Thursday, November 5, 2009

Preserving food

For a while now I have been thinking that of ways to preserve food. I have made jams before, but I would love to try canning and drying foods. In the future I plan to grow my own vegetables so learning to preserve food will be beneficial to me. I have read and watched programs on how to to preserve some foods but now I have to do it for real. My only concern is once canned or preserved how long will they last for. I suppose I will find this out with experience.

I am going to start with canning my baked beans and tomato sauce and if we catch any fish on our adventures I will have a go at canning them too (All our fish so far have been way to small to eat). I know that I will need to purchase a pressure cooker to help seal the cans so that will be the next outlay. A friend at work tried canning for the first time this year, so I shall have to ask her what issues she had if any. I would also like to try making my own salami, but I will start of with the canning first.

I have be experimenting with making oven roasted tomatoes, it is such a great way of using up excess tomatoes. My sister gave me a great recipe for chicken in a tomato pesto sauce and I have wanted to make my own tomato pesto for a while. I often make basil pesto, so I knew that I could adopt the same principles for the tomato pesto. Last week I headed down to Granville Island and picked up a huge bag of tomatoes from the discount bin for a dollar. I threw away any soft split tomatoes, but to be honest there was probably about two that were unsuitable. With the others I cut them in half, coated them in oil, sprinkled them with a little sea salt and  spread them out on a baking sheet before slow roasting them in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 8 hours. Yes I know that is a long time but I did not want them to burn. I allowed them to shrink to half there size and become wrinkly. I originally thought that they would have a chewy consistency throughout, a little like the store bought sun dried tomatoes but my tomatoes turned out chewy but moist and the flavor was to die for. They were sweet like candy and the tomato flavor was intense, perfect for a tomato pesto.

Tomato Pesto

20 Halves Oven roasted tomatoes
2 tbs Tomato paste
Handful of Basil
Olive oil
Pine nuts

(When using these ingredients add them to your personal taste) Firstly blitz the tomatoes and strain if there is too much juice present. Place back into the blender and add the remaining ingredients,. Use the oil to thin the mixture to a nice consistency and add salt and pepper to taste. Et voila. This can keep in the fridge for up to a week. Its great to use as spreads  as well as in pasta.

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