Gluten Free Vegan (or not!) Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is lazy apple pie. I make it much more often, though, mostly because my mother’s apple pie is kind of famous and I’m too intimidated to even try. Yes, I’m aware that’s silly, and no, I’m not willing to just get over it. And really, at this point in my life, I’m not willing to spend the energy required to figure out how to make a good pie crust without using Crisco. So apple crisp it is. Because I kind of fly by the seat of my pants, the measurements are not very exact. I’ll include some very estimated amounts in the Ingredients section, and then the basic way I actually calculate the amounts in the Method section. Please feel free to follow whichever way makes more sense to you.

Ingredients:

8 apples

any spices you like–cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, a tiny bit of cloves, or even a little chili powder if you’re feeling adventurous. It’s also fine plain if you’re not.

2 c almonds

1/2 c sugar (I have a hunch you could try this with maple syrup or honey, too, but I haven’t. Sometimes white sugar is delicious.)

1/2 c some fat. I recommend either coconut oil, non-hydrogenated margarine (not just trans-fat free…that’s a trick. Look at the ingredients.), or butter.

Method:

Preheat oven to 375.

Peel and cut up a few apples (maybe 1 per guest or so…depending on how much you all like apples!). Mix up with whatever spices you’re adding and set aside in the baking dish.

Put almonds (about 1/4-1/3 cup per apple) into food processor and pulse with the chopping blade until you have a semi-coarse almond meal. Switch it over to a dough blade if you have one.

Add your sugar (about 1-2 tbsp per apple…depending on your sweet tooth) and your fat (about 1 tbsp per 1/4 cup almonds) to the food processor, and pulse until combined.

Spread crumb topping over the apples, bake about half an hour or until bubbly and delicious smelling. Let cool for a few minutes before serving with yogurt, ice cream, a bottle of Port, etc.

Happy Fall!

I am the asparagus of friends

I’m not for everyone.

Some people are super sad when they see me on their plate.

I’m extremely nourishing (some would even say “alkalizing” or “medicinal”) and offer many important nutrients.

Some people consider me a laxative…if there is crap between us you can believe I’ll get it out there.

But the people who love me really do love me and are very happy when I come around.

I am the asparagus of friends.

Homemade Spelt Crackers

Get ready to have your face rocked off (inside-joke-from-a-long-time-ago alert…): Friends, we have been hoodwinked. Crackers don’t have to come in a box. They can be made at home. And you know what? They’re pretty easy. Certainly much easier than most of us have been led to believe. And super delicious.

I adapted this recipe from Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for More Food. If I was only going to have three cookbooks, this would be one of them. It’s seriously great. He’s the science teacher in our house (cooking is really about chemical reactions between different ingredients and managing when and how they occur). If you’re an Alton Brown nerd like me it will interest you to know that these crackers fell under the ‘Muffin Method” category, which is not where you’d expect them to be. If not, forget I mentioned it.

Ingredients:

2 c Spelt (or other) flour, plus more for dusting, and possibly for the right dough texture

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 cups seeds (Mr. Brown suggests sesame and poppy seeds; delicious and very flavorful) or more flour.

3/4 tsp cream of tartar

3 tbsp olive or other vegetable oil

1 c water

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450. A flat, seasoned baking stone (like a well-oiled pizza stone) works the best for these, but a cookie sheet or something would probably be fine too. If you’re into parchment paper that would probably make  the whole thing easy.

Whisk together dry ingredients thoroughly.

Mix in olive oil until thoroughly combined (the oil coats the dry ingredients and leads to more tender crackers).

Add about 3/4 c of the water and mix with a spatula, adding more water and flour until you have a workable dough. I tend to leave the dough a little sticky and just use lots of flour for dusting the rolling pin and surface.

Roll it out a bit until it’s about a half-inch thick.

Take the hot pizza stone out of the oven. Put the dough directly on the stone and roll it out as thin as possible (don’t burn yourself!), usually about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness. Use a pizza cutter to score it into fancy little squares, if you want. You could also just break it in pieces after baking, if you don’t care about appearances.

Put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes, until the pieces start to shrink away from each other, then flip them over and stick them back in until they reach your desired crunchiness. I tend to like them a little softer, but for my crunchy-loving friends they can easily be toasted a bit after the fact.

That’s it. There are endless possible variations on these.

Honey, maple syrup, molasses, etc. in place of a little bit of the water. Milk in place of some or all of the water. Cumin, caraway, or other seeds. Curry seasoning. Any other seasoning you like the taste of. Sprinkling some kosher salt on top before the bake. Grated cheese on top. Grated cheese in the crackers. Use your imagination, and let me know if you come up with something delicious so I can make it too!

These are a few of my favorite things….to make in my food processor…

Lots of food processors in my immediate vicinity just now…I’m feeling inspired to explore new recipes for mine, so please feel free to add your own favorite ideas in the comments, if you like.

Here are some of my most commonly home-processed foods:

power bites/bars (recipes from Healthy Snacks to Go from Kitchen Stewardship blogger Katie Kimball)

slicing potatoes

grating cheese

chopping onions, garlic, peppers….

Grinding up meat– if you buy meat at the grocery store, buying a regular cut of meat and grinding it yourself is a good way to ensure that you aren’t getting any ammonia (a “process” used in many ground meat products).

pesto– basil pesto is the most common, but I also like to use broccoli, arugula, or other greens as a base.

pie crust

this strawberry face mask from Crunchy Betty (although I didn’t eat the rest of it like she recommended. I froze it in individual use sizes and defrost one whenever I want to use it).

Scones
I just made these today:

Here’s the recipe:

Cocoa Pecan Brownie Scones


The ingredients:

2 1/4  c whole spelt flour (you could use all purpose or whole wheat; just use less), plus more for dusting the work surface
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1/3 c olive or other vegetable oil (non-gmo if possible)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 beaten egg
1/3 c yogurt or buttermilk

1/2 c pecans (or other nuts, chocolate chips, or whatever dried fruit you enjoy the taste of with chocolate. You should adjust the name appropriately when you present them to your friends, of course.

1 egg
1 tsp chocolate syrup -or- a little sugar
oil for the cookie sheet, or parchment paper, if you’re into that.

The method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil or line a cookie sheet (I pour a little oil on and smooth it around with my hand. Unless E. is around. If she is, that is her favorite job).

Combine dry ingredients in food processor with dough attachment. Pulse until well mixed.

Add olive oil and pulse until dry ingredients are fairly evenly coated. Beat the egg with the vanilla and yogurt (I used my homemade yogurt from skim milk), add, and pulse until a soft dough is formed. You may need to add more flour during this step.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat into a long, narrow rectangle (a bar about 3 or 4 inches wide). Cut it into alternating right triangles to make traditional scone shapes like the ones pictured, or shape them however you like. Baking time may vary depending on the size of your scones.

Place scones on the oiled pan. Brush the tops with the egg mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops start to look a little golden brown (this might be a little hard to judge since they are chocolate, but a toothpick should come out clean, and you want  the outside to be a little crunchy).

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A few weird (and a few not so weird) things you can make in a crockpot

Yogurt-I tried this once and it worked okay, although I’d say it was more the kind of yogurt that’s good for using in recipes in place of buttermilk (pancakes, waffles, etc.) since it was so runny, although I could have strained it through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and it would probably have been fine. Honestly, I usually use this recipe from Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life  because it’s very easy, although it doesn’t make as much…unless you use multiple thermal coffee mugs.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Chickpeas-beans, water (make sure you use a lot of water…if there’s not enough the beans won’t be covered once they expand during cooking and they will be inedible), overnight or all day. Then you can freeze them, use them in hummus, or add them to salads, soups, or whatever you use your canned beans for.

Garbanzo beans (Psych! Those are the same as chickpeas)

Many other dried beans– Same method. Cooking times vary by bean, so google your bean before you cook it so you can not end up with undercooked or mushy beans.

Whole chicken– Whole chickens are much cheaper to buy than boneless skinless parts, and then you can make stock. If I’m going to eat meat, I prefer use the whole thing! You can do a fancy sauce, or just stick the thing in there and put it on high for a few hours. Longer if it’s frozen (I never think ahead enough to thaw them beforehand). You can add a few small potatoes or carrots or parsnips if you want to serve them as part of the meal.

chicken stock– after we eat our chicken, the bones go straight into the crockpot and then I cover them with water and make stock overnight, then strain it and make soup for the next night. Maybe Leftover Soup?

vegetable stock (my friend J keeps carrot peels, apple peels, onion bits, etc. and sticks them in the freezer until she has enough to fill a pot. Easy and free using bits you would have otherwise just thrown in the trash or compost.

Cornmeal grits

Chili– obviously.

Apple Butter– cook apples down until they are apple sauce (I like to peel and core them, although I got a fancy shmancy apple peeler corer slicer thing for christmas so I’ll probably do that next year), then take the lid off, add spices and cook them down more until they are apple butter. Then make biscuits. Or toast. Not in the crockpot though.

Dal– Indian Red Lentil stew…served with chapates or brown rice or both. Delicious and very good for you!

Sausage, potato, and kale soup-the only ingredients that aren’t in the title are salt, pepper and some kind of stock. Brown the sausage first. It tastes better. Wash the kale and rip it into smallish pieces. Half a pound of sausage is enough to make a pretty big pot of soup. Cook it all up and use a potato masher to mush up the potatoes so the soup will be creamy and delicious.

Leftover Soup-combine veggies from the freezer, crisper, or pantry, cover with any kind of broth or water, cook all day and then spice it up as you like it…curry spices and a wand blender will make everything better. Okay, not everything. But this soup.

My favorite Leftover Soup usually consists pretty much of these things:

  • a few potatoes, washed and quartered, if they’re big (no peeling)
  • carrots if I have them (again, washing is good enough)
  • a jar of tomatoes (pint or quart…dealer’s choice)
  • 1-4 cloves of garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • frozen summer squash, winter squash, or other veggies you froze because you didn’t know what to do with them at the time. 😉
  • maybe an apple or two
  • some wine
  • curry spices-either curry powder, or some configuration including some or all (but not limited to) ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, chili powder, mustard, and/or cumin.

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On giving thanks in an integrated way

Just now, while getting the baby to sleep, I happened upon a Thanksgiving post from a blogger that I like. With the unpopular-sounding title “The Call to Mourn on Thanksgiving.”

She makes a point that is unpleasant. My first reaction was, “Oh geez…I don’t want to read that. It sounds like a downer.” I still read it, though, because I don’t want to go through life with my eyes closed.

The thing is, I struggle to walk the line between keeping my awareness and losing my joy. It seems incredibly garish to put on a celebration with no thought at all toward where our food came from or how it was raised, who made all the decorations we spend our money on and put up once a year, or where all the disposables will go once we throw them “away.”  I have been in churches with people I respect in many other ways who roll their eyes and say, “I just try not to think about it” at the mention of free-range or vegetarian alternatives (not from me…I have long since learned not to bring up certain topics in certain types of mixed company…no sense arguing about things other people don’t care about at all and aren’t willing to change their opinions about, and I don’t want to be “that girl” unless some fruit is going to come of it).

So I get where angry hippies (or so we might be called behind our backs) are coming from.

The thing is, I think there is more to living the life of Jesus in the world than just being outraged by things that are wrong. At a wedding one time Jesus’ mom said to him, “They’re out of wine. Do something.” He didn’t give a sermon on drunkenness. He didn’t even call them irresponsible for drinking so much wine when other people didn’t have anything to eat or drink at all. It doesn’t mean that those things weren’t true. Another time he told people who were fasting to get up, wash their face and go on about their life instead of making a big dramatic show about it. Not every moment is the right moment for speaking out the truth, and God is the only one who can really know for sure when we are lovingly sowing seeds that will result in actual change  or casting our pearls before pigs. He will tell us, if we will just listen.

If we know we are doing our best to be obedient to that prompting, then we can trust also that we are not responsible for people’s reactions. If we take “speaking the truth in love” as a license to be a jerk and speak our minds as we please, then we are entirely responsible for the consequences. I wish I had learned this lesson much earlier in life. It would have saved me lots of apologies and relationships over the years.

Some Bible verses we are thinking on this week:

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus*, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

*There is this movie that I didn’t like very much that had this one really great scene wherein Queen Elizabeth finds out that someone has been going around doing all sorts of inappropriate things “in the name of the Queen.” She catches him at it and says, “Young man, have a care with my name, else you will wear it out.”

Doing something in someone’s name means that you think before you do things about whether they would be happy about it.

Some Brainwaves I Didn’t Waste…

After my last post, I have done tolerably well (meaning really well some days and not well at all other days…we all do the best we can) at monitoring my thoughts and at least recognizing when I am wasting them.

So what kinds of things do I consider to be worth my energy to think about?

Well, here are a couple of things that I’d blog about if I had myself more together:

Plastic diapers – I recently read this alarmist and judgmental article and was left with the feeling that my baby would be sterile, have autism or possibly even burst into flames if I continued using the polyurethane laminate diaper covers that I have had for 3 years as they likely contain PVC, phthalates, and other neurotoxins. So I called all the makers of all the diapers that I have (about 8 different phone calls) and then called several PUL manufacturers when I couldn’t find the maker of one of my diapers (Captain Fluffy Pants has disappeared off the face of the earth, apparently. It happens. She was a WAHM and has moved on to other things that don’t involve answering emails from someone who bought her stuff 3 years ago) to ask them questions.  One very kind man at a manufacturer’s customer service line assured me there was only a 10 percent chance that my baby would burst into flames. 😉

He explained to me that there was a short period from about 2006-2007 or so when PUL was very popular but hadn’t yet been regulated. before that there was really only one manufacturer who sold it and they didn’t use pvc in their production of PUL. Then cloth diapering got trendy and CPSIA certification became a thing and now it seems like most cloth diaper companies (I say most although I don’t want to generalize…do your own homework and make your own decisions, people) are using certified PUL which means it is presently understood to be the most stable and least toxic plastic possible. Yes, it’s still plastic. It’s not the best thing possible. Yes, ideally we would diaper our babies with hopes and dreams and marshmallow fluff. Okay, maybe not marshmallow fluff, but you get the idea. Natural fibers or bust. I have looked into wool covers for diapers, and even made a few of them myself. But they are too expensive to be something I would use exclusively, and require a lot of extra work to care for that I frankly am not willing to put in at this moment in my life. Even plastic reusable diapers are still reusable (each one of my diapers has now replaced hundreds of ‘sposies at this point) and we are doing the best we can.

 

Food and Community – We like food at our house. We like to make it, like to eat it, like to think about it, like to talk about it, love to share it. We try to eat things that are food, and for a long time that was stressful because I was working out what that meant for family get-togethers and things. I am not good at hiding what I am thinking, so as I went through this process I would make the most unseemly faces every time someone handed us a potato chip or a cookie at a function:

Well, what does that have in it? No way to check. Don’t think too long…it’ll be weird. They said they got it at Giant Eagle…ummm….ok…starting to think too long…quick, decide! Will compromise on: genetically modified foods, conventional vs organic, more sugar than normal, maybe a little high fructose corn syrup. Food dyes? Jury’s still out. Preservatives? Not too sure yet. Probably compromise. Will not compromise on: hydrogenated oils, chemical sweeteners, meat from suspect sources. Crap. Thought too long. Yep, 30 seconds of silence is definitely too long.

So that’s what would go through my head every time we were offered any food. And because it wasn’t settled in my mind yet, I was extremely awkward about it. I was trying to decide each moment what we were going to do, and trying to do it without being a Crazy Hippie Mom. I didn’t want to just say, “no, we don’t eat that,” because it felt judgmental but I couldn’t figure out what to say which ended up being way worse.

My very patient MIL confided to me the other day that I’ve gotten much better about this as I’ve grown into my opinions more. She said it’s a lot less awkward now because I just quietly explain what we do or don’t eat (she only told me this because I asked her if it was okay that I didn’t eat the croutons in our lunch salad because I knew from getting takeout from that restaurant before that they contain hydrogenated soybean oil…E asked me why she couldn’t have them and Iwhispered to her that there were things that weren’t food in them, but that we’d compromise and she could have the salad with the HFCS dressing and I wanted to make sure she wasn’t offended…she’s not the kind of lady who volunteers opinions like that, just FYI. She kinda rocks like that).

Sometimes people will take the choices that I make as a personal indictment, whether they are about food, natural living, or Jesus. Whether they are meant that way or not (they’re not, by the way). It’s not my job for everyone else to be fine with the choices I make. But it is my job to be thoughtful about them. As a church we are called to give an answer for our beliefs to anyone who asks us. It actually says that, in Timothy. And if we’re not instructed to be preachy and obnoxious and judgmental when sharing God’s love, who am I to be any of those ways about anything less important than that (which is everything)?

Well, kids are requiring focused attention again. Those are some brainwaves that I know for sure aren’t wasted.

Crockpot Carrot Ginger Soup

It’s the time of year when the common cold abounds. And the flu. And seasonal allergies. It’s a tough time of year for the respiratory and immune systems.

Not being the cold-medicine type, I usually stock up on fresh ginger root, raw cider vinegar, raw honey and eucalyptus, and look for recipes that use those ingredients.

This soup is delicious with crusty bread and has many ingredients that make it very good for what ails you. I found the recipe somewhere a long time ago, and have gradually tweaked and adapted it for the crockpot because, as I mentioned before, crockpot cooking is lovely.

So if you’ve got a cold, or you live where it’s cold, or even if you don’t, here you go.

Kate’s Crockpot Carrot Ginger Soup

The ingredients:

2-3 pounds carrots

3-4 medium or smallish onions, to taste

some fresh ginger root (to taste…this is a make-you-feel-better ingredient), peeled and roughly chopped

2-5 cloves garlic (depending on size…to taste)

1-2 tsp salt (to taste)

a dash chipotle or other chili powder or 1 small hot pepper (make it spicy in whatever way seems appropriate to you)

water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock to cover

raw apple cider vinegar or thieves’ vinegar*

The method:

Peel and roughly chop the ginger. Peel the garlic. No need to peel the carrots (especially if they are organic). Just cut off the top and cut them into pieces about 3-4 inches long. Peel the onions and quarter them. Cut them a little smaller if you like. They’ll cook faster. Or not. Whatever.

Put all ingredients except the cider vinegar in the crockpot, cover with your cooking liquid of choice. Cook on High for 4 hours or so, until veggies are fork-tender.

I use a wand (or “immersion”) blender because it takes under a minute and I don’t have to transfer hot soup. If you don’t have one of those, you could do it in batches in a blender or food processor.

Add the vinegar to taste, and adjust the salt and chili powder as needed.

And that’s it.

The ginger, cider vinegar, and heat of this recipe make it great for a cold.

I wish you good health this season.

K.

* thieves’ vinegar is a concoction with legendary origins…the story goes that these four guys were robbing plague victims. When they were eventually caught and sentenced to death, they were told they could have their sentence suspended if they shared the secret of how they were able to go into plague-ridden house after house without catching the disease. They then shared the combination of herbs they used to stave off the sickness. There’s lots of disagreement over what exactly the formula was, but the recipe I used called for packing a mason jar with equal parts thyme, lavender, rosemary and sage. Then you cover those with raw cider vinegar, put the lid on and let it sit in a dark place for 6 weeks. From what I understand, thyme contains thymerosol, which is a key ingredient in vapo-rubs and things. Thieves’ vinegar can be used in soups or salads or taken straight for a sore throat. But be warned it has a very strong taste. So go easy, at least until you know what it tastes like.

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Crockpot Ratatouille

I’m a fan of my slow cooker. It’s not that it’s actually less work. It’s just that there’s such a long gap between when you do the prep work and when you get to eat it that you sort of…forget. Also dinner tends to be a sort of busier time for lots of people so it’s nice to be able to do the work during a calmer part of the day.

J. doesn’t like squash. Also, he doesn’t like eggplant. So, for several weeks in summer, he is very sad (though he doesn’t complain) to see how much of these things end up in our csa bag. He’s very flexible by nature and had a very good mother so he will eat something even if he isn’t a huge fan. But still, I look for ways to hide the taste of things that I know he doesn’t prefer.

This is the second recipe that I’ve attempted. I made Ratatouille’s Ratataouille first, with a couple of little adjustments based on what I had in my kitchen. While we were eating this time, he told me, “I liked that last one, even though it was Ratatouille. But this…this is really good!”  Since I don’t have a problem with squash or eggplant, I really liked both of them, but my recipe is pretty different from hers.

So here’s my recipe for Crockpot Ratatouille.

The ingredients:

about a quart of peeled diced tomatoes, fresh or canned or whatever

1 large or several small onions, finely chopped

several cloves of garlic, depending on your taste

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 or 3 summer squash or zucchini, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

a red bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces

a green pepper, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces

a few carrots, peeled if you like (or just washed) and thinly sliced

some red wine, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh herbs–I used parsley, oregano and thyme

shredded basil and some strong hard cheese to grate over top. I used a pecorino and it was delicious.

The method:

Put the tomatoes on to boil. As they are heating up, use whatever method you choose to make tiny pieces of onion and garlic. I used a food processor because I usually find using a knife to mince things tedious. But that’s just me. You can cook the onion and garlic in some oil for a bit, but I just tossed it in with the tomatoes and let it all boil down a little (with some water added until it looked saucy enough for me) while I cooked everything else. Just keep an eye on it.

Saute the eggplant, squashes, bell peppers and carrots separately over medium-high heat. I used some olive oil in a cast iron skillet, but a wok might be really nice too. The point of this is to seal in those flavors individually a bit before throwing them all together in the  final dish. A little browning is okay, but don’t feel like you have to cook them all the way.

As you finish sauteing something, toss it in the crockpot to make room for the next thing. After you finish all of that, add the herbs and the tomato mixture. Pour in as much wine as you’re using (I think I used about 1/2 cup or so). Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Cook in the slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours.

Serve over brown rice, quinoa (E’s favorite!), couscous, or whatever grain catches your eye.

Either serve with shredded basil and grated cheese on top if you’re fancy, or put it out on the table if you’re not. This is also a flexible dish to serve for gluten free (just make sure your grainy side dish is gf) or vegan friends (just leave the cheese off or get some sort of vegan not-cheese…although be careful because those are NOT all created equal…and some of them have casein, which is a vegan no-no as it is a dairy protein.)

Watermelon Rind Preserves…oops, I mean jam…

UPDATE: It turns out after a little research that what I like is actually watermelon rind JAM, not preserves. I didn’t want to preserve the shape of the fruit….I wanted it to be all smeary on my toast and only later realized that it’s actually jam.

These taste much better than they sound. Really. I tried them out of sheer curiosity, and because I really like the idea of using something that I would otherwise compost. And you know what? They aren’t bad. I mean, they aren’t my favorite preserves (ahem…jam), but I tried them in a sandwich with some goat cheese and they were pretty good.

So in case you are feeling adventurous too, here’s the recipe. Please note that I am not a canning expert and you should do your own research on how to safely can. Canning safety is NOT the point of this post.

There. That’s out of the way. Here’s the recipe. I started with the Ball Blue Book (a great resource for all things food preservation) and made some modifications.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 – 2 quarts watermelon rind

4 tbsp salt

water to cover

1 tbsp ginger

4 c sugar

1/4 c lemon juice

1 1/2  quarts water

1 medium very thinly sliced and seeded lemon

Method:

Trim green peel and flesh from the white watermelon rind. Cut rind into approximately 1 inch pieces. Dissolve the salt in 1 quart of water and pour it over the rind, then add more water as needed to cover. Mine looked like this:

Let it stand for 5-6 hours. If you forget about it, say, overnight…that would be fine too.  😉

Drain. Rinse. Drain again. Cover with cold water and let stand 30 minutes. Drain. Sprinkle ginger over rind (if you forget about this part, you can also just add some ginger to the cooking preserves later). Cover with water. Cook until tender. Drain.

Combine sugar, lemon juice and 1 1/2 quarts water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Add rind (UPDATE: you can put the rind in the food processor after this initial cooking instead of waiting until the end…it’s less sticky that way). Boil gently until rind is transparent (this takes a long time-make this on a day when you have the whole afternoon free). Add lemon slices. At this point, you can use an immersion blender to make the texture more spreadable if you want to. I did. Here is what it looked like before:

I didn’t want to spread that on my bagel; thus the immersion blender (I highly recommend this particular kitchen gadget–like love, it covers a multitude of sins). I suppose you could also just chop the rind and lemon up very small using a knife or a food processor before you added them to the syrup.

But I digress.

As I was saying: add lemon slices, use the immersion blender if you want to. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process 20 minutes in a boiling water canner. Give to people who invite you to dinner parties if you think they’d care about it. Or give as holiday gifts. Or eat it yourself and enjoy the fact that you prevented something from being wasted. 🙂