“The “best by” date printed on canned foods is not a hard-and-fast “expiration” date: It refers strictly to the manufacturer’s recommendation for peak quality, not safety concerns. In theory, as long as cans are in good shape and have been stored under the right conditions (in a dry place between 40 and 70 degrees), their contents should remain safe to use indefinitely.
That said, natural chemicals in foods continually react with the metal in cans, and over time, canned food’s taste, texture, and nutritional value will gradually deteriorate.
Dates aside, cans with a compromised seal (punctured, rusted through, or deeply dented along any seam) should never be used. And discard immediately.
2 pounds rhubarb
3 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or of ½ orange and ½ lemon
Wash, trim and dice the rhubarb. You will have about 8 cups.
In a large pot combine the rhubarb, sugar, and citrus juice and toss to mix. Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.
Set a stockpot on the stove and fill with enough water to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Sterilize the jars in the water bath.
For a jam with some texture, set a colander over a bowl and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the colander. Bring the juices to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until thickened. Add the rhubarb back to the pot, along with any juices that have collected in the bowl under the colander. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, and cook about 5 minutes longer.
For the smoother jam, cook the fruit with the juices over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
Bring the water bath back to a boil. Simmer the lids in a saucepan of hot water. Ladle the jam into the jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean and set the lids on the mouths of the jars. Twist on the rings.
Using a jar lifter, gently lower the jars into the pots. When the water returns to a boil, decrease the heat to an active simmer, and process the jars for 10 minutes.
Transfer the jars from the pot and let sit for at least 6 hours, until cool enough to handle. Check to be sure the jars have sealed. Store the sealed jam for 6 months to 2 years. Once open, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
12 small peaches, peeled with 4 cloves per peach
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3 large cinnamon sticks
(Makes 3 pints)
Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach with a sharp knife and blanch in batches in a large pot of boiling water for 10–15 seconds.
Transfer the peaches to a large bowl of ice water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the peaches, then halve them lengthwise and pit. Toss the peaches with the sugar and chill, covered, for at least 8 hours.
In a large stockpot, mix the vinegar and cinnamon sticks, with the peaches and their accumulated juices. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Skim off the foam. Reduce the heat and simmer until the peaches are barely tender, 3 minutes or so.
Divide the peaches and cinnamon sticks among the prepared jars. Return the peach-cooking liquid to a boil, then pour into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top.
Wipe off the rims of the filled jars with a damp kitchen towel, place the lids on the jars, then firmly screw on the rings. Put the sealed jars on the rack of the canner and, if necessary, add enough hot water to cover the jars by 2 inches.
Boil the jars for 20 minutes, covered, then transfer to a towel-lined surface to cool. The jars will seal as they cool.
After the jars have cooled for 12–24 hours, press the center of each lid to check that it’s concave and that a vacuum has formed and they are sealed. Store in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.
Place any jars that haven’t sealed in the refrigerator and use them first.
- 3¼ ounces lotus root
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Sea salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients for the vinegar mixture, except
lemon juice, in a saucepan. Place it over low heat to
dissolve all the sugar and salt. Allow to cool.
Peel and slice lotus root into 1/4 inch thick rings. Soak
immediately in water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to prevent
discolouration. Make flower cuts and drain before using.
Boil a pot of water and add the other tablespoon of vinegar.
Add sliced lotus root flowers and boil for 5 minutes.
Remove lotus root and allow to cool.
Add lotus root slices to vinegar mixture and lemon juice in
a resealable bag. Remove any air from the bag, seal and
refrigerate for a minimum of 2–3 hours.
They are better on day two after the sweetness and contrasting sourness become more prominent.
8 large eggs, at room temperature (farm fresh if possible)
¾ cup soy sauce
Fill a medium-sized saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs gently into the boiling water. Boil for 6 to 8 minutes depending upon desired firmness of yolk. Set a large bowl in the kitchen sink and fill with cold water. Scoop the eggs from the boiling water and immediately plunge into the water.
Run more cold water if the water temperature feels warm. When the eggs are cool, gently crack by rapping and rolling . Return the eggs back to the cold water for a few more minutes, then peel.
Lay the peeled eggs on a dry dish towel. Pat dry, and then place the eggs in a freezer-style gallon resealable plastic bag. Pour in the soy sauce, tip the bag to distribute, press out all the air, and roll up any unused portion of bag to create a tight cylinder.
Refrigerate overnight. Serve before dinner with drinks, as a side dish for a barbecue or picnic or in Ramen.
Best the first day.
1⁄2 pound asparagus
3⁄4 cup distilled white vinegar
3⁄4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon pickling salt
Trim the woody ends from the asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths.
Combine the white vinegar, water, and sugar in a saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Pack the lemon zest, garlic, coriander seeds, and salt into a hot 1-pint canning jar. Fill with the asparagus. Pour in the hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace. Seal.
Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not open for 6 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.
- 1 gallon glass container with lid or smaller jars
- Stems from 2 bunches of collards, trimmed to 1 inch shorter than glass jar
- 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
- 6 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon diced jalapenos
- 1 gallon filtered water
- 3/4 cup pickling salt
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Pack jar tightly with stems, onions, and spices. Bring water, salt, and vinegar to a low boil. Remove brine from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Pour brine over veggies, making sure brine covers everything. Place a fermentation weight over the top to prevent as much contact between the air and the brine surface, or rig up something of your own that will serve the same purpose not the lid though.
Let your container sit at room temperature for 3-5 days, until your stems have the perfect saltiness, flavor, and crunchiness. When they reach that point, trade the weight for a lid and place the whole container in the fridge. Your pickled stems will last several weeks or less depending how much you enjoy them.