One of the little things that I like about having this blog is checking out the search terms that have brought people to me. Yes, I am a dork. Whatever. It makes me feel useful. Occasionally, questions will pop up that are not answered on my blog at all, but that I would like to take a stab at.
This page seeks to answer the random unanswered questions that, due to the intricacies of search engines and word play, have led people to my blog, likely to their chagrin.
Q: How can I add acid to my pesto to avoid botulism?
A: I have two responses to this question. The first is that the form of acid that, in my opinion, will affect the flavor of your pesto the least is citric acid. I am also a big fan of citrus, so, while lemon would affect the flavor, I do not think it would be bad. My second, more strongly opinionated, response is that I have never enjoyed a jarred pesto (unless fresh, in unprocessed jars), no matter how fancy pants gourmet or pricey, as much as frozen pesto. Canning requires some degree of cooking, which I think hampers the freshness of the basil, which is really the star of the sauce. I realize that frozen pesto, likely in ice cube trays or freezer bags, does not make for nice gift baskets the way that shiny jars do, but it tastes much, much better.
Q: Can I chop cherries in a blender for jam?
A: Why not? Make sure you pit them first. If they are too dry on their own to blend properly, try adding sugar and letting the mixture sit for a while. The sugar will help draw juice out of the cherries that should make them easier to blend. If that doesn’t work for you, go ahead and add some lemon juice. That ought to do it.
Q: Kombucha Brooklyn brew kits
A: You want some SCOBY? I can give you some SCOBY. If you want the proper kit, odds are that your search has already landed you at The Brooklyn Kitchen, an excellent kitchen store from whence my (pre-Kombucha Brooklyn) SCOBY came. They have classes, too. I suppose this response is more for people who didn’t think to search for these kits. You guys, kombucha is pretty easy and way cheaper to make at home, and the kombucha man who runs Kombucha Brooklyn and who now teaches The Brooklyn Kitchen classes is a nice guy. Go to class if you’re scared to make it, or just pick up a SCOBY and get to it if you’re a fearless kombucha loving type.
Q: Rhubarb infusions best vodka?
A: You don’t need the good stuff for this. I usually look for something on special, haven’t quite brought myself to start buying plastic handles of super cheap liquor, but you could. Do what you gotta do. I would love to use all organic, traceable stuff, but it is not in my budget, and my reasons for wanting that are environmental — nothing to do with the flavor. Use the cheapest vodka you are comfortable purchasing.
Q: Pink ladies taste like rhubarb
A: Oh yeah?
Q: Should jam be processed?
A: This depends on how you plan to use said jam. If you made it to eat right away, don’t worry about processing. Just stick it in a jar in the fridge and get to spreading it on your morning toast or doing whatever it is you do with jam, no processing necessary. If you’re making jam just for yourself for a later date and don’t want to deal with jars and large pots of boiling water, experiment with freezer jam — just pop it in a bag or tub and freeze, then remove and defrost when the desire strikes. If, however, you want to give your jam away in jars, or if you have a packed freezer, or if the whole point for you is to make something that doesn’t need refrigeration or freezing — to truly preserve your preserves — then YES, YES, YES, your jam should be processed. There are some real safety risks associated with letting your jam hang out in jars unprocessed. Namely botulism. Take the extra time and brave the extra kitchen steaminess to process your jam if you’re not going to eat it right away.
Q: Brooklyn wedding pesto
A: Not sure who was searching for this, but this person has managed to tap into my soul. I totally plan to freeze copious amounts of pesto this summer in preparation for my wedding next year, the date of which has not yet been set. If you want to get married in Brooklyn soon and pesto is important to you, call me. We should pool resources and manpower. Thanks.