Friday, April 12, 2013

Put 'Em Up! Fruit: Blueberry Ketchup + Giveaway!

Today is my birthday. I'm in Disney World, literally the happiest place on Earth. I can't think of a better way to grow a year older than to recapture my childhood. As I'm sure you've discovered reading my blog, I am Disney obsessed, going exclusively on Disney cruises, cooking Disney recipes, and now turning a new page in the book of life at the home of the mouse. I couldn't be happier to celebrate in a big way, and in honor of my birthday I am sharing a special post today along with a giveaway. Keep reading, my friends...

I remember watching my grandmother make jam as a child. I was too little to help, but I observed her stirring the pot of hot, melted grapes around and around until it thickened. My dad loves eating fruit preserves like it's nobody's business and so her preserve-making was a much welcomed treat for him. I myself have made fruit preserves on only a few occasions. I have had some mixed results, but most recently I invested in some nice jars and canning utensils to make the job easier. I have been looking forward to using them more.

Put 'Em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton is a beautiful cookbook with colorful, glossy pages, filled with wonderful information on preserving and using a variety of fruits in your home. The book begins with a great introduction discussing the various types of fruit preserves, from fruit leather to chutney and compote to jam. In addition to defining the differences in these preparations, there is an extensive guide to home canning which goes on to show step-by-step instructions on how to can jars of preserves once you've made them. Vinton also provides a few ways to tell if your preserves have reached the gel stage, so there should be less guessing and more success!

In addition to the base recipes for various fruit preserves, each is paired with a recipe to "Use 'It Up!" Each chapter in the book focuses on a different fruit: apples, apricots, blackberries & raspberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, quince, rhubarb, strawberries, and tomatoes. Each chapter is color-coded as well, which not only adds to the functionality of the book, but also to the aesthetic.

There are a lot of enticing recipes in this book. Many are basic, such as Classic Cherry Jam, but I'm anxious for summer so I can make it, just the same. The first recipe to catch my eye was for Earl Gray Jelly which requires homemade Peel and Pip Pectin made from underripe crab or tart apples. I wanted to make this jelly so badly, but because it's not apple season, I knew it would be best to wait until they are actually locally available (since underripe crab apples don't seem to be supermarket fare). Some of the others on my wish list will wait until summer, but in the meantime there are still some fruits that are available now.

Honestly, the Use 'It Up! recipes are secondary for me. Some of them, such as the Nut-Crusted Goat Cheese with Cherry Mostarda or the Blue Cheese Biscuits with Savory Cranberry Relish are definitely on my list to make, but there are others that fall into the shadows. It's the recipes for preserving the fruits in fun and unique ways I'm most excited about!

After weighing a lot of options, I finally selected the first recipe I would make. I couldn't resist trying the Blueberry Ketchup. Yes, Blueberry Ketchup. It uses the same method and spices of a traditional tomato ketchup, but it turns it on its head. I figured since I was making a glorious make-your-own burger bar for my family birthday dinner, this ketchup would have the perfect red carpet to make its debut. I actually found it to be a bit too sweet for the burgers themselves, but they were truly perfect for the sweet potato fries.

I will be giving away a copy of the book to a lucky reader in the United States. I will select a winner in 1 week (giveaway ends April 19th at 11:59 pm). In order to participate in the giveaway you may do any of the following, and each is considered a separate entry, so leave a comment for each one you do.

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite fruit to preserve.
2. Like Mission: Food on Facebook and then leave a comment telling me you did.
3. Follow @missionfood on Twitter and then leave a comment telling me you did.
4. Follow Mission: Food on Pinterest and then leave a comment telling me you did.

Please visit the Storey Publishing website to check out a video by Sherri Brooks Vinton about her new book! Also, please visit the following sites participating in the Put 'Em Up! Fruit blog tour to find more recipes from the book.

4/8 Food In Jars
4/9 Punk Domestics
4/10 Autumn Makes & Does
4/11 Local Kitchen
4/12 Mission: Food
4/15 What Julia Ate
4/16 Tigress in a Jam
4/17 Daily Dish Recipes
4/18 Shockingly Delicious
4/19 The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking
4/22 From Scratch Club

Blueberry Ketchup
Makes about 3 cups
(From Put 'Em Up! Fruit)

2 shallots, unpeeled
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 quart blueberries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat the shallots with the oil and bundle in a double thickness of aluminum foil. Place the bundle on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, until the shallots are tender when pierced with a knife. When they're cool enough to handle, peel and dice them.

Combined the roasted shallots with the blueberries, sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic, allspice, and cinnamon in a large nonreactive pot and slowly bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or regular blender.

Refrigerate: Cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Can: Ladle the ketchup into clean, hot 4-ounce or half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace between the top of the ketchup and the lid. Run a bubble tool along the inside of the glass to release trapped air. Wipe the rims clean; center the lids on teh jars and screw on jar bands until they are just fingertip-tight. Process the jars by submerging them in boiling water to cover by 2 inches for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and let the jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check the seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

*Disclaimer* I received no compensation to write this review other than a free copy of the book. My opinions are always my own.


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