breakfast. But I did today, in honor of Poppy on his birthday, because he made the habit of doing so, but of course only with fruit pies. It’s also not often I make a pie, with homemade butter crust. But it’s a habit that could grow on me.

When your partner turns 30, you bake him a pie. I won his heart six years ago with a key lime graham cracker crust one. This year’s blueberry with fresh foraged blackberries did the trick. I finally had a chance to test out my master food preserver blueberry pie filling recipe, after stopping on a whim to pick some at a mom-and-pop place in Albany. I’d rather not use lab-developed Clear-Jel modified corn starch, but I did for the first time because it imparts a pleasant consistency, so you won’t have a soggy, runny, mushy pie. I spiced up the utilitarian extension office recipe with grated nutmeg, lemon and lime zest and vanilla. This Portland kid’s prize-winning pie recipe inspired the lime. Blueberry needs such tang to heighten its flavors. I processed the jars of filling for 30 minutes so they melded together in a fruity goo.

What else have you made with your blueberries? I stumbled across this fabulous muffin recipe, which, with the ample maple syrup and melted butter, evokes the taste of fresh pancakes. Throw some crystallized ginger into the batter for kick. And with blackberries, consider milk with some sweetener and the muddled fruit.

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Fresh muddled blackberry milk.

Foraged raw blackberries added to the inside just before backing gave the pie that extra umpf we were looking for. Topped with gelato from a downtown shop (why was this our first time there?) the result made for a pretty memorable dessert.

Fresh from the oven. Notice the egg wash is key for a glaze.

Fresh from the oven. Notice the egg wash is key for a glaze.

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Written by baltimoregon

August 23, 2009 at 1:59 am

In an (Asparagus) Pickle

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Dilly pickles I boiling-water canned at home

Dilly pickles I boiling-water canned at home

Pickles we low-pasteurize water-bath canned in class

Pickles we low-pasteurize water-bath canned in class

Learning pickling has been my favorite part of the 8-week master food preservation program I’m doing through Oregon State’s extension office. Asparagus are now officially my favorite vegetable to pickle. Make some while the elusive green stalks are still in season this fleeting spring. I made a batch at home this week with local asparagus from Sunbow Farm. Boiling-water canning the pickles for 10 minutes was no problem: all the jars popped, sealed shut, upon removal. But I could have used a few extra hands of help like I’ve gone accustomed to having in our class.

Just about everyone seems interested in canning these days, whether motivated to save money, preserve local produce or simply learn an ancient food art. The New York Times had a big canning feature last week, focusing on Eugenia Bone, author of the new cookbook, Well Preserved. Then NPR features Preserved on its list of the “10 Best Summer Cookbooks.” I’ve never gotten more Facebook comments then when I posted pickling photos from my preservation class. It’s a sign of the times. Now my cousin and I lament the fact my grandmother never taught us to make her curry pickles. But as a kid, I never thought making her pickles or famous raspberry jam would interest me. Yet, here I am.

I tried to recreate the Oregon-made dilly asparagus Pretty Pickles by adding dill seed to my recipe. I also like extra garlic, but I ran out. Add a whole cayenne pepper for spice and colorful effect, if you like. Experiment with any spices you like but don’t mess with the instructions on heating the brine and water-bath processing times. I like that Eugenia Bone’s recipe has that extra garlic. But I used the simple one from my OSU Extension “Pickling Vegetables” booklet (see page 15 for asparagus). What’s your favorite food to pickle?

I will not be pickling eggs, as our teacher did in class. But their pink pickled beet-enhanced color did contrast nicely with the yolks.

Pickled eggs

Pickled eggs

Written by baltimoregon

June 5, 2009 at 12:34 am

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