Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Adventures In Canning Part 2

  Saturday, 8/16, it was time to dip my toes into pickling. There's a first time for everything! My DAd was initially going to help me, but ended up having to work.
I decided on 2 recipes.....
 Sweet Pickle Relish - was recommended by a friend who was also kind enough to lend me her food processor and a julienne slicer. (Thank you so much A. D. - they came in very handy!)
 And also bread and butter pickles from the;
which is the cookbook my beloved Nana uses and has gifted both my mother and myself with. (I love it! Old fashioned? Yes. Effective - definitely!)

First up - relish. You had to let the cut veggies marinate in the salt and cold water for 2 hours.
The grater attachment on the food processor was used to cut the cucumbers. 
cut/grated veggies in salted water.
I modified the relish recipe slightly. Used 6 cups grated cukes instead of 4 but kept ratio of vinegar/sugar mixture the same. Fortunately it worked pretty well. (The recipe reviews said that 4 cups of cucumbers left too much extra juice after ladling everything into jars.) Putting 6 cups of cukes in was a happy accident though!
(I only took 1 picture of the process of the relish.)

Next up were the bread and butter pickles from the Mennonite Community Cookbook. I ended up hand slicing the gallon of cucumbers called for in the recipe. Mom helped me with the onions. : ) 
The plastic jar I used for the pickles is at least 2 gallons 
The big plastic jar was the only thing Mom and I could find to fit the gallon of sliced cukes + salted water called for in the bread and butter pickle recipe! It worked perfectly. : D
You had to let the cukes sit for 3 hours with the salted water - which I did. 
Turmeric is the component of bread and butter pickles that turns the pickle that bright yellowy green. Some utensils (plastic ones) ended up with bright green on them. Didn't come out in the wash either.
pickling liquid heating, jars in the back and canning kettle on the left

Halfway done. (1 batch of relish & the bread'n'butters)

8 pts+1 qt. bread'n'butter pickles on right. 4 pts.+ 7  1/2 pts relish on left and back row

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Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Adventures in Canning Part 1

I love cooking and preserving. In my search for awesome recipes I came across this one.. Peach Butter. I liked the fact that you didn't need to peel the skins off the peaches. 

Yesterday was Friday and I worked until 4:30. When I got off I raced up to Penzey's Spice Store near my house to pick up the cardamom and nutmeg I knew I didn't have at home. 

Earlier in the week I'd pitted, sliced and pureed 10 (or so) lbs of peaches. (Blessed that my parents own a VitaMix so blending all of that was a snap.) Once the fruit was liquified, I put everything in silicone ice cube trays..... And after I ended up with much more puree than ice cube trays, so I looked around and hit upon...
Yup - muffin pans! I put paper liners in and filled 'em up! (The pans at my place are much more beat up though!) I even used some of those disposable aluminum pans you can get from supermarkets.

Welllll, fast forward to Friday afternoon....................... 
After I got home from the store I quickly started pitting and slicing the rest of the peaches. (I ended up with roughly 15 lbs of the puree. w00ps! Rcipe called for 15 lbs of fruit - before pitting!) I cut way down on the cinnamon in the recipe - only used 1 tablespoon as opposed to 3 in the recipe. I added 1 vanilla bean and roughly 2-2 1/2 cups of cane sugar; neither of which were called for in the recipe.

The frozen peaches were dumped into the pot while I buzzed the freshly cut fruit in the VitaMix and added it.
Canning kettle on 2 left burners, pot with 1/2 pt. jars on back right and fruit right front .

I cooked the butter for an extra hour, as it had taken that long for the frozen puree to fully thaw. Spices were added, per the recipe, at the beginning.

about an hour into simmering

The results below
24 1/2 pint jars + 1 pint. 
Oh yeah - I broke a 25th 1/2 pint jar when I put it into the hot water bath. There's a first time for everything!

Result? Not too sweet fruit butter that is excellent on hot buttered toast.

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Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Putting up corn

My Mom saw a video similar to this one...
and showed it to my Dad who was inspired.

 This ^ happened last Friday..
Unfortunately, the yield wasn't as great as I had hoped for. We ended up with 14 qt bags plus a partial one after blanching & cooling 100+ ears.

Of course - it would've been slightly more if I hadn't kept nibbling on the kernels I cut the old fashioned way.
Dad and I are both hoping to put up another batch of corn, but first up?
Bread and Butter Pickles
Sweet Pickle Relish
Peach Butter - the nutritious way from Nourished Kitchen - Peach Butter

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Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth