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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.

Brining whitefish on Nutmeg Disrupted

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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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!

Crab apples on Nutmeg Disrupted

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.

Crab apple juice for jelly on Nutmeg Disrupted

Making crab apple jelly on Nutmeg Disrupted

Making crab apple jelly in Mutmeg Disrupted

 

 

 

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Lime Curd

Lime Curd

I have always been a fan of citrus fruit.

And there are limited ways to truly enjoy the flavors of lemon and lime.

I have preserved them both with spectacular results but this time I was looking for something sweet. Curd immediately came to mind.

It is quick and easy to make and can be enjoyed a number of ways. In tarts, spread between layers of cake, as a filling for Macarons or even with a spoon straight from the jar!

After I made the curd I jarred and processed it like I would with a jam or a jelly. This is completely optional. I wanted to be able to store it long term without needing refrigeration.

Lime Curd

9 limes

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups of sugar

2/3 cup of lemon juice

8 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of lime zest

Using warm water and a tiny squirt of soap wash your limes and rinse very well. Using a microplane or the fine side of a box grater remove the zest from the limes.

Zesting limes for curd from Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Lime zest for lime curd on Nutmeg Disrupted

You will have more then the 2 tablespoons of zest required for the recipe. Toss the leftovers into some salt to use for rimming glasses for lime margaritas!

Now you can juice the limes. It is important to remove the zest while the limes are still whole. It becomes quite difficult to zest them once they are cut and juiced.

Juicing lime for lime curd on Nutmeg Disrputed

Place a small pot half full with water on the stove on medium high heat. Bring to a simmer. Place the juice, eggs and sugar in a stainless steel bowl and whisk until combined. Place the bowl on top of the simmering pot. Cook, stirring constantly until it becomes thick, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lime zest and stir well.

Making fresh lime curd on Nutmeg Disrupted

Ladle the hot curd into hot sterilized jars. Add the lids and screw bands until finger tight.

Finished Lime Curd on Nutmeg Disrupted

Place the jars into a hot water bath and process for 5 minutes.


Jarr3ed lime curd from Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

 

 

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Pickled Beans

Pickled Beans

A few weeks back I received a few crates of gorgeous green beans at work. The first of many shipments in the coming year.

During my coffee break, of which I am the only female in attendance, the subject of pickled beans came up, of course started by yours truly. The conversation during our breaks usually consists of hockey talk, or the business of grocery, shopping trends, busy times, gas prices. But occasionally I will bring up what I am cooking in my kitchen at home. And for a bunch of guys they are pretty receptive! Plus the occasional goodies I bring doesn’t hurt either.

When I mentioned pickled beans there was quite the conversation of what each person envisioned when they thought of bean pickles during that break. I had intentions of making mustard pickled beans with a bit of cauliflower and some pearl onions added because really, that is my favourite part of mustard pickled beans. One co-worker was quite adamant that you only used yellow beans when making this particular pickle. Another agreed with me that no, green beans are used. So you can see the contrasting colors. And finally my boss said screw that just make regular pickled beans, they are fantastic in Caesars.

He has a very good point!

Caesar w/pickled beans from Nutmeg Disrupted

This is a fantastic recipe that you make by the jar! Great if you are new to pickling as it is an easy recipe and perfect if you are just wanting a small batch.

Pickled Beans

2 pounds of fresh green beans

dried or fresh red chili peppers – 2 per jar (optional)

a bunch of dill – I like to use the seed heads when making pickles but being that it is off season I used the green part of the dill

2 heads of garlic – sectioned and paper skins removed – 3 per jar

pickling salt – 1 tablespoon per pint

1/3 cup of boiling vinegar per pint

boiling water

 

Wash and heat all the jars you will be using. Place the lids and screw rings into hot water in a small pot on the stove, keep the burner on low and bring the water to a light simmer.

Wash and trim all beans to fit the jar. Wash and pat dry the dill greens.

In a medium sized pot place the vinegar on medium heat and bring to a boil.

Dill, garlic and red chili peppers for pickling in the Nutmeg Disrupted kitchen

Using oven mitts or a tea towel to handle jars, place 3 cloves of garlic and 2 red chili peppers with a few sprigs of dill in the bottom of each jar. Fill the jars with beans, packing them fairly tight. Measure the salt over the beans. Add a 1/3 cup of vinegar to each jar and top with boiling water within 1 inch of the opening of the jar. Place a hot sterilized lid on each jar and apply the metal screw band on finger tight.

Jars of pickled beans going into the canner in the Nutmeg Disrupted kitchen

Place all the jars into the canner, I like to use the jar rack that came with the canner. It makes fast work of getting the hot jars in and out of the very hot water.  Cover the jars with at least once inch of water. Bring to a boil and heat for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the jars form the canner and allow to cool completely. The lids will ping as they seal.

Store in a cool dark place for a few weeks before opening.

Best if chilled before eating. Seriously delicious with only the slightest hint of heat. I used dried chili peppers so the heat may be a touch more pronounced if using fresh red chilis.

2 pounds of beans yielded 6 pints of pickles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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