1. Food

Edible Flower Recipes

pickled-redbud.JPG

From pickled redbud blossoms to candied violets, here are some fun ways to include spring's flowers in your feasts.

More Flower Recipes
Food Preservation Spotlight10

Ready for Ramps

Wednesday April 16, 2014
ramps, or wild leeks

Ramps - a wild relative of leeks, onions, and garlic - are only in season for a few short weeks in early to mid-spring. They are prized by restaurant chefs and eagerly awaited at farmers' markets.

In some areas, ramps have been overharvested to the point of endangerment in others they are abundant. Make sure yours come from somewhere that they are plentiful, and/or that they have been sustainably harvested. Better yet, grow your own.

I have been harvesting sustainably from the same patch for decades, and it is thriving, I'm happy to say! But the ramps season is way too short to suit my taste buds. Here are some ways I preserve the deliciousness for year-round enjoyment:

Ramps Pesto

Pickled Ramps

How to Freeze Ramps

Photo ŠLeda Meredith

Ready for Rhubarb

Tuesday April 8, 2014
fresh rhubarb

Every spring I get excited when I first see rhubarb at the markets. Its rosy color and tangy taste are as much a part of the celebration of the season as the blossoms on the trees.

Rhubarb is only sold for a few weeks. I always get extra and use these ways to preserve rhubarb so that I can enjoy its flavor all year. If you grow rhubarb, it is still worth preserving some in the spring because the stalks can get pithy later during the summer.

If you're short on time, you can freeze rhubarb and get around to making something with it later.

Here are a few of my favorite rhubarb recipes.

Easy Rhubarb Compote Recipe

Rhubarb Freezer Jam Recipe

Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Ginger Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Photo ŠLeda Meredith

Homemade Chinese Plum Sauce

Thursday March 27, 2014
Plum Sauce recipePart of my spring cleaning each year is using up what's left in my pantry from last year. I'm eager for fresh new ingredients to come into my kitchen. When they do, I'll need space on my shelves for this year's preserves.

While I was taking stock of what I still have stocked up, I found some plums I'd dehydrated (a.k.a. prunes). They're a tasty snack on their own, but I was in a mood to experiment. What I came up with was a recipe for Chinese plum sauce.

Plum sauce is usually made from fresh plums, but I think using dried fruit in this recipe resulted in an even richer flavor. Serve this sauce in traditional fashion with spring rolls or duck, or do what I did and use it as a glaze for tofu and vegetables. Delicious!

How to Make Plum Sauce

Photo ŠLeda Meredith

Canning Multi-ingredient Recipes

Wednesday March 19, 2014
ratatouille_LMeredith.jpg

I often make extras of recipes such as soups, pasta sauces and ratatouille. I pressure can what I don't eat right away so that I have ready-to-eat meals in my pantry for those nights when I don't want to cook (freezing would work, too, but my freezer is usually packed full of other foods like fruits that don't can well).

But how can you safely preserve multi-ingredient dishes like these if you aren't following a canning recipe? If you're like me and enjoy improvising in the kitchen, here's what you need to know:

First, be sure you are completely clear on whether what you've made can be safely canned in a boiling water bath, or must be pressure canned. Here's that info.

Next, if it's something that must be pressure canned, use the pressure and duration for the ingredient with the longest canning time.

For example, let's say you want to can a soup that has both carrots and chicken in it. You look up carrots and see that they only need to be canned for 20 minutes. But chicken needs 75 minutes. You need to pressure can that soup for the longer canning time of 75 minutes.

Here's some more information you'll find helpful when you want to can multi-ingredient recipes.

Boiling Water Bath vs. Pressure Canning

Canning Times for Soups

Photo ŠLeda Meredith

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.