9:07:00 PM
Before I get to today recipes I wanted to talk about my experience last night at Il Fustino which is an Olive Oil and Balsamic Store here in Santa Barbara. My meetup group, Santa Barbara Food and Farm Adventurers had a demonstration of how to taste and recognize good extra virgin olive oils. The principles that the owners used was a similar method to tasting wines. Swirl, Smell, Sip, and Swallow. The oils we tasted were to me exactly the same. The Balsamic vinegars and other fruit infused vinegars on the other hand were exciting, intriguing, and had infinite possibilities. I had tastes of everything from cherry to kiwi infusion. I decided to purchase a traditional balsamic but a bit younger in age. The conversation with the owner convinced me that a younger balsamic in my jams will hold up better since they had a tang that an aged balsamic or 25 year balsamic has mellowed over time. I will report on the next strawberry balsamic jam that I do next week.

This morning Leah came over and we worked on three recipes. The mango conserve to infuse a coconut tea which was an incredible find at Vices and Spices. The smell is very pungent, but the combination with Mango, dried cranberries and crystallized ginger gave it a tropical taste. The mangos stayed tender not mushy so the texture is perfect to top on morning yogurt, granola, or any warm cereal. The great thing about this recipe was in my original find the notes called for 2 cups of sugar. Fortunately I forgot the sugar and the flavor is still sweet and fantastic.

Mango Conserve

6 cups mangos, small cubes (3 medium)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, reconstituted
3 T. crystallized ginger, minced
2 T. lemon juice
2 cups water
1 T. Coconut flavor tea
1/2 cup nuts (I used almonds)

In a dutch oven add the water and a tea ball filled with the coconut tea. Leave tea ball in water for 10 minutes while the water boils. Cover the pot for 10 minutes with the heat off to allow the tea to seep. In a small bowl add the cranberries to enough water to just cover them. This is the process of reconstituting. 
After the time has ended for the tea to seep, remove the lid and add the mango, ginger, lemon juice and drain the cranberries and add without the liquid. Return the heat to medium and continue to cook until all the liquid is gone, about 20 minutes.

Prepare jars, lids and rings and just before ladle add the nuts and fold them into the mixture. Ladle the recipe into the jars leaving 1/2" headspace. Process in waterbath 15 minutes at full boil.

Our second recipe was garlic. The basics of pickling garlic I have done before, but I was particularly interested in working on garlic that we add different flavors and canning in much smaller jars.

We did it in 1/4 pints using various spices like, whole chilis, cardamom, allspice, star anise, red pepper flakes, and ancho chili powder. I did three combinations in three different jars. The first was a cinnamon, clove and allspice; the second star anise and red peppercorns, and the third a dried cayenne chili.
The recipe for the brine is simple: 2 cups vinegar to 2 part water and 1/2 t. kosher salt. Raw pack the garlic into your sterilized jars and add the spices you want. Cook to a boil the brine and ladle over the garlic leaving 1/2" headspace. Waterbath for 10 minutes on a full boil.

Let the brine infuse the garlic for about three weeks to get the full intense flavors of your spices.

Our last recipe is a Spicy Black & Blue Marmalade. I was asked not to post the recipe since Leah will be making this recipe for the upcoming fair here in Santa Barbara. When I opened one of the jars this morning I loved the texture, but I think Leah was expecting it to be more solid. I think it could be a blue ribbon winner!

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