canning

Dilly Green Beans

Dilly Green Beans

In a pickle making class last night, we made dilly green beans. These are one of my favorite pickles.  I like pretty much any type of pickle, and I love green beans, so no surprises there. They have a great, tart flavor.

If you have an abundance of green beans, you might consider making a batch of these to enjoy year round. Green beans are also at local farm markets now, and are at their peak.

These are great just eaten like other pickles, as a side. But they are also a fun addition to a Bloody Mary- or so I am told. I also like to serve them as an appetizer with cheeses, crackers and olives. Who am I kidding? I just eat them right out of the jar.

While the recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes per jar- feel free to add more, for a spicier version.

 

Dilly Green Beans

 

4 lbs. table‑perfect whole green beans

1 3/4 t. crushed dried hot red pepper

3 1/2 t. dried dill seed or seven fresh dill heads

7 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled

5 c. vinegar

5 c. water

1/2 c. less 1 T. pickling salt

 

Wash beans thoroughly. Remove stems and tips, and cut them as much as possible in uniform lengths to allow them to stand upright in canning jar, coming to the shoulder of the jar. have jars clean and very hot, and lids and sealers ready in scalding water. In each jar place one dill head or 1/2 t. dill seed, add one garlic clove, and 1/4 t. crushed hot red pepper. Pack beans upright in jars, leaving 1 inch of head room. Heat together the water, vinegar and salt. When the mixture boils, pour it over the beans, filling each jar to 1/2 inch from the top. Run a plastic knife down and around to remove trapped air. Adjust lids, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, start timing after the water in the canner returns to a boil. Remove jars. …Wait at least 2 weeks for these beans to develop their flavor. Yield: 7 pints

 

Source: Putting Food By

 

Spicy Pickled Beets

Spicy Pickled Beets

Beets are just one of those foods. People seem to love them, or hate them. I am a beet lover. I enjoy them in all sorts of dishes. The nice thing about making a batch of pickled beets is being able to open up a jar whenever you want.

This recipe is a pretty classic way to preserve beets. The brine is a sweet and sour mixture with pickling spice, salt and red pepper flakes for added flavor. You could play around with the seasonings a little. Maybe adding more heat.

Pickled beets are great served as a side dish with all sorts of foods. I like them served with cheeses, crackers and other pickled foods as an appetizer. If you don’t want to can them- you can store them in the fridge for up to a couple of months.

 

Spicy Pickled Beets

 

4 lbs. beets, smaller sizes preferred

3 c. thin sliced onions

2 c. sugar

2 T. Pickling spice

1 T. canning salt

2 t. red pepper flakes

2½ c. cider vinegar- 5% acidity

1½ c. water

 

Wash and trim beets, leaving a couple inches of stem attached. Cook in boiling water until tender. Cool beets down so you can handle them. Peel beets and cut into 1½- 2-inch diameter pieces, if beets are large. Leave whole if beets are small. Set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and simmer 5 more minutes. Add beets and cook a few minutes, until beets are warmed through. Ladle hot beets into clean pint jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Ladle in hot liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe off rim, screw on lid to finger-tip tightness. Repeat with remaining beets and liquid. You should fill about 5 pint jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave jars in water bath 5 minutes before removing to counter to cool.  Yield: 5 pints.

Adapted from The Ball Blue Book

Blueberry Pie Filling

Blueberry Pie Filling

I recently came across a wonderful price on blueberries. A really wonderful price. Being the thrifty person that I am, I stocked up. I put some in the freezer and placed some in vodka for liqueur. I made cupcakes and syrup, muffins and pancakes. I have been eating plenty of them, too. I decided to use some of them to make pie filling.

There is something very satisfying in making your own pie filling. It is so much better than anything you would find in a can. It is a convenient ingredient to have on hand, too. A good quality pie filling can be turned into any number of desserts in no time- even pie!!

You do need to have Clear Gel to can pie filling. It is modified cornstarch. You can’t use regular cornstarch and you can’t use other thickeners. You could just can the berries, then thicken them later, but the Clear Gel makes it so much more convenient to use. I just order mine online, but it is available in some stores- primarily in Amish communities.

I opted to can my filling in pints. I find that size more convenient for me. Let the jars stay in the canner 5 or 10 minutes after they finish processing. It will reduce siphoning. Some foods, hot in the jars- will leak out of removed from the heat too quickly. Pie fillings are known for issues with siphoning.

 

Blueberry Pie Filling

 

6 qts. Blueberries

6 c. sugar

2 1/4 c. Clear Gel (modified cornstarch, not regular cornstarch)

7 c. water

1/2 c. lemon juice

 

Wash and drain berries. In large sauce pot combine sugar and Clear Gel. Stir in water and cook on high heat until mixtures bubbles and thickens. It is going to be really thick- don’t panic, just keep stirring so it won’t stick. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in berries and ladle in hot, clean canning jars immediately. Leave 1/2 -inch headspace and remove any air bubbles with a knife. Wipe rims clean and put on lids. Place jars in boiling water bath and process for 30 minutes. Start timing when water returns to the boil. Turn off heat and let jars sit in the water bath 5-10 minutes before removing to counter to cool.  Cool jars on counter on rack or towel, free from drafts. Check seals next day.  remove rings and wipe down jars with a soft, damp cloth before storing. Makes 14 pints or 7 quarts.

Source NCHFP

Can You Can Yellow and Orange Tomatoes?

Crushed Orange Tomatoes

I have been asked several times in  canning  classes, if it is safe to can yellow or orange tomatoes. We have all heard that yellow and orange tomatoes are lower in acid, so are they still safe to can? The answer is yes, they are safe to can.

Why?

In spite of you might have been told, orange and yellow tomatoes are not acid free or low acid.

 

 

Truth is, that yellow and orange tomatoes have just as much acid as red tomatoes.

 

Well, for the most part at least. In terms of acidity or Ph, yellow and orange tomatoes are about average. Some cultivars have more, some less.  Bottom line is that all tomatoes are safe to can- as long as you acidify them.

Adding salt is optional, and is for flavor only. Use canning/pickling salt or non-iodized salt when canning.

 

Here are some popular canning recipes to get you started.

All follow the NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation) recommended procedures.

Crushed Tomatoes

 

Peel and core tomatoes , trim off any bad spots and quarter. Place about 1/4 of your prepared tomatoes in the kettle and cook, stirring constantly over high heat. Use a potato masher to crush tomatoes and extract juices. Once they are boiling add remaining tomatoes, stirring constantly. You don’t need to crush these tomatoes. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. In clean, hot jars add needed acidity listed below. You can also add 1 teaspoon of canning salt per quart if desired. Ladle in hot tomatoes, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims clean and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath. Pints 35 minutes, quarts, 45 minutes. 1,000-3000 ft over sea level add 5 minutes. Twenty-two pounds of tomatoes will yield about 7 quarts of tomatoes.

 

Whole Tomatoes in Juice

 

Use any extra tomatoes to make juice. I use tomatoes that are too big to can whole, or those that have blemishes that need to be trimmed. Cut up clean, unpeeled tomatoes in a kettle and cook, stirring often until tomatoes are mushy. Strain mixture, pressing on solids or run through a food mill or tomato juice extractor. Set aside,. Place peeled, whole tomatoes in kettle and add enough tomato juice to cover them. Heat to a simmer and simmer gently 5 minutes. Add lemon juice or citric acid to jars, using amounts listed below. Add salt, if desired. Add tomatoes and cover with hot juice, leaving 1/2 -inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process both pints and quarts 85 minutes in a boiling water bath.

 

Tomato Juice

Wash, stem and trim bruises off tomatoes. Cut into chunks. Add about 1 pound of tomatoes to kettle and bring to a boil while crushing. Continue to add additional cut up tomatoes slowly, keeping mixture boiling. This will keep the juice from separating later. Simmer an additional 5 minutes once the tomatoes have all been added. Press mixture through a strainer , sieve or food mill to remove seeds and skins. Add lemon juice or citric acid to jars according to directions listed below. Add salt if desired. Return juice to boil and add to prepared jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process n a boiling water bath pints 35 minutes and quarts 40 minutes. Add 5 minutes processing time at elevations between 1,001 and 3,000 ft.

Tomato Sauce

 

Prepare as for juice. After juice is made return to pot and start cooking down to desired thickness. You’ll lose about 1/3 of the volume for thin sauce and 1/2 of the volume for thick. Add lemon juice or citric acid to prepared jars as described below. Add salt if desired. Add boiling sauce leaving 1/4 -inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts. Add five minutes at 1,001-3,000 ft. elevation.

Acidity and Tomatoes

Tomatoes must be acidified before canning. When canning either whole, crushed or juiced tomatoes you must add either 2 T. bottled lemon juice per quart or 1/2 t. citric acid . For pint use 1 T. lemon juice or 1/4 t. citric acid. You can also use 4 T. (5%) vinegar per quart, but it will alter the flavor and is not recommended. You can add a little sugar to offset the flavor, if you like.

 

 

 

Beet Relish

Beet Relish

Beets are one of those foods that people either love- or hate. I love beets, and enjoy them in all sorts of dishes. One of my favorite beet recipes is this relish.

It is a great way to preserve beets to enjoy all year long. Beets are in season, and I thought I would share this recipe. I love this relish, and make several batches every year.

Beet relish is like a sweet pickle relish, only made with beets.  You can add it to sandwiches or salads, and if you put some in your chicken or pasta salads, it turns them the nicest shade of pink. Yummy on a hot dog or hamburger, too.

I like to serve beet relish with cheeses and crusty bread as an appetizer. If you love beets like I do, you might want to try it.

While I have always made this relish with traditional, red beets, you can also make it with golden beets, if you prefer.

 

Beet Relish

1 qt. chopped cooked beets, about 12 medium

1 quart chopped cabbage, about 1 small head

1 c. chopped onion

1 c. chopped red sweet pepper

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 T. prepared horseradish

1 T. canning salt ( non-iodized)

3 c. vinegar, white or cider- I prefer cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Bring mixture to a boil. Pack hot relish into hot jars leaving 1/4 -inch head space. Seal jars and process in a boiling water bath 15 minutes. Yield about 10 half-pint jars.

Source: Ball Blue Book

Homemade Blackberry Jelly

Blackberry Jelly

I was recently gifted some beautiful blackberries. I was busy, so a lot of them ended up in the freezer to use and enjoy later.

I decided to use some of them to make blackberry jelly. These were smallish berries, and I knew they had a lot of seeds in them. I could make seedless jam, but if I were going to the bother of getting out the seeds, I figured I could also make jelly.

It came out perfect. Sweet and tart, and full of the flavor of summer. Jelly was a little more work than jam, but worth every bit of effort.

 

I first cooked the berries to extract the juice, then used that juice to make the jelly. While it was a hot day to be making jelly- the aroma in the house made it all worth it.

I also saved the seeds and solids. I placed them in a jar and covered them with vodka. I can strain it in a few weeks, sweeten it a little, and I’ll have some blackberry liqueur as a bonus.

 

 

Blackberry Jelly

3 quarts blackberries*

1/2 c. water

1 box powdered pectin

5 c. sugar

Place the berries in a pot and use a potato masher to crush the berries. Add the water and simmer until the berries are soft. Strain out the solids and then pour the juice through several layers of cheesecloth to clarify. You should end up with about 4-5 cups of juice. Place juice in a pot and add the pectin. Bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly. Add the sugar and return mixture to the boil, again stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle mixture into clean, hot jelly jars and fill to 1/4 inch from the top. Seal and repeat with remaining jelly.  Place in a boiling water bath and process 10 minutes. Makes 6-7 half pints.

* Best if some of the berries are a little under ripe. Under ripe fruit is higher in natural pectin.

 

Cinnamon Vanilla Blueberry Jam

Cinnamon-Vanilla Blueberry Jam

It seems to be a great year for blueberries. The ones in my yard are starting to ripen, and I have more than ever before. So far, the netting is keeping birds and chipmunks away.

Prices at the market have been good, too. I have been eating berries, freezing berries and made some blueberry liqueur. I also wanted to make jam.

I often make blueberry jam with a little added vanilla, but decided to add cinnamon this time, as well. The result was so tasty.

I used the basic berry jam recipe from the Ball Blue Book, but I added both vanilla and a cinnamon in this batch. The flavors worked really well together. I am making more of this one, for sure. Enjoy.

 

Cinnamon- Vanilla Blueberry Jam

9 c. crushed blueberries

6 c. sugar

1 T. ground cinnamon

1 T. vanilla

Pick over berries getting any stems. Rinse , drain and crush. Place berries, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a large saucepan and heat slowly until sugar has melted. Bring up heat and cook over high heat, stirring often. Stir more as mixture thickens. It will take 20-30 minutes to get to the gel stage. To check for gel stage dip a metal spoon in blueberry mixture and hold it up sideways. Allow mixture to drip off and when two drops come together to form one larger drop- you are at gel stage. You can also use a candy thermometer. When the jam reaches 220 degrees- or 8 degrees over the temp of boiling water- you are at gel stage. Ladle hot jam into clean, hot jelly jars. Fill to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe rims and place on lids prepared according to directions on box. Screw lids comfortably tight. Place jars in boiling water bath with water at least 1-2 inches over the tops of the jars. Cover pot and start timing when water returns to the boil. Process 15 minutes. Remove jars to towel, cutting board or cooling rack in a draft-free location. Check seals once jars are cooled. Makes 8-10 jelly jars.

Source: Adapted from Ball Blue Book

Cherry Jam

Sweet Cherry Jam

I taught a jam and jelly making class in Mentor last night. We made this sweet cherry jam. It came out great. The recipe calls for both vanilla and cinnamon, but you can leave them out, if you like. In class, they opted to add the vanilla, but not the cinnamon.

This must be a great year for cherries. They seem bigger than usual, and very sweet.

While I normally make jam from sour cherries, I knew the sweet ones would work. Besides the cherries, sugar and pectin, this jam also contains lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon. Those extra ingredients give the jam a more complex flavor and a little bit of a tang.

This may be one of my favorite jams ever!!! I was worried it would be too sweet, but it isn’t. The flavor of the cherries comes through as well at the flavor of the vanilla and cinnamon. Thinking I made need to buy more cherries and make another batch….

 

Here is the recipe. Enjoy.

Sweet Cherry Jam

4 c. chopped pitted sweet cherries, about 2 lbs.

6 T. powdered pectin

6 T. lemon juice

2 T. pure vanilla extract

1 t. cinnamon

4½  c. sugar

 

Wash jelly jars and lids and keep warm until ready to use. Place a large pot of water, with a rack, on to boil for the water bath. In large saucepan combine cherries with pectin, lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring often. Add the sugar and bring mixture back to a rolling boil, stirring often. Once the mixture gets to a full, rolling boil, cook for one minute longer, stirring constantly. Remove jam from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, filling to about 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe off rim and screw on the lids. Repeat with remaining jam. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let jar sit in canner 5 minutes before removing. Remove from water bath and allow jars to cool.  Yield: about 6 half pint jars of jam.

 

Adapted from The Ball Blue Book

Vidalia Onion Relish

Vidalia Onion Relish

Every year I make at least a few batches of this relish recipe.  I used Vidalia onions, but any sweet onion will work. I just prefer the flavor of Vidalia onions.

The relish itself has a nice balance of sour and sweet, with plenty of onion flavor. I use it on sandwiches, in potato and pasta salads and as an appetizer with cheese and crusty breads. It also makes a great gift.

As you cook it down, the onions get quite tender, but actually crisp back up a little as the liquid cooks off. Don’t shortcut on the cooking time.

Vidalia Onion Relish

 

6 qts.  ground Vidalia sweet onions (14 to 16 med. onions)

1/2 c. canning salt

1 qt.  cider vinegar

2 t. turmeric

1T. pickling spice

2 T. minced sweet pepper, any color

4 1/2 c. sugar

 

Grind enough Vidalia onions to yield 6 quarts.  Add 1/2 c. salt and let stand thirty minutes.  Squeeze juice from onion‑salt mixture and discard juice.  Sterilize canning jars.  To onions, add vinegar, sugar, spices, and pepper.  Bring to boil and cook for thirty minutes, stirring often.  Pack both onions and cooking liquid to cover in hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Remove air bubbles.  Wipe jar rims.  Adjust lids.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Yield:  About 8 pints or 16 half-pints.

Source: So Easy To Preserve

Canning Chickpeas

Chickpeas Cooling Down

I always get a lot of questions when I tell people I can dry beans. They ask if it is worth the effort. I find I like the flavor better than canned beans. Plus, I don’t have to cook from dry every time I want some. So for me, it is worth the effort.

It isn’t hard to do, but there are rules.

Because beans are a low acid food, they must be pressure canned. They also are precooked a little before they are canned. They don’t overcook when you do that. It just helps them to cook evenly and to get proper heat penetration.

Salt is optional, so you can leave it out, if you like.

Make sure you pick over the beans and toss any that are discolored.

They expand a lot when cooking. I started out with 2 quarts of dry garbanzo beans and ended up with 12 pints!!! Always use a bigger pot than you think you will need.

Canning Dry Beans- Chickpeas, kidney, black beans etc.

Rinse beans and place in a large pot. Cover with plenty of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil two minutes. Let stand 1 hour. Drain beans and return to pot. Cover with cold water- at least two inches over the beans. Bring to a simmer and simmer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, wash jars and get the pressure canner ready. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for how much water to place in your canner. Some say 2 or 3 inches of water. Mine says to add three quarts of water. I also add a little vinegar to my water to reduce mineral build up inside my canner. Not a safety issue, more cosmetic. A few tablespoons is plenty.

Ladle beans and water into canning jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Add non-iodized salt, if you like. 1/2 teaspoon per pint and 1 teaspoon per quart. Beans will still expand, so make sure the water covers them. Tighten lids to fingertip tight. Place jars in canner, on a rack, where water should just be simmering. Secure lid and turn up the heat. Once a steady stream of heat comes out of the vent, start timing it. Steam must vent for ten minutes. Place weighted or dial gauge over the vent and watch while canner comes up to pressure. Once canner reaches 10 pounds pressure, start timing. You will gradually be able to turn the heat down, but do it slowly, so you don’t go below 10 pounds pressure. Pints are processed for 75 minutes, quarts for 90 minutes.

Once the time is up- turn off the heat and allow the canner to go down to zero pounds pressure. Don’t rush this step by trying to cool the canner. The cooling down time is part of the process. Remove the gauge carefully at this point. Wait another 10 minutes before removing the lid of the canner. Remove lid, facing away from you- there is still plenty of hot steam in the canner. Remove jars to a counter covered with a towel or cooling rack. Allow jars to cool before checking seals.

Sources NCHFP, Ball