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Pantry 101 – General Goods & Condiments 7-10

Pantry 101 – General Goods & Condiments 7-10

General goods & Condiments

1. rice
2. dried pasta in different shapes
3. dried onion soup mix
4. tomato paste
5. tomato sauce
6. canned tomatoes
7. peanut butter
8. jelly
9. canned tuna
10. raisins

11. chocolate syrup
12. cereals
13. chicken or beef stock
14. canned soups
15. canned beans
16. olives
17. canned pears
18. canned peaches
19. applesauce
20. vegetable oil
21. olive oil
22. red wine vinegar
23. white wine vinegar
24. vegetable shortening
25. nonstick cooking spray
26. mayonnaise
27. ketchup
28. mustard
29. salad dressings
30. soy sauce
31. hot pepper sauce
32. Worcestershire sauce
33. barbecue sauce
34. salsa
35. honey
36. maple syrup
37. white wine for cooking
38. red wine for cooking
39. Mango Chutney

7) peanut butter
 is a food paste made primarily from ground roasted peanuts, with or without added oil. It is popular throughout the world and is also manufactured in some emerging markets. Its primary use is as a sandwich spread.  Similar peanut pastes are popular in various cultures. In South Indian cooking, chili peppers are added to make a spicy variant of peanut paste. In Andhra Pradesh, India, peanut chutney is popular. In this variation, peanuts are ground and mixed with chili peppers and other ingredients.  In some types of gourmet peanut butter, chocolate or other ingredients may be added. Various nut butters are also made from other nuts.

Health benefits
Peanut butter may protect against a high risk of cardiovascular disease due to high levels of monounsaturated fats and resveratrol; butter prepared with the skin of the peanuts has a greater level of resveratrol and other health-aiding agents. Peanut butter (and peanuts) provide protein, vitamins B3 and E, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, arginine, and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid.

Health concerns

For people with a peanut allergy, peanut butter can cause reactions including anaphylactic shock which has led to its banning in some schools.
The peanut plant is susceptible to the mold Aspergillus flavus which produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin.[5] Since it is impossible to completely remove every instance of aflatoxins, contamination of peanuts and peanut butter is monitored in many countries to ensure safe levels of this carcinogen. Average American peanut butter contains about 13 parts per billion of aflatoxins, a thousand times below the maximum recommended safe level.
Some brands of peanut butter may contain a large amount of added hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in trans fatty acids, thought to be a cause of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and stroke; these oils are added to make the butter easier to spread. Natural peanut butter, and peanuts, do not contain partially hydrogenated oils. A USDA survey of commercial peanut butters in the US did not show the presence of trans fat.
Also, at least one study has found that peanut oil caused relatively heavy clogging of arteries. Robert Wissler, of the University of Chicago, reported that diets high in peanut oil, when combined with cholesterol intake, clogged the arteries of Rhesus monkeys more than did butterfat.

So, to sum up; peanutbutter good, additives bad.  As always, read the labels, look for and avoid added anything.  The shorter the list, the better.  Avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils.

8) jelly
Jelly is strictly defined in the US as: That semisolid food made from not less than 45 parts by weight of fruit juice ingredient to each 55 parts by weight of sugar.  This mixture is concentrated to not less than 65 percent soluble solids.  Pectin and acid may be added to overcome the deficiencies that occur in the fruit itself.  Flavoring and coloring agents may also be added.  The name of the fruit used in making the jelly must be stated with other ingredients, in order of declining by weights, on the label of such products offered for sale in the US.

Store bought jellies or Jams generally contain more additives than home made.  If you can get home made from a friend or relative that knows how to preserve, do it.  It will almost always be better.

Why Fruit Jellies are Stable – Jelly, jam, fruit butters, marmalades and preserves are products that are stable because they are high in solids (sugar) and high in acids.  A food substrate concentrated to 65 percent of more soluble solids (sugar) and which contains substantial acid may be preserved with relatively minor heat treatment provided that food product is protected from air.  The high fruit solids and the pectin bind or tie-up the moisture sufficiently to lower the water activity to a level where only molds can grow.  Hermetic sealing protects the product form moisture loss, mold growth and oxidation. – http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g1604/build/g1604.pdf

Long story short.  Use good canning practices, use good ripe fruit and after you open it put it in the refrig.  Also remember that there are a lot of sugars in jelly and that will spike your blood sugar.  Avoid sugar when ever possible.

Side bar-  Jelly is made from juice, Jams are made with the fruit pulp in it, Fruit Butter is the smooth, semisolid  paste with a ratio of five parts fruit to two parts sugar, and Marmalade is usually made from citrus fruit or may contain a citrus peel.

9) canned tuna
This can be a controversial subject, because of the fishing methods used to obtain the fish.  Very large nets are strung out for miles and pulled in catching everything that’s out there.  Sharks are caught in the nets and drown, because they need to keep moving at all times.  Sea turtles are also caught and die in the nets.  Mostly people are upset about the dolphins getting caught and dieing or being injured  in the nets.  With that said.  Tuna is a great source of nutrition.   Most of the next paragraphs come from Wikipedia.

Tuna are several species of ocean-dwelling fish in the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tunas are fast swimmers—they have been clocked at 70 km/h (45 mph)—and include several species that are warm-blooded. Unlike most fish species, which have white flesh, tuna have flesh that is pink to dark red. The red coloring comes from tuna muscle tissue’s greater quantities of myoglobin, an oxygen-binding molecule. Some of the larger tuna species, such as the bluefin tuna, can raise their blood temperature above that of the water through muscular activity. This ability enables them to live in cooler waters and to survive in a wide range of ocean environments
Tuna is an important commercial fish. Some varieties of tuna, such as the bluefin and bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus, are threatened by overfishing, which dramatically affects tuna populations in the Atlantic and northwestern Pacific Oceans. Other areas seem to support fairly healthy populations of some of the over 48 different species of tuna —for example, the central and western Pacific skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis—but there is mounting evidence that overexploitation threatens tuna populations worldwide. The Australian government alleged in 2006 that Japan had illegally overfished southern bluefin by taking 12,000 to 20,000 tonnes per year instead of the their agreed 6,000 tonnes; the value of such overfishing would be as much as USD $2 billion. Such overfishing has resulted in severe damage to stocks. According to the WWF, “Japan’s huge appetite for tuna will take the most sought-after stocks to the brink of commercial extinction unless fisheries agree on more rigid quotas”.[2]

Increasing quantities of high-grade tuna are entering the market from operations that rear tuna in net pens and feed them a variety of bait fish. In Australia the southern bluefin tuna, Thunnus maccoyii, is one of two species of bluefin tunas that are kept in tuna farms by former fishermen.[3] Its close relative, the northern bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, is being used to develop tuna farming industries in the Mediterranean, North America and Japan.

Due to their high position in the food chain and the subsequent accumulation of heavy metals from their diet, mercury levels can be high in larger species such as bluefin and albacore. As a result, in March 2004 the United States FDA issued guidelines recommending that pregnant women, nursing mothers and children limit their intake of tuna and other types of predatory fish.[4] However, most canned light tuna is skipjack tuna, which is lower in mercury. The Chicago Tribune reported that some canned light tuna such as yellowfin tuna[5] is significantly higher in mercury than skipjack tuna, and caused Consumers Union and other health groups to advise pregnant women to refrain from consuming canned tuna.[6] The Eastern little tuna (Euthynnus affinis) has been available for decades as a low-mercury, less expensive canned tuna. However, of the five major species of canned tuna imported by the United States it is the least commercially attractive, primarily due to its dark color and more pronounced ‘fishy’ flavor. Its use has traditionally been restricted exclusively to institutional (non-retail) commerce.

Canned tuna

Canned tuna was first produced in 1903, and quickly became popular. In the United States, only Albacore can legally be sold in canned form as “white meat tuna”; in other countries, Yellowfin is also acceptable as “white meat tuna.”
While in the early 1980s canned tuna in Australia was most likely to be Southern bluefin, as of 2003 it is usually yellowfin, skipjack, or tongol (labelled “northern bluefin”).
As tuna are often caught great distances from where they are processed, poor quality control may lead to spoilage. Tuna are typically eviscerated by hand, then pre-cooked for 45 minutes to three hours. The fish are then cleaned and filleted, packaged into cans, and sealed. The second cooking of the tuna meat (called retort cooking) is carried out in the cans, this time for 2 to 4 hours. This process kills any bacteria, but retains the histamine that can produce rancid flavors. The international standard sets the maximum histamine level at 200 milligrams per kilogram. An Australian study of 53 varieties of unflavored canned tuna found none to exceed the maximum histamine level, although some had “off” flavors.
Australian standards once required cans of tuna to contain at least 51% tuna, but these regulations were dropped in 2003. The remaining weight is usually oil or water. In the US, the FDA has regulations on canned tuna

Association with dolphins

Many tuna species associate with dolphins, swimming alongside them. These include yellowfin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but not albacore or skipjack. The reason for the association is believed to be the avoidance of dolphins by sharks, which are predators of tuna. Swimming near dolphins reduces the likelihood of the tuna being attacked by a shark.
Fishing vessels can exploit this association by searching for pods of dolphins. They encircle the pod with nets to catch the tuna beneath. The nets are prone to entangling dolphins, thus injuring or killing them. As a result of public outcry, methods have been made more “dolphin friendly”, now generally involving lines rather than nets. However, there are neither universal independent inspection programs nor verification of “dolphin safeness” to show that dolphins are not harmed during tuna fishing. According to Consumers Union, the resulting lack of accountability means claims that tuna that is “dolphin safe” should be given little credence.

Canned tuna is a prominent component in many weight trainers‘ diets, as it is very high in protein and is easily prepared.
Tuna is an Oily fish, and therefore contains a high amount of Vitamin D. A can of tuna in oil contains about the Adequate Intake (AI) of the US Dietary Reference Intake of vitamin D for infants, children, men, and women aged 19–50 – 200 UI.
Canned tuna can also be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, of which it sometimes contains over 300 mg per serving. A January 2008 report conducted by the New York Times has found potentially dangerous levels of mercury in certain varieties of sushi tuna, reporting levels “so high that the Food and Drug Administration could take legal action to remove the fish from the market.”

To summarize:  Canned tuna is a great source of protein.  Avoid tuna packed in oil.  If you don’t want to risk the off flavor associated with cans, look for pouch packaged tuna.  If you don’t want to hurt other fish, buy only line caught tuna, or tuna steaks.  If you don’t want to risk mercury poisoning or IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, avoid tuna all together.


10) raisins
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world, such as the United States, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Greece, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Togo, and Jamaica, as well as South Africa and Southern and Eastern Europe. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking and baking.
Raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used. Seedless varieties include the Sultana (also known as “Thompson Seedless” in the USA) and Flame. Raisins are typically sun-dried, but may also be “water-dipped,” or dehydrated. “Golden raisins” are made from Sultanas, treated with Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) , and flame dried to give them their characteristic color. A particular variety of seedless grape, the Black Corinth, is also sun dried to produce Zante currants, mini raisins that are much darker in color and have a tart, tangy flavour. Several varieties of raisins are produced in Asia and, in the West, are only available at ethnic specialty grocers. Green raisins are produced in Iran. Raisins have a variety of colors (green, black, blue, purple, yellow) and sizes.

Raisins are about 60% sugars by weight, most of which is fructose. Raisins are also high in certain antioxidants, and are comparable to prunes and apricots in this regard. As for all dried fruits, raisins have a very low vitamin C content.

The natural sugar in grapes crystallizes during the drying process.

Raisins are sweet due to their high concentration of sugars. If they are stored for a long period, the sugar inside the fruit crystallizes. This makes the dry raisins gritty, but does not affect their usability. The sugar grains dissolve when the raisins are swelled in (hot) water.

 

Grape and raisin toxicity in dogs

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The consumption of grapes and raisins presents a potential health threat to dogs. Their toxicity to dogs can cause the animal to develop acute renal failure (the sudden development of kidney failure) with anuria (a lack of urine production). The phenomenon was first identified by the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). A trend was seen as far back as 1999. Approximately 140 cases were seen by the APCC in the one year from April 2003 to April 2004, with 50 developing symptoms and seven dying.

Cause and pathology

The reason why some dogs develop renal failure following ingestion of grapes and raisins is not known. Types of grapes involved include both seedless and seeded, store bought and homegrown, and grape pressings from wineries.  A mycotoxin is suspected to be involved, but one has not been found in grapes or raisins ingested by affected dogs. The estimated toxic dose of grapes is 32 g/kg (grams of grapes per kilograms of mass of the dog), and for raisins it is 11–30 g/kg. The most common pathological finding is proximal renal tubular necrosis. In some cases, an accumulation of an unidentified golden-brown pigment was found within renal epithelial cells.

 Symptoms and diagnosis

Vomiting and diarrhea are often the first symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity. They often develop within a few hours of ingestion. Pieces of grapes or raisins may be present in the vomitus or stool. Further symptoms include weakness, not eating, increased drinking, and abdominal pain. Acute renal failure develops within 48 hours of ingestion    A blood test may reveal increases in blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, phosphorus, and calcium.

Treatment

Emesis (induction of vomiting) is the generally recommended treatment if a dog has eaten grapes or raisins within the past two hours. A veterinarian may use an emetic such as hydrogen peroxide or apomorphine to cause the dog to vomit. Further treatment may involve the use of activated charcoal to adsorb remaining toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and intravenous fluid therapy in the first 48 hours following ingestion to induce diuresis and help to prevent acute renal failure.Vomiting is treated with antiemetics and the stomach is protected from uremic (damage to the stomach from increased BUN) with H2 receptor antagonists. BUN, creatinine, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium levels are closely monitored. Dialysis of the blood (hemodialysis) and peritoneal dialysis can be used to support the kidneys if anuria develops. Oliguria (decreased urine production) can be treated with dopamine or furosemide to stimulate urine production.

The prognosis is guarded in any dog developing symptoms of toxicosis. A negative prognosis has been associated with oliguria or anuria, weakness, difficulty walking, and severe hypercalcemia (increased blood calcium levels).

 

You might have noticed that I added Mango Chutney to the bottom of the list.  This was a suggestion from Mittie.  We’ll talk more about it when we get there.  Thanks, Mittie, for the input.

later-
Jughandle

Pantry 101-General Goods & Condiments 11-19

General goods & Condiments

1. rice
2. dried pasta in different shapes
3. dried onion soup mix
4. tomato paste
5. tomato sauce
6. canned tomatoes
7. peanut butter
8. jelly
9. canned tuna
10. raisins
11. chocolate syrup
12. cereals
13. chicken or beef stock
14. canned soups
15. canned beans
16. olives
17. canned pears
18. canned peaches
19. applesauce
20. vegetable oil
21. olive oil
22. red wine vinegar
23. white wine vinegar
24. vegetable shortening
25. nonstick cooking spray
26. mayonnaise
27. ketchup
28. mustard
29. salad dressings
30. soy sauce
31. hot pepper sauce
32. Worcestershire sauce
33. barbecue sauce
34. salsa
35. honey
36. maple syrup
37. white wine for cooking
38. red wine for cooking
39. Mango Chutney

11) chocolate syrup
Let’s skip this one. I personally don’t see a need for another sugar packed pantry item. Anything you can do with chocolate syrup you can do with chocolate. Prove me wrong.

12) cereals
Have only one personal rule with cereals. They must be high in fiber per serving (5grams or more) low in sugar (5 grams or less) and low in calories. I have found a couple, but the one I like the best is Trader Joe’s High Fiber. It has 9 grams of fiber for a 80 calories 2/3c serving. Only 5 grams of sugar. It is a twig style cereal. Kashi makes several good ones too.

13) chicken or beef stock
These you need! You’ll use stock a lot. Don’t get the canned stuff. Buy the stock in the cardboard boxes with the spout. There are several different brands. Look for low sodium with little or no additives. Absolutely no MSG.

14) canned soups
These are an easy way to have a quick meal, snack, or just to add to a sauce or stew. Again, look for low sodium, no MSG, yada, yada. We’ve even found some good soups in those same cardboard boxes that are GREAT! Look around, read the labels, find something you like and buy 5 or six. They keep.

15) canned beans
The only canned beans we might do are canned re-fried beans or black beans. It is always better to buy dried beans and make your own. Plan the night before and soak your beans in a big pot. They will absorb a lot of water. Rinse and repeat. Then slow boil them in water, beer, stock, or what ever you come up with. Beans are a great source of everything good. EAT THEM OFTEN.

16) olives
I love all things olive. Oil, paste, whole, black, green, greek, etc, etc. They are very GOOD for you. Plus they are great to add to a dish either whole, chopped or in a puree. Olives are a strong flavor and mix well with a variety of dishes. We’ll do several olive recipes later.

17) Frozen pears
This was originally canned pears, and I can think of several uses of canned fruits, but all canned fruit has a bunch of added sugar. Frozen ones probably do too, but at least they aren’t already cooked to death.

18) canned peaches
See # 17

19) applesauce
This I kind of get. There are a lot of jarred applesauces that are naturally sweetened without additive that I would use. But I personally don’t use much applesauce, I like it, I just don’t use it. Let me know how you use it, if you do.

 

Until tomorrow –

Jughandle

Oli and Ve – Premium Olive Oil & Vinegars

While driving through old town Roswell, Ga, the other day we stopped at a completely unique and totally fun, shop called Oli+Ve Premium Oils & Vinegars.  Jughandle has only recommended a handful of places to our readers.  This is one to pay close attention to.

As the name suggests, the owners are proprietors of fine Olive Oils and Vinegar.  We here on the Farm have been searching high and low for a good consistent  reasonably priced source for olive oil for a long time.  The bonus with Oli + Ve is the amazing collection of  quality balsamic vinegars.

If you click on the link above you will be taken to the shop’s online store where you can purchase and have shipped to your home, their products.  Obviously, you will realize a saving of at least the shipping cost by visiting either of their two stores.  They also have cooking classes and recipes available.

olive oil pics

Olive Oils

The available oils vary by season and range from mild to full intensity flavors.  This being the winter season in the US, the available oils are from Sicily, Australia, Portugal and Chile.  You can sample as many of the oils as you would like to, try that at Kroger, with the recommendation of the owners to go from mild to medium to Robust flavors and then to the flavored oil and finally the vinegars. Prices for the oils are $9.95 for a 200 ml bottle, $17.95 for a 375 ml bottle and $29.95 for the large 750 ml bottle.

All of the offered oils are of the Extra Virgin or EVOO type, which is the highest quality oil available.  While the “single” variety EVOO had 9 different oils to chose from at our visit, there are also a number of Flavored or infused oils ranging in flavor from Basil to Blood Orange, Butter, Cilantro & Roasted Onion, garlic and Eureka Lemon.  To be honest we were a touch overwhelmed by all our options, so we chose to sample just the single variety and a handful of the vinegars on this trip.

Also offered are 4 specialty oils which we chose not to sample this time, but I look forward to on our next visit.  Those are Almond oil, Sesame, Walnut and White Truffle oil.  The first three sell for $18.95 and the White Truffle for $38.95 in a 375 ml bottle, which seem very reasonable to me.

Vinegars

While we were drawn to the shop for it’s olive oil, be became extremely excited about their vinegars.  Where to start?  Well, first of all balsamic vinegar MUST be made in Modena, Italy to be true, balsamic vinegar, just as Champagne is just sparkling wine if it doesn’t come from Champagne France.

Oli+Ve offer dark balsamic vinegars in around 25 different flavors.  I tried, Fig, Dark Chocolate, Blackberry Ginger, and Peach.  There were too many for one visit, but their website will list all of them.  Oh, ALL of the ones I tasted were KILLER.  Some flavors would make great desert sauces, some would be great BBQ sauces.  I tried the Cinnamon Pear on an ice cream sample I was offered. WOW!

Specialty vinegars include, premium white vinegar and red wine vinegar.

Keep in mind that you aren’t buying cheap boiled down vinegar with added sugar.  You are getting barrel aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy.

 

Our Purchases

We bought, a 750 ml bottle of the Robust, Organic Mission from California, which had just arrived, for every day use.  I got a 200 ml bottle of Eureka Lemon EVOO for dressings, and a 200 ml bottle of Fig Balsamic vinegar.  My wife, Darlene bought Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar for desert use.  We can’t wait to go back.  As another bonus, we received 6 check offs against our frequent shopper card that will get us a free bottle after 10 checks.  That won’t be hard at all. Oh, oh, oh, you can also bring back your clean bottle to be refilled and receive a $1 off.

I want everyone to frequent this shop, because quality products like these are hard to find and I’d like them to stay in business for a long time.  And make sure you tell them Jughandle’s Fat Farm sent you.  – jughandle

 

 

Silk Purse out of a Pigs ear

They (the proverbial they) say you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  I beg to differ.  I’m going to show you how to make the best Balsamic vinegar you ever had (within reason) out of the cheapest balsamic vinegar you can buy.

Considered a wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar is made from un-fermented grape pressings, not wine.  The pressings are boiled down to a syrup and aged by rules, hundreds of years old.  The real deal balsamic, only made in two provinces of Emilia-Romagna, Modena and Reggio Emilia, is then placed in unsealed oak barrels with a vinegar “mother” and allowed to turn to vinegar.  As it ages the mother will reduce the amount of liquid available and that liquid, now vinegar, will be transferred to barrels made from different woods to add to the complexity of the flavor profile over years.  This process takes a minimum of 12 years by law and as much as 100.  The 100 year aged Grande Vecchio vinegar below has been treated in just such a way.

Balsamic vinegar like the one pictured above goes for $361.00 for 2.4 oz on line.  I’m sure it would be amazing, but I can’t afford nor justify spending that much money on vinegar, no matter how good it might be.  Good “real” aged balsamic vinegars can be sipped straight from the bottle like a fine liqueur.  But wait, there is another process, a more modern process, to make balsamic vinegar that takes hours instead of years, even if it doesn’t qualify as the real thing.

The modern method uses huge presses, heat and adds sugar instead of letting time reduce and concentrate the natural sweetness of the grapes.  This grocery store stuff is not to be consumed straight from the bottle in a good crystal glass, but treated properly it can be very nice for dressings and cooking and will cost you less than $6 per liter.

Method

The thing to do is to find a large bottle of nice acidic, sweet, inexpensive grocery store balsamic vinegar and reduce it to a syrup by gently boiling it down for a couple of hours.  Just pour the whole bottle into a sauce pan and bring to a slow rolling boil.  Make sure you save a little to taste the difference.  Reduce by at least 1/2.  I bring it down by 3/4.  But God knows, don’t burn it.  It smells terrible.  Let it cool and then use it over meat or in dressings.  Taste the difference, you’ll love it.  Note: when it cools it will be much thicker.  I’d start by reducing only by 1/2 if it is your first try at it.

 

Recommended Brands

This isn’t really as important as you might think.  Find a nice bottle and try it as I suggested.  If it works great, if it doesn’t try another.  You’ll only be out $3-6 but when you find the one that works stick with it, you’ll use it a lot.

 

Farm on, you Fat Farmers let me know what you think – Jughandle

Tomato jam recipe | Homesick Texan

This sounded so good I just had to copy this post for my readers.  I’m trying this today. – jughandle

 

“One of my favorite guilty pleasures when I was in preschool was ketchup on biscuits. I’m not sure how I got into the habit of doing this, but a bit of that old, strange love lingers on today when I eat barbecue: I won’t put sauce on the meat but I’ll dip those soft, spongy slices of white bread in a bucket of a tomato-based sauce if given the chance.

I realize this isn’t the most sophisticated thing to eat, heck, some of y’all might even say it’s downright gross. Well, fortunately, a reader asked me if I had a recipe for tomato jam. Now, I’d never eaten tomato jam but I’d certainly heard of it. I even have a T-shirt from the Tomato Jam café in Asheville, North Carolina that my mom sent to me. (I haven’t been to Asheville but I hear it’s the Austin of North Carolina, which means it’s probably a very cool place.) So when this reader asked me for a recipe, I told her I’d get right on it.

First, I checked my old recipe files to see if any of my grandmas and great-grandmas had directions on how proper tomato jam was done. They didn’t. So before I came up with one, I asked the reader what exactly tomato jam was supposed to taste like. She said it was a wonderful mix of sweet and savory; she ate it on her biscuits while her grandpa spread it on his rye toast.

A sweet and savory tomato spread that isn’t ketchup? I was curious. I started thinking about how I would make my jam, and decided I’d do my usual citrus, sugar and spice blend as I do with my apricot jam.

A little research led me to Mark Bittman’s recipe in the New York Times where he had the same idea. I followed his approach with a few modifications and, I must admit, this tomato jam was curious. It looked like a cross between strawberry jam and ketchup. Which seemed odd. But once it cooled a bit and I could really taste it, I was hooked.

Tomato jam is indeed sweet, spicy and savory and, because I’m Texan, I also make it a little bit fiery. It’s like a more sophisticated ketchup, though it could certainly pose as a fruit spread as well. (Though I’m not sure if tomato jam is quite ready to be paired with peanut butter.)

Spreading it on my biscuit, I was a kid again dipping my biscuits into ketchup. But this time it was not only socially acceptable but a heck of a lot more sophisticated and delicious as well. I’m now a fan of tomato jam and I think it’s splendid on burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, eggs and, of course, biscuits as well. And if you try it, perhaps you’ll find it splendid, too.

Do you eat tomato jam? What do you like to do with it?

Tomato jam (adapted from the New York Times)

1 pound Roma tomatoes, chopped and cored

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons lime zest

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 or 2 dried chiles de arbol, crumbled

Pinch of chipotle powder

Method:

Combine all the ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil and then simmer, stirring often until tomatoes have dissolved and jam is thick and glossy, about 45 minutes. Pack jam into a sterilized container. Keeps in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Yield: 1 pint

Note: Variations on this could be made by adding chopped jalapeños, chopped cooked bacon or I’ve even heard of people stirring in a bit of bourbon. And if you thinking this is close to chipotle ketchup, it is, though that has a few different spices and vinegar to give it that familiar tang.”

via Tomato jam recipe | Homesick Texan.

Pico De Gallo Recipe
Pico De Gallo Recipe
Recipe Type: condiment
Author: Alice
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped coarsely
  • 1 med-large onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1.2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Gently combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Allow the salsa to rest for 10 minutes before serving

 

 

Pico De Gallo Recipe

by Alice of www.everydayalice.com

Ingredients:

4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped coarsely ( I like vine-ripened tomatoes)

1 med-large onion, chopped coarsely

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely (be careful to wash your hands well after handling jalapenos)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lime

Directions:

Gently combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Allow the salsa to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Pantry 101-General Goods & Condiments 34-39

General goods & Condiments

1. rice
2. dried pasta in different shapes
3. dried onion soup mix
4. tomato paste
5. tomato sauce
6. canned tomatoes
7. peanut butter
8. jelly
9. canned tuna
10. raisins
11. chocolate syrup
12. cereals
13. chicken or beef stock
14. canned soups
15. canned beans
16. olives
17. canned pears
18. canned peaches
19. applesauce
20. vegetable oil
21. olive oil
22. red wine vinegar
23. white wine vinegar
24. vegetable shortening
25. nonstick cooking spray
26. mayonnaise

27. ketchup
28. mustard
29. salad dressings
30. soy sauce
31. hot pepper sauce
32. Worcestershire sauce
33. barbecue sauce
34. salsa
35. honey
36. maple syrup
37. white wine for cooking
38. red wine for cooking
39. Mango Chutney

34) salsa
Salsa means a mixture of things, or any kind of sauce.  It can be savory or sweet.  Most of the Salsa you’ll find in the store has 1/8″ chopped tomatoes, red peppers, onions, lemon and or lime juice.  It can also have garlic, jalapeño peppers, avocado, cilantro corn, olive oil etc, etc.  It is great for dipping corn chips or to add to a flour tortilla.  My favorite is Pico de gallo or Salsa cruda.  Store bought salsas have vinegar and or have been cooked to increase shelf life.  That usually takes away from the flavor of the fresh ingredients.

In Mexican cuisine, Pico de gallo (Spanish for “rooster’s beak“) is a fresh condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and chiles (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lemon or lime juice, fresh cilantro (leaf of coriander), avocado, cucumber, or radish.

Fresh Pico De Gallo

In some regions of Mexico, a fruit salad tossed in lime juice and sprinkled with a salty Chile powder is also known as pico de gallo, while the tomato-based condiment is better known as salsa picada, which means minced or chopped sauce, or salsa mexicana, because the colors red (tomato), white (onion), and green (chile) are the colors of the Mexican flag.

Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as Mexican salsas or Indian chutneys, but since it is less liquid, it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.
Here are some different types of Salsa:

Mexican salsas were traditionally produced using the mortar and pestle-like molcajete, although blenders are now more commonly used. Well-known salsas include

There are many other salsas, both traditional and nouveau for instance, some are made with mint, pineapple, or mango
Make your own, it is much fresher and has not additives,   But remember to refridgerate it and don’t leave it out too long.  It is raw and can develop E. Coli.

 35) honey
Ah, honey, the nectar of the bees.  Honey is a HUGE topic.  I’m only going to touch on the high points and then give you a link to find out more.  Honey, it is thought, should last forever in your pantry because it has properties that don’t allow any bacteria to grow.  That is true and false.  Honey when stored in a dark, dry place and sealed from the air, can be kept for centuries.  But it is hygroscopic, which means it will absorb moisture.  When it becomes diluted with water it can grow mold or bacteria.  It also will absorb other smells and flavors. 
When honey remains in direct sunlight for about one day its lysozyme (an antibacterial albuminous enzyme) is destroyed.”The best honey is in the uncut honey combs. After being pumped out from there it is very vulnerable, and the main losses of quality take place during preservation and distribution. Heating up to 37°? causes loss of nearly 200 components, part of which are antibacterial. Heating up to 40°? destroys the invertase—the main bee enzyme, thanks to which the nectar becomes honey; heating up to 50°? turns the honey into caramel (the most valuable honey sugars become analogous to synthetic sugar). Generally any larger temperature fluctuation (10°? is ideal for preservation of ripe honey) causes decay.”

High quality natural honey can be distinguished by its fragrance and taste. The best period to stock up on honey is in summer, when it is being collected in large quantities. The ripe, freshly collected, high quality honey at 20°C (68°F) flows from the knife in a straight squirt, without breaking into separate drops. After falling down the honey should form a clear hillock. The ripe honey is being collected from the sealed honey combs; therefore it should always be of high quality.

The honey should not lay down in layers. If this is a case, it indicates the excessive humidity (over 20%) of the product, and such a honey would not be suitable for long term preservation.

A fluffy thin layer on the surface of the honey (like a white foam), or marble-coloured and white spots in crystallized honey at the wallsides of the bottle are caused by filling of liquid honey with subsequent sealing—the air bubbles are surfacing and part of them is concentrated at the wallsides. This is an indication of a high quality honey, which was filled without pasteurization (heating).

If the honey is transparent, burning with amber-like colours, then (unless it is very fresh) it has most likely been heated. Transparent and reluctant to thicken honey can also indicate its being a result of feeding the bees with sugar syrup or even sugar itself, which is bad both for the bees and for the honey they produce, as naturally they are supposed to feed on flower nectar.

A true honey that is at least one month old is usually of demure (not translucent) colours.

For more info on honey go to  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey

36) maple syrup

Maple syrup is a sweetener made from the sap of maple trees. In Canada and the United States it is most often eaten with waffles and pancakes. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in baking, the making of candy, preparing desserts, or as a sugar source and flavoring agent in making beer. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup.

It was first collected and used by Native Americans/First Nations and was later adopted by European settlers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup

37) white wine for cooking
white wine for cooking is used mostly in white or light tasting sauces.  Only one thing to know about cooking with wine.  Always use a wine that you could drink.  If you don’t like it, don’t use it.

38) red wine for cooking
same a white wine, except red wine is used mostly in tomato based dishes or heavier meaty gravies.

39) Mango Chutney
I added mango chutney because Mittie suggested it.  I don’t usually use chutney, but it can be very good.  Lets see what we can find out about Mango chutney.
Alton Brown has what looks like a good recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds fresh mangos, ripe but not too soft, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 2 1/2 cups medium dice red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup small dice red bell pepper
  • 8 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 4 ounces cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup raisins or golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted, roughly chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

Cut the mango flesh away from the pit. The pit is shaped similar to an obelisk, so you’ll end up with 2 large pieces and 2 smaller pieces from each mango. Roughly chop the flesh.

In a saute pan heat the oil and add the chile flakes. Be careful not to burn the chile, just toast to flavor the oil. Add the onions and sweat until soft. Add the ginger and bell pepper and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Finally add the mango and cook for 1 more minute.

In a separate bowl, combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, and curry powder. Add this mixture to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a bare simmer and reduce for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Add the raisins and the nuts and transfer to another container over an ice bath. I used a mild yellow curry powder, but if you want it hotter go for red.

Chutneys of all types are generally served with a hot or spicy dish to allow the sweetness to balance the flavors.  If you have some good ideas on how to use chutney let me know.
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That’s really all for “Pantry” items.  If you have any that I have left off, let me know.  Next I’m going to talk about what staples to keep in the refrigerator, freezer and fresh. I won’t go into the detail I did for the Pantry items because I want to start cooking. Here are the lists:

 

Refrigerator

milk
eggs
butter
cheese
yogurt
cottage cheese
cream cheese
sour cream
meats/fish
deli meats
bacon
juices
carrots
celery
lemon
mushroom
lettuce

 

Freezer

orange juice concentrate
corn
green beans
spinach
peas
mixed vegetables
ground beef
chicken breasts
shrimp
dinner rolls or bread
ice cream
pie crust
nuts

peppers

 

Fresh

oranges
apples
bananas
tomatoes
potatoes
garlic
onions
bread

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