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.

Cranberries - Preserving the Harvest



Beautiful, Bountiful Washington Cranberries-Photo by Joe Harrell of Westport, WA

Coming Soon to Store Near You!
November is the prime month for cranberries and most Americans only eat cranberries as part of a thanksgiving dinner. Two factors come to my mind-First cranberries are an exceptional source of nutrition in the areas of Vitamin K, C and dietary fiber. Second, once Thanksgiving is in full swing, cranberries get so cheap, it is almost a sin to not stock up. I usually see them at 4-12ounce packages for $1.00 the week after the big event.

Another big plus: A majority of the cranberries in Seattle markets are grown right here in Washington State! Cranberries are not only local food but they are also Native food--cranberries are one of the few fruits that actually originate from North America. So, stock up and get busy!

Visit The Cranberry Coast Association for tons of recipes for fresh cranberries.

Dried Cranberries

1 (12 oz.) bag of cranberries
2 quarts boiling water
1/4 cup sugar or corn syrup

In a bowl, pour boiling water over the cranberries or submerge them in a pot of boiling water with the heat turned off. Let them sit in the water until the skin pops. Do not let the berries boil or the flesh will turn mushy. Drain. If desired, coat the berries with either a light corn syrup or granulated sugar. Transfer the berries to a cooking sheet and place them in a freezer for 2 hours. Freezing the berries helps in breaking down the cell structure promoting faster drying. Put the berries on a mesh sheet in the dehydrator and dry for 10 to 16 hours, depending on the make of the dehydrator, until chewy and with no pockets of moisture.

Store dried cranberries in the freezer. Keep in mind that dried cranberries can be used in place of raisins in recipes!

Cranberry Juice

4 quarts (4 pounds) cranberries
Water
3 to 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Bring cranberries and 4 quarts water to a simmer in a large pot. DO NOT BOIL. Simmer 5 minutes, or until most berries burst. Pour berries and juice into damp jelly bag or a colander lined with four layers of clean cheesecloth. Let juice drip into a large bowl. DO NOT squeeze the bag. When you have extracted as much juice as possible from the pulp, return pulp to pot with 2 quarts water. Simmer 2 minutes. Pour this pulp and juice through jelly bag again to extract remaining juice. Place the 2 batches of juice in a large pot. Add sugar to suit your taste and 1 more quart water. Heat to dissolve sugar completely, but do not boil. Quickly pour into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; seal. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Yields 6 to 7 quarts.

Cranberry Jelly

3 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1 (2 1/2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

In large kettle, combine cranberry juice and pectin. Cook and stir to boiling. Stir in sugar immediately. Bring to full rolling boil. Boil hard 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice. Skim off foam. Pour into hot sterilized jars. Seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 6 one half pints.

Drunken Cranberry Sauce

This sauce will keep at least two weeks in the refrigerator.

1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1 to 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup bourbon

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine cranberries, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in an 8-inch square pan, and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the cranberries have softened and become juicy. Uncover the pan, and immediately stir in the bourbon. The alcohol will evaporate, leaving just the liquor's warm, smoky essence. Refrigerate the sauce, covered, until ready to serve or pour into hot sterilized jars. Seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes about 3 half pints.

Honey Cranberry Relish

2 medium oranges
1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 1/2 cup honey

Quarter and slice unpeeled orange, removing seeds. Coarsely chop orange and cranberries. Place in medium saucepan and stir in honey. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes on a boiling water bath. Makes 4 half pints

Brandied Cranberries

2 (12 ounce) packagse fresh cranberries
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brandy

Heat oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix together cranberries, sugar and brandy in 2-quart casserole. Cover with lid or foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until cranberries are soft. Stir several times during baking. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 1 month or pour hot into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes on a boiling water bath. Makes 6 half pints

Cranberry Rum Sauce

Yield: 6 cups

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 (8-inch) cinnamon stick, broken
6 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon mace
8 cups cranberries
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup golden rum

In a non-reactive Dutch oven, combine sugar and water. Tie cinnamon pieces and cloves in a cheesecloth bag; add to pot along with mace. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and apples. Simmer gently 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until cranberry skins start to break.

Add rum and simmer 10 minutes. The mixture should be thick but cranberries should retain some of their shape. Remove spice bag. Ladle sauce into hot sterilized jars. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Sauce may also be frozen for up to 1 month without processing.

Cranberry Cordial

1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups honey
2 cups vodka
1/2 cup brandy

Coarsely chop the cranberries in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, or chop with a knife. Stir the cranberries and sugar in a large bowl until the berries are well coated. Stir in the remaining ingredients until blended. Pour the mixture into a large glass jar, cover, and store in a cool, dark place for at least 1 month, stirring or shaking the jar every few days.

Before serving, strain the liquid from the cranberries through a fine strainer or dampened cheesecloth. It may be stored tightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 months. Refrigerate it for longer storage. Makes about 4 cups.

Cranberry Lemon Vinegar
Use in fish dishes or on salads.

1 quart white wine vinegar
4 or 6 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Peel of 1 lemon, cut into slices

Combine all ingredients in a glass bottle. Cork and place in a sunny window for 2 to 3 weeks. For giving, tie raffia around the neck of the bottle.

Unusual Jams & Jellies

Need a recipe to get that "OMG!" reaction? Check out this collection of Unusual Jams & Jellies--Perfect for your Fancy Pantry!

Banana Nut Bread Jam

10 ripe bananas, pureed (need 3 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, minced
1 box pectin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, optional

Mix bananas, walnuts, lemon juice and powdered pectin in large kettle. Stir while bringing to a full rolling boil. All at once add sugars. Stirring continuously, heat until full rolling boil. Continue to heat 1 minute. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes about 3 pints.

Apple Pie Jam
Turns any ol' pancake or waffle into an apple pie!

4 cups tart apples, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
4 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 (1 3/4 oz) box dry pectin
1 tsp. butter

Measure apples in a measuring cup, and then add in the same measuring cup water to fill up to the 4 cup line (with the apples in it). Put into a heavy saucepan. Add pectin, butter, spices and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.

Add sugars and bring back to a full rolling boil, and boil for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off any foam.

Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Put on lids, and process in water bath 10 minutes.

Rose petal jelly

1 dry quart rose petals
1 quart water
juice of two lemons
4 cups sugar

Pick one quart of scented roses. The original recipe suggests dog roses, but as they're now over, mine was a mixture of the beautiful English rose Noble Antony (David Austen), Tuscany Superb, Gloire de Dijon, a pretty little unnamed pale pink rambler by the front door, and Compassion. I don't spray my roses (or anything, come to that), so they're okay to eat.

Pull the petals off the stalks. Check for insects - I put several earwigs back into the garden, as well as a couple of small grasshoppers. Put the petals in a stainless steel saucepan with a quart of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. They will completely lose their color, and the water will turn a murky shade of reddish-brown, deliciously scented. Strain this into a glass bowl and cool.

Next you add the lemon juice, and a magical thing happens - the murky brown suddenly becomes a beautiful and bright pink. Pour this back into the pan, and add 4 cups of sugar. When the sugar has disappeared, turn up the heat a little and bring to the boil. It will take 10 minutes to reach setting point, test the gel.

Leave it to cool a little before bottling - if you do this, you'll find that much of the scum disappears. Skim it off or leave it--it doesn't hurt the flavor. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Put on lids, and process in boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes about 4 half pints.


Cactus-Date Conserve

2 cups prickly pear cactus, thinly sliced
1 1/2 dozen dates, stoned and cut into pieces
Juice and grated rind of 1 orange
2 slices pineapple, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup walnuts, broken

Cook slowly until of desired consistency. Five minutes before removing from heat, add nuts. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes about 3 pints.

Cantaloupe Jam

Cantaloupe (very ripe)
3/4 pound granulated sugar per pound of cantaloupe
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, mace and cinnamon
per each pound of cantaloupe

Peel cantaloupe and remove the seeds. Weigh and chop very fine. Put sugar and cantaloupe into a kettle with a little water. Cook slowly until fruit can be mashed. Add remaining ingredients. Cook until thick. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Carrot Jam Recipe
Like a marmalade, this sweet jam uses carrots, providing extra dimensions of texture and flavor, for a fun topping.

1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (about 4 cups)
1 orange, juice and finely chopped zest
1 lemon, juice and finely chopped zest
1 lime, juice and finely chopped zest
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Have ready 4 half-pint jars with suitable lids, if planning to process in a water bath. If not, any container(s) totaling 1 quart will do. Remove zest and then juice the fruits. There should be about 1 cup total juice.

Heat all ingredients together over low heat until sugar has dissolved, 3 - 4 minutes. Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until thick, about 30 minutes.

Spoon jam into containers. If processing, leave 1/2 inch of headspace in the jars and process while hot. If refrigerating or freezing, cool to room temperature first.

This jam will keep, refrigerated, for weeks, but for longer storage, freeze or process in a boiling water bath: 30 minutes for half pints or pints.

Although the jam can be used immediately, the flavor improves after a few days.

Grand Marnier Marmalade

2 cups thinly-sliced kumquats
2 cups navel oranges, seeded and chopped
7 cups water
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
3/4 cup Grand Marnier
Sugar equal to cooked fruit

Place kumquats, oranges, and water in glass bowl. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 12 hours.

Pour fruit mixture into a medium saucepan and bring to a full, rolling boil over high heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon and Grand Marnier. Measure this mixture and add equal amount of sugar. Again bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes. When mixture begins to gel, remove from heat. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes 6 1/2 pint jars.

Kool-Aid Jelly

1 package Kool-Aid, any flavor (no sugar added)
1 package Sure-Jell
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups water

Mix water, Sure-Jell and Kool-Aid together. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Stir and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off foam with a large metal spoon. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Lavender Jelly

Source: The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery

2 1/4 cups bottled apple juice (the clearest you can find)
1 cup lavender flowers
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 (4 ounce) bottle liquid pectin

Place apple juice and lavender in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then strain.

Return 2 cups of this juice to the heat, add the sugar, and stirring constantly, bring to a full boil. Stir in the liquid pectin and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, skim off the foam, and pour into jelly glasses with a sprig of lavender in each glass and seal. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes about 5 half pints.

Port Wine Jelly

You can use any wine you like for this jelly. Just substitute your favorite, and eliminate the cinnamon sticks.

2 cups good-quality port wine
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
3 ounces liquid pectin (Certo)

Prepare canning jars according to manufacturer's directions. Combine port, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks in a heavy saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Stir to help dissolve the sugar. Boil vigorously for 2 minutes; remove the pan from the heat, and immediately add the pectin. Spoon the jelly into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Place a piece of cinnamon stick in each jar. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Canning Classes- Canning 107 Homemade Ice Cream Toppers & Pie Filling

Individual Apple Pies fresh from the oven...Put up some home canned filling and then make pies in an instant...just about 25 minutes from jar to cooling rack!

Homemade Ice Cream Toppers & Pie Filling

Students will learn how to make Ice Cream Toppers and Pie Filling and then can those products for long term storage and gift giving! This is a hands-on class and attendees will take home a jar of the products made in class. Please bring a cloth shopping bag or hand towel to class to transport your hot jar. Students will also receive a handout covering the topics discussed in class.

Commercial Toppers and Pie Fillings contain a lot of sugar and very little fruit! Learn how to make them at home and that is completely reversed...lots of fruit and just a little sweetener!


Where: In the Teaching Kitchen at Goods For The Planet, 525 Dexter Ave N. Seattle 98109

Cost: $20 per session

Bring: A cloth shopping bag or hand towel. Everything else is provided.

Upcoming Sessions(Click date to Register and Pay):

July 17th at 3pm

August 21 at 3pm


September 18th at 3pm






Figs - Preserving the Harvest

Storing fresh figs

Figs won't last long at room temperature, but a mildly cool refrigerator will keep them several days.

Canning Figs Without Sugar
Use tree ripened figs. Sort and wash carefully. DO NOT use soda for cleaning; it could make figs unsafe when canned plain in boiling water bath canner. Instead bring figs to boil in hot water; let stand 3 to 4 minutes; drain. This removes the "milk" from the skins and cleans them. Pack in hot jars; add 1 tablespoon canned lemon juice per quart and cover with boiling water. Seal and process in boiling water bath canner: Pints, 45 minutes; quarts, 50 minutes.

Canning Figs in Syrup
Use tree ripened figs. Sort and wash carefully. Leave figs whole, only remove the woody part of the stem.
Put figs in a sauce pan with enough water to barely cover the figs--water should be boiling when the figs are added. Sweeten with roughly 1 tsp of sugar per fig or make a full batch of Very Light Syrup and use that to boil the figs. Boil for 5 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to fill jars with hot figs, gently tapping the bottom of the jar on the countertop to help pack the figs down gently (tapping does it without breaking the figs)

Very Important: Add 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice to each pint jar of figs or 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice to each quart jar.

Fill jars with hot Very Light Syrup leaving 1/2 headspace. Clean rim, apply cap, and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 45 minutes for pints or 50 minutes for quarts.

Freezing Figs

Freeze within 12 hours of picking time, if possible. Prepare and freeze Figs only about 3 pints at one time. Then repeat the process until all Figs are frozen.

1. Make a medium sweetness syrup of
3 cups sugar
4 cups water
The figs will taste slightly sweeter than desired at this stage to be the proper flavor after freezing. Simply stir the sugar into the water to dissolve. No heating is necessary.
2. To the sugar syrup, add an citric/ascorbic add mixture bought at the grocery store (for example, "Fruit Fresh") and follow the directions on the package, generally adding about 1 teaspoon per batch. This is to help preserve color and flavor.
3. Wash the figs. remove the stems and any soft spots. Slice the figs about ¼-inch (1/2 cm) thick.
4. Pack the sliced figs into polyethylene containers, ziploc bags, or vacuum freezer bags, allowing room to add about 1/2 cup of sugar syrup, and allowing about 1/2 inch per pint expansion room. More room will be needed for larger containers. Pack the containers to force out as much air as possible since air dries out the figs when they freeze. Be sure to label and date containers.
5. Place containers as quickly as possible into the coldest part of your freezer, allowing room around the containers to promote fast freezing. Containers can be packed more economically after they are frozen solid, usually 24 hours.

When you are ready to eat them, thaw the frozen figs in the refrigerator in the container.

Drying Figs

Wash figs and cut each one in half. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven at 150 degrees F. Prop the oven door open to allow the steam to escape. Drying will take about 4-6 hours and figs should be turned over at about 3 or 4 hours, for even drying.

Once the figs are dry and leathery, they need to be "shocked" to kill any remaining pathogens.

Allow figs to cool, bag them in zip-top bags and freeze for at least a week. Figs are then shelf stable and can be stored in the pantry.

OR, Turn up the oven heat to 175 degrees F for the last 15 minutes of drying. Allow to cool and store in a sealed container in the pantry.

Fig Jam
2 quarts chopped fresh figs (about 5 pounds)
6 cups of sugar
¾ cup of water
½ cup of lemon juice

To prepare chopped figs: Cover figs with boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain, stem, and chop figs.

Combine figs, sugar and ¼ cup of water in a large sauce pot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add lemon juice and cook 1 minute longer. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes on a boiling water bath. Yields about 5 pints.
Variations:
  • Strawberry Fig Jam-Replace 1 quart of figs in recipe above with 1 quart of strawberries, hulled and sliced.
  • Raspberry Fig Jam-Replace 1 quart of figs in recipe above with 1 quart of raspberries.
  • Figs in Honey-Replace 6 cups of sugar with 5 cups of honey.
  • Jalapeno Fig Preserves-Add 1 chopped jalapeno(with seeds will be hot-discard seeds for a milder version. Wear gloves when handling spicy peppers!)
  • Fig Marmalade-Replace 2 cups of figs with 2 cups of very thin lemon, orange or tangerine slices.
  • Fig and Ginger Jam-Add 1/8 cup finely grated ginger.
  • Pear & Fig Preserves- Replace 1 quart of figs with 1 quart of pears, peeled, cored and chopped.
  • Sour Cherry Fig Preserves- Replace 2 cups of figs with 2 cups of sour cherries.
Fig RelishThis recipe makes an excellent marinade for grilled fish.

2 pounds finely chopped fresh figs
4 tablespoons of minced capers
zest of 4 lemons, minced
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp dried basil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
Gently rinse and stem the figs; chop them into about 1/4-inch pieces, being sure to catch all the juice. Toss in a bowl with the capers, lemon zest and juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and herbs.

Bring slowly to a boil. Cook rapidly until thickened.
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner: 5 minutes for half pints or pints.

Fig Compote(makes four 4-ounce jars of fig compote)

Juice of 4 oranges (8 ounces juice)
32 ounces figs, chopped (preferably black mission figs)
1.5 tablespoon sugar
2 cups red wine
10 sprigs lemon thyme
4 cups water
Cheesecloth or spice bag

Squeeze the oranges to get 8 ounces of juice. Put the juice in a bowl.

Add chopped figs to bowl, as well as sugar. Lightly mix the three and put the mixture in the refrigerator to let it rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, wrap your lemon thyme sprigs in cheesecloth, or stuff them into a cheesecloth spice bag.

Empty your bowl of figs/sugar/orange juice into a non-reactive saucepan. Add the red wine, water, and the bag of thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Discard the spice bag.
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner: 5 minutes for half pints or pints.



Fig and Walnut Confit

2 cups dried figs coarsely chopped
½ cup of white wine
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
¾ cup shelled fresh walnuts
Preparation:

In a 1-1/2-quart heavy saucepan stir together ingredients and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Remove lid and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated and mixture is thickened.
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner: 5 minutes for half pints or pints.


Balsamic Fig Honey Marinade

8 cups fresh figs washed and cut in half
2 cups honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 Balsamic Vinegar

Preparation:
Combine all ingredients in a pan. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, being careful not to get it too hot or scald.
When the skins of the figs have broken down and the balsamic has reduced, remove from heat. Strain to remove fig skin pieces.
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot marinade into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner: 5 minutes for half pints or pints. Use your smallest jars for this recipe--a little goes a long way.

Balsamic Fig & Honey Salad Dressing

Mix canned marinade with an equal measure of olive oil.

Marinated Grilled Chicken
Mix a half pint of canned marinade with 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil. During the last few minutes of grilling, baste chicken with marinade. Alternatively, soak chicken pieces in marinade mix overnight and grill at low temperatures to prevent burning.

Fig & Onion Jam
Serve this sweet & salty jam with crackers and cheeses.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 large onions, halved, thinly slice
Salt + pepper to taste
20 fresh figs, stemmed, chopped
1 cup honey
4 tbsp each: balsamic vinegar, tamarind paste
2 tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed

In medium skillet, heat oil over medium-low. Add onions. Cook, stirring, until deep golden, about 1 hour, raising heat to medium if desired without burning onions. Season with salt and pepper. Add figs, honey, vinegar, tamarind and fennel.

Gently simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until figs break up and mixture turns jammy, about 30 minutes.

Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner: 5 minutes for half pints or pints.

Fig Preserves
This recipe is very easy and fast, but does require two nights in the refrigerator before sealing into jars. It produces about 7 pints. The recipe can be halved if desired.

4 Quarts fresh figs
5 lbs. sugar
3 lemons, sliced
4-5 cinnamon sticks
8 to 10 thin slices of fresh ginger

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

1. Clean the figs thoroughly. If they are small, remove the stems and cut them in half, large figs can be cut into quarters.

2. Put a layer of sugar in the bottom of a stockpot with a good, heavy bottom. Put a layer of figs on top of the sugar.

3. Continue layering sugar and figs, ending with sugar, make sure all of the figs are covered in sugar.

4. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

5. The next day, place the pot on the stove, and very slowly heat until the sugar has all turned to liquid. Add the lemons, cinnamon sticks, and fresh ginger.

6. Boil, stirring now and again until the mixture is thick, being careful not to let it burn.

7. Remove from heat, and let it cool. The next step assures perfect consistency.

8. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, when it is cold from the refrigerator, the consistency can be adjusted. If it is thicker than you like, thin it with just a little water at a time, stirring it in until it is the right consistency when it is cold. If it's chunkier than you like, just use a pair of kitchen scissors in the pot to cut the pieces smaller. If it's not thick enough, it can be boiled down some more.

Makes about 7 pints.

Sterilize canning jars. Reheat figs and syrup to boiling. Pour hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner: 5 minutes for half pints or pints.

Pickled Figs
When figs are in abundance or ripe on the trees it is time to find ways to eat them and enjoy the harvest. Everyone knows about and has eaten fresh figs, fig cookies and dried figs but how many have eaten pickled figs? This is an old fashioned recipe that isn't seen or heard of much lately. Follow this recipe to make pickled figs and experience a taste from the past.

7 lbs of fresh figs
6 cups of sugar
2 cups of cider vinegar
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves

Wash whole figs and put them in the large kettle with just enough water to cover them. Don't remove the peel. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes.

While the figs are simmering put the other ingredients in the second kettle and bring to a boil on low heat. Stirring constantly so that it won't scorch. The syrup is ready when the sugar is completely dissolved and it has a thickened syrupy consistency.

Remove the figs from the heat after the 20 minutes simmering time. Drain off the water and discard. Keep the figs in the large kettle until the syrup is ready.

When the syrup is ready, pour the hot syrup over the hot figs and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the figs and syrup mix from the heat and ladle and pour the figs and syrup into clean canning jars. Put on lids and set aside to cool. These pickled figs can be kept in the refrigerator and eaten at will right out of the jar.

To preserve the fig pickles:
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner: 5 minutes for half pints or pints or 10 minutes for quarts.

Cookbooks from the early 1900's all had many recipes for pickled vegetables and fruits. They were served with every meal and used as a condiment for the meats and breads that were eaten at the meals. Make this recipe for pickled figs and discover an old fashioned taste to start new traditions for family meals and pot lucks.

Fig Leaves

Fig leaves are not only edible, but also provide various health benefits when consumed. Unfortunately, "edible" doesn't mean "palatable"--fig leaves are generally bland, tough, and stringy. If you are determined to eat these, it is easiest to dry the leaves and process them into a fine powder. Then the powder can be added to recipes with the only noticeable change being the green color added by the leaves.

Diabetes- As explained on the Elements 4 Health website, consuming fig leaves can provide several healthy benefits for the body. Among these benefits, its anti-diabetic properties are among the most recognized. When consumed by a person with diabetes, fig leaves actually lower the amount of insulin required by the body. These extraordinary effects allow the diabetic to administer less insulin by injection, a costly and often life-long process.

Triglycerides- Along with their anti-diabetes properties, fig leaves also have been shown to lower the body's triglyceride levels. A triglyceride is the storage form of fat inside the body. Although a certain supply of triglycerides is required for proper health and body function, too many triglycerides greatly increase the risk for obesity and heart disease. However, a diet with regular fig leaf consumption may help lower these health risks as it gradually lowers triglyceride levels.

Home Remedies- Along with their remarkable anti-diabetes and triglyceride-lowering effects, fig leaves are also used in a variety of other home remedies for various medical conditions. In fact, the Natural News website recommends the mild leaf for conditions ranging from bronchitis to ulcers. According to the website, fig leaf tea can be beneficial for cardiovascular problems, cancer patients and people with high blood pressure. To make fig leaf tea, simply boil fig leaves in water for at least 15 minutes. A home remedy for bronchitis involves boiling water with three fig leaves and piloncillo, an unrefined sugar. A home remedy for ulcers involves chewing and swallowing two whole fig leaves daily.

Recipes- Although fig leaves are edible, they are used in very few recipes. In fact, Dave's Garden website acknowledges that fig leaves are typically only used to "wrap around foods." For example, the Saveur website features a "Grilled Sea Bass Wrapped in Fig Leaves" recipe, while the Martha Stewart website features a "Salmon Wrapped In Fig Leaves" recipe. The leaves can also be used as a wrap for rice and vegetables, giving the dish a Mediterranean flavor. The flavor of fig leaves is very neutral but the sap gives a smell that resembles coconut. Young leaves maybe chopped and added to stir fries.