Thursday, June 19, 2014

preserved 2014: candied angelica stems

There now, isn't that a pretty sight? And one of my favorites, too: candied angelica stems. I planted two more plants last year, so I could harvest this year - and lucky me, I planted them in a partly shady area. This plant seems to like a bit of shade, and it definitely likes a good drink of water, which makes it an easy plant to grow here in the wet and gloomy Pacific Northwest.

I have a tendency to grab these when I want something sweet, but I'm trying to save a bunch for my fruitcakes this year (so I made two batches - the second one is still drying). A longer version of this recipe can be found in full here, in last year's post. It's a simple, if time-consuming, process. The stalks are harvested before they turn purple at the base. Leaves are removed and they are cut into lengths (whatever you like! I usually do between 3 and 5 inches. They are soaked in cool water for eight hours, then drained. Bring water and baking soda (1 tsp baking soda per quart of water) to a boil; add the stems and cook for five minutes, then shock in an ice bath. Once cool, drain the stalks and peel the outer layer of skin and strings and discard. Bring a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) to boil on the stove. Add the stalks and cook for about 3 minutes. Allow to cool, uncovered, on the stove. When completely cool, cover and place in the refrigerator for two days. After two days, remove the stalks, and bring the syrup back to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and return the stems to the syrup. Allow to cool, uncovered. When cool, cover and replace in refrigerator. After two more days, take out the pan, remove the stalks, and bring the syrup to a boil for a third time. This time, add the stalks and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain the stalks, and place on a baking sheet (or this year, I'm using the drying racks of my food dehydrator) and allow to stand for about 4 days until they are mostly dry. Pack into a jar and store away from heat and light.

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