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Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

Posted by malna NJ 5/6 (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 25, 12 at 9:27

I did some graphic work for an old client and didn't charge him. So he sent me a huge box of food as payment (he lives in a place with lots of ethnic markets and knows we can't get a lot of that kind of stuff locally). I wanted to make some jams or something as a "Thank You".

So I have:
Dried Elderflowers (I think I'll use those in the elderberry wine)
Dried Lavender (Blueberry Lavender Jam maybe?)
Dried Chamomile (something with apples?)
Panela (it's unrefined brown sugar that comes in a cone and is wrapped in corn husks - any reason why I couldn't use that instead of regular brown sugar in apple butter or a chutney?)
A bunch of different kinds of dried chili peppers (any way to turn those into a pepper jelly?)

Any ideas? And, no, I don't drink herbal tea.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

Small Batch Canning has a recipe for Peach Lavander jam that has gotten raves from friends.

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

Found this link for the elderflowers and the Strawberry-Apple Elderflower Jam sure sounds good. Most recipes seem to be cordials. Check out the Elderflower Fritters recipe too.

The sugar - FAIK you should be able to use it just like any brown sugar but I'd wonder if you might want to use less of it since it is unrefined.

Chamomile Pear Jelly (from unknown source on the Herbal Forum here)

1 1/2cups chamomile tea, strongly brewed
1/2cup pear nectar
4 Tbsp.lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch Certo Liquid Pectin
COMBINE tea, pear nectar, lemon juice, and sugar in large saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
IMMEDIATELY stir in liquid pectin, return to a full boil. Boil hard for 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off any foam. POUR quickly into hot jars filling up to 1/4-inch from rim. Seal while hot with 2-piece lids. Process in BWB for 5 mins. Let stand at room temperature until set.


Here is a link that might be useful: Elderflower recipes

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

I have been eyeing a recipe in Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning for elderberry flowers. It's more of a suggestion than a recipe. Toss a handful of dried elderberry flowers into a container do dried apples. Supposedly it infuses the apples with a pineapple flavor. If true, might be interesting to boil some up with apple cider to make a jelly. Would love to hear if that worked. Next spring I'm planting elderberries in my insectiary garden space, so I'll be curious to here what you do with them.
If panels is like canela, it might be good with butter as a quick pancake syrup alternative with some cinnamon. Canela has a strong molasses flavor, find it In the Mexican section of the grocery.
As for dried chiles I'd make a freezer mole sauce out of them unless they were nuclear hot. You can also pulse them in a blender for a chile powder if you use that for chili or to perk up a paprika.

Lavender - bury it in white sugar and use it like vanilla sugar in jams or baking. Would be yummy in whipped cream too.

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures, has recipes for two jams using elderflowers: Raspberry and Lemon jam with Elderflowers and Strawberry jam with Elderflowers. Wrong time of year I'm afraid for good strawberries or raspberries but I have never had a bad result from her book. She also has a plum jam with chamomile. If you would like any or all recipes, let me know.

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm still pondering, but I'll let you know what I decide to experiment with!

Elaina, thanks for the offer of the recipes - I do have the book. I'll try the raspberry one next spring when I pick fresh elderflowers.

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

I grow lavender. So far I have only used it for its aromatic properties. I crush some of the leaves and flowers and scatter them on the carpet. I put a new bag in the vacuum cleaner, and thereafter, each time I vacuum, the room is scented with a fresh, clean, light lavendery smell. The fragrance is reactivated each time I vacuum. Stores sell products like this for several dollars a package. Mine's free!

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

  • Posted by malna NJ 5/6 (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 29, 12 at 12:02

I *did* grow lavender. DH thought it was a weed (I guess) and it didn't survive the weed whacker...

I forgot to buy some plants this spring to replace them (in the new "safe zone" that's off limits to DH :-) It is absolutely my favorite smell in the garden and the house, too.

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

malna - good luck with the lavendar next year. I lost the top of a pepper plant to the weedwhacker - DH was whacking the aisles between my raised beds and the string broke and decapitated a serrano plant. At least he didn't do it on purpose (and at least it wasn't an exotic)!

I think you could use the dried flowers in jams - they should rehydrate, as long as you can figure out how much to substitute for fresh.

Have been lurking to see what you decide to do with your goodies...

RE: Need Some Ideas Using Unusual Ingredients

I have steeped lavender in apple juice I made myself and then strained it. I then added sugar and made a lavendar jelly. I added a tiny bit of purple food colouring to give it the lavender colour. It's quite a hit.

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