Produce News for Week of June 18, 2012
PICKLING CUCUMBERS (Monday, June 18): Hey, the first day of summer begins this week, so we have to figure out how we're going to take care of all the summer harvest fruits and vegetables. So I brought in with me my new friend. Gina Gotsill is with me. And, of course, pickling is big in preserving fruits and vegetables, right? And one of my mom's favorite was of ‑‑ always ‑‑ of course, you brought in some bread and butter pickles. Bread and butter ‑‑ by the way Gina, how did bread and butter pickles even get their name? GINA: Well, back in the Great Depression people used to eat sweet pickles as a sandwich filling with bread and butter. MICHAEL MARKS: Oh, perfect then. Okay. That's why we call it that. Now, in the world of cucumbers, this is what you generally find right here a regular slicing cucumber and an English cucumber. But, Gina, we use pickling cucumbers, gherkin pickling. What other fun ideas do you have for pickling cukes? GINA: I like to use a little extra turmeric and mustard seed in my jars because it gives a little extra texture. MICHAEL MARKS: And is it really that difficult? GINA: No, it's so easy. That's what makes them so great is you can enjoy them within a few hours. MICHAEL MARKS: Love that idea.
APRICOTS (Tuesday, June 19): Hey, all this week we're with Gina Gotsill, my new friend, and we're talking about jams and jellies. You know, taking care of the summer harvest of fruits and vegetables. One of my mom's favorite on the face of the planet was apricot, pineapple jam. She loved that, and it's one of my favorites, I love an apricot jam. But one of the problems I remember ‑‑ apricots, they're either good or they're bad, right? You have to know when to get them, right? GINA: Yes, you do. And I’ve been trying out some early varieties this year. I tried a poppy apricot this time. That's a really mellow, sweet apricot. It's not real, real juicy, but it jams up really nicely. MICHAEL MARKS: That's one of the fun things that you can do with getting so many newer varieties of apricots that you can really make some good apricot jam. GINA: Another really good one is the honey rich apricot. MICHAEL MARKS: Honey rich. GINA: It's just over the top sweet, and it has a nice plum texture. MICHAEL MARKS: And you can either use this or do what with it? GINA: Oh, gosh, I put it on waffles, I put it on muffins, I do all kinds of things with it. I put it on pork chops. MICHAEL MARKS: Or give it as a gift. GINA: Oh, I can give it as a gift. Isn't it your favorite ‑‑ apricot you said? MICHAEL MARKS: It is, it is GINA: Here you go. Enjoy. MICHAEL MARKS: Oh, man, I like that.
STRAWBERRY JAM(Wednesday, June 20): Hey it's time to get that big batch of biscuits, that's right, because we're going to need that big batch of biscuits because we're talking strawberry jam today. My new friend, Gina Gotsill, you're with us today. Thank you so much for being with us. All this week you've been with us. And one of the summer berries is, of course, strawberries. So you make strawberry jam, but do you need all that paraphernalia to go along with it? It's like a five‑hour course to do it? GINA: No, no, it's very easy. This year I started making strawberry freezer jam. MICHAEL MARKS: Freezer jam? GINA: Yeah, it's so easy. MICHAEL MARKS: Let the freezer do the work. GINA: Just let the freezer do the work. I chop up my strawberries, I mash them a little bit. I add them to a hot mixture of sugar, low sugar, no sugar pectin and some water. Then I put them ‑‑ put the mixture in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid, stick it in the freezer ‑‑ MICHAEL MARKS: That's it? GINA: Or, just leave it in the fridge. It's not going to last long ‑‑ MICHAEL MARKS: Holy Toledo. So get your big batch of biscuits. You too can do freezer jam. It's really, is that simple? GINA: Yeah. MICHAEL MARKS: Unbelievable.
BLACKBERRY OR ANY BERRY JAM (Thursday, June 21): Hey, all this week we're talking about preserving. You know the summer harvest is here, it's officially summer now. So you want to take advantage of all these beautiful summer berries. With me, my new friend, Gina Gotsill. We've been talking pickles and strawberry jam and apricot jam ‑‑ now we come to berry jam. One of my dad's favorite ‑‑ blackberry jam. But one of the problems with some of these berries is all the seeds. Is there an easy process to take care of this? GINA: Yes. To make your blackberry jelly you start with juice and you take your berries, you put them in a pot, cover them with water ‑‑ just a bit. Mash with your potato masher. MICHAEL MARKS: I like the mashing part. GINA: Yeah. MICHAEL MARKS: Now, how you get the seeds out? GINA: You pour ‑‑ once it's boiling a little bit ‑‑ you pour it through this sieve, fine sieve ‑‑ cheesecloth ‑‑ MICHAEL MARKS: Oh. GINA: And the bowl catches it below. All you have is your juice and then you can make your jelly. MICHAEL MARKS: That's all you need is this cool thing ‑‑ GINA: Yeah, that's it. MICHAEL MARKS: ‑‑ and some cheesecloth? I thought it, like, took, like, an army ‑‑ ten minutes. GINA: No. MICHAEL MARKS: Oh, my goodness. It's that simple ‑‑ GINA: Very easy. MICHAEL MARKS: ‑‑ for blackberry or any berry jam, jelly as well.
STONE FRUIT SURPRISE (Friday, June 22): Today is the first Friday of summer. The official, right, first Friday of summer. And I'm with Gina Gotsill, my new friend. We have been talking about taking the flavors of summer and preserving them so we can enjoy them in the fall and in the winter and that spring. So we've done pickles, we've done strawberry jam apricot ‑‑ oh, the apricot, so good you guys. We did berry jams, and now we come into what you call what? GINA: I do a stone fruit surprise, and that's a blend, so ‑‑ MICHAEL MARKS: I love that, stone fruit surprise. I got ‑‑ you guys come close, I want you to just take a look at these jams right here. Just take a look at the beauty. So you take ‑‑ so you take some plums and ‑‑ GINA: Actually, I take some apricot, I take some peach, and nectarine ‑‑ and it could be a mix of white nectarine and yellow nectarine ‑‑ it could be more peaches than apricots and vice versa. Just whatever looks good in the morning ‑‑ MICHAEL MARKS: So whatever you like, whatever tastes really good ‑‑ because if it doesn't taste good in your hand, it's not going to taste good in a jar either, right? GINA: Exactly. MICHAEL MARKS: So, have fun with it. Gina, thanks so much for being with us and inspiring us ‑‑ GINA: You're welcome. MICHAEL MARKS: ‑‑ all this week. GINA: Thank you, it's been fun.