Over the past year, I have been discovering how much I love preserving food.
“Putting Up” satisfies so many things for me: cooking, creative activity, pantry-building, and the thought of creating things to share with friends and family. The more intense and concentrated flavors that come from many preserved items seems to parallel my intense and concentrated joy and thoughts of love, care, and relationship that invariable come while I am working on any project.
I started preserving food with some amount of intention only last year. That’s when I bought a dehydrator and comandeered Kelly Baker’s pressure canner. Since then, it’s been a fabulous ride trying out fruits and vegetables, pickles and jams, pie fillings and frozen sauces. Each item makes me so happy, even the ones that have taken more prep power than I imagined (I’m looking at you, Canned Peaches. And you too, Dehydrated Apples.)
Today I’m sharing pictures of “sun” dried Sugar Plum tomatoes and basil pesto.
Wish I had remembered to weigh these babies beofre I got underway…
Filling the screens.
Most were done after about 10 hours, at 145 degrees.
Basil pesto up next. The pesto recipe is modified from the entertaining The Sicilian Gentleman’s Cookbook.
Below, I’m adding the second incorporation of Parmesano Reggiano (what else) and olive oil. It tastes even better than it looks, if you can believe *that*.
First batch is done, capped with an extra shot of EVOO, and ready for the freezer.
Both will be such a bright reminder of summer in the middle of winter’s grey and wet. I’m already dreaming of the pasta they will accompany….
Some of my favorite books on preserving:
- the classic and indespensible Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
- Well Preserved
- River Cottage Preserves Handbook
- Putting Food By
- Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning