Describing What We Make
There are lots of ways to describe what we make. Preserving fruit is an age-old technique for people to enjoy fruits and vegetables after harvest. Before modern transportation methods and refrigeration, this was the only way to keep a piece of fruit or vegetable around longer than a day or two. Now, of course, we have access to all manner of fruit and vegetables year round due to greenhouses, refrigerated transport, and freezing techniques. I find that these techniques rob the food of most of their flavor.
Our customers love the rich colors of our wide selection of chutneys, fruit butters, jams, jellies, marmalades, pickles, relishes and salsas, but can be confused by the terminology. Each of these is a way to preserve fruit and vegetables. The difference is technique, flavor profiles, and use. Here is introduction on each preserving technique. In some cases, the differences are small. Some are used as condiments to savory foods, some to coat your toasted bread, some to top cheese.
Chutney – is a condiment, typically from India and South Asia. Chutneys may be made with either vegetables or fruit and contain a flavorful concoction of spices. Chutneys are often a condiment for meat, fish or hard cheeses because of their flavorful spices. They have a complex flavor profile and often include vinegar and curry as part of the recipe.
Fruit butter – is a process where the whole fruit is forced through a sieve or blended after the heating process. They are generally made from larger fruits, such as apples, plums, peaches or grapes. Cook until softened and then they are run through a sieve to give a smooth consistency. The resulting pulp is cooked to a smooth consistency and the finished product should mound up when dropped from a spoon, but should not cut like jelly.
Jam – Often has a more concentrated fruit flavor and pieces of fruit are apparent. Jam is also used mostly for a sweet added flavor on toast, ice cream or cake, however, a jam made with herbs or other interesting flavors is spectacular on cheese.
Jelly – is made from fruit, cooked low and slow with water to extract the juice. The juice is then then combined with sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, and pectin. It is then boiled until it sets. Jellies are usually sweeter than jams, smooth in texture with no sign of fruit pieces. In some jellies, small pieces are suspended. Jellies are used as a sweet addition to your food, such as toasted bread or ice cream or with cream cheese as an appetizer.
Marmalade – is an English specialty, it is typically made with citrus. The whole fruit is simmered for several hours or even days, then the flesh and the rind are combined with sugar. Marmalades usually have a slight but pleasing bitter component.
Pickles – There are 2 types, those pickled in brine and those that are fermented. We make brined pickles. In chemical pickling, the jar and lid are boiled in order to sterilize them. The fruits or vegetables to be pickled are blanched and added to the jar along with either brine or vinegar or both, as well as spices, and then processed. The fruit/Vegetables can be pre-soaked in brine before transferring to vinegar. This reduces the water content of the food which would otherwise dilute the vinegar. This method is particularly useful for fruit and vegetables with a high natural water content. Pickles can include some relishes.
Relish – is a cooked or pickled sauce used as a condiment made with vegetables or fruits. There are smooth and chunky versions and they might be sweet or savory and could be quite spicy. Relishes are not slow-cooked and are heat sealed for storage over the long winter.
Salsa – is the Spanish word for sauce and often refers to one made with tomatoes. Most canned, salsa and picante sauces are forms of salsa cruda or pico de gallo, and have a semi-liquid texture. They have added vinegar and which, along with the heat processing makes them wonderful for canning.
So, are you thoroughly confused? Preserving food can make a bland meal sing. Just a spoonful atop a chicken breast or pork roast and you have an orchestra of flavor on your plate.
Posted on August 14, 2013, in Unique and tagged Apricot Jalapeno Jelly, Beary Good Stuff, Canning, Chutneys, Farm Market, Jam, Jellies, Marmalades, Pickles, Relishes, Salsas. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.