Does the word “canning” evoke images of vats of boiling water, bushels of produce and rows of jars? If so, you don’t know small batch canning!
Small batch canning is easy, safe and requires only a few inexpensive, simple pieces of equipment. In fact, you probably already own most of what you will need! There are two methods of canning: water bath and pressure. Water bath is safe for high-acid foods such as pickles, chutneys and jams. Pressure is safe for low acid foods such as meats, stocks, and low-acid vegetables (i.e. corn, beans). Let’s talk about water bath canning.
To safely water bath can you will need:
My “Preserving The Harvest. Small Batch Canning With Tess” class is now live. In my small, hands-on class, I will take you through the process from start to finish. During class, you’ll graze on an assortment of goodies prepared with the recipe you are learning to can that day and accompanied by lots of sparkling wine. At the end of class, you’ll leave with your own jar of preserved goodness plus access to the recipes. If there isn’t a class scheduled at a time that works for you, request one! I will to my best to accommodate you.
Small batch preserving is not only easy, safe and satisfying. it’s also economical and environmentally responsible. Jars are reused rather than being thrown away. Children are fascinated with canning. Preserving with children teaches them the values of thriftiness and environmental responsibility, plus it’s just plain fun! Don’t forget that home canned goods make great gifts, too. There’s no feeling quite like admiring your own little stock of home canned goods. I hope you will allow me to show you how simple it is to make small batch preserving a part of your life.
Did you know Julia Child’s very first show featured the classic French stew, Boeuf Bourguignon? It is one of my very favorite episodes and recipes! Watch it here. It’s so great!
Beginning in October, I am adding “Dinner in Burgundy” to my EatWith Fall/Winter offerings, and few dishes suit the season better than Boeuf Bourguignon.
As with many classic French recipes, good stock is an essential element of Boeuf Bourguignon. Luckily, beef stock is easy to make! You end up with a far superior, healthier product when you make your own, and you will save a lot of money as well. I am going to walk you through the steps. I use a slow cooker (the best invention ever for making stock and a lot of other things!). For stock, I use my 6 qt Hamilton Beach Stay or Go cooker because the lid clamps down tight so there’s less evaporation. You will find the entire recipe under my Recipes tab, so don’t just follow the steps! Read the recipe! Ask the meat department at your grocery store or your butcher to save marrow bones for you. They are very inexpensive. You can also use oxtail bones. I like to use a combination of the two.
As always, feel free to ask me questions.
Enjoy, and bon appétit!
- Preheat oven to 450°. Line a heavy, rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Place your marrow bones and root vegetables on the sheet. Spray or or lightly brush all with olive oil. VERY IMPORTANT! If you are canning your broth, do not use any oil! Oil can not be canned safely. Simply roast the root vegetables by themselves.
- Place sheet in preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. Shake the sheet and roast for 20 more minutes. When you remove them, the vegetables and bones will be a deep golden brown. Your house will smell AMAZING!
- Place your roasted marrow bones, root vegetables and the remaining ingredients in a 6 qt slow cooker. Fill to the top with water, cover and set on high. After one or two hours, set cooker to low and leave it alone for 24 to 36 hours. No opening the lid! Meat stocks need to cook for much longer than poultry stock. The longer you cook them, the better they will be. A note on bay leaves: there is a difference between domestic California bay leaves (typically available in the United States) and French bay leaves. The latter is sweeter and more complex. To achieve an authentic flavor in your French recipes, use Mediterranean bay leaves. Often, they come from Turkey. That’s fine. They are still the same type of bay leaves.
- Take the crock out of the slow cooker, remove the lid and cool on a heat safe surface for 15 minutes.
- Strain the broth through a fine wire mesh sieve like this. If you don’t have one, you can line a regular colander with cheesecloth. If you want SUPER clear broth (I don’t worry about it myself), line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth.
- Nest the bowl strained broth in ice and stir frequently until broth is room temperature (about 15 minutes). The voice of experience, make sure the melting ice doesn’t overflow and flood your counter!
- Cover stock and refrigerate for six hours (or longer if it’s more convenient). The fat will solidify on the surface. Remove it with a slotted spoon and discard. While this certainly makes the stock healthier, you can skip this step if you want a richer stock. The fat will reincorporate when the stock is heated.
- Your stock is done! It will keep in the fridge for three days, frozen for three months or canned for one year. Canning is definitely preferred because it best preserves the flavor. It also saves precious freezer space, AND you can safely store it for up to one year. In a future post, I will show you how to can stock. It’s safe and easy to can. If I can can, anyone can can!
On the left, a jar of preserved lemon that is just past 10 months old. On the right, a jar I put up just a few days ago. Just so you know what to expect! As I said in my Moroccan Preserved Lemon post a few days ago, they will keep for a year. By the way, notice the plastic lids on my mason jars? I find them on Amazon although I’m sure you can find them elsewhere. They are BPA free and SO HANDY!
Today, I put up a batch of Preserved Lemons for use in my upcoming EatWith offering “Dinner in Marrakech” (more on that later).
Preserved lemons are essential to Moroccan cuisine. Their exquisite flavor, aroma and silky texture cannot be substituted in a recipe with lemon juice. Trust. Luckily, they are very easy to make. They require a brining period of 30 days, but they will keep for up to one year. Once you start to use them, you will be hooked! I always have some ready to use in my larder. Tonight, they are bringing it in Yogurt Mint Sauce which I’m using as a bed for Moroccan Mini Meatballs. I’m still tweaking the Meatball recipe, but I promise I share will it once I’m satisfied with it!
Learn how to make preserved lemons here.
As always, don’t hesitate to ask me questions.
The flavors of Morocco where spices such as cinnamon, coriander and cardamom take center stage are rich, pungent and completely captivating. Who could fail to fall in love with Moroccan cuisine? France and Morocco have had a long and complicated relationship. French remains the primary language of Morocco. As a result (and luckily for me), excellent Moroccan cuisine is available throughout France.
I am readying my next EatWith offering – “Dinner in Marrakesh … Exploring Moroccan Cuisine.” I will write more about it in a future post, but I want to share with you my first dish. Moroccan Pickled Carrots are infused with traditional Moroccan spices plus garlic, lemon and red pepper. They are spicy hot, and they are addictive! Since they are refrigerated rather than canned, the brine is much less salty. I use Cigalou Piment de Cayenne entier. They are readily available in nearly any French grocery store, and I always bring a bottle back with me.
Moroccan Pickled Carrots are easy to prepare. Make a batch for yourself, and bring a bit of Morocco to your kitchen. Get the recipe here. I hope you’ll come eat with me soon!
Mint is one of the easiest, most pleasurable herbs to grow. It’s perfect for patio gardens as it is both ornamental and functional. It’s also a perennial in most climates. Because mint is very hardy and invasive, it should only be grown in containers. Learn more about growing mint here. Mint comes in several flavors such as apple, orange and ginger. One my favorites is chocolate mint both for its flavor and appearance. Here, chocolate mint trails beside standard mint in my mint pot.
I love to place mint stems in small vases on windowsills and in bathrooms. Paired with lavender and rosemary sprigs, they make a lovely, aromatic display. In my kitchen, herb bouquets stand ready for culinary use.
As a little girl, my mother showed my how easy it is to root mint. Simply place a small vase of mint sprigs in a sunny window. In a week or two, your sprigs will have roots. I was always so amazed at this. I still am! If you have little ones about, they will be fascinated with the process.
Once your sprigs have a nice set of roots, simply pot them, give them some water and voila! A new mint plant. I like to repurpose pots and containers by planting mint sprigs and giving them as gifts.
I use rooted sprigs to replenish my own mint pot. As the summer wanes and my annual pots start to look a bit bedraggled, I often perk them up with mint like this patio container.
August is not the time most of us are thinking of starting new plants, but mint can be started any time. It will thrive outdoors until the first hard frost, and can be grown inside as well. Learn more about cultivating mint indoors here. There are many uses for mint. Once you have your own mint pot, look for ways to enjoy it. Some of my favorite recipes are Yogurt Mint Sauce, Strawberry, Mint and Black Pepper Jam and The Tranquillo, an absolutely delicious cocktail. Of course, we can’t forget that Cuban classic, the Mojito. You can usually find mint plants at your grocery store. I get mine at Trader Joe’s. Pick one up and, like me, you will fall in love with mint!