26 March 2014

Preserving by the Pint

 Marisa McClellan's blog, Food In Jars has spawned its second cookbook, Preserving by the Pint.  If you read McClellan's blog, you know she cans in a very small kitchen.  She is great at taking a handful of ingredients and turning them into a couple of jars of jam.  When introducing this book she wrote:

All the recipes start with either a pint, a quart, or a pound (or two) because those are the units of measure that so many of us end up with after a trip to the green market, grocery store, or farm share pick-up.

We often lament the fact that we are not endowed with friends who have Meyer lemon trees in the back yard, or fig trees, or gigantic tomato patches.  We are often in the produce section facing 3 quince, a pound of Meyer lemons, or 6 blood oranges.  Most folks don't look at these tiny bounties and think -- marmalade!  Well you should.  Preserving by the Pint will be just the inspiration you will need.

We are notorious for buying EVERY canning, confiture, preserving book out there.  Yes, the repetition is astounding.  So picking up Preserving by the Pint was truly a joy as there are many recipes that seem familiar, but offer up a unique twist -- other than being calibrated to cook up a pint!

For years, when I thought of pickles, I would see my great-aunts with gigantic quart-sized jars, laboring away.  Frankly, I always thought buying them at the store was easier.  Then I realized one didn't have to "put up" forty quarts to get pickles.  But just try to find a recipe that makes one quart.  Well now you have a place to turn.  I was also weighted down by the notion that pickles had to be processed, yet hardly a meal went by that we didn't have some sort of refrigerator pickle that was made the night before.

Here is a a fine recipe for a quart of sugar snap peas.  You may find a really lovely mess of these peas at the store and think, "How could I use these?"  Well make these pickles. 

Marinated Sugar Snap Peas with Ginger and Mint

Makes 1 (1 quart/1 liter) jar

11⁄2 cups/360 ml unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon finely milled sea salt
1 pound/460 g sugar snap peas
1 green onion
1 sprig fresh mint
3 thin slices fresh ginger

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, honey, and salt. Heat until the honey and
salt are entirely dissolved.

Wash the sugar snap peas well. Using a knife, trim both ends and remove the
tough string that runs along the back of the peas. Cut the green onion into 2 or 3 segments,
so that they fit the jar. Stand them up in a clean 1-quart/1-liter jar, along with
the mint sprig and the ginger slices.

Pack the prepared sugar snaps into the jar. If they don’t all fit, set them aside. You
may be able to sneak them in once the pickling liquid is poured.

Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the sugar snaps. Tap the jar gently on the counter
to remove any air bubbles. If you had any remaining peas, try to pack them into the jar
at this time.

Place a lid on the jar and let the jar rest until it has cooled to room temperature.
Refrigerate. Let these pickles sit in the vinegar for at least 24 hours before eating.
They will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Note: Make sure to use the freshest sugar snap peas you can find. No pickling
brine can restore crunch to a pea that’s lost it to age. If you can’t find sugar snaps,
this recipe works equally well with crisp snow peas.

You know you have a saucepan, a jar, and a refrigerator.  Go forth and preserve!


  1. Thank you for this LOVELY mention! Those pickles are the best!

  2. I love the concept of small batch canning. I own Food in Jars and I've had success with some of its recipes. I made a half recipe of the Cara Orange marmalade (yield: 2 half pints) which was delicious and just the right amount.


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