With foodies continuously seeking that next great tasty moment, that moment where flavor, texture, and mouth feel, make you close your eyes, and thinking that maybe, just maybe you will never find something better (at least for the next few hours), we thought we’d write a little something about what unexpected things you can do with a variety of preserves.
A beautiful, warm, freshly baked piece of bread, with fresh made jam and butter just might be a moment of unbeatable perfection, but there is so much more you can do with preserves! With preserving in all of its methods (jellies, jams, smoked, cured, reduced….) the number of things that can be preserved is nearly limitless and therefore so are the opportunities to experiment and open up your taste world! One of the most frequently asked questions we hear in workshops is, ‘what should I do with this?”
So, set aside expectations and the things you are used to and below we’ll highlight some of our taste preferences, based on experimentation, accident or designed intent!
Pickled Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): you’re surprised already? We thought the nutty warm flavor of the chickpea was definitely up to the challenge of some acidic brightness and tangyness offered by a brine. So, the bad girl decided to marinate some in a combination of toasted cumin, red chili pepper flakes, black peppercorn and rosemary and set it in a brine made with balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, water, coarse salt and a little agave syrup (honey would also work).
The result?: tangy, salty, nutty sweet… and a perfect little addition to an artisan green salad, or mixed with a load of chopped fresh vegetables such as cucumber and peppers and goat feta for a new take on a mediterranean salad. Even better? roast the pickled chickpeas with a little olive oil and some of the brine and let them crisp, just a bit for a portable snack, or again, a new addition to a salad.
One more suggestion, blend them either straight out of the jar, with some of the brine and oil, or after roasting, and use as a dip or spread to pair with smoked fish or a herbed salami.
Ginny Cranberry Pear Chutney: We made this chutney with one of our classes (thank you @Eatmevancouver and @raincityeats!) and not only did we have a lot of fun doing so, we made a chutney with a lot of experimental opportunity!
Using gin white wine vinegar, a bit of apple cider vinegar, cranberry and orange juice, we added cranberries, pears, and caramelized onion for a tangy, softly sweet but clean chutney that we recommend in the following ways:
* sandwich condiment with duck or fowl
*mixed with oil and white wine (perhaps a riesling) to make a sauce for fowl or white fish such as halibut, or snapper.
*with sharper or complex cheeses such as chevre, stilton, or anything that you love with a nutty crisp
* just be brave and try your own way!
Woodland Conserve (cranberries, juniper berries and rosehips): we’ve written about this one already (see our post on unconventional cranberry conserves), but it’s been popular since we put it out there for sale so we thought we’d write about it again.
This conserve is a nice introduction for those not sure about trying juniper. Juniper is most often associated with gin (for which we are truly appreciative), but it is a nutrient rich little ‘berry’ that adds a deep body to the crispy tang of cranberries.
We love pairing this conserve in the following ways:
*with crispy kale chips and smoky cheese (cheddar, gouda for example)
*on it’s own with a sacco cracker (a gluten free chickpea cracker we make)
*blended with a good quality olive oil or grapseed oil for a salad dressing
Poached Pears in Earl Grey Tea syrup:
This past week we preserved some rum soaked pears in an earl grey tea syrup made with earl grey tea from @namastheteaco, a local tea blender, herb grower, wonderful business woman from Pemberton, BC. First, bad girl soaked bosc pears in dark rum over night, then poached them in a combination of orange juice, and spices and with the poaching fluid then made a syrup infused with earl grey tea.
The result? Sooooo, gooood. The pears retained a good amount of firmness, so do not fall apart or turn to mush, and the rum rather than being over powering works with the earl grey to create a lovely floralesque flavor. Our first batch sold out very quickly at the Woodwards Indigenous Winter market this past week, and we’ve used some of our tasting samples in the following ways:
*sliced thin in an arugula salad with shaved asiago, using some of the syrup to make a dressing
*with yoghurt and grapes on top of thin buttermilk pancakes
*paired with goat cheese (use sparingly!) and a bit of spicy red pepper on a caraway seed cracker
*you could also heat and blend into a delicate pear sauce for duck or crispy pan fried white fish
We hope this gives you an idea of how to break out of conventional use and explore new and fun ways to use your various preserve finds!