August and September means canning season in my kitchen. Both of my grandmothers were avid canners by necessity more than craft. When they canned it was a massive production with lots of relatives, tons of jars, boxes of produce, and a kitchen full of hot steam and busy women puttin' up for the winter. There were bragging rights for who put up the most tomatoes or peaches. And there were taste tests at the country fair for the chance to win the coveted blue ribbon for best raspberry preserves.
Times have changed and now most home canners put up goods in small batches. There is a focus toward specialty condiments and pretty packaging. There are fewer food cellars boasting shelves lined with canned beans. In the larder of today's home canning enthusiasts we find small jars holding exotic pickles, unusual condiments, and mixed jellies that my grandmothers would consider gourmet and superficial.
Still, the art and craft of preserving food plays an important part in my role as a nurturer.
Two of my specialties are garlic condiments: Pickled Garlic and Garlic Jelly. The pickled garlic compliments my famous Dilly Beans and is great for vegetable and pickle trays. Like the beans, it benefits from a good three to four month curing before enjoying. The garlic jelly is gastronomic delight with many uses. For soups and stews just a small amount lends a sweet garlic flavor to the mix. It works well in stir fry dishes and a little dab on a freshly grilled steak melts into the meat to enhance the flavor without a dominating garlic taste. I shared this recipe in my book Day 6: Beyond the 5 Day Pouch Test. And with permission from my publisher I share it with you here:
Garlic JellyThis may sound strange at first but when used in small amounts to moisten and season lean protein this jelly packs a powerful flavor punch. The slightly sweet garlicky condiment is good whisked into soups, gravies and sauces. One batch makes three half pints which store well refrigerated. Don't be afraid of the sugar in this recipe because it is enjoyed in such small quantities with protein that your blood sugar will not be adversely affected. In addition, enjoying a slightly sweet flavor with lean protein tends to increase the length of time we experience satiation.
3 cups white wine vinegar
1/2 cup garlic, peeled and chopped
6 cups sugar
2 cups water
6 ounces liquid pectin
In a 2 1/2 quart saucepan, simmer the vinegar and garlic for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly. Pour the liquid into a clean 1-quart glass jar. Cover the jar and let stand at room temperature for 24 - 48 hours. Strain the vinegar and garlic through a wire strainer into a 6-quart kettle. Discard garlic. Measure 2 cups of liquid. Add more uncooked white wine vinegar, if necessary, to equal two cups. Add the sugar and water to the vinegar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the liquid pectin and return the mixture to a boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon.
Pour the jelly into hot, clean jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Cap and seal. Process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 10 minutes.