2017 Production Report

Pickled Brussels Sprouts (2-5)  Iacopi had his little marble-size Brussels sprouts at the Marin Farmers’ Market today, so i got enough to make six jars.  Only flavoring in this batch is a teaspoon of white mustard seed and one chile pequin.

RLM – Rangpur Lime Marmalade (4-26)  Carol and i went to lunch the other day, and afterwards she offered me some of her Rangpur limes.  Well, who can say no?  Besides, owing to all our rain, her tree has a bumper crop this year.  I went ahead and took the trouble to hand slice the little things since they’re too fine to be just brutalized in the Cuisinart.

Pickled Asparagus (4-30, 5-9, more)  Fans have recently given me some taller jars suitable for asparagus, so i’m using them.  This was a great favorite year before last when i experimented around and discovered that to pickle asparagus all you needed to do was pack the asparagus into the jars, add the herbs, pour in boiling pickling solution, and screw the lids on.  The heat of the solution is sufficient to lightly cook the asparagus without making it all mushy.

CPK – Cherry Jam with Patak’s Lime Relish (5-3, 5-14)  This jam is such a favorite among my eaters that i used my first cherries of the year to make it.  Then made another batch later so as to have plenty.

CAL – Plain old cherry jam (5-11) The little roadside produce stand on North Petaluma Boulevard is back in business.  High quality, low prices, nice folks.

TLM – Two Lime Marmalade (5-12) OK this one is an experiment.  I had two pounds of Carol’s Rangpur limes left over from the batch of marmalade i made on 4-26, so i bought three pounds of regular limes from Lola’s and mixed them together.  The peels of the regular limes are much tougher, so they barely softened enough and carry a bitter whang, but this is still a very interesting marmalade.

RCAL – Rainier Cherry Jam (6-12).  For the first time this year, i didn’t overcook a cherry jam.  Good thing, since these cherries were so gorgeous.  They were also huge, and this presented a problem for my new 80HP pitter.  It missed quite a few of the pits, and i had to pick a lot out during the cooking.  I also missed some, so if you find a pit or two in your jar of jam, this is just to show that i wasn’t using Nestlé Quik n Eze Jam mix.

RCPO – Rainier Cherry Jam with Paprika and Orange  (6-14).  I got six more pounds of those beautiful Rainier cherries and went a little experimental.  I substituted four mandarin oranges for the lemons and after i’d extracted their juice, i went ahead and finely chopped the pith for the extra pectin it contains.  Then, to make sure this one tastes different, i threw in quite a few shakes of Hungarian paprika.  Kept throwing in more until i could taste it.  Interesting jam.

AAL – Apricot Jam.  (6-24)  JoAnn gave me a bag of apricots so i made a jam.  Wasn’t quite a full two liters, so i threw in three enormous yellow nectarines she’d given me, and i used the juice and pith of four mandarin oranges instead of the usual lemon juice.  Turned out good.

PRPC – Petaluma River Plum Chutney (6-25).  The plums hanging over the floodwall are coming along nicely, so i made a chutney just before they fully ripened.  Used three dried red peppers and managed to get the capsaicin to a reasonable level although i might go up to four of these peppers for the next chutney.

WPBB – Wild Petaluma River Blackberry Jelly (7-3, 7-16)  The blackberries hanging over the flood wall are starting to ripen, so over a week i made forays to fill plastic quart containers, which i then washed and froze until i had enough berries for a batch of jelly.

Pickled Sugar Snaps. (7-3, 9-10, 9-17)  None of my local farmers’ market vendors are selling sugar snaps, so i bought some at Whole Foods to pickle for the July batch.  In September, i got ’em from Iacopi, who now has a stall at the Castro Farmers’ Market.  A cheese vendor at the Noe Valley Farmers’ Market had demanded a deposit on her jar, so i got a great kick out of using that jar for some of these pickles and then handing it to her to get my deposit back.  If she’d shown the slightest bit of pleasure over my clever gift, i’d have bought another of her products.

Unappreciated sugar snaps

GGJ – Greengage Jam (8-28).  My timing was exquisite.  When i returned to the Castro Farmers’ Market after a two-year absence, i caught not only Marie but also the end of the cruelly brief Greengage plum season.  So i grabbed five pounds of these exquisite beauties and threw them into the refrigerator until i returned from eclipse watching.  The French call this a confiture de Reine Claudes and consider it a royal treat.  Which it is.

FBB – Freedom Blackberry Jelly (9-1, 11-4)  Do i love being back in the city or what!  Yesterday went to the Mission Community Market and picked up a flat of Freedom variety Blackberries from Yerena.  The damn things are as big as tayberries and almost as delicious.  Oh, and it produces in both early spring and fall and is thornless to boot, which is approaching botanical heresy.  So yeah, got nine jars outa the flat.

Blackberry Vinegar (10-1) When i made the above jelly, i set the strained out seeds and pulp steeping in white vinegar in the refrigerator for a month and strained it through a cloth for this vinegar.

SCBB – Scaredy Cat Blackberry Jelly (10-1)  Picked up a flat of blackberries from Sra. Yerena yesterday at the Alemany Farmers’ Market and decided i was going to do something different, a hot pepper blackberry jelly.  So i chopped two of those blindingly hot Thai peppers into it as it cooked, fearful of getting it so hot nobody but the Hmong could eat it.  You can imagine my disappointment when i tasted the finished product and could just barely detect the peppers.  Hell, all they did was just brighten up the other flavors.  Well, see, i was so scared of those peppers that i’d not tasted one since i bought ’em the week before, and now i don’t know whether a different variety was pawned off on me or whether this particular batch was a throwback.

Frozen Cranberry Beans (10-12, 19, 23) Cranberry beans are my favorite bean and of course they’re at their best fresh.  They have a fairly long season during summer and fall, and the great blessing is that they are still available at the farmers’ markets well after the last of the stone fruit.  So what you do is buy a bag and spread ’em out on your floor.

cranberry beans relaxing before being shelled

Then, the next day, after they’ve had time to relax and are easy to shell, you shell them, blanch them for a couple of minutes in boiling water, bag them, and throw ’em in the freezer, where they will wait for special occasions throughout the following winter and spring.  If you take the trouble to blanch them before freezing, the taste is virtually indistinguishable from fresh.

PTPJ – Yellow Peach and Thai Pepper Jam.  (10-14)  After the wimpiness of that blackberry jelly above, i went ahead and put in four Thai peppers this time, and then, very near the end of the cooking, i went ahead and chopped two more of those peppers in, so you can actually taste ’em this time.  I quite like this jam.

WNT – White Nectarine and Thai Pepper Jam (10-15) The folks at the Hooverville stand at the Alemany Farmers’ Market had nice-looking white nectarines.  The advantage they have in being well up into the Sierra foothills is that they can tease out the season longer than the flatlanders.  This time i threw in six Thai peppers, which is just about right.  Well, for me.

SAL – Strawberry Jam (10-15, 11-1) I left this one plain for the traditionalists.  The strawberries were from Yerena.

RB – Raspberry Jelly (10-19)  Just a plain raspberry jelly from Yerena’s raspberries.  I shredded two Granny Goose apples down to the core and juiced three big limes into this one, and it set beautifully.

SBT – Strawberry and Thai Pepper Jam. (10-23).  I backed off to four of the Thai peppers in this jam, chopping two in at the beginning and two more near the end, which brought the capsaicin level to a good level.  It takes a beat or two to hit you and then, not hard.  I’m pleased with this one.

Pickled Habaneros. (10-25) Let’s be clear right up front.  I’m not going to even taste these. No no. They’re for friends who like the really hot stuff.  I kinda prettied them up by including in each jar a couple of carrot sticks, a Serrano chile, and a couple of green onion stalks.

SYP – Spiced Yellow Peach Jam (10-28)  Spotted these peaches at the market this morning and figured that while a peach this late in the season would not be the best eating, it would probably make a good jam.  Got five pounds of ’em home and realized that this would be the best time of year to throw in some spices.  And since there are still a lot of folks out there who like my jams better without pepper, there’s no pepper at all in this one.  Just cloves, allspice, and cinnamon.  Oh and i had this packet of vanilla beans that were supberb when i bought ’em seven or eight years ago, might as well throw one of those in, too.  And you know, after all that, it turned out pretty good.  Capsaicin connoisseurs can sprinkle a few drops of Tobasco on their portion.

PLTP – Pluot and Thai Pepper Jam (10-31)  Four Thai peppers in this one, so you can taste them.

SSP – Slightly Spicy Pluot (11-5)  I went down to the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market for the first time since my return to San Francisco hoping to catch Olsen’s return to the market for the season.  Too early, but the info folks say they expect him in a week or two.  The Hamadas are no longer at the market, and Lou Iacopi wasn’t in sight as his booth, nor was Johann Smit at his, but i stifled my disappointment by picking up five pounds of the last of the season’s pluots from Alfieri.  Today i waffled over what to do with them and decided that since they were the Flavor Fall variety i could safely go ahead and add some more flavors.  I ended up adding small amounts of cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Then, with some trepidation threw in the smallest of the Habaneros leftover from that batch i pickled.  A really wimpy one, as the pepper taste is subtle.

 

FC – Feijoa Chutney (11-21).  These little things are far from a favorite fruit but they sure do lend themselves to making chutney.  Better yet, on this batch i somehow managed to hit, to my taste, just the right levels of all the spices and chile.  Ta da.

 

RLM – Rangpur Lime Marmalade (12-3, 12-4)  Carol came through with ten pound of these beauties from her tree on Potrero Hill, so i made two batches of marmalade, the second with a bit more sugar since this fruit is so very sour.  And that’s why they make the queen of the marmalades.

 

MC – Mango Chutney (12-5) I was at Casa Guadalupe on Mission Street the other day and spotted small California mangoes at 2 for a dollar.  They were also green and firm, perfect for a chutney.  ta da.

 

 

 

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