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Category: Canning

Canned Smoked Whitefish

Canned Smoked Whitefish

This is a topic close to my heart. It is a passion of mine that started in an effort to preserve the biggest harvest I ever had from my garden. It was the summer of 2001 and I had a 4000 square foot garden over flowing with fruits and vegetables. It was the results of working my way through the hardest struggle of my life.  Months before I lost my youngest son. Deep in the dark lonely hole of grief, I was desperate to find something good in the world. Something to busy my mind. My hands. To have purpose. So I started some seeds under a set of florescent lights that winter.

From those dark days grew a passion that gives me tremendous joy and is where I go to think, or not. And the results is an amazing wealth of fresh produce that I preserve to last the entire year.

Along my preserving journey I have made pickles, jams, jellies, pickles eggs and sausage and my latest experiments have been with smoked fish.

Smoked whitefish on Nutmeg Disrupted

Smoked fish is a flavour of my childhood that takes me back immediately to the kitchen table of my childhood home. It was like Christmas when my Gido would arrive bearing bags of whole smoked whitefish. Truly, it was one of the things I most looked forward to, better then any other gift he could have bought.  They were whole fish, cut down the belly, laid flat then smoked until they were dried yet still had a touch of tenderness to them.  I would gently peel the bones back from the fish and break it apart into flakes, popping the pieces into my mouth and slowly enjoyed the salty smokiness of each bite.

That was 35 years ago yet I can picture it as if it was only last week.

Blessed with friends who had just gone fishing it was easy to get as many as I needed. Everyone who knows me knows I love to smoke fish whenever given the chance. Looking for a better way to handle the fish once smoked I looked into canning it. All you need is a pressure cooker. And hey, that is a fantastic reason to pick up an new kitchen toy! I bought  a 22 quart Mirro pressure cooker at Canadian Tire.

22 quart Miro Pressure cooker

The first step in the process is to prep the fish for the brine. It must be scaled but keep the skin on and all the bones need to be removed.

Preping whitefish for smoking

Brine

3 1/2 quarts of water

1 1/2 cups of brown sugar

1 1/2 cups of coarse salt

2 tablespoons of onion powder

1/2 cup of white sugar

8 cloves of garlic, minced

Combine all of the brine ingredients in a large pot over medium heat. Simmer and stir until all sugar and salt is dissolved.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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Once cool add the whitefish and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Remove the fish from the brine and rinse under cool running water. Pat dry.

Spray the rack from the smoker well with non stick spray. Place the fish on the rack, skin side down leaving a bit of space between the pieces. .

Place the rack on the top setting in the smoker and smoke for one hour.

Have all jars clean and sterlized and in hot water. All lids and rings should be in a pot of water, slightly simmering on low/medium heat.

Fill the canner with the proper amount of water for your model. I used 4 quarts for this application.

Remove the whitefish from the smoker and allow to cool for a few moments.

Filling jars with smoked whitefish

Gently fill the jars with warm whitefish, leaving 1/4 headspace in each jar. Drizzle with a touch of canola oil. I then topped each jar with 2 heaping tablespoons of hot sauce.

Adding hot sauce to the smoked fish

Clean the rims of the jars with a hot clean cloth, add the lids and rings until finger tight. Place on the racks of the pressure cooker.

Loading up the pressure cooker

Place and secure the lid on the cooker. Now crank up the heat!

You want the pressure cooker to get fully pressurized. Once that happens and the cooker begins to let off a steady stream of steam,  start timing for 10 minutes. This is a very important step, do not skip.

Once the 10 minutes has passed add the 10 pound weight and maintain the cooker just under 10 psi for 110 minutes.

After 110 minutes remove the canner off the heat and allow to cool for 1 hour before removing the lid of the pressure cooker.

Remove all jars and allow to cool completely.

You can open a jar and enjoy it immediately.

Canned Smoked Whitefish

I am sure my Gido would have enjoyed this version of preserving Smoked Whitefish.

dad and Gido auctioning in 1969

(my dad about age 22 and my Gido, first & second generation Auctioneers)

Gido in the pineapple fields of Hawaii.

It is amazing when I look back at how many of my memories of him are food related. Though first and foremost he was a businessman it was his garden and the crab apple picking adventures with him I cherish the most.

I don’t know where he got the smoked fish, whoever it was had some amazing skills.

 

 

 

 

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Sun Gold Kiwi Jam

Sun Gold Kiwi Jam

My favourite fruit is anything tropical. There is something to be said about the rich sweetness that you find in a kiwi, mango,  pineapple or passion fruit.

I was very excited to create something spectacular when a call out from the team over at Zespri Kiwifruit asked bloggers from across Canada to create new recipes using Sun Gold Kiwifruit. Head down to your nearest produce section and check out the kiwifruit in store. Sun Gold kiwifruit looks like green kiwifruit from a distance but they are different. Sun Gold kiwifruit is sweeter then green kiwifruit. It has a beautiful yellow flesh colour and it tastes like a cross between a mango and strawberry. But its most obvious difference is the Sun Gold kiwifruit has a somewhat smooth hairless skin. Sun Gold Kiwifruit contains Vitamin C (more then 3 times the amount found in oranges), Vitamin E, potassium (as much as a medium banana), fibre and folic acid and is available from May thru to October.

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Much of the produce available right now is at the height of freshness, not only to enjoy today but to can and preserve to enjoy months down the road. If you have never canned before I suggest starting with jam. The batches are small, the prep is quick and easy and it is a fantastic way to get your feet wet. Because what could be better then enjoying some luscious tropical kiwi jam in the middle of a January deep freeze.

It is important to use sterilized, hot  jars and lids. Everything you need comes in a case of canning jars.  The lids and screw bands go into a small pot of water which you bring to a simmer to keep warm. Wash and dry your jars and place on a large baking rack and set in the oven at 225 degrees F for 10 minutes. Keep them warm until ready to fill. Or you can fill a canner with water and place your jars in the water and heat to 180 degrees F. A metal canning rack makes easy work of adding all the jars at once.

I add a 1/2 teaspoon of butter to all my jams and jellies to prevent bubbly scum from forming from the boiling process. I rarely have to skim my jellies any more. I add this after the first boil. You will need to process the full jars of jelly in the water bath canner. Have it filled with 3-4 inches of warm water and place it on a burner to heat while you are making the jam.

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Sun Gold Kiwi Jam
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: preserving
Cuisine: condiment
Serves: 5pints
Ingredients
  • 7-8 medium SunGold kiwifruit
  • ⅔ cups of unsweetened pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup of lime juice
  • 1 package of certo pectin
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • ½ cup of flaked coconut
  • ¼ cup of Apricot Brandy
  • ½ teaspoon of butter
  • a few drops of yellow food colouring (optional)
  • 5 half pint jars
Instructions
  1. Cut and scoop the kiwi out of their skins.
  2. It is so much easier then peeling and is the way we eat it fresh, right out if the skins.
  3. Place the fruit in a medium sized bowl and mash.
  4. Measure out 2 cups of fruit.
  5. Combine the kiwifruit, pineapple juice and lime juice in a large deep saucepan.
  6. Add the fruit pectin, stirring until dissolved. Bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring constantly.
  7. Add the sugar, flaked coconut and butter, return to a full rolling boil.
  8. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  9. Remove from heat and skim any foam that is on the surface using a metal spoon.
  10. Stir in the brandy.
  11. Stir in the food colouring.
  12. Ladle jam into sterilized jars leaving a quarter inch of headspace.
  13. Apply lids and screw bands, just until finger tight.
  14. Place into the canner and process for 10 minutes.

This jam turned out fabulously! It has an amazing flavour that is kicked up a notch from the touch of lime. Not only does it add a bit of zing it also brings out the flavour of the pineapple. I left the kiwifruit a bit chunky when I mashed it which along with the coconut gives the jam a great texture.  And the colour, spectacular!

Of course it is fantastic slathered on hot buttered toast or bagels it would be wonderful cooked down a bit and used to baste pork or even better, as a glaze on crisp salty chicken wings!

Head down to your local grocer and grab some Sun Gold Kiwifruit then head over to Twitter and Instagram and look up #Zespri4life to see what other amazing dishes you can create with these sweet golden gems!

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit. I was compensated for my time and was supplied with some fantastic Sun Gold Kiwifruit.

Sun Gold Kiwi Jam on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

Surrounded by thick forest, with trees so big you couldn’t wrap your arms around them. The forest floor a cushion of moss, wild flowers and fallen leaves. Rays of sunlight streaming through the tree tops like something out of a child’s fairytale. It  was a little slice of heaven.

That was 18 years ago.

It was where I grew my first garden and had fruit trees. Where the passion for growing my own food was ignited. Where I read as many books as I could to learn how to can and preserve everything I was growing.

Along with all the pickles and jams I made, my most cherished jars were the 9 liter jars of apple pie filling made from the tree out back.

This recipe is super easy all the work is in the prep, but once the apples are peeled the rest of the job is  breeze.

Apple Pie Filling
 
Author:
Recipe type: Preserving
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 9 1 liter jars
Ingredients
  • 36 cups of apple, quartered and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1¾ teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Wash, peal and core apples.
  2. To prevent darkening use Fresh Fruit Powder following the directions on the label.
  3. Drain apples and place in a large kettle with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring slowly to a boil and simmer until all the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.
  5. Pack into hot jars leaving 5cm of headspace.
  6. Seal and process in a hot water bath for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove jars and allow to cool completely.
  8. To make a pie line a pie pan with pastry.
  9. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  10. Add one jar of filling and sprinkle with 2 more tablespoons of cornstarch.
  11. Cover with pastry, seal edges and cut vents.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes at 425F then reduce to 350F and bake for 30 - 40 minutes.
  13. Makes 9 - 1 liter jars of pie filling

 

Canning apple pie filling on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Cooking apples for pie filling on Nutmeg Disrupted

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Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apple Jelly

Crab apples have been part of my existence since I was little. One of my earliest crab apple memories were of my Gido taking us apple picking. Though we never really got to do any picking as the trees were so tall that ladders where needed.

Then there where the trees in my grandmothers backyard. And though as I kid I wasn’t a huge fan of crab apples I was truly amazed at how fantastic her crab apple jelly was. It was the most wonderful pink color and not at all tart like the apples. After she passed away I remember one afternoon my grandfather giving me his last jar of crab apple jelly. It was the best gift I ever received.

Flash forward a few years. I was at work some someone had asked if I wanted some crab apples. My thoughts immediately went to the jelly that I enjoyed so much in the years before. I was excited at the chance to try and do this!

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I went and bought jars, a box of Certo and began my journey into jelly making.

Crab Apple Jelly
 
Author:
Recipe type: Preserving
Cuisine: Condiment
Ingredients
  • To make juice:
  • 4 quarts of crab apples
  • 6 cups of water
  • To make jelly:
  • 7 cups of prepared crab apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 box of Certo pectin crystals
  • 9 cups of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
Instructions
  1. Remove the blossom and stem ends from 4 quarts of crab apples.
  2. Half apples and place in a large pot, do not peel or core.
  3. Cove with water.
  4. Place a lid on the pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Crush pulp and cover and simmer 5 minutes longer.
  7. Place the simmered apples into a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.
  8. Now place in a colander and set over a large bowl or pot to catch the juice.
  9. For a clearer jelly do not squeeze the juice out, let it drip.
  10. Up to ½ cup of water can be added if you do not get sufficient juice.
  11. In a large sauce pan stir together crab apple juice, lemon juice and pectin crystals.
  12. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  13. Stir in the sugar.
  14. Add 1 tablespoon of butter.
  15. Return to a hard boil for one minute.
  16. Remove from heat.
  17. Ladle jelly into sterilized jars laving a ¼ inch of headspace.
  18. Apply lid and screw bands finger tip tight.
  19. Place the jars into a hot water bath and process 5 minutes.
  20. Remove jars and allow to cool fully.

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Grapefruit Curd

Grapefruit Curd

There is nothing better in your local produce section right now then the citrus fruit that is available.

The selection of oranges is vast, from regular navals, mandarins, tangelos, to Seville and blood oranges you can’t go wrong. Though no matter how fabulous that oranges are I always gravitate back to the table in my produce section where I have the grapefruit display.

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I eat it with just a light sprinkle of sugar. But recently have been experimenting with it. The Sugared Grapefruit Rind is amazing. It is little strips of sweet Grapefruit love, full of fantastic grapefruit flavour.

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Then I thought some grapefruit curd was in order. One word. Fabulous!

So then I started thinking of where I could use the curd and naturally Macarons seemed like the perfect place to use it.

Grapefruit Macarons with Grapefruit Curd filling from Nutmeg Disrupted

Grapefruit Curd is easy to make and using proper processing techniques you can make it for long time storage so you can always have a jar on hand.

Grapefruit Curd
 
Author:
Recipe type: Preserving
Ingredients
  • 3 ruby red grapefruit
  • 1½ cups of sugar
  • ⅔ cup of lemon juice
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of grapefruit zest
Instructions
  1. Using warm water and a tiny squirt of soap wash your grapefruit and rinse very well.
  2. Using a microplane or the fine side of a box grater remove the zest from the grapefruit.
  3. Place the juice in a small pot an bring to a low boil.
  4. Reduce until you have 2 cups of liquid.
  5. Allow to cool.
  6. Place a small pot half full with water on the stove on medium high heat.
  7. Bring to a simmer.
  8. Place the juice, eggs and sugar in a stainless steel bowl and whisk until combined.
  9. Place the bowl on top of the simmering pot.
  10. Cook, stirring constantly until it becomes thick, about 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps.
  12. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted.
  13. Add the zest and stir well.
  14. Ladle the hot curd into hot sterilized jars.
  15. Add the lids and screw bands until finger tight.
  16. Place the jars into a hot water bath and process for 5 minutes.

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Ruby Red Grapefruit Curd from Nutmeg Disrupted

Grapefruit Curd from Nutmeg Disrupted

You can find my step by step process for French Macarons on the site. I have tried many recipes and have found success with the recipe I have posted.  I topped the Grapefruit Macarons with pieces of the Sugared Grapefruit Rind to make it the perfect Grapefruit trifecta!

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