Advance warning: Cellphone photos! Some taken in a hurry, therefore blurry.
I learned many things during my time spent in Utah, where I was being certified as a Master Food Preserver. I learned things about about my fellow classmates like Linda, who loves to grow unusual produce in her garden in Hurricane. One day she brought these Traveler tomatoes to class for an impromptu show & tell.
I also learned about the patience level of our good-humored and knowledgeable instructor, Carolyn Washburn, who showed us how to test pressure canner gauges:
And how to determine the safe pH levels of salsa:
And most of all I learned that that after 30 years, I still discover something new every time I preserve food, especially when I surround myself with other people who enjoy the art of preserving as much as I do.
One thing I never tire of when preserving food is the ability to create almost limitless combinations of foods using a variety of techniques. Most of my forays into food preserving are a delight. Very few disappoint. I'm not one to focus on failures; some of them can be used as a learning tool, but I'll save that for another day.
Instead let's focus on one of my favorite preserving methods: pickling. It can be used to preserve just about anything, including fruits, flowers, nuts, and meats. Probably the most common things we pickle are vegetables and I discovered something new this past week during my Master Food Preserver Certification class:
If you like the slightly nutty taste and firm texture of snowy-white jicama root, you'll probably really love these crunchy cubes after they've been pickled. They're packed into jars using one of my favorite brines, a sweet-tart "bread & butter" style pickling liquid, and then the jars are processed for shelf stability. Yes, this recipe is USDA-approved. It was part of our class, from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, Bulletin No. 539, Section 6, page 18, and it's a winner.
Just when you think you've pickled everything, someone hands you a jicama and it starts all over again. From where I stand, there's no end in sight to the possibilities for preserving.
Now get picklin'!