Citrus - Preserving the Harvest

Buying Fresh Citrus:
Look for fruit that are firm and heavy for their size, with bright, colorful skins. Avoid fruit with bruised, wrinkled or discolored skins; this indicates the fruit is old or has been stored incorrectly. Citrus fruit peel may vary in thickness, depending on weather conditions during the growing season.

Western climates make for bright colored oranges. However, don't worry if you see a Valencia with slightly green-colored skin. "Regreening" is a natural process that can occur in warm weather, even though the fruit is deliciously ripe!

Most citrus will keep at room temperature for several days. For best results, store citrus in a plastic bag or the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

More info on oranges.
More info on lemons.
More info on grapefruit.

Peeling and Handling Citrus

There's more than one way to peel an orange! Here are a few of our favorite techniques for getting the best from every piece of fresh citrus. For best results, be sure to use a sharp knife.

The "Basketball" Peeling Method
Slice off the stem end of the fruit. Without cutting into the "meat" of the fruit, score the peel with a knife or the Sunkist Citrus Peeler™ into quarters like a basketball. Pull the peel away with your fingers.

The "Round and Round" Peeling Method
Using a slightly sawing motion, cut only the outer colored peel away in a continuous spiral, leaving the white membrane. Cutting lengthwise with curve of fruit, remove the white membrane.

Citrus Segments
Peel an orange, grapefruit, or tangerine by hand, or with the Sunkist Citrus Peeler™. Gently separate the fruit along the natural divisions.

Citrus Sections
With knife, peel an orange or grapefruit. Working over a bowl to reserve the juice, cut along both sides of each dividing membrane and lift out sections from center.

Bite-sized pieces
Cut a peeled orange or grapefruit in half lengthwise and, with a shallow "V" shape cut, remove the white center core. Place the halves cut-side-down; cut lengthwise and crosswise.

Basic Wheel Slices
Cut a thin slice from both ends of peeled or unpeeled fruit. Then slice the fruit crosswise into the desired thickness. Cut cartwheels in half for half-cartwheel slices.

Unpeeled Smiles or Wedges
For easy-to-eat orange "smiles," cut the fruit in half crosswise; then cut 3 or 4 wedges from each half. For traditional wedges, cut the fruit in half lengthwise; then cut each half into wedges.

Grated Peel
Wash and dry the fruit. Using a citrus peel grater, with quick downward strokes, remove the outer colored layer of peel, also called the zest. If using a cheese grater, be sure to use light pressure and avoid the white pith.

Grate the zest over wax paper then put the desired amount into a measuring spoon; do not pack. Grated citrus zest freezes well. Seal some in a plastic bag and pop it into the freezer for next time!

Freezing Citrus
Take advantage of times when your favorite citrus fruits are plentiful by preparing and freezing some for later.

The fresh-squeezed juice and grated peel or zest may be refrigerated or frozen. Grated peel can be frozen and used as needed to provide zest to recipes. Whole citrus fruit should not be frozen, but for a dramatic and healthy dessert, freeze hollowed out citrus rinds filled with orange, lemon or grapefruit sorbet.

Canning Citrus

Citrus Juices--Good for lemons, oranges, & Grapefruits
Peel the fruit and reserve the peels on the side. Juice and strain the citrus--Either use a citrus juicer or bring the fruit to a boil, then cool and crush the juice out with a potato masher. Use cheese cloth to strain out the pulp and seeds. For especially clear juice, refrigerate for 24-48 hours and carefully pour the clarified juice off into a non-reactive pot. Bring the juice to a boil and then pour it into sterilized canning jars with 1/2 inch of headspace. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 5 minutes for pints or quarts, 10 minutes for 1/2 gallons.

Lemon Curd-May also be made using oranges.
Lemon curd is a traditional British dessert topping. It is made from lemon or lime juice, egg white, egg yolk, butter, and sugar. It is similar to lemon custard, but traditionalists feel that curd has more lemon flavor than lemon custard. Made fresh it has a refrigerator shelf life of approx. 1 week. Canned, it can have a shelf life of approximately 3 to 4 months. If you don’t mind the darkening that occurs, it can have a shelf life of up to 1 year.

• 2 ½ cups sugar
• ½ cup lemon or lime zest
• 1 cup bottled lemon or lime juice
• ¾ cup butter (salted or unsalted--do not use oleo or margarine.)
• 7 large egg yolks
• 4 large whole eggs

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl, stir to mix, and set aside about 30 minutes. Pre-measure the lemon juice and prepare the chilled butter pieces.

Heat water in the bottom pan of the double boiler until it boils gently. The water should not boil vigorously or touch the bottom of the top double boiler pan or bowl in which the curd is to be cooked. Steam produced will be sufficient for the cooking process to occur.

In the top of the double boiler, on the counter top or table, whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs together until thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in the sugar and zest, blending until well mixed and smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and then add the butter pieces to the mixture.

Place the top of the double boiler over boiling water in the bottom pan. Stir gently but continuously with a silicone spatula or cooking spoon, to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F. Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Remove the double boiler pan from the stove and place on a protected surface, such as a dish cloth or towel on the counter top. Continue to stir gently until the curd thickens (about 5 minutes). Strain curd through a mesh strainer into a glass or stainless steel bowl; discard collected zest.

Fill hot strained curd into the clean, hot halfpint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 15 minutes for half-pints. Makes about 4 half-pints Lemon, lime and orange curd may be frozen for up to a year.

Citrus Jelly
3 3/4 cups of lemon juice
7 cups of sugar
2 (3 oz. pkgs.) pectin

Juice the citrus and combine in a pan with sugar and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove the foam on the top of the mixture and add the pectin. Boil 1 more minute. Pour it into sterilized jars. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 5 minutes for half-pints or pints.

Lemon Marmalade

3 pounds lemons
8 to 10 cups granulated sugar

Slice the lemons as thinly as possible and discard the ends. Remove and discard all the seeds. Place the lemon slices in a nonreactive bowl and add enough water to cover. Let stand overnight.

Measure the lemons and water into a wide, shallow, nonreactive pan. Add an equal volume of sugar and cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently and skimming off the foam as it rises, until temperature reaches 220 degrees F, about 1/2 hour.

Remove marmalade from heat. To test for consistency, drop a little marmalade on a saucer and put the saucer into the freezer until marmalade is cold, about 5 minutes.

Tip the saucer. The marmalade should just barely run. If too thin, return the marmalade to medium-high heat and cook, testing often, until it has reached the right consistency.

Put marmalade into hot, sterilized pint or half-pint jars. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month or, for longer storage, Pour it into sterilized jars. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 5 minutes for half-pints or pints.

Citrus Sections--works best for oranges and grapefruit

Select firm, mature, sweet fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh. The flavor of orange sections is best if the sections are canned with equal parts of grapefruit. Grapefruit may be canned without oranges. Sections may be packed in your choice of water, citrus juice or syrup.

Wash and peel fruit and remove white tissue to prevent a bitter taste. If you use syrup, prepare a very light, light, or medium syrup and bring to boil. Fill jars with sections and water, juice or hot syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 10 minutes for pints.

Grapefruit Marmalade

1 to 3 Texas Ruby Red or Rio Star grapefruit
1 lemon
1 1/2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups granulated sugar
1/2 (6 ounce) bottle liquid fruit pectin

Remove skins in quarters from grapefruit and lemon. Set fruit aside. Lay quarters flat; shave off and discard almost all white part. With a sharp knife or scissors, slice rind very thin. Combine rind, water and baking soda in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chop peeled grapefruit and lemon; discard seeds. Add to cooked rind and continue simmering 10 minutes.

Measure 3 cups fruit mixture into large saucepan. Add sugar to fruit in pan; mix well. Place over high heat; bring to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in pectin at once. Skim off any foam. Stir and skim 7 minutes. Ladle into hot sterile jars. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 10 minutes for pints.

Strawberry Lemonade

4 quarts strawberries, washed and hulled
4 cups lemon juice
3 quarts water
6 cups granulated sugar

Puree strawberries in a blender, food processor or food mill. For a clearer lemonade, extract juice from strawberries with a juice extractor.

Place strawberries in an 8-quart or larger pot. Add lemon juice, water and sugar. Place mixture over medium heat and heat to 165 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Do not boil.

Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon. Quickly ladle hot juice into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 15 minutes for quarts.

Refrigerate before opening or serve over ice.

Yields 6 to 7 quarts.

Preserved Lemons

Choose smooth, thin-skinned, unblemished lemons. Scrub them well. Make two vertical cuts in a cross to within about 1/2 inch of their base, so that they still hold together. Put 1/4 teaspoon of salt into the center of each lemon and press them closed. Pack tight in sterilized glass jars. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt and the strained juice of 1 lemon into each jar. Top off each jar with boiling water and seal. Leave them for 3 to 4 weeks.

To use lemons, rinse well under cold water and discard the flesh and pith, retaining peel only.

Come back for info on:

Drying Citrus

Candied Citrus

Lemon Powder

Lemon Pot Pourri

Pears-Preserving the Harvest

Did you know? There are over 5,000 varieties of pears.

Tips on Ripening Pears
To hurry the ripening process, keep pears at room temperature, each piece individually wrapped in paper, or enclosed in a paper bag ventilated with a few holes. Check them with some frequency. Grandma Barbara once said that pears ripen from the inside out. Looks can be deceiving so test the stem end for that slight "give" to tell you when the pear is ready.
Asian pears such as Hosui, should be kept cool, stored in the refrigerator and served chilled. This enhances their sweet juiciness and crisp, crunchy texture.

Freezing Pears
The most popular variety is Bartlett pears available the first two weeks in September in Utah. If they are to be transported or not processed immediately, pick while slightly green and allow them to ripen in a cool, dark place.

One bushel of pears weights about 50 pounds and will yield 16-25 quarts of pears. A pound of pears yields 2 cups of sliced pears.

Wash and peel pears, cut them in half or quarters and core. Place in water containing 1 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid to each pint of water or follow recommendations on commercial preparations that contain ascorbic acid OR use 2 tablespoons salt to 1 gallon of water to prevent discoloration (do not soak longer than 20 minutes). Rinse and drain.

Prepare pears as above. Make a 40% syrup by boiling 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water. Add pears and simmer 1-2 minutes; drain and cool. Cover with cooled syrup, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart to avoid discoloration (optional). Seal and freeze.

Drying Pears

Any summer or winter variety of pear is suitable for drying. Pears should be ripe. Wash and slice. Pre-treat with lemon/water or ascorbic acid solution if you like. Dry at 135 F until leathery and there is no moisture present. Makes a great, sweet snack. Store carefully in air tight bags or jars. Keep in a cool, dry place.

Pear Cranberry Jam

2 Cups Dried Pears
3 Cups Water
2 Cups Cranberries
3 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Thinly Sliced Fresh Apples

Remove cores from pears. Wash pears. Chop. Wash cranberries. Combine fruits, water, and sugar. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thick and clear. Pour into sterilized jars. Apply lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes. Makes 5-6 pints.

Pear Syrup

5 pounds pears, peeled and cored
10 cups sugar
2 cups crushed pineapple
Stir all together and cook 20 minutes or until of spreading consistency. Mash with potato masher to desired consistency. Put in sterilized jars (leaving 1/2 inch headspace), add clean lids and rings. Process in a Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.

Pear Butter

6 c. pears, peeled and sliced (Bartletts recommended)
2 c. water
1 T. lemon juice
1-inch piece of fresh ginger root
1 T. honey or maple syrup (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
3 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Yield: 3 half-pints

Peel, slice and measure pears, place in water and lemon juice in non-aluminum saucepan. Bring pears, water and lemon juice to a boil and cook 5-10 minutes until pears are soft. Peel ginger root and mince finely in a food processor. Add pears and puree. Place pureed pear mixture back into saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens, approximately 2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Add allspice. Place a cinnamon stick in each hot, sterilized jar. Ladle in hot pear butter. Leave 1/4 inch head space. Seal with two-part caps. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.

Pear Jam

4 c. pears, washed, peeled, cored and finely chopped or ground (Bartletts recommended)
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 pkg. commercial powdered pectin
6 c. sugar

Measure prepared fruit and lemon juice into large saucepan. Measure sugar and set it aside. Add pectin to fruit and stir in thoroughly. Place fruit over high heat, stir constantly and bring to full rolling boil. Stir in sugar. Mix well. Return to full boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Fill hot jars, leave 1/4 inch
headspace. Cap with two-piece lids. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 15 minutes.

Pear Honey

9 cups pears
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 lime, peel and all, chopped in blender
Add:
5 cups sugar
Cook 20 minutes in an open kettle at a good rolling boil. Skim foam if necessary. Fill hot jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps and seal. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 20 minutes.

Spiced Pears

3 1/2 pounds medium-ripe pears (14-16)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

Tie in a spice bag:
2 teaspoons whole ginger
2 tablespoons whole cloves
7 sticks cinnamon (3-inch pieces)

Wash, peel, and core pears. Place immediately in a solution of ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid and 2 quarts of water to prevent browning. Combine sugar, vinegar, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Add spices tied in cheesecloth bag. Boil 5 minutes. Drain pears and add to syrup. Simmer 5 minutes or until soft but still firm. Remove spice bag.
Pack pears into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Fill jars to ½ inch of top with boiling hot syrup. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Process 15 minutes in a Boiling Water Bath.

Gingered Pears

4 Pounds Pears
2 Lemons
4 Pounds Sugar
2 Ounces Ginger Root
1 Cup Water

Wash pears. Cut in small pieces. Wash lemons. Cut in thin slices. Combine pears, lemons, sugar and water. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to thicken. Add ginger root which has been cut in small pieces. Simmer five minutes. Pour into sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space. Seal with two-part caps. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.


Old-Time Pear Mincemeat

7 lbs. ripe Bartlett pears
1 lemon
2 (1 lb.) pkgs. seedless raisins
6 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. vinegar
1 T. cloves
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. nutmeg
1 T. allspice
1 tsp. ginger

Core and quarter pears.

Cut lemon into quarters, removing seeds.

Put pears, lemon and raisins through food chopper.

Combine remaining ingredients in large kettle. Add chopped fruit mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer 40 minutes.

Pack at once in hot pint jars. Adjust lids. Process in Boiling Water Bath (212F.) 25 minutes.

Makes 9 pints.

What Can I Can in My Water Bath Canner?

The list of products that can be made and canned at home is nearly unlimited. Here are some ideas for your Fancy Pantry!

Basics: Water Bath Canning is for High Acid Foods--Fruits, Tomatoes and Pickles

Fruit Products in the Water Bath Canner:
Apples
Apple Juice, Apple Sauce, Apple Butter, Apple Chutney, Apple Pie Filling, Spiced Apple Rings, Apple Mincemeat Pie Filling

Apricots
Apricot Jam, Apricot & Pineapple Jam, Apricot Ice Cream Topper

Blackberries
Blackberry Jam, Blackberry Pie Filling, Blackberry Syrup

Blueberries
Blueberry Jam, Blueberry Pie Filling, Blueberry Syrup

Cherries
Cherry Jam, Cherry Pie Filling, Cherry Ice Cream Topper

Cranberries
Cranberry Juice, Cranberry Jelly, Drunken Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry BBQ Sauce, Honey Cranberry Relish, Brandied Cranberries, Cranberry Rum Sauce, Cranberry Cordial, Cranberry Lemon Vinegar

Figs
Canned Figs, Fig Jam, Fig Relish, Fig Compote, Fig and Walnut Confit, Balsamic Fig Honey Marinade, Fig & Onion Jam, Fig Preserves, Pickled Figs, Fig Leaf Tea

Fruit Cocktail

Grapes
Grape Jam, Grape Jelly, Raisin Sauce

Grapefruit
Grapefruit Jelly, Grapefruit Marmalade

Lemons/Limes
7-up Jelly, Marmalade, Lime Alert Hot Sauce

Mangoes
Mango Salsa, Mango Hot Sauce

Peaches
Peach Nectar, Spiced Peaches, Peach Butter, Peach Pie Filling, Peach Rum Sauce, Peach BBQ Sauce, Peach Fondue

Pears
Spiced Pears, Pear Syrup, Pear Mincemeat, Honey Pears, Pear Butter, Pear Cranberry Jam, Pear Jam, Gingered Pears, Old-Time Pear Mincemeat, Pear Honey, Clove Studded Seckel Pears

Pineapple
Pineapple Slices, Pineapple Ice Cream Topper, Pina Colada Jam

Plums
Plum Butter, Plum Ice Cream Topping, Plum Syrup, Plum BBQ Sauce

Pomegranates
Pom Jam, Pom Jelly, Pom Juice

Pumpkin
Pumpkin Butter, Pumpkin Pineapple Compote, Pumpkin Pie Pickles, Pumpkin Jelly, Pumpkin Marmalade, Pumpkin Pancake Syrup, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Raspberries
Raspberry Jam, Raspberry Ice Cream Topper, Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

Strawberries
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling, Strawberry Ice Cream Topper, Strawberry Jam

Tomatoes
Tomato Juice, Tomato Sauce, Tomato Paste, Tomatoes Whole, Tomatoes, Semi-Dried, Bruschetta in a Jar, Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic, Sweet Yellow Tomato Chutney, Barbecue Sauce, Blender Ketchup, Seafood Cocktail Sauce

Also:
Praline Syrup, Almond Syrup, Spiced Honey, Cranberry Ketchup, Cranberry Mustard, Raspberry Vinegar, Roasted Garlic Jelly, Horse Radish Jelly, Mint Jelly, Tomato Ketchup, Relish, Salsa, Pesto, Infused oils, Mustard,


More Recipe Links Are Added Daily(until I get each one linked up or posted!)

Sage Advice on Pressure Canners

I recommend a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner instead of a Dial Gauge Canner for 2 good reasons:

1) Which ever weight you choose 5-10-15 pounds, that is what you will get, even if you walk away...the pressure is not going above that mark. Dial Gauge Canners will continue to creep up if they are not watched.

2) Weighted Canners never vary. Dial Gauge Canners need to be calibrated every couple of years to make sure the dial is accurate.

If you only plan on doing a little canning, the 16 quart is fine. 23 quart canners are for mass production --more than most people need. I also use the 16 quart as a pressure cooker(for meats and beans, etc), I would never think of using a 23 quart model for cooking--it is just tooooo big!

Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner
Dial Gauge Pressure Canner

New Pressure Canners run around $100-$250, and I have heard of them selling at Bed, Bath and Beyond for as low as $69.00. If you don't have access to the "Big City Stores", Ace Hardware Stores, everywhere, offer free shipping to your local store and a decent price on Canners.

It is common to see used Pressure Canners at estate/garage sales for $25 or so. Don't be scared to buy a used canner if the price is right--new gaskets are available for every model ever sold!


Homemade HEAT

While I am not a real chili head, I do appreciate the arts that contribute to a Fancy Pantry. For many people, hot sauces are mandatory for every meal, and for those folks, here is a recipe for HEAT!:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
50-60 Thai chili peppers.(if you are braver, use 10 Habanero Chilies.)

Split each chili in half, remove stem and place in a blender with water, vinegar and salt. Blend until completely pulverized. Pour liquid and peppers into a jelly bag or through a few layers of cheese cloth. Place the liquid into a saucepan and simmer to reduce the liquid to about 1 tablespoon. Add a pinch of sugar and bottle in a 2 dram vial with a dropper-top. This recipe is very high acid and safe to store in the fridge until used.

Allow the bottle to cool a bit before labeling.

The Finished Bottle. Very cute for gift giving!

Here is a sample label for your batch of HEAT!

Want to know more about making and bottling hot sauces?--join me for a class!

Basic Skills - Product Labeling

What's in that jar?? Is it strawberry jam or strawberry ice cream topper? Are those pickles mild or super hot?

Once a project is done and headed for the pantry, the last step is proper labeling. A label can be as simple as using a Sharpie to write the contents on the lid or a complicated as self-adhesive custom labels. No matter what you decide to use--do make it a point to do something!

I have been experimenting with all sorts of ways to label jars and I find that the brand name self-adhesive labels are pretty easy to print and put onto jar but darn hard to get back off your jars! I find myself reaching for lighter fluid or WD40 to remove the last of the adhesive!

Recently, I have been using a much lower-tech (and less expensive) plain paper label using thinned white glue to decoupage the slip to my jars. It's nearly as fast as self-adhesive labels and soaks off easily and quickly in warm water.

Mix a small amount of white glue with 2 or 3 times the amount of water and keep in a small container. Then, simply print out your choice of labels, let them dry for a few minutes, cut them out and glue them to your jars. I find it works better to put the thin glue on the jar and then put the label on that. Smooth it out and it will last as long as you need it to. You can add glue over the top to give the paper a slight shine that is a little nicer for gift giving.

Tutorial: How to Make your own labels with autofillPDF-Labels 1.0.

Here are some links to useful and pretty pre-made labels:

Quick Pickles--The Short Cut To Pickles & Relish

Quick Pickles are made using vinegar instead of the traditional method of salt brining. The old way took days-weeks-and even months to produce pickles and while that method is still superior, quick pickles are tasty and fast.

Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Reminder- "Salt" is "Pickling Salt" and "Vinegar" means 5% Acid Vinegar, most recipes are best with distilled white vinegar. Apple vinegar will impart a lot of flavor to all recipes so beware!

Ratios of Water, Vinegar, and Salt are Crucial to Preservation, Herbs, Spices and Sugar may be adjusted to taste.

Pickling Spice
2 tablespoons mustard Seed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 bay leaf -- crumbled
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick - (2” long)

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight jar or container. Use in
favorite pickle recipes.

This recipe yields 1/3 cup.

Homemade Herb Pickling Mix
This is great to have on hand and saves time! The herbes de Provence add an interesting flavor that’s not typically found in supermarket pickling mix blends. To use the pickling mix: put one to two tablespoons in the pickling jar, then add the veggies and the vinegar/salt mixture, following the directions in the recipes. It’s that easy!

2 tablespoons mustard seeds
4 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon bay leaves, shredded
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon dried, crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cloves

1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2. Put into a clean, glass container and store in a cool, dry place.

QUICK FRESH-PACK DILL PICKLES
8 lbs of 3- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers
2 gals water
1-1/4 cups canning or pickling salt (divided)
1-1/2 qts vinegar (5%)
1/4 cup sugar
2 qts water
2 tbsp whole mixed pickling spice (Store mix or homemade)
about 3 tbsp whole mustard seed (1 tsp per pint jar)
about 14 heads of fresh dill (1-1/2 heads per pint jar) or
4-1/2 tbsp dill seed (1-1/2 tsp per pint jar)

Yield: About 7 to 9 pints
Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end and discard, but leave 1/4- inch of stem attached. Dissolve 3/4 cup salt in 2 gallons water. Pour over cucumbers and let stand 12 hours. Drain. Combine vinegar, 1/2 cup salt, sugar, and 2 quarts water. Add mixed pickling spices tied in a clean white cloth. Heat to boiling. Fill hot jars with cucumbers. Add 1 tsp mustard seed and 1-1/2 heads fresh dill per pint. Cover with boiling pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 10 minutes(pints) or 15 minutes(quarts).

QUICK SWEET PICKLES
May be canned as either strips or slices
8 lbs of 3- to 4-inch pickling cucumbers
1/3 cup canning or pickling salt
4-1/2 cups sugar
3-1/2 cups vinegar (5%)
2 tsp celery seed
1 tbsp whole allspice
2 tbsp mustard seed

Yield: About 7 to 9 pints
Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard, but leave 1/4 inch of stem attached. Slice or cut in strips, if desired. Place in bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup salt. Cover with 2 inches of crushed or cubed ice. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Add more ice as needed. Drain well.

Combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, allspice, and mustard seed in 6-quart kettle. Heat to boiling.

Hot pack—Add cucumbers and heat slowly until vinegar solution returns to boil. Stir occasionally to make sure mixture heats evenly. Fill sterile jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Raw pack—Fill hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot pickling syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 10 minutes(pints) or 15 mintes(quarts).


PICKLED ASPARAGUS
10 lbs asparagus(you will have slightly less waste if you use tall narrow jars.)
6 large garlic cloves
4-1/2 cups water
4-1/2 cups white distilled vinegar (5%)
6 small hot peppers (optional)
1/2 cup canning salt
3 tsp dill seed (optional)

Yield: 6 wide-mouth pint jars or 12-ounce jars(with longer spears)
Procedure: Wash asparagus well, but gently, under running water. Cut stems from the bottom to leave spears with tips that fit into the canning jar, leaving a little more than 1/2-inch headspace. Peel and wash garlic cloves. Place a garlic clove at the bottom of each jar, and tightly pack asparagus into hot jars with the tips down. In an 8-quart saucepot, combine water, vinegar, hot peppers (optional), salt and dill seed. Bring to a boil. Place one hot pepper (if used) in each jar over asparagus spears. Pour boiling hot pickling brine over spears, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.
Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 10 minutes.

PICKLED BEETS
7 lbs of 2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter beets
4 cups vinegar (5%)
1-1/2 tsp canning or pickling salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
4 to 6 onions (2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter), if desired

Yield: About 8 pints
Procedure: Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color.
Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes). Caution: Drain and discard liquid. Cool beets. Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins. Slice into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and thinly slice onions. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and fresh water. Put spices in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil. Add beets and onions. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag. Fill hot jars with beets and onions, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 30 minutes.

Variation: For pickled whole baby beets, follow above directions but use beets that are 1-to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice. Onions may be omitted.

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles are made fresh, allowed to meld in the fridge and then eaten without any further processing. These are not "canned" but simply made as needed. Since these are not actually "Preserved" there is a wide range of recipes available with different acid levels and lots of different ingredients.

TV Chef, Alton Brown, has made quite a study on pickles and has some great recipes to get us started on making Refrigerator Pickles for ourselves.

Kinda Sorta Sours: Cucumbers or zucchini with garlic, onions and champagne vinegar.

Ab's B & B's: Classic refrigerator style Bread & Butter Pickles. These are so good, you can eat them as a sandwich with bread & butter.

Firecrackers: Baby carrots and Thai chilies, a dangerous but delicious combination!

Hurry Curry Cauliflower: Indian style curried cauliflower-Yum!

Canning Diary- Winter 2010

Canning Season is Over, Right? WRONG!

The Pacific Northwest is blessed with a plethora of fresh produce all year round. There is so much fresh produce, in fact that it often goes on sale for ridiculously low prices as stores try to move products to make room for even more! A well schooled canner is prepared to jump on sales whenever they come up.

As a year round canner, I am keeping this diary to show just how inexpensive and versatile home canning really is. I will be adding projects and links to recipes as I come across produce sales and I will provide cost comparisons whenever possible. Newest posts will be at the top of the list.

November 5th, 2010 Brussels Sprouts are in the market, fresh from local farms for $1.99 per "tree". I like them grilled with slices of apples but that isn't a canning project so I am trying out some Pickled Brussels Sprouts. We love pickles of all kinds so I am looking forward to tasting these! Note, I did use 4 times as much red pepper flakes and left out the dill(spices are optional in most pickle recipes.) 1 Tree made 2 pints(1 quart) of pickles.
Value: Pickled Brussels Sprouts go for $9.95 per pint plus shipping.
2 x $9.95 = $19.90

October 23, 2010 The asparagus is still on sale so I went double down and bought another 10 pounds and tripled my on-hand supply of Quick Pickled Asparagus 10 pounds of asparagus yielded 14 pints of pickled asparagus. This may seem like a lot of pickled asparagus but if we eat 1 jar per week, it will be gone by march( I suspect it will be gone sooner than that, though.)
Value: The least expensive pickled asparagus I could find is $5.50 per pint plus shipping.
14 x $5.50 = $77.00

My second project today made use of the 4 pounds of cabbage, one red pepper, and the green onions I got as part of yesterday's haul. Sauerkraut is pretty cheap in the stores but none of the commercial varieties are near as thinly sliced as what my boyfriend produced--you can read through his skinny chops. We also sliced in red bell peppers and green onions and a little garlic. This was perfect for 1/2 gallon of sauerkraut. I can't wait to try it in 5-7 days.
Value: The least expensive raw Sauerkraut I could find is $3.69 per quart plus shipping.
2 x $3.69=$7.38

October 22, 2010 Do you know about Mac Pherson's Produce on Beacon Hill? This is one of my regular stops for produce of all kinds because their sales table is the end-all of produce sales.
Today's Bargains:
  • Asparagus-99 cents per pound.
  • Red and Yellow Peppers - 49 cents per pound
  • Green Onions - 2 bunches/$0.98
  • Tomatoes - 99 cents a pound
  • Red Onions - 69 cents a pound
  • Green Cabbage - 33 cents a pound
  • Serrano Peppers - $1.29 per pound

I spent $12.71 for 2 shopping bags full of produce.

First Project: Cultured Salsa using tomatoes, bell and Serrano peppers and onions. I am skipping the cilantro because that stuff is nasty!
Value: The least expensive gourmet salsa I could find is $7.99 per pint plus shipping.
4 x $7.99 = $31.96

Fermented Salsa(Left) and Cortido (Right)

Second Project: Quick Pickled Asparagus with 1/6 of one Serrano pepper per jar instead of my usual tablespoon of red pepper flakes--I bet these still turn out to be very spicy! 4.75 pounds of asparagus yielded 7 pints of pickled asparagus.
Value: The least expensive pickled asparagus I could find is $5.50 per pint plus shipping.
7 x $5.50 = $38.50



October 21, 2010 Spanish Sauerkraut(Cortido): The basic recipe calls for cabbage, carrots, onions and red pepper flakes, I also added zucchini that I cut into tiny match stick sized pieces. This product is very similar to Chow Chow. All of this produce was already in my fridge and garden, so I really didn't spend any money to put the project together. This is my first foray into lacto-fermenting foods using whey, so I am very interested to see the results in 3-4 day's time when the mixture will be ready to eat. I hope it is tasty...I made nearly a half gallon!
Value: The least expensive Chow Chow I could find is $5.25 per pint plus shipping.
3 x $5.25 = $15.75

Lacto-Fermentation Old is New Again!

Humans have been fermenting foods for as long as we have been gathering food. Fermentation is probably the easiest and safest way to save food for another day. The key is the enzymes and bacteria used to ferment foods also prevent the bacterias and yeasts that cause spoilage from growing.

Even better, the bacterias used for fermenting actually add nutrition as they preserve the food.

Consider these great pluses:
1) Fermented foods are alive with probiotics the same way good yogurt is alive and good for our digestion.
2) Fermenting foods is faster than preparing foods for canning or freezing.
3) No energy or heat source is required for fermentation to work.

There are a lot of great sites already offering recipes, so I will just list the ingredients with links to the existing sites.

Cultured Salsa: Tomatoes, peppers, onions, lemons.

Sauerkraut/Kim Chi: Red chilies, green onions, carrots, dakon, broccoli, ginger, cabbage.

Raw Ginger Marmalade: Oranges, limes, lemons, ginger, honey.

Raw Plum Jam: Plums, honey, cardamom, cloves.

Papaya Sauerkraut: Red chili, onions, papaya, lime

Spanish Sauerkraut(Cortido): Cabbage, carrots, onions, red pepper flakes.

Garlic-Dill Cucumber Pickles: Cucumbers, garlic, dill


Turnip & Beet Slices: Turnips, beets

Beetroot Sauerkraut: Cabbage, beetroot, onions, parsley, chili.

Fermented Green Beans: Green Beans, red chili, garlic, radish, thyme

Fermented Asparagus: Asparagus, green garlic, tarragon, pepper and coriander seeds.

Naturally Fermented Ketchup: tomato paste, whey, garlic, spices

Common Thread

You’ll notice the key elements right off the bat:

  • creating surface area by chopping the veggies any way you like,
  • mixing in salt (and sometimes whey when you’ve got it),
  • mashing the veggies until the liquid runs out,
  • transferring the veggies into a glass jar or crock,
  • making sure the liquid covers the veggies,
  • letting it sit.

How long you let it sit is up to you and your tastes, but for most vegetables 2-5 days seems to do the trick.


So, What is Whey?

Whey is the by-product from making cheese, cream cheese and yogurt. You can easily ask your local diary producer to save you some whey from making their cheese. OR you can buy plain yogurt (organic preferably) and strain it through cheese cloth or linen catching the drippings. The left over yogurt has been transformed into a cream cheese and the drippings are the whey. Stores both in the fridge--yogurt cheese can last about a month(or 1-2 hours in my house) and the whey will be good for up to 6 months.

Kefir whey is the thin liquid you get from straining Kefir through linen rather than yogurt.

Fermented Soft Drinks
  • This PDF covers many different kinds of fermented soda including Ginger Ale, Rootbeer, and Mint Kvass.




From Love and Local:
When to throw out your lacto-fermented vegetables
: If your vegetables start to develop any kind of mold, smell bad or noxious in any way, or become slimy, compost them. If they are just getting a little tired or soft, chickens love them.

Once in a while, a fermentation goes awry. It happens oftener if you use chlorinated water or non-organic vegetables, or do not keep the work surfaces clean. Toss it out, and try again. If you have a lot of problems with batches going bad, try a different source of water. I have never used a low-pH water, but it might cause problems.

Vegetables suitable for lacto-fermentation:

  • Cucumbers (the original “pickles”; no vinegar required)

  • Winter squash and pumpkin

  • Root vegetables: beets, carrots, rutabaga, turnips, celery root, daikon, black radish

  • Green beans, wax beans (both must be blanched)

  • Zucchini and summer squash

  • Broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower

  • Tomatoes

  • Cabbage (sauerkraut); Napa cabbage (kimchee); kale, collards, curly endive; not spinach

  • Onions, leeks, peppers sweet or hot, celery, or corn as part of a mixture


If you have a vegetable not on this list, give it a try. Bean or pea seeds, even when fresh from the pod, are not suitable; uncooked beans have lectins that interfere with nutrition, and the proteins in cooked beans can cause dangers. Green beans, blanched, are fine.


Herbs and spices commonly used:

  • Caraway seed, dill seed, coriander seed, cloves, bay leaves, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks

  • Yellow mustard seed

  • Horseradish

  • Onions, garlic, scallions, leeks

  • Tarragon, savory, dill weed

  • Juniper berries

  • Raspberry leaves

  • Fresh ginger root

Again, feel free to try your favorite spices and herbs.

Other ingredients:

  • Apples (unwaxed)

  • Lemons (unwaxed)

  • Whey (you can get small amounts by putting plain live yogurt in a sieve and collecting the whey that drips out)

  • Quinces (unwaxed)

  • Almost any fruit or vegetable in smaller quantities as part of a mixture, though I wouldn’t use avocadoes or potatoes

  • Kimchees sometimes use oysters, shrimp paste, or other seafood ingredients; I have not been brave enough to attempt these ingredients.


Ursula’s Summer Mixed Pickles

These pickles are fun; use what you have around the garden. Possible ingredients are:

  • Corn kernels, cut off cob

  • Cut green beans (blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain); use young beans for this, before the bean seeds are mature

  • Tomatoes, cut up

  • Onions, peeled and cut up

  • Zucchini, shredded; remove seeds before shredding

  • Peppers, hot or sweet, seeded and sliced

  • Broccoli, cut into small pieces

  • Cauliflower, cut into small pieces

  • Napa or green cabbage, shredded

  • Cut-up small unwaxed cucumbers

You’ll want about 3 ½ pounds of vegetables for a half-gallon jar. Augment with dill seed, mustard seed, or other spices as desired. You will be using 1 tablespoon sea salt. If you have 2 tablespoons whey, you can add it to these pickles.

Prepare all vegetables by washing and cutting. Blanch green beans if you are using them. Add salt, and stamp vegetables lightly, not enough to turn them into a homogeneous mush. Pack the vegetables tightly into the jar. If the juices do not come to within two inches of the lid, fill with brine (1/2 teaspoon sea salt per cup of water). Put lid on, put jar on a plate or pie tin, and let ferment in a dark place for one week. Then cap tightly, and keep in a cold place.


Tomatoes- Preserving the Harvest

Keeping Tomatoes Fresh:
If you've got a great, vine-ripened tomato, don't kill its flavor by storing it in the refrigerator! Determine whether tomatoes are fully ripe. A ripe tomato is dark red or orange, is slightly soft, has a uniform skin color and smells like a tomato. Put unripe tomatoes in a brown paper bag and leave them at room temperature until they ripen, usually in a day or two. Store ripe tomatoes in a cool place - around 55 degrees F. Stored this way, they should keep for five days. Avoid refrigerating tomatoes. Store cut tomatoes in the refrigerator and use as soon as possible.

Most tomatoes bought in supermarkets are not ripe.

Drying:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. (100 degrees C), or the lowest setting possible.

Trim and discard the stem ends of the tomatoes. Halve each tomato lengthwise. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, side by side and crosswise on cake racks set on sheets pans or cookie sheets. Do not allow the tomatoes to touch one another. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Place in the oven and bake until the tomatoes are shriveled and feel dry, anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. Check the tomatoes from time to time: They should remain rather flexible, not at all brittle. Once dried, remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to thoroughly cool on cake racks. (Smaller tomatoes will dry more quickly than larger ones. Remove each tomato from the oven as it is dried.)

Transfer the tomatoes to zipper-lock bags. The tomatoes will last indefinitely.

Dried Tomato Powder
Use this product to add a punch of tomato flavor in soups and stews.

Follow the recipe above and then continue drying until tomatoes are crispy. Place fully dried tomatoes in to a food processor and grind until fully powdered. Store in an air-tight container.

Freezing:
Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed. Additionally, you can freeze them raw or cooked, as juice or sauce, or prepared in the recipe of your choice. Thawed raw tomatoes may be used in any cooked-tomato recipe. Do not try to substituted them for fresh tomatoes, however, since freezing causes their texture to become mushy.

Tomatoes should be seasoned just before serving rather than before freezing; freezing may either strengthen or weaken seasonings such as garlic, onion, and herbs.

Select firm, ripe tomatoes for freezing. Sort the tomatoes, discarding any that are spoiled.

Always wash tomatoes before cutting them. After washing, cut away the stem scar and surrounding area and discard it before slicing or chopping the tomato.

Freezing whole tomatoes with peels: Prepare tomatoes as described above. Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze. Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly. To use the frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

Freezing peeled tomatoes: If you prefer to freeze peeled tomatoes, you can wash the tomatoes and then dip them in boiling water for about 1 minute or until the skins split. Peel and then freeze as noted above.

Canning:

Basic canned tomatoes are the number one home canned product in the country. Carefully read the USDA Guide to Home Canning or attend a Tomato Canning Class to be sure you have the most up to date information & technique before proceeding. Once you have mastered the basics, the sky is the limit.

Hot-Packed Crushed Tomatoes:

Wash jars in hot, soapy water and rinse well before using. Prepare metal lids as manufacturer directs.

Wash tomatoes well and drain. Dip in boiling water for 1-3 minutes or until the skins split. Then dip in ice water. Use a sharp knife to cut out the stem and all of the white core beneath the stem. Peel off the skin. Trim off any bruised or discolored portions. Chop into a large pot and bring the tomatoes to a boil for 5 minutes. Then pack tightly into prepared jars leaving a full 1/2 inch of headspace. Acidify each jar: 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in each quart jar or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in each pint jar. Clean rim and apply warmed lid. Process in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes(pints) or 45 minutes(quarts).

After processing, carefully remove jars from canner and place on rack, dry towel or newspaper. Allow jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing seals. To test jar seals, press flat metal lids at the center of lid. It should be slightly concave and not move. Remove screwbands. Label sealed jars with contents, canning method and date. Store in a clean, cool, dry, dark place. Seal Failure: if a jar fails to seal, put it in the fridge and use within 1 week.

Your Fancy Pantry:
Tomato products are the staple for most home canners and the variety of tomato based recipes available is pretty amazing. Step it up a notch and make some fancy stuff to savor during the cold months.

Tomato Juice
This product is far superior to any canned tomato juice--no metallic taste!

Wash, remove stems, and trim off bruised or discolored portions. To prevent juice from separating, quickly cut about 1 pound of fruit into quarters and put directly into saucepan. Heat immediately to boiling while crushing. Continue to slowly add and crush freshly cut tomato quarters to the boiling mixture. Make sure the mixture boils constantly and vigorously while you add the remaining tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes after you add all pieces. If you are not concerned about juice separation, simply slice or quarter tomatoes into a large saucepan. Crush, heat, and simmer for 5 minutes before juicing.

Press both types of heated juice through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. Fill jars with hot tomato juice, leaving 1/2-inch headspace, Add bottled lemon juice- 2 tablespoons per quart or 1 tablespoon per pint. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes(pints) or 40 minutes(quarts).

After processing, carefully remove jars from canner and place on rack, dry towel or newspaper. Allow jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing seals. To test jar seals, press flat metal lids at the center of lid. It should be slightly concave and not move. Remove screwbands. Label sealed jars with contents, canning method and date. Store in a clean, cool, dry, dark place. Seal Failure: if a jar fails to seal, put it in the fridge and use within 1 week.

Tomato Paste
Can this recipe in small jars(half pints recommended) and use like the commercial product. 1 half pint will contain about 6.5 ounces of tomato paste.

Wash tomatoes well and drain. Dip in boiling water for 1-3 minutes or until the skins split. Then dip in ice water. Use a sharp knife to cut out the stem and all of the white core beneath the stem. Peel off the skin. Trim off any bruised or discolored portions. Cut tomatoes in half and arrange on a sheet pan in a single layer. Place the tomatoes in the oven at 175-200 degrees for 1-2 hours until shriveled and shrunken--Turn oven up to 350 for the last few minutes--slight browning and charring is desirable.

Press tomatoes through a sieve or food mill to remove seeds. Fill jars with hot tomato mash, leaving 1/2-inch headspace, Add bottled lemon juice- 1 1/2 teaspoon per half pint or 1 tablespoon per pint. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes(half pints) or 45 minutes(pints).

After processing, carefully remove jars from canner and place on rack, dry towel or newspaper. Allow jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing seals. To test jar seals, press flat metal lids at the center of lid. It should be slightly concave and not move. Remove screwbands. Label sealed jars with contents, canning method and date. Store in a clean, cool, dry, dark place. Seal Failure: if a jar fails to seal, put it in the fridge and use within 1 week.

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic

Wash tomatoes well and drain. Dip in boiling water for 1-3 minutes or until the skins split. Then dip in ice water. Use a sharp knife to cut out the stem and all of the white core beneath the stem, squeeze out most of the seeds. Peel off the skin. Save the clean skins, seeds and cores. Trim off any bruised or discolored portions and discard separately. Cut tomatoes in half and arrange on a sheet pan in a single layer. Place the tomatoes in the oven at 175-200 degrees for 1-2 hours until shriveled and shrunken--Turn oven up to 350 for the last few minutes-- browning and charring is desirable.

Put clean cores, skins and seeds in a sauce pan with an equal amount of water and boil for 10 minutes. Blend until mostly smooth. Place this carefully into a sieve or jelly bag and catch the juice. When the pulp is cool enough to touch, squeeze out as much juice as you can.

Dice garlic, 1 clove of garlic for every 4-6 tomato halves that you have in the oven. Toss roasted tomatoes with diced garlic in a large bowl or pan.

Fill jars loosely with hot tomatoes & garlic, leaving 1 inch headspace, Add bottled lemon juice- 1 tablespoon per pint or 2 tablespoons per quart. Add prepared tomato juice leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 85(YES, 8-5) minutes(pints or quarts).

After processing, carefully remove jars from canner and place on rack, dry towel or newspaper. Allow jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing seals. To test jar seals, press flat metal lids at the center of lid. It should be slightly concave and not move. Remove screwbands. Label sealed jars with contents, canning method and date. Store in a clean, cool, dry, dark place. Seal Failure: if a jar fails to seal, put it in the fridge and use within 1 week.

Variations:
Roasted Tomatoes with Cilantro: Omit garlic and add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped cilantro for each 4-6 roasted tomatoes.

Roasted Tomatoes with Basil: Omit garlic and add 3 tablespoon of freshly chopped basil for each 4-6 roasted tomatoes.

Roasted Tomatoes with Jalapenos: Omit garlic and add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped jalapeno pepper & seeds for each 4-6 roasted tomatoes. (Wear gloves when handling hot peppers!)

Roasted Tomatoes & Onions: Omit garlic and roast 1 small onion for each 4-6 roasted tomatoes. Chop onions and toss with tomatoes before jarring.

Bruschetta in a Jar
Use wide mouth half pints or pints and you will be able to dip bread right into the jar!

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
9 cups chopped cored & peeled plum tomatoes

1. Prepare canner, jar and lids.
2. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine garlic through balsamic vinegar. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 5 minutes until garlic is heated through. Remove from heat.
3. Pack tomatoes into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar. Ladle hot vinegar mixture into jar to cover tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot liquid. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down tightly until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes(half pints) or 20 minutes(pints). Recipe from Ball.

Makes about seven half pint(8 ounce) jars.

After processing, carefully remove jars from canner and place on rack, dry towel or newspaper. Allow jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing seals. To test jar seals, press flat metal lids at the center of lid. It should be slightly concave and not move. Remove screwbands. Label sealed jars with contents, canning method and date. Store in a clean, cool, dry, dark place. Seal Failure: if a jar fails to seal, put it in the fridge and use within 1 week.


Sweet Yellow Tomato Chutney

4 cups cider vinegar
9 cups chopped cored peeled tart green apples (about 9 medium)
12 cups chopped cored peeled yellow tomatoes (about 12 medium)
3 cups golden raisins
2-1/2 cups chopped onions (about 3 to 4 medium)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
3 chili peppers, such as jalapeño or hot banana (yellow wax), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup mustard seeds
1 Tbsp finely chopped gingerroot
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt

1.) MEASURE vinegar into a large stainless steel saucepan. To prevent the apples from browning, drop them into the vinegar as they are being chopped, stirring to ensure all surfaces are covered.
2.) ADD tomatoes, raisins, onions, granulated sugar, brown sugar, chili peppers, garlic, mustard seeds, gingerroot, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until the chutney is thick enough to mound on a spoon, about 1 hour.
3.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
4.) LADLE hot chutney into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes(half pints) or 20 minutes(pints). Recipe from Ball.

Makes about seven half pint(8 ounce) jars.

After processing, carefully remove jars from canner and place on rack, dry towel or newspaper. Allow jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing seals. To test jar seals, press flat metal lids at the center of lid. It should be slightly concave and not move. Remove screwbands. Label sealed jars with contents, canning method and date. Store in a clean, cool, dry, dark place. Seal Failure: if a jar fails to seal, put it in the fridge and use within 1 month.

Barbecue Sauce

20 cups chopped cored peeled tomatoes (about 21 medium)
2 cups finely chopped onions (about 3 to 4 medium)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp hot pepper flakes
1 Tbsp celery seeds
1-1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp salt
1-1/2 Tbsp ground mace or nutmeg
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1.) COMBINE tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot pepper flakes and celery seeds in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently until vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.
2.) TRANSFER mixture, working in batches, to a sieve placed over a glass or stainless steel bowl and press with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid and pulp. This can also be done using a food mill. Discard solids.
3.) RETURN liquid and pulp to saucepan. Add brown sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, mace, mustard, ginger and cinnamon. Return to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 30 minutes.
4.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
5.) LADLE hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
6.) PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. Recipe from Ball.

Makes 6 half pints

Blender Ketchup
Making ketchup seems a little strange to most people but if you have a lot of tomatoes, homemade ketchup is a nice addition to the pantry.

10-12 lbs ripe tomatoes
1 lb onions
1/2 lb sweet red peppers
1/2 lb sweet green peppers
4 1/2 cups vinegar (5 percent)
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 cup canning or pickling salt(optional)
2 tbsp dry mustard
1 tbsp ground red pepper
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tbsp whole cloves
1-2 sticks cinnamon

Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip in cold water, slip off skins, core, and quarter. Remove seeds from peppers and slice into strips. Peel and quarter onion. Blend tomatoes, peppers, and onions at high speed for 5 seconds in electric blender. Pour into a 2- to 3-gallon stock pot or large kettle and heat. Boil gently 60 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, and a spice bag containing dry mustard, red pepper, and other spices. Continue boiling and stirring until volume is reduced one-half and ketchup rounds up on a spoon with no separation of liquid and solids. Taste occasionally, you can add more spices and salt to taste. Remove spice bag and fill jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes(pints).

After processing, carefully remove jars from canner and place on rack, dry towel or newspaper. Allow jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing seals. To test jar seals, press flat metal lids at the center of lid. It should be slightly concave and not move. Remove screwbands. Label sealed jars with contents, canning method and date. Store in a clean, cool, dry, dark place. Seal Failure: if a jar fails to seal, put it in the fridge and use within 1 month.

Makes about 4-5 pints

Seafood Cocktail Sauce

10 cups fresh plum (Roma) tomato puree
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 cloves garlic, minced
1&1/4 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
2 TBLS salt
2 TBLS Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups finely grated peeled horseradish

Place half of the tomato puree in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Maintaining a constant boil, add remaining tomato puree, 1 cup at a time. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced by at least half, about 30-60 minutes. Add everything else but the horseradish. Increase heat to high and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and immediately stir in horseradish. Be careful of those fumes!

Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles if necessary. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes(pints).

After processing, carefully remove jars from canner and place on rack, dry towel or newspaper. Allow jars to cool untouched, away from drafts, for 12 to 24 hours before testing seals. To test jar seals, press flat metal lids at the center of lid. It should be slightly concave and not move. Remove screwbands. Label sealed jars with contents, canning method and date. Store in a clean, cool, dry, dark place. Seal Failure: if a jar fails to seal, put it in the fridge and use within 1 month.

Makes about 4-5 pints

Pumpkin- Preserving the Harvest

Pumpkins are appearing everywhere in anticipation of Halloween and while Jack-o-Lanterns are an attractive use, they are definitely not the only use for this deep orange vegetable. Once we get past the Holiday, pumpkins will get very inexpensive--my local market had a blow-out sale last year-- 10 pounds for $1.00!

Nutritional Value of Pumpkins:
Pumpkins like most squash, are very nutritious and low in calories(until we add the butter!). They are also high in trace minerals and many vitamins. Pumpkins are considered an excellent Anti-Inflammatory Food that may help some people who are prone to joint stiffness.

Keep Pumpkins Fresh:
Pumpkins should be fully colored with a fairly hard rind. Green pumpkins do not store well. Wash the fruits in warm, soapy water to remove any traces of soil that may be adhering to them. Then rinse them in a diluted household disinfectant solution. For this purpose a five to ten percent chlorine bleach solution works fine (one part bleach to ten parts water). This rinse will destroy the fungi and bacteria, which are the prime agents of spoilage. Pumpkins will last a long time in root-cellar-like storage conditions. Ideal storage conditions include dark or near dark, low humidity, 45-60 degrees. Avoid placing pumpkins directly on hard surfaces like cement--instead lay down a couple of layers of cardboard. The essential thing is to arrange a situation that will provide good air circulation. Under these conditions, pumpkins can last up to 6 months.

Check on your pumpkins every week or two and promptly use up any pumpkins that show signs of softening or mold. Cut away the bad parts and use the rest in your favorite recipe.

Eating Pumpkin:
The tender leaves and stems, flowers, fruit and seeds of pumpkin can all be eaten.

Leaves should be washed in clean water before cooking. Remove any tough stems. Place leaves in boiling water, cover and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, until just tender. Eating green leaves with coconut cream or other fats helps the body to use the Vitamin A in the leaves. Pan-frying is also a good way to prepare pumpkin leaves. Heat a little cooking oil in a pot and add chopped garlic or ginger. Add cut up leaves, cover and cook for about ten minutes, shaking the pot often.

To cook the tips of the vines, scrape or peel off the hairy skin first. Boil in water or coconut cream until just tender, as for the leaves. The tips then can be made into a salad. Cool the cooked tips, chop them and flavor with lemon juice.

Before cooking pumpkin flowers, the centers of the flowers must be pulled out. These flowers are delicious fried in a little butter or cooking oil, or dipped into batter and then fried. They can also be added to fish and meat dishes.

Pumpkin fruit can be baked, steamed, boiled or fried. It is delicious served as a vegetable or made into tasty curries, soups or desserts. Pumpkin has the best flavor when cooked in the skin. The skin of very young pumpkin can be eaten, but it is best to peel the skin off older ones.

Visit Endless Simmer for 100 ways to Cook a Pumpkin!

Drying Pumpkin:
Split the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Remove the skin and cut the fruit into thin slices. Spread on a tray and dry in the oven(Start at 250 degrees for the first 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150 degrees) until dry and brittle. This will take 6-8 hours. Pumpkin needs to be dried quickly before it spoils.

Dried pumpkin can be powdered in a food processor and added to desserts and soups for extra taste and nutrition.

Freezing Pumpkin:
Freezing is the safest method to preserve pumpkin(other than fresh in the root-cellar.) Wash the pumpkin and cut it into pieces. Remove seeds, but do not peel. Cook until soft by boiling, steaming or baking. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the skin and mash it well. Pack, seal and freeze immediately. Mashed pumpkin may be used later for baby foods, soups and breads.

Canning Pumpkin:
Home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter or any mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash. Pumpkin cubes in water may be safely canned using a Pressure Canner.

Pumpkin Butter

3 pounds of pre-baked pumpkin
3/4 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 60-90 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently.

Transfer to sterile containers and chill in the refrigerator until serving. If you use wide mouth jars, you can freeze this recipe in jars and thaw in the refrigerator as needed. Makes about 4 half pints. This recipe is not safe for home canning--refrigerate or freeze only.

Your Fancy Pantry
Many canning recipes that include pumpkin as a portion of the total ingredients are perfectly safe. Pumpkin should never exceed more than one third of the total recipe by weight.

Pumpkin Pie Pickles
The pickles taste like crunchy cold pumpkin pie–and are a yummy alternative to the ultra-sweet gift basket offerings you usually see.

1 5 pound pie pumpkin (avoid the monster pumpkins used for carving–too stringy)
kosher salt (do NOT use iodized table salt)
2 cups sugar plus 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar plus 1 1/2 cups vinegar (may use a mix of white and apple cider)
1 Tbs whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon plus 4 sticks cinnamon
1 Tbs whole allspice

Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut into 1 inch cubes. Put in a glass bowl, pour water over to cover and add 4 tablespoons kosher salt for each quart of water. Leave the pumpkin overnight or for at least 5 hours.

Next day, drain the pumpkin cubes and rinse them well. Rinse the bowl well and put the pumpkin back into the bowl. In a medium pan, combine 1 quart water, 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of vinegar, 1 Tbs whole cloves, 1 stick cinnamon and 1 Tbs allspice. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. This is a syrup so be careful that it doesn’t boil over or you’ll have a mess on your stove.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the syrup over the drained, rinsed pumpkin.
Let stand in a cool place overnight (refrigerator is fine, but bring to room temp prior to packing into jars)

Remove the pumpkin cubes from the syrup and distribute the cubes among your sterilized canning jars, filling the jars up to within 1 inch of the rim with pumpkin cubes. Break up the remaining cinnamon sticks and slide one piece down into each jar with the pumpkin.

Pour the syrup into a saucepan and add 1 1/2 more cups of sugar and 1 1/2 more cups of vinegar. Bring back to a boil.

Remove the syrup from the heat and ladle into the jars over the pumpkin cubes. Make sure the cloves and allspice are evenly distributed among the jars. Fill jars to within 1/2 inch of the top.Wipe the rims carefully with a damp lint-free towel and add one little pinch of powdered alum(optional) to each jar.

Before placing lids on jars, wipe the rubber-coated outside perimeter free of water and place them squarely on the rims. Screw on the bands, firmly, but not too tight. Place the jars back into the boiling hot water bath and process for ten minutes.

After processing, remove the jars and place on a tea towel to cool. As they cool, the lids should snap down with an audible “pop.” This means the jar is sealed properly. If any of your lids do not pop down (or if you can still push the lid down) you can either re-process, or just put the jar in the fridge after it’s cool and use the pumpkin within 10 days.
Leave the properly sealed jars in a cool place for at least 1 week before eating.

Makes 5-6 Pints

Pumpkin Jam
2 cups Pumpkin puree (cooked), unsweetened
2 cups sugar
2 cups Water
1Tsp Ground cinnamon
A pinch ground cloves (optional)
2 Tsp Vanilla extract
Zest of 2 Lemons or of 1 orange
1/4 cup Lemon juice
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier, Rum or Cointreau (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a stock pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 45-90 minutes until thick and translucent. Pour into clean half pint jars, apply lids, process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Marmalade
16 cups diced sugar pumpkin (about 5 lbs)
3 lemons, peeled
1 large orange, peeled
2” piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
8 cups white sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup apple juice

Place pumpkin in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Slice citrus very thin, removing seeds. Add with sugar to pumpkin. Stir and refrigerate overnight. The next day, place over medium heat and add water. Simmer uncovered 2 ½ hours or until thick. Stir in apple juice. Pour into clean half pint or pint jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace, apply lids, process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Pancake Syrup

1 cup of pre-baked pumpkin
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp real maple extract

Bring ingredients to a low boil and cook for 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until used(up to 3 months- heat in the microwave just prior to using.) or Pour into clean half pint or pint jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace, apply lids, process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup from Cook Like a Champion
This is a copy of the syrup used in lattes. Very tasty and seasonal!

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin purée

Directions:
-In a small pot over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water.
-Once sugar is dissolved, add remaining ingredients. Allow to cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not boil.
-Strain mixture using cheesecloth or a tea towel.
-Pour into two (8-10 ounce) bottles and store in the refrigerator. (This will remain perfectly safe for a long time without refrigeration, so it makes a great gift!)
-To make a pumpkin spice latte, simply add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of syrup for each shot of espresso.
-For an iced latte, stir together syrup and espresso before adding desired amount of cold milk.
-For a hot latte, add frothed milk and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream, if desired.


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds(aka Pepitas)

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
1-2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt and possibly other seasonings, like pepper, paprika, or garlic
bowl or colander
baking sheet

  1. Scoop the seeds from a pumpkin.
  2. Place the seeds in a colander or a bowl and run cold water over them to remove all of the strings and pulp.
  3. Pat the seeds dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.
  4. Preheat the oven to 275-300°F.
  5. If you are using butter, melt it. Toss the seeds, butter or oil, and seasonings together.
  6. Spread the seeds out in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake the pumpkin seeds until they are golden brown, turning them occasionally (20-30 minutes)
  8. Lay the seeds out onto a paper towel. Enjoy!
Experiment with your spice addition! Some popular combinations include: Garlic, jalapeno, & lemon pepper.