Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Raspberries and Radio

This weekend I bought what were probably my last raspberries of the summer. They looked good at the market, but at the bottom of the container they were either mushy or filled with white fuzz.

To stretch the remaining berries, I made jam using a sour applesauce base of granny smiths and lemon. This trick, from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, made firmer, fruitier preserves than my long-boil strawberry jam. The sour apples' natural pectin helped the jam reach gel stage in only twenty minutes, preventing the sugar from caramelizing and preserving most of the fresh berry flavor. This bright, sunny jam was inexpensive, easy to prepare, and it tastes like July on toast.

The rest of the berries went into muffins, which I shared with other NPR nerds volunteering at Maine Public Broadcasting Network's summer pledge drive. These were a variation on my Blueberry Wheat Muffins recipe; fresh raspberries and lemon peel give them some color and a slightly sour kick. That they were made with local, organic berries and whole wheat flour made them a hit with the crunchy, conscientious devotees of Fresh Air and This American Life.

Between pledge breaks, I made progress on my seed stitch necktie and chatted with a retiree who was knitting a cat blanket for her local animal shelter.

These are my people.

Finally, I hit a modest milestone last week, with my one hundredth post. Thanks to all of you who've been reading, sharing ideas, and trying out recipes. Of the first hundred posts, here are five of my favorites. I can't wait to see what I'll be eating and knitting one hundred posts from now.

1. Tasty Toasted Birdseed (recipe for Toasted Müesli)

2. Chili con Can

3. Polvorones: Mexican Sugar Cookies

4. Extreme Beer Fest 2009

5. Roasted Red Vegetable Soup (at Maine Food & Lifestyle)

6 comments:

  1. Wow, all your food looks wonderful. I will soon be getting the Ball Preserving book in the mail. I can't wait. I really like your blog.

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  2. Congratulations on the 100th post Mary!
    I'm curious, do you use a pressure canner? I have never canned anything before, and am trying to weigh the pros and cons of various kitchen devices. I worry about botulism if I don't can things correctly. :-P
    Gonna try your Green Pea Pulao tonight!

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  3. Pretty muffins! Congrats on the 100th post!

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  4. Jade_Frog,

    I have a pressure canner, but I haven't used it yet. I've been using a large, lightweight canning pot (not sure of the brand, but it's painted black with white spots). Acidic foods (fruit, pickles) are safe to can in boiling water, because the acidity keeps bacteria in check. Pressure canning to kill cooties is necessary for low acid foods (most vegetables). The Ball book I mentioned has a lot of information about what can be water bath canned and what has to be pressure canned. I'd also recommend Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone. The first 20 pages or so really helped me understand canning safety.

    Enjoy the Pulao! Let me know how it turns out, and when/what you decide to can.

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  5. Awesome, thanks for the book tips. I've put them on my amazon wish list. MOFGA is holding a canning workshop in Unity, but it's already sold out. I will definitely read up on this topic though; my cute little tomatoes are finally coming in, and I can't wait to make my first canned tomato sauce!
    Btw, the Pulao came out fantastic, and so easy too. Thanks so much for the recipe! :-) I'll have to dig up one of my favorites to send to you!

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  6. Oh man, I bet that jam is the best! And the muffins look good too. I used to be an NPR nerd, but the station that broadcast it in Memphis sold to some Christian music station. Boo!

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