Friday, October 17, 2008

Pickles and preserves

Time for another ridiculously out of season post. My papaya tree has been giving me more papayas, and the neighbors have more oranges and lemons than they know what to do with. Another neighbor gave me a bunch of jars and some basic preserving advice, and the results were pretty good.

Orange/Lemon Marmalade

All the oranges and lemons you've got
A few bags of sugar
An old cotton T-shirt, or some cheesecloth
Some string
A really gigantic pot
A bunch of clean, dry jars

Wash the oranges and lemons, chop them in half, and juice them. Dump the juice into the pot, but set aside the seeds and pith. Chop the orange and lemon rinds, and dump them into the pot too. Wrap the seeds and pith in a chopped-out piece of the cotton T-shirt, or a square of cheesecloth, tie it shut with the string, and dump it into the pot. This will let you get all the nice pectin out of the seeds, but will prevent you from having to chomp down on them later on. Leave the end of the string hanging out of the pot for easy removal. Cover everything with water (just barely) put the lid on the pot, and simmer until the rinds are soft. (Set aside a few hours for this step.) Remove from heat, take the seeds out, and add sugar until the volume of the concoction has doubled, then stir until the sugar is dissolved. Don't be impatient, or you'll end up with grainy marmalade! Once the sugar has dissolved completely, put the pot back on the heat, bring it to a boil, and boil for five minutes, or until a small quantity dropped onto a plate sets in 1-2 seconds. Pour into jars while hot, and let cool for a couple of hours. Screw tops onto jars, and voila! You have a huge amount of marmalade!

Hot Papaya Pickle

2 large papayas
3-6 tablespoons salt
100g mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2tsp asafoetida (fenuigreek) powder
A couple of hot chili peppers, chopped however you please
A whole bunch of vinegar (I used white, but I think apple cider would work nicely)
The gigantic pot, once all the marmalade is washed off
More clean jars

Peel and dice papayas. Put them in a mixing bowl with the salt, stir, and leave for an hour or two, until shriveled. Discard the juice; dump the papayas into the pot. Add the spices and chili peppers, and cover the whole mixture with vinegar, leaving about an inch of extra vinegar at the top. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into jars, and voila! Papaya pickle!

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