Peppery Arugula Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of packed arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (or a mix of walnut and pine nuts, or just straight walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Salt to taste

How To

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth. Store in the fridge in a jar, or freeze individual servings in ice cube trays and keep in the freezer.

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam

  • 7 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 7 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 9 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice


Equipment

  • Large pot or canning kettle
  • Six 8 ounce canning jars with lids and rings
  • Wooden spoon or tongs
  • Wide-mouthed jar funnel
  • Jar lifter

 

How to

Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large pot and let stand for at least 2 hours.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently, then cook on medium-high at a gentle boil until a teaspoon of hot jam sets on a cold plate (see below), about 40-50 minutes.

Cold Plate Test for Jam

Put 3-4 small plates into the freezer when you start cooking the jam.

When you think the jam is almost ready, take one of the plates from the freezer and spoon some jam on the cold plate. Tip the plate to one side. If mixture is thin and just pours off the plate, it’s not ready yet. The jam should be thick and run slowly along the plate.


Preparing Jars and Lids

While the jam is cooking, prepare your jars and lids. To do so, fill a large pot or canning kettle with enough water to fully immerse your jars in 1 inch of water.

Bring jars to a boil, then reduce to medium, keeping everything at a nice gentle boil while you wait for the jam to finish cooking.

Pre-heating the lids and rings is not necessary.


Canning

When the jam is ready, skim of any remaining foam, then remove the jars from the hot water by inserting a wooden spoon or tongs into the jars then tipping the water out as  you lift the jars out of the pot.

Place an open-mouthed jar funnel into the top of the jar, then pour the jam into the jar through the funnel, leaving a ¼’ of space at the top of each jar for expansion.  If you spill jam on the rim of the jar, wipe it clean with a damp paper towel – not a kitchen cloth as it may not be sterile.

Put a lid on the jar and tighten it (not too tight), then put the jar back into the hot water using the jar lifters.

Continue with the rest of the jars until all the jam is done, then boil the jars for 5 minutes. Make sure the water covers the jars by 1 to 2 inches during processing.

Remove jars from hot water with the jar lifters and set on a tea towel to cool. You will hear cheerful popping sounds as the jars cool down- this is normal and means that the jars are properly sealed.

Enjoy your beautiful jam on freshly baked homemade bread, baguette or croissants.

 

Maple Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 cups pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon oil
  • Pinch of salt


How To

Boil maple syrup over medium heat until it reaches 235 degrees F, about 15-20 minutes.

Stir the syrup as little as possible while cooking but watch the pot constantly in case it boils over, in which case you should stir the syrup down. Don’t worry if it smells slightly of burn sugar while cooking – it won’t affect the taste.

A few minutes before the syrup reaches the desired temperature, fill a large pot with ice, then nestle a smaller pot (or stainless steel bowl) down into the ice. The smaller pot needs to be large enough to hold your 3 cups of hot maple syrup.

Once the syrup reaches 235 degrees F, pour it into the smaller pot sitting in the ice cubes, then let cool to 100 degrees F, about 5-8 minutes.

Remove the syrup from the ice and start stirring the hot maple syrup with a wooden spoon. You don’t have to stir fast, but you do have to stir constantly. Think tortoise, not hare – slow and steady wins the race.

It takes about 15 minutes of constant stirring to make maple cream. It’s fun at first, then less fun, then not fun at all when your arm starts to ache. Best thing to do is make maple cream with another person so you can take turns stirring.

And resist the temptation to use your stand mixer. The maple cream gets quite stiff and you risk burning out the motor on the machine.

When the syrup starts to lighten and resembles thick peanut butter, the maple cream is done.

Immediately pour it into a jar and cover. You have about 30 seconds to get the maple cream into the jar before it hardens up, so don’t delay.

Makes one 500 ml Mason jar.