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1 quart

Figs in Syrup This is a terrific way of extending the short fig season. Put away a few jars and then enjoy eating these glistening beauties over hot b.u.t.tered biscuits for a real taste of summer long after it's gone.

2 pounds (about 8 cups) firm-ripe figs4 cups sugar1 cup water1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds sc.r.a.ped out and reserved1 lemon, halved 1. Trim the tips of the fig stems if they are long. Rinse the figs under cool running water, and transfer them to a large nonreactive pot. Add the sugar, water, vanilla bean halves and seeds, and the juice of one lemon half. Cook over low heat, stirring gently occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and bring the syrup to a boil. Then reduce the heat and cook at a low boil for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Slice the remaining lemon half into thin slices, and gently stir them into the figs. Cover the pot and let it sit overnight. Trim the tips of the fig stems if they are long. Rinse the figs under cool running water, and transfer them to a large nonreactive pot. Add the sugar, water, vanilla bean halves and seeds, and the juice of one lemon half. Cook over low heat, stirring gently occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and bring the syrup to a boil. Then reduce the heat and cook at a low boil for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Slice the remaining lemon half into thin slices, and gently stir them into the figs. Cover the pot and let it sit overnight.

2. Remove the lid, set the pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Then remove it from the heat, and using a slotted spoon, transfer the figs, including the vanilla bean halves and the lemon slices, to sterilized jars. Add enough of the hot syrup to cover the figs, leaving inch of heads.p.a.ce. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a wet paper towel, and attach the lids and rings. Set the jars aside in a cool, dark place. The jars will seal as they cool. These will keep for up to 6 months. Remove the lid, set the pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Then remove it from the heat, and using a slotted spoon, transfer the figs, including the vanilla bean halves and the lemon slices, to sterilized jars. Add enough of the hot syrup to cover the figs, leaving inch of heads.p.a.ce. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a wet paper towel, and attach the lids and rings. Set the jars aside in a cool, dark place. The jars will seal as they cool. These will keep for up to 6 months.

About 3 pints



Pickled Beets Enjoy these straight out of the jar, slice them for a nice salad, or quarter and serve them on their own as a side dish. Many of you remember a treat such as these from your grandmother's table. Bring them to your own. Delicious.

2 cups cider vinegar cup sugar cup water2 teaspoons pickling salt2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds2 teaspoons whole yellow mustard seeds3 whole cardamom pods2 whole clovesOne 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped10 medium beets (about 2 pounds), roasted (see chapter "Roots, Shoots, Tubers, and Bulbs"), peeled, and quartered 1. Combine all the ingredients except the beets in a medium saucepan, and heat to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Combine all the ingredients except the beets in a medium saucepan, and heat to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved.

2. Divide the beets evenly between two sterilized pint jars. Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving inch of heads.p.a.ce. Wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel, and attach the lids and rings. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Divide the beets evenly between two sterilized pint jars. Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving inch of heads.p.a.ce. Wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel, and attach the lids and rings. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

3. Carefully remove the jars and set them in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Allow 3 weeks before opening. (Any jars that do not seal properly should be promptly refrigerated and the beets consumed within 1 month.) Carefully remove the jars and set them in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Allow 3 weeks before opening. (Any jars that do not seal properly should be promptly refrigerated and the beets consumed within 1 month.) 2 pints

Brandied Cherries A "for grown-ups only" fruit c.o.c.ktail-don't pack these in the lunch box! Eat them like candy, serve them over ice cream, or use them as a garnish for chocolate desserts. These cherries would also make a killer cake filling if finely chopped and then spread between cake layers.

1 pounds ripe cherries, stemmed and pitted1 cup sugar, or a bit more to taste1 cup brandy, or more as needed 1. Layer the cherries with the sugar in a sterilized quart-size canning jar or other nonreactive lidded container. Slowly pour the brandy over all, adding it little by little as the sugar absorbs the liquid. Cover the jar and shake gently to distribute the sugar. Add more brandy if needed to cover the cherries. Set the jar aside in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks, shaking it occasionally to dissolve the sugar and checking the brandy level periodically; add more brandy if necessary to keep the cherries covered. Layer the cherries with the sugar in a sterilized quart-size canning jar or other nonreactive lidded container. Slowly pour the brandy over all, adding it little by little as the sugar absorbs the liquid. Cover the jar and shake gently to distribute the sugar. Add more brandy if needed to cover the cherries. Set the jar aside in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks, shaking it occasionally to dissolve the sugar and checking the brandy level periodically; add more brandy if necessary to keep the cherries covered.

2. The cherries should be ready in 6 weeks but will continue to improve in flavor for up to 1 year. Store in the refrigerator. The cherries should be ready in 6 weeks but will continue to improve in flavor for up to 1 year. Store in the refrigerator.

1 quart

Peach Freezer Jam If you want to preserve the fresh fruit of summer but don't feel like standing over a hot stove and sterilizing jars, this quick, foolproof method is for you. Just make sure that you follow the directions as outlined below, and measure the fruit and sugar precisely to ensure a good set on the jam.

2 cups finely chopped peeled and pitted ripe peaches (about 2 pounds)6 cups sugar2 pouches (1 box) Certo liquid fruit pectin (6 ounces total)1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice teaspoon almond extract1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds sc.r.a.ped out and reserved, bean cut into 8 small pieces 1. Combine the peaches and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sugar should be nearly dissolved. Combine the peaches and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sugar should be nearly dissolved.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the pectin and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine the pectin and lemon juice.

3. Stir the pectin mixture into the peach-sugar mixture, and stir constantly until the sugar is no longer grainy and is nearly completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the almond extract and the vanilla seeds, and stir to combine. Spoon the jam into clean -pint or pint jars. Place 1 or 2 pieces of vanilla bean inside each jar. Cover the jars and let stand at room temperature until the jam is set, up to 24 hours. Stir the pectin mixture into the peach-sugar mixture, and stir constantly until the sugar is no longer grainy and is nearly completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the almond extract and the vanilla seeds, and stir to combine. Spoon the jam into clean -pint or pint jars. Place 1 or 2 pieces of vanilla bean inside each jar. Cover the jars and let stand at room temperature until the jam is set, up to 24 hours.

4. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 year. Defrost the jam in the fridge before serving. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 year. Defrost the jam in the fridge before serving.

Eight -pint or four 1-pint jars

Homemade Applesauce Make this simple classic when apples are at their peak and you'll be amazed at how delicious applesauce really can be. I find that the best results come from using a mixture of tart and sweet apples, and I always try to use a red-skinned variety for at least part of the mix so that the sauce ends up a beautiful rosy hue. You could easily serve this warm as a side dish with grilled or roast pork.

5 pounds apples, preferably a mix of tart/sweet and green/red1 cup apple cider2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches each)1 teaspoon whole allspice berries teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg3 to 6 tablespoons sugar or light brown sugar, to taste cup Calvados or brandy (optional) 1. Peel any green apples, and remove the cores and seeds; cut each apple into 8 pieces. Core and remove the seeds from any red apples (do not peel red apples; cooking with the peel on will impart a beautiful rosy color to your applesauce), and cut each apple into 8 pieces. Peel any green apples, and remove the cores and seeds; cut each apple into 8 pieces. Core and remove the seeds from any red apples (do not peel red apples; cooking with the peel on will impart a beautiful rosy color to your applesauce), and cut each apple into 8 pieces.

2. Place all of the apples in a large, heavy saucepan, and add the cider, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and nutmeg. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 30 minutes. Place all of the apples in a large, heavy saucepan, and add the cider, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and nutmeg. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 30 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, covered and stirring frequently, until the apples have completely broken down into a thick sauce, about 30 minutes. Add the sugar to taste, and the Calvados if desired, and cook for 10 minutes longer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, covered and stirring frequently, until the apples have completely broken down into a thick sauce, about 30 minutes. Add the sugar to taste, and the Calvados if desired, and cook for 10 minutes longer.

4. Pass the applesauce through a food mill or a coa.r.s.e sieve to remove any remaining skins and solids (discard the solids). Set the sauce aside to cool, or enjoy it warm. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Pass the applesauce through a food mill or a coa.r.s.e sieve to remove any remaining skins and solids (discard the solids). Set the sauce aside to cool, or enjoy it warm. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

5 cups





CHAPTER DISCUSSION