2018 Production Report

Pickled Peruvian Red Manzana Peppers (1/7) Well yes, i pickled a pair of pints of Peruvian peppers, the red Manzanas that are every bit as blindingly hot as the yellow Manzanas from Jalisco, so they’re earmarked for my North Vietnamese barber and a couple of farmers’ market vendors for whom nothing is too hot.  OUT OF STOCK

MC – Mango Chutney (1/13, 3/28, 6/11)  I make batches of Mango Chutney when i can get Mexican mangoes.  Didn’t get enough chile pepper in it the first time but sure did the next two.

Pickled Brussels Sprouts (1/20, 1/30 and numerous occasions after)  There have been very handsome Brussels sprouts in the farmers’ markets lately, thus these batches.

Pickled Brussels Sprouts

K – Kiwi Jam (2/7) I was desperate to make a conserve that had no peppers in it because quite a few of my fans don’t eat peppers, so i realized i could make my old favorite, Kiwi Pasilla Jam, without the Pasillas.  Ha.  Worked fine and went over well.  OUT OF STOCK

KC – Kiwi Clementine Jam (2/13)  Somehow it struck me that chopping some Clementines into the Kiwis might make a jam that would taste good and set well owing to the pectin in the pith of the Clementines, so i used five pounds of Kiwis and about a pound of Clementines (after peeling).  And then, to make sure, i ground up an apple into it.  It worked. OUT OF STOCK

Chocolate Sauce (2/13)  I make chocolate sauce frequently because there’s great demand for it, but i never mention it in these Production Reports.  I’m mentioning this one because it’s extra-splendid owing to my having bought online a 5 kg. bag of Callebaut cocoa powder and a 5 kg. block of Callebaut unsweetened chocolate, both smuggled in from Belgium.  So for the foreseeable future my chocolate sauces will be 100% Callebaut.  This is the best chocolate sauce i ever made.  Period.

KM – Kumquat Marmalade (2/14) Last Saturday i took my beloved old vendor Bruce of Hooverville Orchards a jar of blindingly hot Peruvian Manzana chiles that i’d pickled with him in mind because he’s one of the few people i know who has a capsaicin tolerance high enough to enjoy those things.  He handed me back a bag of kumquats, suggesting i might experiment with making a marmalade of ’em.  I thanked him, telling him it would be interesting to try.  My recipe is for five pounds of fruit, so i did the math and reduced the quantities of sugar and water to be appropriate for a pound and a half of kumquats.  Then i set to work prepping the kumquats.  Oh. My. God.  What an agonizingly tedious job!  So awful, in fact, that the pain triggered a memory of Glenn Tanimoto having given me several years ago a big bag of “seconds” kumquats because he hated to see ’em go to waste but found them not quite up to his exacting appearance standard for the fruit he sold.  Oh yes, making that marmalade was so excruciating that to save my sanity i forgot it immediately, only to be reminded now that it’s like performing heart surgery on a thousand mice.  See, what you have to do is start cutting perfect slices off the end and then, when you hit the first seed, stop and pick all the seeds out before you continue slicing the little slippery thing.  Thank God Bruce didn’t give me five pounds because prepping that many would have driven me blind and crazy.  After all that work i ended up with only seven 4 oz. jars of marmalade.  No damn way i was gonna put it in 8 oz. jars.  And by the way, it’s so delicious that when my pain has abated i’ll consider making another small batch even though i’m having a little trouble thinking of people who deserve this stuff.  OUT OF STOCK

SBBV – Strawberry Jam with Balsamic Vinegar (2/16)  There was a garrulous vendor at the Alemany Farmers’ Market this morning who chatted me into buying a half flat of strawberries.  I just finished cooking them down with two cored and shredded apples and 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar.  Turned out intensely flavorful, but i’m not sure i can actually taste the balsamic vinegar.  Then again, that stuff is so expensive that i’m realizing that the best use of it is not in flavoring jams.  OUT OF STOCK

LLM – Little Lemon Marmalade (2/17, 3/8)  I spotted at Casa Guadalupe at a dollar each, two-pound bags of Eureka lemons the size of a medium lime.  What!!!!!  Then i looked more closely and saw that they were organic and from Twin Girls Farm, a top-flight vendor at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market.  This has got to be the bargain of the century since they’re bound to be good if they’re from Twin Girls Farm.  Bought a bag, tasted one, bought two more bags and made marmalade out of five pounds of ’em.  Held back enough on the sugar that nobody’s gonna call this one over-sweet.  OUT OF STOCK

SB – Plain old Strawberry Jam (3/7, 4/13 and more times later)  Poli Yerena is back from his winter break, bringing his strawberries, so i made this jam.  And did it again and again.

SBT – Strawberry with Thai Chile Jam (3/11, 4/2)  Hadn’t made anything brightened up with chiles recently, so i did this one. You can taste the chiles but i shoulda added more.  Did the next time.  OUT OF STOCK

TM – Tangerine Marmalade (3/12)  OK, this one is an experiment since you’re supposed to use sour fruit to make marmalade.  Still, i found some small tangerines with thin skin and an attractive price, so i thought, why not?  I used about half the usual amount of sugar since the tangerines were already quite sweet, and the marmalade turned out pretty good.  Not quite, alas, as good as my other marmalades.  OUT OF STOCK

Pickled Beets (3/20, 5/11)  My goodness there sure are a lot of recipes for pickled beets out there.  Many of them are just for refrigerator beets, but still i went through a lot of recipes for canned ones and came up with a middle of the road compromise.  Cooking times listed for the eight beets ranged from 15 minutes to an hour, so i did 45 minutes since i definitely don’t want them crunchy.  The pickling solutions i saw were likewise all over the map, but since i’m often praised for cutting back on the sourness, i went for half vinegar (1qt) and half water ( 1qt), substituting for the tap water that in which the beets had been cooked.  I used less sugar than most recipes call for, a half cup.  And i threw in handfuls of cloves and allspice berries.  They’re getting good reviews.

Pickled Asparagus (3/18 and numerous dates afterwards)  My need for taller jars for the Asparagus may be met this coming Wednesday at the Castro Farmers’ Market when i ask Marie if she still has the jars i gave her Asparagus in three years ago.  Otherwise, there won’t be much.  This time i did a couple of jars in St Benoit yogurt jars, which are only marginally tall enough.  Threw in the mustard seeds that i use in all my pickles and, to get adventuresome, a pinch of hua jiao (麻辣) in each jar.  We shall see.

Pickled Asparagus

 

Pickled Sugar Snaps (3/25 and several occasions later).  These are a great favorite.

KJ – Kiwi Jalapeño Jam (4/3)  I was generous, but reasonable, with the Jalapeños.  Quite nice jam, actually.  OUT OF STOCK

Pickled Snow Peas (4/14) The Herrs at the Noe Valley Farmers’ Market this morning had the first of the season’s snow peas.  So i bought a big bag, spent the afternoon arranging them in jars, and sprinkled in mustard seed and dill seed.  For most of the 15 jars, i slipped in Piper longum, the Indian long pepper.  For the rest, a dried Thai chile.  I need to remind people who get those that the pickles will get hotter and hotter until they fish the chile out.  Then i poured into the jars the boiling pickling solution and screwed the lids on tight.  I am enormously pleased with myself over this, as these pickles have been a great favorite in past years.

CPK – Cherry Jam with Patak’s Hot Lime Relish (5/6)  This one is a great favorite of many people, starting with my retinologist and her husband.  First cherries of the season, so they’re not as fully flavorful as they will be later, which made it easy to decide to spice them up.

LLM – Lisbon Lemon Marmalade (5/8)  I got the Lisbon lemons from Twin Girls, and they made an excellent marmalade. OUT OF STOCK

BC – Brooks Cherry Jam (5/11) Alfieri is back in production with cherries, so i’ll be getting most of mine, like these Brooks, from them. Those are perhaps my favorite eating cherry.  Flavor and mouthfeel for days.  OUT OF STOCK

RTC – Royal Tioga Cherry Jam (5/17)  Alfieri’s Royal Tiogas may have nudged Brooks from first place.  Delicious, and made a good jam.   OUT OF STOCK

CCPK+ – Coral Cherry Jam with Patak’s Hot Lime Relish (5/25)  To give it the plus, i chopped in a Thai chile, so the capsaicin is right up front on this one.  And hell, Coral cherries may be even better than the Royal Tiogas.

RLM – Rangpur Lime Marmalade (5/26, 6/7)  Carol’s tree is still groaning with these little beauties, and she gave me a big bag of ’em for this marmalade.  Better yet, even though i have a tendency to overcook marmalades, this one is still easily spreadable.  ta da.  The second batch has about 20% lemon in it because that big bag from Carol didn’t have quite enough for two batches.  Turned out fine anyhow.

CC – Coral Cherry Jam.  (5/27) Oh my goodness.  Every red cherry variety i’ve tasted this year has been better than the previous, and the Corals are no exception.  The even better news is that i let this batch reduce a bit more than necessary, so it set up quite firm.  No worry about this one running off the edge of your toast.

RCPK+ – Rainier Cherry Jam with Patak’s Hot Lime Relish (6/7) I never added Patak’s to a Rainier Cherry jam, so i thought i’d try.  Went ahead and put half a jar of the Patak’s in, to make sure.  And then, to make doubly sure, i chopped in a Thai chile.  Yow!

BB – Blackberry Jelly (6/13 and a couple of times later) First blackberries of the season from Yerena.  I know no fruit other than tayberries that makes better jelly than blackberries.   Umm, well, raspberries come close.

SBc – Strawberry Jam with a little bit of chile  (7/14)  I’m in a gimping around phase now, but saw these Driscol strawberries in my local Safeway and thought, why not? Just in case they might be weak in strawberry flavor, i threw in one little cherry pepper and a quarter of a seeded and stemmed jalapeño. The lowercase “c” indicates that the chiles had a very light impact, tolerable, i think, to those who are not chile fans.   OUT OF STOCK

BBV – Blackberry Vinegar.(7/14)  I strained the seeds and pulp from the blackberries for the 6/13 Blackberry Jelly, put them in a big jar, added half as much vinegar, let it steep in my refrigerator for a month, strained it through a cloth, and bottled it.  I recommend using this stuff to make a vinaigrette with a luxury oil like walnut oil.

RB – Raspberry Jam (7/27) I used the car to get to the Mission Market so i could get a flat of raspberries from Yerena.  Then i went ahead and cooked them down well, so the jelly turned out very good.

BC – Bing Cherry Jam (7/28)  Still difficult to get to farmers’ markets, but i saw these cherries in Costco and thought, why not?  And you know, they made a good jam.

N – Nectarine Jam (8/2 and a couple afterwards) I’ve figured out that i can take the 24 Divisadero to 17th and Castro and walk one block down Market to the Castro Farmers’ Market where one of my favorite vendors sells.  That’s Rodin Farms from whom i buy mostly nectarines like the ones with which i made this jam.

NJ – Nectarine Jalapeño Jam (8/9)  Same as above but with a couple of Jalapeños.  Turned out fairly spicy.  OUT OF STOCK

BBj – Blackberry Jelly (8/9)  Blackberries from Yerena at the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market.  For this, i chopped in one seeded and deveined Jalapeño, and that was just enough to brighten up the other flavors and be barely discernible, so i used a lower-case “j”.   The fringe benefit is that Glen Tanimoto is back at the market and selling his superb variety of yellow corn as well as those French Plums/Italian Plums/Sugar Plums/Prunes d’Agen whatever you call them.

GG – Greengage Jam (8/16)  I’ve gone into panegyrics before over these wonderful and difficult-to-find plums, so i’ll just say they make good jam even though i could have cooked this batch down a bit more.

Pickled Okra (8/19, 9/1, and later)  I haven’t pickled okra in a number of years and don’t know why it’s taken me so long to do it again.  I got little pods that will fit into 8 oz. jars.  Cuter that way.  I processed these for only 5 minutes, hoping them to still have a little crunch.

Pickled Okra

RGG – Rustic Greengage Jam (8/23)  It’s rustic because i’d found on the internet a recipe for this jam from a British cook and thought they might know what they were doing.  I was intrigued by the instruction to just throw the whole plums into a pot with some water, boil for twenty minutes, and with a slotted spoon remove the pits, which will have floated to the surface.  I kept watching for the pits and then went on boiling for thirty minutes with still nary a pit to be seen.  I managed to get some of ’em out, but plenty remained in the jam.  That’s why i’m calling it “Rustic”.

SPJ Sugar Plum and Jalapeño Jam (8/31)  OK, not to get too deeply into botany here, but these plums are Prunus domestica like all plums, and they are grown primarily (in California) to be dried into prunes.  Nevertheless, they are a very sweet plum with a meaty mouth feel and are the favorite eating plum for many of us.  They are popularly called “Sugar Plums”, but farmers of Italian ancestry call them “Italian Plums” while French farmers call them “Prune d’Agen” or just “French plums” if the family no longer speaks French.  In both countries a varietal that looks like this has been cultivated for centuries.  They’re also great for jams because they are, unlike other plums, high in pectin.  I’ll make a plain batch later, but for this one i threw in one and a half seeded and deveined Jalapeños, which was just barely detectable but at least brightens up the jam.

Raspberry Vinegar (9-1) From the steeped seeds and pulp left from the 7/27 Raspberry Jelly.

NS – Nectarine and Serrano Chile Jam (9/6).  I threw in five of the Serranos, so the chile taste is right up front.

RBS – Raspberry and Serrano Chile Jam (9/7)  Four Serranos in this one since the volume was much less than the above nectarine jam.  A pleasant up front chile taste.

BBS – Blackberry and Serrano Chile Jam (9/7)   To make sure, i chopped in five Serranos.  Not blindingly hot, but you can definitely taste the chiles.

RBRC – Raspberry and Red Chile Jelly (9/10)  I was determined to make a high capsaicin jelly, so i bought a bag of these bright red chiles about the size of Jalapeños but with a sharp point at the end.  The bin was labeled “Very Hot”, so i chopped four in.  Up front chile taste, yes, but still not hot enough to please the serious chile lovers.  On, and on the next trip to the market i inquired about their name:  it’s Fresno.

CPA -Confiture de Prunes d’Agen (9/13).  Since i bought the last batch of the sugar plums from Marie Rodin, i’m giving this the original French name although it still tastes like sugar plum jam, perhaps better because i cooked it way down and then stuck the stick blender in to chop up the skins.  Here’s the plums:

Sugar Plums/Prune d'Agen

And, while i’m at it, more ingredients – two apples to be ground up for their pectin, two lemons for their juice, and a Moroccan preserved lemon to be chopped fine for it’s pectin, salt, and acid. The sugar you’ll have to imagine for yourself:

GP – Golden Pluot Jam (9/16)  “Golden” is purely descriptive because i, the fanatic about specifying varietal names, bought these pluots at the Alemaney market yesterday, decided that the variety name was too memorable to require recording, and then promptly forgot it.  Anyhow, it’s good pluot jam with a lovely color.

NN – Nectarine and Nigella Jam (9/27).  A yellow nectarine jam with lots of Nigella sativa seeds…for the adventuresome.

WNF – White Nectarine and Fresno Chile Jam (9/30).  The yellow nectarine season for Rodin Farms (and almost everyone else) is over, so i broke down and did my annual batch of a white nectarine jam.  The whites are popular because they’re sweeter, but IMHO the yellows have more flavor.  But still, i try to keep an open mind, and i got enough Fresnos in this to taste right up front.

Raspberry Vinegar (10/4)  From the steeped seeds and pulp left from the 9/10 Raspberry and Red Chile Jelly.

FBW – Purple Fig, Balsamic Vinegar, and Walnut Jam (10/7).  I’d never made a fig jam before, but a fan inquired, so i DuckDuckWent and came up with a synthesis of a dozen recipes.  I held off throwing in the walnut pieces until 15 minutes before the jam was ready to jar, which softened them but left them intact.  Figs are almost my least-favorite fruit, coming in just above dates, but i will eat them with pleasure in this form.  Nuff said.  Form a line.

GFBW – Green Fig, Balsamic Vinegar, and Walnut Jam (10/12).   I bought the tail end of the figs, green ones this time, and took another pass at a jam with them.  I reduced the sugar and increased the balsamic vinegar and the walnut pieces.  Another difference is that i wasn’t thinking fast enough and failed to grind the figs up with my stick blender before i threw the walnuts in, so this one has chunks of halved figs along with the chunks of walnut.  I have a feeling that this stuff will go over like gangbusters, so i won’t be telling just everyone that i’ve made it.

FC – Feijoa Chutney (10/17)  Do i love my food contacts or what!  My new friend Joy took me over to the home of friends of hers, Karen and Charlie, who gave me a bag of feijoas off the tree in their garden and invited me back in a few days when they’ve shaken the tree for more.  Joy mentioned that she’d love to help me make the chutney, so she came over and together we made it.  Not sure whether it was her knife skills or just that her presence made me more scrupulous, but in any case this batch strikes me as the best i’ve ever made.  Incidentally, i discovered that i’ve been pronouncing the fruit wrong.  It’s fee’ j (French pronunciation) oh ah (as a diphthong).

 

 

 

 

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