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Review and Giveaway: Preserving Everything

Review: Preserving Everything, found on PunkDomestics.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that I may derive revenue from. The author provided me a complimentary copy of the book for review.

As I noted, 2014 was an extraordinary year for DIY food books, with volumes that took the genre to new heights. Each takes its corner, in some cases combining preserving with everyday cookery, as in Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry and Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade. Others find niches, as with Asian Pickles. Leda Meredith goes deep down the preserving rabbithole with the aptly named Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More (Countryman Know How).

The title is brazen, to be sure, and Meredith cops to that right off the top. Without question, this book will not specifically hold your hand and walk you through the hows and whys of preserving each and every specific thing, but by plainly outlying the principles and techniques of preservation, she will leave you empowered with the knowledge you need to take on, well, everything. 

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Kumquats: Funny to Say, Delicious to Preserve

Funny to say, delicious to preserve. Kumquats pack a potent punch of citric tartness in a tiny package. Unlike their cousins, kumquats invert the paradigm, with mild rinds and sour-bitter pulp. They add a distinctive flavor to all kinds of preserves, like these.

Kumquat Marmalade
Kumquat Marmalade
Move over, oranges. Kumquats are marmalade's new best friend. Your scones won't see it coming. (Image via Alyssa and Carla)
Kumquat Preserves
Kumquat Preserves
Put 'em up in syrup, plain and simple or spiked with flavors of mint, rosewater or spices. Excellent in cocktails. (Image via Local Kitchen)
Kumquat Jam
Kumquat Jam
Kumquat pairs nicely with plenty of other flavors in homemade jams: Cranberries, blackberries, rhubarb and even tomatoes. (Image via The Tomato Tart)

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15 Ways to Preserve Lemons

Lovely lemons bring a ray of sunshine during the cold, dark winter months. If you're lucky enough to have a neighbor with a tree, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the bounty. (If you don't, be sure to order some fragrant meyers from Lemon Ladies here in the Bay Area, trust.) Here's a bushel of ways to put the lemons by. 

Lemon Marmalade
Lemon Marmalade
Harness the bittersweet flavor of lemon rind and turn it into a sunny yellow marmalade, sure to brighten your morning muffin. But first, make sure you know how to slice citrus for marmalade, for the best results. (Image via Life Currents)
Lemon Jam
Lemon Jam
Lemon pairs nicely with plenty of other flavors in homemade jams: kiwi, red peppers and even onions and oregano. (Image via Autumn Makes and Does)

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Orange You Glad We Have So Many Ways to Preserve Oranges?

In the dead of winter, no fruit brings a beam of sunshine better than the bright sweetness of oranges. Whether you're working with bitter Sevilles, sanguine blood oranges or sweet-tart cara caras, we've got a bushel of ideas on putting up everyone's favorite citrus.

Orange Marmalade
Orange Marmalade
Sevilles are great, but orange marmalade can also be made with blood oranges, cara caras and others. But first, make sure you know how to slice citrus for marmalade, for the best results. (Image via Local Kitchen)
Orange Jam
Orange Jam
If you don't like the orange's bitter rind, use the flesh for a sweeter jam. Warming spices or bourbon and vanilla kick it up a notch or two. (Image via Sunchowder)

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DIY Liqueurs for Holiday Gifting

Many people enjoy receiving a bottle of a nice liqueur as  a holiday gift. When it's handmade, it makes it both delicious and personal. Here's a bunch of our favorite DIY liqueurs perfect for gifting. 

Citric Liqueurs:

Limoncello, found on PunkDomestics.com
Limoncello 
The classic lemon liqueur of southern Italy is a ray of sunshine during the dark winter months. It's easy to make, too.
Crema di Limoncello, found on PunkDomestics.com
Crema di Limoncello 
Or try this twist on the classic Italian lemon liqueur, with cream and vanilla. The cream mellows the sweetness and gives it a richer mouthfeel.
Arancello, found on PunkDomestics.com
Arancello 
Citrus liqueurs are not limited to lemon. Try it with oranges, be they standard navels or sanguine blood oranges.
Orange Liqueur, found on PunkDomestics.com
Orange Liqueur 
Triple sec, Gran Marnier, Cointreau ... try your hand at making orange liqueur at home, and give your margaritas a DIY zing.
Vin d'Orange, found on PunkDomestics.com
Vin d'Orange 
Vin d'Orange, a bitter liquor made with Seville oranges, is easy to prepare, requiring the mixing of a few ingredients and allowing it to sit for two weeks to allow the spices and orange zest to infuse the wine and vodka.
Whatevercello, found on PunkDomestics.com
Whatevercello 
Think outside the lemon box and make liqueurs from whatever citrus you like -- bergamots, grapefruits, pomelos, and kumquats all work great.
Grapefruit Bitters, found on PunkDomestics.com
Grapefruit Bitters 
Mix the natural bitterness of grapefruit with spices like pink peppercorn, cardamom or juniper to make an intriguing bitters that enhances many cocktails.

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Review: Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade

Review: Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade, found on PunkDomestics.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that I may derive revenue from.

Among the very excellent DIY food books that have come out this year, there's one I am particularly excited about. Rachel Saunders' inaugural book, The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, is absolutely my go-to cookbook for jams, jellies and preserves. Saunders' recipes are no-fail, generally focusing on single-fruit preserves, often accentuated with a single enhancing flavor. She also relies on maceration to create jams with a natural set that requires no added pectin even for low-pectin fruits like strawberries. 

With her follow-up book, Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade, Saunders takes on what to do with the open jar, integrating jams, jellies and marmalades into everyday dishes. Breakfasts and desserts are the low-hanging fruit (so to speak), and there's plenty of ideas here, but the best aha moments come from her applications of jams to savory dishes. 

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Chestnuts Old and New

When Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose, break out the chestnuts. Here's a few ways to use them beyond simply enjoying them by the fireside.

Chestnut Jam
Chestnut Jam
Creamy, sweet and rich, chestnut jam harkens back to early American traditions. From Auburn Meadow Farm.

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Seriously Last-Minute DIY Food Gifts

Wait, Christmas is when? Don't panic. If your canning pantry is paltry, there's still time to bang out a few DIY food gifts that will delight your giftee. Best of all, each of these can be done in mere hours, requiring ingredients that are readily available this time of year.

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Happy Homesteading Holidays

Even the most hardcore DIYer needs a little assist now and then. There are tools that make our work feasible, or at least easier. Or maybe you know someone who's just getting in to the game, and you want to give them a starter kit. No matter what your reasons, this is an excellent season to stock up on the goods that we'll reach for again and again when summer's bounty bursts upon us. Best of all, our pals at FARMcurious are offering a discount to all Punk Domestics readers!

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