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Stories from the valley

Duck Season and Home Canning Jelly for the Holidays

Contributed by Roberta Firoved

Home canning is gaining popularity with the DYI concept. In my family, canning, or putting-up, was a means to preserve a bountiful supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. We always had a plentiful garden, access to stone fruit, and made every attempt to never waste food.

My grandmother would can the best strawberry and apricot jams and mincemeat. Mom’s pomegranate jelly had no comparison, and even with the recipe, it cannot be duplicated. My experience in home canning came from observing and helping in the kitchen. Any person close to the kitchen was put to work and never in the way. We always had a lively household some may consider chaos.

Many of my early cooking/canning lessons came from standing at the elbow – standing by the side of the cook when I was waist height. After much observing, I was given specific tasks to complete as ownership in the process and final product.

Several years later, a co-worker gave me habañero peppers from the garden. Not knowing what to do with a hot pepper, I thought about what Mom would do. I remember she used an idea of red and green pepper jellies served over cream cheese as festive holiday appetizers. I no longer had my mother or grandmother for reference, so I researched recipes and canning processes. The family recipes and visions from my memories resulted in a recipe for habañero pepper jelly.

My habañero pepper jelly has been the base for several creative uses, including a spiced up peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Everything from serving over soft cheeses, to glazing/basting pork, to sauces for various game meat including duck.

Recipe for Dingville Duck by Jon Munger, Vice President of Operations at Montna Farms

Prep the whole duck (plucked and cleaned) by washing, rinsing and drying

Coat with peanut oil

Dry rub the duck using the following ingredients in order listed:

  • Heavy coating of lemon pepper
  • Light coating of garlic powder
  • Some Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • Follow with Chinese Spice

Cook the whole duck, breast side up, using indirect heat in a Weber barbecue. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes for medium rare.

  • While the duck cooks, prep the sauce to serve on the side:
  • 1 jar jelly red currant jelly – can substitute habañero pepper jelly
  • ½ stick of butter
  • White sherry wine to taste – if the jelly is too sweet
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste