Tuesday, September 21, 2010

All in a Day's Work

I, Gillian, am spending a big portion of my school vacation filling our pantry with homemade canned goods. 23 jars of Green Tomato Chutney + 5 jars of Poached Quince Slices in Vanilla Syrup + 5 jars of Blackberry-Oregon Grape-Blue Elderberry Cordial = 1 whole day spent in the kitchen + 33 jars of success. I also made a byproduct that is more exciting than the products--a quart jar of gorgeous pink quince juice, sweetened with the leftover vanilla syrup, which I hope can keep me from getting sick this winter.

When I lived in Japan, one of my friends was Araki-sensei, a retired Home Ec teacher and a wonderful person who was involved in everything in our little town. She took me to restaurants, helped me buy brown rice directly from a friend of hers, taught me how to behave at the onsen, and took me with her to cooking lessons at the town community center. She also gave me some of her homemade preserves, which were usually medicinal. Preserved kinkan (kumquats) were for a sore throat (they made your mouth numb, so they worked!); karin hachimitsu (quince honey) was to prevent colds. As far as I could tell, it was sliced raw quince in honey, which then diluted the honey with quince juice, and then the resulting mixture fermented a bit. You were supposed to take an ounce or so in a glass of hot water every day. I got colds anyway, but it tasted good.

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