It snowed last night; not much in terms of what’s on the ground – less than 3-inches of the white stuff. Today the sun bounces off the glistening white; I see the tall, now bare trees, swaying in the wind and every once in a while a gust tosses the powder-sugar-like stuff from our roof through the air and onto a new landing spot. It feels very much like I’m on the inside of a snow globe – and I’m grateful to be inside the globe instead of outside the globe because tonight’s temperature is expected to be 7 degrees. Far too early for winter as it’s just the week before Thanksgiving. Somebody hold me.
Thankfully, I have a stack of new cookbooks to peruse and Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry is one I’ve eagerly anticipated having in my hands for the past several months. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Cathy Barrow in real life and have followed her on social media for quite some time; she is a master when it comes to all-things-preserving and every recipe I’ve made from her fabulous blog has been outstanding.
I feel so fortunate to have grown up in an era where having a vegetable garden and preserving what we grew was the norm; dill pickles, canned pears, peaches, green beans and tomatoes lined the basement pantry for use during the winter months. We didn’t have much money but we ate well – I do not ever remember going to bed hungry – unless I refused to eat my vegetables. What was spent on groceries to feed four kids was supplemented by our pantry. My grandmother canned vegetable soups made from the last bits and pieces of her garden, along with peaches and apples; my aunt preserved as well – it was just something we did back in the day.
My own preserving experience has been limited to making jams and the occasional quick pickle but Cathy’s book has me craving for extra time in my kitchen; cheese, Duck Confit, Bacon-Onion Jam, Candied Bacon, Smoked Oysters, Gravalax, and a terrific Sizzling BBQ Rub are all on my list. Learning how to use a pressure cooker is too – something I’ve not ever done. ‘Pressure canners will explode! They’re persnickety! You’ll get botchulism and die!’ were all part of the vernacular growing up – so I didn’t venture much from making jams and freezing vegetables. I’ve also marked page 380 – a recipe for making Cajeta – because I have a thing for caramel, as in – I’ll take anything caramel over chocolate any day of the week.
There are bonus recipes throughout each chapter along with stunning photography from Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton – also known as The Canal House women; this truly is a ‘must-have’ book for anyone interested not only in preserving, but also how to use what’s in those jars throughout the rest of the year.
Thanksgiving is next week and because cranberry sauce is often viewed with suspicion and much disdain, I’m sharing Cathy’s recipe for Whole-Cranberry Raspberry Sauce – it’s so good it will be on my table this year. And if you happen to have any left? You might want to try a schmear of this sweet-tart sauce on a slice of toast.
DISCLAIMER: I was sent a copy of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry at no charge; my review and opinions shared here are strictly my own – if I don’t love it, I don’t share it.
MRS. WHEELBARROW’S WHOLE-CRANBERRY RASPBERRY SAUCE
Makes 5 half-pint jars
Used with permission
- 4 cups (28 oz., 800 g) granulated sugar
- 4 cups (32 oz., 950 ml) non-chlorinated water
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 cups (14 oz., 390 g) cranberries
- 1 cup (8 oz., 225 g) fresh raspberries
- ½ teaspoon unsalted butter (optional)
- Combine the sugar, water, zest and juice in your preserving pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture is briskly boiling, carefully add the cranberries. The berries will burst when heated and may splatter. Cook until most of the berries have burst and the sauce is thickening, about 12 minutes.
- Add the raspberries and bring back to a boil that will not stir down. Boil hard for about 10 more minutes. Test the set using the wrinkle test or the sheeting test. Add the butter, if using, to clarify and clear the sauce.
- Ladle into the warm jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Clean the rims of the jars well with a damp paper towel. Place the lids and rings on the jars and finger-tighten the rings.
- Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.
- The sauce is shelf-stable for 1 year.