Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Split Pea Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage

Here's a hearty and fast Split Pea Soup Recipe - don't skimp on the ham...

I have used the traditional ham before and the canning process seems to leach the flavor out of the ham, leaving chunks of meat without any flavor to chew on.
I wanted to try something different. I like this a lot, DH thought it was too spicy.

2 lbs dried green split peas (rinse and pick out any strange looking peas)
10 cups water (I used part chicken stock)

Bring to a boil and while boiling cut into chunks

5 carrots
5 potatoes
3 spicy italian sausages (about 9 inches long each)

then add to the liquid

1 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt
1 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper

I then added the cut carrots, potatoes and sausage to the boiling liquid
and waited for it to come back to a boil and ladled into 5 quart canning jars
added water to the jars to the fill line,and cooked at 11 lbs pressure for 90 minutes.

I took about and extra 20 minutes letting my canner get to 11 lbs.
When the timer went off I turned the burner off and waited until there was no
pressure left in the canner.
I had no liquid loss when I opened the canner to remove the jars.

In this recipe and almost any recipe you can add or take away veggies.
I tend to use whatever I have on hand and make liberal substitutions.

Any soup with meat needs 90 minutes for quarts and 70 for pints.Posted byCynat12:23 PM

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Green Sauce for Soups, Dips etc.

Another quick and tasty recipe...

5 lbs tomatillos washed and cut into small hunks
2 lbs anaheim chili's roasted and prepared or 1 lg can roasted green chili
6 jalapenos chopped
3 large onions chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice or to taste
2 cups water
8 cloves garlic chopped
1 TBS Lawry's seasoned salt, or to taste
2 TBS Cumin or to taste

Bring all to a boil and boil covered on low for about 20 minutes.
I then took my stick mixer (immersion blender) and blended all.

Pour into jars, wipe rims and I pressured this at 11 lbs for 25 minutes.

This sauce may have to have some thickening before using. I will be using it as
a sauce for enchiladas and as a soup base. I really like the color and the flavor.
You can add tomatoes if you want as well. If you like spicier add more jalapenos
or a pinch of cayenne powder. I have made this using lime juice insted of lemon and
really liked it as well. The tomatillos keep this sauce mild. I shop at ethic markets and love it. My tomatillos were 3 lbs for a dollar.

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Enchilada Casserole Experiment

Who among us is not experimental when cooking at times?
Onward intrepid cooks...

I have leaned to make only 3 to 4 jars of anything I experiment with. This is not really a recipe as much as it is an idea you can change as needed.

I stir fried cut up chicken pieces, no bone or skin.... until lightly cooked.
I cut up corn tortillas into small squares.
I used green enchilada sauce and some whole beans I had canned, some onions, corn and
green chilis.

I put 1/8 cup enchilada sauce in a quart jar and added a few squares of corn torillas,
then added chicken, a bit more sauce, more corn tortilla squares, then onions and corn, more sauce
then more corn tortillas, then green chilies and beans.  I layered this using a lot of sauce and then when through layering, filled the jar to the top fill line with sauce and used a wooden
spoon handle to get the bubbles out and added more sauce.

The verdict?   I used way too many corn tortilla squares and it mushed up a lot.
I will do this again and use less tortillas.  When I took this out of the canner it was full of liquid and bubbling, later it sort of congealed into this mushy mass that was delicious.  I like it!

DH does not like the green enchilada sauce so next time I will make it with red sauce and with beef.

I used to make a casserole a bit like this when I had kids at home, I used stale corn tortilla chips instead of corn tortillas and think that flavor would be a bit better and easier to make.  You would just smash the chips.

As I said above, this is my personal experiment.  Can at your own risk. 

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Pupusa Recipe

From Wikipedia:

pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish made of thick, hand-made corn tortilla (made using masa de maíz, a maize flour dough used inLatin American cuisine) that is usually filled with a blend of the following: cheese (queso) (usually a soft cheese called Quesillo found in all Central America), cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency. Nixtamal is basically the same corn dough, but it has undergone a preparation process involving an alkaline solution before cooking, which contributes to peel the grains while preserving valuable nutrients. This process was developed in Mesoamerica around 1500 - 1200 BC. Early Mesoamericans used quicklime or slaked lime and ashes as the alkaline solution. Dried nixtamal is now commercially available.

This is not a canning recipe.  I will be canning again soon.  I ran out of ideas and now have a few.
This recipe is great.  It's a leftovers recipe.  Mine are not pretty like the pupusas' I Googled.
You could make a bunch and freeze, and even cover in enchilada sauce to serve.

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How to Can Rose Hip Jelly

Rose hips are extremely high in vitamin C. In fact, since the British were cut off from their supply of citrus fruits during World War II, they used rose hip syrup to ensure their intake of vitamin C.

To make either rose hip syrup or jelly, you start out by making rose hip tea. I find that as little as 1 cup of rose hips makes a decent batch of jelly, but 2 cups will work better. I left the quantity vague to accommodate those who may not have a lot of rose bushes. Personally, I think that wild rose hips make a wonderful jelly.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Frozen Berries are Great in Recipes.

This is a great time of year to take advantage of berries - which truly are great in recipes even when frozen...

One of my Brothers is rather fond of Mulberry Jam so I was at his house this weekend making jam with the berries that he and his wife froze last summer. I mentioned before, that frozen fruit makes good jam, but I thought I would take a moment to mention some reasons why you might want to use frozen fruit.

This weekend was an example of being able to time the canning so it was convenient for me. I did not have to be at his home at the time that the berries were actually ripe. The timing was also nice because it was cold out and the heat from the stove was much more pleasant than it would have been in June or July.

Timing is also an issue if you want to use two fruits that don't become ripe at the same time. Just freeze one of the fruits and it is ready when the other fruit becomes ripe.

It is also handy if you want to use a fruit that you don't grow yourself. I don't grow blueberries, but that certainly doesn't stop me from making blueberry jam. Frozen blueberries work just as well as fresh ones.

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Old Time Corn Cob Jelly

The older the recipe, the more fun it is to make...

This old fashioned recipe recalls a time when people couldn't afford to be as wasteful as we often are today.

When I mention people often wrinkle their nose as if I must be talking about something poisonous. Some of the finickiness that our society has developed is unfortunate because, quite frankly, tastes good.

I always make it with the red cobs that come from dent corn (the type of corn that is fed to cattle and squirrels). As an Iowa girl, I have fields full of dent corn all around me. If you are not lucky enough to have a corn field outside your back door, you can get some corn that is sold for squirrels and shell it.

I have seen recipes that call for the cobs from sweet corn, but I have never tried it. I imagine that it would still have the hint of corn taste in it, but I am not sure what color it would be, since sweet corn has white cobs. Perhaps I should try it some time and see what it is like.

This is based on a recipe from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Cooking.

(Yield is about 4 half-Pint Jars)
(Printable Recipe)

12 red corn cobs
6 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 package powdered pectin

Break cobs in half. Add water and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain in a damp Jelly Jelly Strainer. If necessary, add enough water to make 3 cups of liquid. Add sugar and bring to a rolling boil. Add pectin and return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Fill hot canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home Canned Chili

Having Canned Chili on hand is nice for those times when you want a quick meal. Make a big batch once and you have several meals that are just heat and eat.

Some jars of chili that can be heated in a small crock pot in a dorm room are also a nice gift for a college student who is missing Mom's cooking.

Although tomatoes are somewhat acidic, the overall PH of chili is high enough that it must be processed in a pressure canner.

Fill hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure. Process pints for 75 minutes or quarts for 90 minutes. For altitudes over 1000 feet use 15 pounds pressure.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

The Lovely Bones - Tiller Troubles

To all those who have a workhorse of an old tiller...

My faithful Troy-Bilt tiller, Spiny Norman, is having his engine rebuilt this week.  While the Wheelhorse tractor, which rambled over a few too many stumps last season, has a cracked spindle on its mowing deck, and the greenhouse has three panes of storm splintered glass that need replacing.   I seems I need to set up a triage on the farm.  The thing about older machinery is that it’s worth fixing, worth rushing to the ER (Engine Repair?) for treatment.  Like organic farming versus chemical farming,  good tools presuppose a long-term relationship, not a one-night-stand with plastics and pot metal.

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Boyz in the Woods - Releasing Retired Roosters

I love this down home writing...

There’s a tangled stretch of forest along the Hudson River, flanked on both sides by a rural cemetery and an imposing power plant, where I go to release roosters that have out-crowed their welcome at the Farm...

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Canning Strawberry- Banana Jam

I was feeling inspired by the fact that I made banana-lime jam without burning it. I decided to make another jam that I really like but haven't made for a few years. The last time I made it, I quit stirring for a short while because I was distracted by something else, and it burned. I decided that one bad incident shouldn't turn me off forever.

This recipe is base on a recipe from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Cooking. This has some fun jam recipes in it. However, it was published in 1970 and still give instructions for canning with the paraffin wax method. Since this is not as safe as the water bath method, the canning instructions should be updated.

One time I made this with raspberry gelatin rather than strawberry. That was quite good. I suppose you could have fun trying it with all sorts of flavors of gelatin.

Strawberry-Banana Jam
(yield is about 8 half-pint jars)
(Printable Recipe)

6 cups mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups water
1 package powdered pectin
3 cups sugar
2 - 3 oz packages of strawberry gelatin

Combine first three ingredients. Heat to boiling stirring constantly. Add sugar and gelatin and bring to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat. Fill hot canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Maple Apple Butter

The Ungourmet made the comment that she wondered what it would be like to add maple syrup to apple butter. This idea certainly sounded good enough to make me curious. I was pondering how well apple butter would cook down if you used syrup, when it occurred to me that I probably wouldn't pay for real maple syrup any way: I would use maple flavored syrup. Then I decided the thing to do was flavor apple butter with maple flavoring rather than cinnamon.

It was too tempting of an idea to pass up. I had to try it and I am glad I did, because it is delicous.

(Printable Recipe)

Use one of the following methods to prepare the pulp. As always, I recommend using Fruit Fresh when cutting up the fruit.

Method 1: To prepare the pulp, first quarter the apples. Cook apples until they are soft (about 20 minutes) using just enough water to prevent sticking (enough to cover bottom of pan). Run the apples through a food mill.

Method 2: Peel, quarter and core apples. Cook apples until they are soft (about 20 minutes) using just enough water to prevent sticking (enough to cover bottom of pan). Process in a blender or food processor.

Measure pulp. For each quart of pulp, add 2 cups sugar, 2 tsp maple flavoring, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Cook slowly until thick. At first you only have to stir occasionally, but as it thickens you will have to stir more often. The apple butter is ready when it will mound up on a spoon.

Fill hot canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Honey, I’m home

The new hive supers and brood boxes arrived this week, sent in a backbreaking UPS shipment from Brushy Mountain Bee. Along with a smoker, protective clothing, and a Spring order for sixty thousand Italian bees, we’re getting serious about honey.

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Come Hail and High water

These past few weeks, as temperatures swayed madly back and forth, any syncopation between plant and planet seemed momentarily lost. The mercury rocketed to record heights, then fell just as hard. Ninety-six degrees segued into frigid slurries of rain and surreal ice storms.

Hens panted in the heat, their beaks slung open like secateurs; bees splashed themselves across hives in cooling desperation; greens secretly conspired to bolt.

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Friday, November 11, 2011


The long, slow fruition of all the heat longing solonacea, who sulked through June’s cool nights, has finally begun to show promise, as clusters of Sun Gold, Lemon Drop, and Black Cherry tomatoes have emerged jewel-like on sprawling indeterminate vines, and peppers and eggplant are standing tall above inter-planted lettuce.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Secrets to Canning Plum Butter

Biscuits and Plum Butter
Biscuits and Plum Butter (Photo credit: Vegan Feast Catering)
Canning Plum Butter is a delicious lost art. Plum butter goes well with all types of bread and is a great addition to breakfast or lunch. If you haven't yet canned plum butter or tried this recipe, then I can vouch that brown sugar in plum butter is a great variation of a classic...

I had some brown sugar that I wanted to use up. At my house it tends to dry up before it gets used. I also had some plums that I wanted to can so I came up with the idea of using brown sugar in plum butter. The amount of brown sugar that I had was about 1/2 of what I needed so a also used white sugar.

It turns out that I can't really taste the brown sugar in the finished product. However the whole experiment made me curious about what it would taste like to make apple butter with brown sugar instead of white sugar. I just used up my brown sugar, and now I feel half tempted to buy some more just for another experiment.

I feel like I am being pretty redundant, in writing a recipe for plum butter, since I usually make all of my fruit butters pretty much the same. It is fun some times though to experiment with changing the spices. I think using lemon peel in plum butter rather than cinnamon is a nice change of pace.

Plum Butter

Use one of the following methods to prepare the pulp. As always, I recommend using Fruit Fresh when cutting up the fruit.

Method 1: Quarter pitted plums. Cook plums until they are soft (about 20 minutes) using just enough water to prevent sticking (enough to cover bottom of pan). Run the plums through a food mill.

Method 2: Peel, quarter and pit plums. Cook plums until they are soft (about 20 minutes) using just enough water to prevent sticking (enough to cover bottom of pan). Process in a blender or food processor.

Measure pulp. For each quart of pulp, add 2 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Cook slowly until thick. At first you only have to stir occasionally, but as it thickens you will have to stir more often. The plum butter is ready when it will mound up on a spoon.

Fill hot canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Experimental Prickly Pear Syrup

In addition to a fondness for making jams and jellies, I also have a fondness for Cacti. Don't ask me where I got it from. I don't know. I just happen to think that cacti are very attractive plants.

The photo of the prickly pear fruit is one from my own garden. I don't know what variety of opuntia (the scientific name for prickly pears) it is. I didn't get it from a green house. I took cuttings from somebody else. The fruit are not as big as the prickly pear fruit that you sometimes see in the grocery store, but hey, at least it is a variety of opuntia that will survive Iowa winters. After all everything tastes better when you grow it yourself.

I had been looking at those fruit longingly for about a week wishing that I had enough to make jelly. Eventually, my cacti should spread enough that I will be able to make jelly.

When I don't have enough of some type of fruit, I have been known to fill in with apple juice, However in this case, the amount of apple juice that I would have to use would be so much that I was afraid that you wouldn't be able to taste the prickly pear.

I decided to make syrup instead. The method that I used was loosely based in this recipe. I used clear jel rather than corn starch. Then I canned it in 4 ounce jars with 1/4 inch headpace, using the waterbath method. I processed it for 10 minutes.

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Banana-Lime Jam Tips

I had sort of lost interest in making jams that have bananas in them just because they seem to burn so easily. Then Retrogal sent me a recipe of her mother's. Naturally I was curious. I had never had a banana jam with lime in it before, so I had to try it.

It also had the interesting instructions to "boil until bananas turn pink." Well I cooked it down until it was the consistency of fruit butter, but the bananas still didn't look pink to me. I ended up deciding to change that to "cook until thick."

Of course if the goal is to cook it until it is thick like fruit butter, then I couldn't help but wonder if it would thicken faster if I simply started with less water. I didn't try it with less water, so I don't know. In any case, I definitely liked the taste.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Secret Chicken Salad

I love canning chicken and use it for so many things but mostly . I did an experiment, I added two heaping teaspoons of sweet relish to quart jar and then processed for 90 minutes at 11 is so good! I drained it and then shredded it into hunks and used it. The relish flavor is good, not overpowering and since I run out of relish all the time, its great to have that part of the ready to go. Next time I am going to also add some dried cranberries and see if its' good too...

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Canning Errata

I just found a bunch of unpublished . Some are old, I never saw them. I get a lot of spam too, from Viagra to shopping so maybe my inbox sorts them and throws all into spam. I will be answering all the that are not spam.

I also get mails asking why I used frozen corn or canned tomatoes. I use what I have on hand.
I watch the grocery bill carefully. My husband also likes to shop and buys in bulk when things are on sale. I hate grocery shopping so at times I get have to use what he bought. I am grateful he likes grocery shopping. "Use what I have in the pantry" is my motto. So far even the frozen and canned corn in recipes has come out nicely. I have been happy with the results.

I live in California and fruit is abundant in my area, vegetables are not.
I also work, so canning has to be done around our schedules. Summertime is when I have grandkids, and I just want to enjoy them.

I use thickeners when I am ready to eat the food. I thicken the sauce then when heating. Not when processing. It is easier to thicken on the stove.

My biggest regret is not knowing how to pressure can when my kids were at home. Three teen boys, wow this would have saved so much time.

If you are new to this, get books on canning, Ball has several. Join the amazing, friendly, canning groups in Yahoo Groups. These groups inspire. Experiment within safe guidelines. I experiment a lot, trying to still follow the guidelines. Know your altitude so you can safely pressure can. Know the timing for low acid foods. Canning is fun. Storing the jars has been not-so-fun. Having meals to heat and eat when exhausted is worth it all.Posted byCynat12:52 PM

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Experimental Meatballs - Try at Home?

Two years ago I canned some meatballs in some watered down Yoshida's sauce. I opened it Monday evening and served it as a side for dinner. I hated the texture of the meatball and choked one down. Just as I was going to apologize for serving that to my DH, he says "Wow the sauce is a bit strong but I love the texture of the meatball". I then had another to see if I had the same reaction....I did. Loathed the texture. In fact, it was a lot like the canned meatballs in a can of spaghetti. Chef Boyardeeze nasty. BTW I have grandkids who LOVE that stuff.

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Carrot Cake Jam - Great Homemade Gift Idea!

I thought this would be a fun jam for Christmas gifts.
This recipe is all over the internet, I got this at
She has a great site!

Makes about six 7 - 8 ounce jars

1 ½ cups finely grated peeled carrots
1 ½ chopped, cored and peeled pears
1 ¾ canned pineapple, including juice
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
1 package (1.75 oz) powdered fruit pectin
6 ½ cups granulated sugar

•Prepare canner, jars, and lids. (See a canning manual for more info if you are new to canning.)
•In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine carrots, pears, pineapple with juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in pectin, until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
•Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot jam. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
•Place jars in a canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store. Remember to label the jars.

I used the coarse setting to grate the time I will definitely use the fine setting. We liked it on toast spread lightly with cream cheese.Posted byCynat9:27 AM

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Warning - Experimental Tomato, Sausage, Veggie Sauce

The reason this sauce is experimental is because about two years ago I purchased one of those huge #10 can of crushed tomatoes at Sam's Club. (it was $1.89) It sat in the garage until this weekend. I had leftover sausage and carrots from my other canning. I decided to can this, knowing the tomatoes would be double processed. I used lemon juice to tarten up the flavor a bit. I love fresh tomatoes, I love canning fresh tomatoes. I hate paying over $3.00 a lb for tomatoes, and those barely taste like real tomatoes. I used carrots because I had them and had no plans to use them in anything else. I did not want to use any other veggies because I was not sure I would like this. We do like it! We decided to do this again, next time with meat and green chilis and onions. DH also wants to make some with a lot of italian seasonings.

1 #10 can crushed tomatoes
2 cups shredded carrots
1 lb sausage
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper as desired

I processed for 90 minutes because it had meat in it. 11 lbs pressure for my altitude.

This feels like cheating, I cheated once and made apple butter out of a #10 can of applesauce using my slow cooker and extra lemon juice and no one could tell. After all those times peeling the apples, no one noticed. Next time I am at Sam's Club or Costco, I am going to be sure and check out those huge cans, after slowly turning and looking to see if the canning police are watching LOL.

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The Ultimate Sausage,Cabbage and Vegetable Soup

2.5 lbs Sweet Italian Sausage cut into chunks
I head cabbage sliced thin, I used green cabbage
3/4 lbs carrots cut into slices
4 cups chopped potatoes
1 lb soaked navy beans
2 cups chopped celery
2 large onions chopped
5 cloves chopped garlic
1.5 cups apple juice
3 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
4 TBS cider vinegar
3 TBS brown sugar
3 tomatoes peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

I threw everything into a stock pot and covered with water.
I brought to a boil then simmered for about 15 minutes.
I ladled into my quart jars (12 jars) and processed for 90 minutes at 11 PSI.

This is good, not as odd as I thought it might be. I like it and my guests liked it.
I wish I had used more apples. If I do this again I may throw in cubes of pumpkin.

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Super Duper Chili Beans

This is a recipe that sounds delicious. This is from a reader who has been canning for years. She has a family background in canning, learning from her elders. I think that's great.

Soak about three pounds of pinto beans overnight...I'm guessing on this, as I usually do more and make a day of it

In each jar add:

1/4 cup tomato paste
2 T chopped onion
1t. chili powder
scant t. salt
1 t. cumin
pinch of pepper
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. sugar
pinch oregano
2 1/2 cups soaked beans

Fill to about an inch from the top of the jar with hot water. Process quarts for 95 minutes at 10 pound pressure and adjusted to your altitude.

Thank you again for the time and care taken on the blog and for encouraging so many to take heed and use that canner!

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tomato Onion and Spicy Jalapeno Soups

I love the tomato and onion soup at the Soup Plantation or Sweet Tomatoes.

I also wanted to use up some of my many cans so I came up with this.

1 #10 can of diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups stewed tomatoes (just because I had them)
3.5 lbs onions sliced in thin rings
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons Oregano or to taste
2 tablespoons sweet basil or to taste
celery salt to taste

Put all in large stewing pot and bring to boil. I then used a stick blender and blended about half the soup, I left the other half chunky. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. I love the lemon juice in this, the tartness makes this taste fresh and thats important because it is being processed twice.

I filled 5 quarts and had enough left for 2 or 3 quarts more, I then added a bottle of Spicy V8 juice and a small can of diced jalapenos and some chopped garlic. I got four more quarts and two yummy soups.

Pressure at 11 lbs pressure for 35 minutes quarts and 25 minutes pints.
I know some people would BWB this, I am just not comfortable doing this. I feel it has already been processed once, and now twice.

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Chicken and Sweet Potatoes in Honey Mustard Sauce

I got this idea in the frozen food section of my local grocery store.  Marie Callender TV Dinners to be exact.  I have never been able to can a honey mustard sauce successfully.  I tried with powdered mustard and all kinds of mustard and after canning, it simply disappears.  I even used some bottled honey mustard.  No luck, it just tastes like honey.  I now cook the chicken in a honey sauce and add mustard when reheating.  I canned the honey, sweet potatoes, and chicken in quarts.  I also have chicken in pint jars and sweet potatoes in quart jars and that may be easy if you are feeding more than two people.  This combination is great.

For each quart:

1 cup of chicken cut into bite sized pieces and then lightly stir fried
1/2 to 3/4 cups of honey (or to taste)
Fill the rest of the jar with sweet potatoes that have been peeled and cut into big hunks.
Fill with a light chicken broth to the fill line
Can at 11 lbs pressure (or for your altitude) for 90 minutes (quarts)  75 minutes (pints)

When read to eat, drain the liquid in a saucepan, add a tablespoon of mustard (or more or less) stir and thicken with cornstarch, then add the chicken and sweet potatoes and heat.Posted byCynat7:13 PM

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Red Beans for Red Beans and Rice

This is a per jar recipe using quart jars.
Layer Per Jar:

1/3 cup red beans, washed and soaked for 3 hours
1 andouille sausage (about the size of a hot dog) cut into thin slices
1/3 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 minced clove garlic per jar
2 teaspoons (or to taste) creole or cajun seasoning
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
water or chicken broth to fill the jar

Pressure can at 11 lbs PSI for 90 minutes (or for your altitude).

I also added some canned tomatoes to mine, not much just 2 tablespoons per jar. This is not traditional, we just like tomatoes.
Andouille sausage can vary, you should taste and see how spicy yours is before adding the creole seasonings. Some brands of sausage are so spicy, your jar may not require additional seasonings.Posted byCynat7:51 PM

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Small Potatoes

I bought these tiny potatoes at a local Farmers Market. The whole potatoes were canned with
lightly salted water. The other potatoes were cut in half and canned in a light chicken broth. (it was just brought to my attention that if I used a real chicken broth I would need to PSI 90 minutes) I used bouillon. Thanks deerie65775

I scrubbed the potatoes and then pressured canned them for 40 minutes (quarts) or 35 (pints). I left the peel on and really like them this way.
I added garlic to some jars and just a splash of lemon to other jars. These are so handy to have in the pantry.Posted byCynat7:52 PM

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Friday, November 4, 2011

An Interview With Jessica Koslow of Sqirl - Her Canning Success

Intrigued by a Daily Candy article, I purchased two jars of Sqirl confections online and tweeted the find using the tag #canvolution. Four months later, I met owner Jessica Koslow IRL (in real life) at Forage in Los Angeles to connect over good food and a love for canning.

As a trends research, creative development and marketing consultant...

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Delicious Pickled Bell Peppers Recipe

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers...

You can pickle any kind of pepper. I think jalapenos are probably the most common type to get pickled. I personally have a fondness for for . I think they make a lunch time sandwich more fun. They can be made more colorful by including some red or yellow peppers.

I usually make them with just garlic, but this time I decided to throw in some ginger too. A fun thing about pickles is that you can be creative about what spices you use.

Bell peppers happen to be just about the right height to fit 1/2 pint. They are kind of short for the pint jar I have them pictured in, so they are floating to the top.

Four peppers makes about 3 pints, so it is easy to determine how many jars you need.
Since the brine recipe here came from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving:, it only makes enough for three 1/2 pint jars. It can simply be multiplied to fit the amount you are making.

Brine (for 1 1/2 pints)
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1/2 water
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp canning salt

Cut the peppers into strips. Bring the brine to a boil. Put a garlic clove in each jar. Pack pepper strips into jar in a vertical position. Cover with brine leaving 1/2 inch inch headspace and process in a water bath. Process 1/2 pints for 15 minutes or pints for 20 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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The Art of Canning Carrots

It is interesting that I found it fun to write about, asparagus, corn, okra, beets, and green beans; yet when it comes to carrots, that topic just seems boring. Perhaps it is because I've never pickled them so they just seem plain to me. Perhaps it is because I've never liked them much to begin with.

There seem to be a lot of recipes for pickled carrots. I think this weekend I will pick one and try it. I might like it (even if it is carrots).

In the mean time here are instructions for canning plain old boiled carrots (sliced or diced). If you want to use salt, put canning salt in the jar before you add the carrots. Use 1/2 tsp for a pint jar, or 1 tsp for a quart jar.

You can boil the carrots for five minutes before you put them in the jars (that is called the hot pack method), or you can put them into the jars raw and pour boiling water over them (that is called the cold pack method). Either way leave 1 inch headspace, and process using the pressure canner method. Process pints for 25 minutes, or quarts for 30 minutes.

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Carefully Pickling Carrots

After Friday's post, I decided to look through recipes for pickled carrots. There was a huge variety of them to choose from.

One from Pickles and Relishes: From Apples to Zucchinis that had both carrots and parsnips in it caught my attention. When I looked closer, I realized that it was a recipe for refrigerator pickles. On the one hand, refrigerator pickles can be nice, because they stay crisp. On the other hand, you have to consider how much refrigerator space you are willing to take up. I decided to turn it into a recipe for canned pickles.

Another recipe from caught my attention because it was similar to my recipe for pickled beets. I decided to also try a variation of that recipe.

Pickled Carrots and Parsnips
(makes about 8 half-pint jars)

1 pound carrots
1 pound parsnips
3 cups vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup pickling salt
1 Tbls pickling spice

Cut the carrots and parsnips into 3 inch long sticks. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Pack carrots and parsnips into hot jars and cover with brine leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

Pickled Carrots
(makes about 8 half-pint jars)

2 pounds carrots
8 cinnamon sticks (about 2 inches long)
16 cloves
8 allspice berries
3 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp pickling salt

Cut the carrots into 3 inch long sticks. Place two cloves, one allspice berry and one cinnamon stick in each jar. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Pack carrots into jars and cover with brine leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Canning Chokecherry Jelly

This is where my hobby of making jams and jellies all began. I am not sure how old I was, but I know that I had never canned anything all by myself before.

As I said before, my philosophy seemed to be that if nature planted it and it wasn't poisonous, then I had to try it. I knew that chokecherries are not poisonous (even if they are too bitter to be eaten plain), but I didn't know of anybody who actually cooked with them. I figured that if they are not poisonous, then there must be a recipe somewhere that uses them. If the internet had been around at that time, then my search for a recipe would have been a lot easier.

Finally somebody heard through the grapevine that I was looking for a recipe that uses chokecherries and they gave me a recipe for chokecherry jelly. I showed the recipe to my mother and told her that I wanted to make it.

I have since changed my method of making choke cherry jelly. I like my new method because it doesn't call for a specific amount of chokecherries. I can just use whatever quantity I happen to get. The flavor may be stronger or weaker depending on how many I get.

Most recipes call for a lot of water. I have decided to use less water. This results in a very concentrated (and very bitter) juice. I then dilute this juice with apple juice.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spicy Jalapeno Jelly

I think a very fun use of jalapenos is . I like it on crackers and cheese, and I like to spread cream cheese on a toasted bagel and then spread on top of that. This recipe is based on a recipe from 175 Best Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and Other Soft Spreads...

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How to Decorate Canning Lids

I gave some ideas about how to make canned gifts look a little fancier. Another method that I didn't mention is to simply use decorative lids. They are more expensive then regular lids, so I would not use them just for putting up some corn or green beans for the winter, but they could be nice for gifts. There is a variety of designs to choose from.

The most decorative lids that I have seen are Bernadin brand. Don't let the fact that this brand is aimed at the Canadian market or that their jars are in metric sizes fool you into thinking that their lids won't work for American canning jars. Actually, Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, and Bernadin are all made by the Jarden corporation, and they all use the same size lids.

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Canning Apple Sauce and Apple Butter

There are so many fun things to do with apples, that I think I could write 3 or 4 posts just on apples alone. Since apple Sauce and apple butter start out the same way, I figured that it is logical to discuss them both in one post. In fact you can prepare them both in one day. Just prepare the pulp, set some of it aside for apple butter, can the apple sauce and while it is processing in the water bath, take out the pulp that you set aside and start preparing your apple butter.

Though some canning books say to peel and core the apples, you don't really need to because the skin and seeds are separated when you run the apples through your food mill any way.

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Canning Peaches

I honestly don't even have a peach tree and I have only canned them a few times. However, I just don't think that this blog would be complete if I didn't include peaches.

In case there is somebody who doesn't know how to peel a peach, dip it in boiling water just until the skin starts to crack, then dip it straight into cold water. You can slip the skin off with your fingers. It is helpful to soak the cut fruit in Fruit Fresh to prevent browning while you are peeling and cutting up the rest of the fruit.

I personally have a preference for canning with the "raw pack method" but as explained in Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, that method doesn't work well for peaches. They have too much air trapped inside them, and heating them helps to release some of the air, and prevent them from floating. When using the "hot pack method" it is helpful to heat the fruit in small batches. By not filling your pan too full, you have room to get a ladle full of syrup.

Peaches in Medium Syrup
(yield is about 4 quarts)
(Printable Recipe)

8 to 12 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted and either left as halves, or cut into slices.
5 1/4 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar

Combine the water, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Working in small batches, add some of the fruit and cook till fruit is heated through, about one minute. Use a slotted spoon to fill the canning jars with fruit, and then ladle hot syrup over fruit. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath. Process pints for 20 minutes or quarts for 25 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apple Jelly

I generally prefer apple butter over jelly. I like the pulp of the fruit. I suppose I also feel like I am being wasteful if I am just using the juice.

However, some years, I will make jelly just for variety. When I do that I usually have fun adding spices like cloves, cinnamon, or sage to it. You can add a cinnamon stick to the pan or put a few whole spices or herbs in a spice bag or tea ball and let these flavor your jelly as it cooks.

In fact, if your goal is to have fun playing around with spices, rather than to preserve your apple harvest, then you can actually use store bought apple juice.

I walked through the juice aisle of the store a while ago and noticed all sorts of interesting flavor combinations like "strawberry apple" and "kiwi apple." I couldn't help but think that these sounded interesting to make jelly with. Maybe this winter when the gardening is over with, I will try making jelly with one of these juices just for the fun of it.

Preparing Juice for

Slice or coarsely chop apples. Add 2 cup water for each quart of sliced apples. Cook just until soft (about 30 minutes). Strain through a dampened jelly strainer for at least 3 hours.

(Printable Recipe)
For each cup of juice, add 3/4 cup sugar and cook to 220°F. Fill hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process for 10 minutes in a water bath.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Quick Pickling - a Great Way to Clean the Fridge

heck, putting vinaigrette on salad is the quickest pickling possible.
I am obsessed with condiments. To me, condiments complete a meal. So when I learned how to quick pickle produce, every weekend turned into an adventure in brining. And that’s all there is to it, mastering a brine and fiddling with flavor. With quick pickling, you can celebrate produce that is in season, but it’s an even better method for preserving what you’d like to hang on to in your refrigerator just a while longer.
A brine is essentially a salt-based soaking liquid originally developed to preserve food. Quick pickling adds vinegar, sugar and water.  That’s it!  Understand the ratio, consider the food pairing potential, and start slicing. All you need is a foundation recipe and flavor enhancing becomes your namesake.
The recipe that jump started my quick pickling craze is David Chang’s...

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Canning Pears

I mentioned a while ago that I was donating my jams to an auction for a girl who had her eye removed. My co-worker (the girls grandmother) said that the auction went well. I don't know the total amount that the auction brought in, but she said that my jams brought in about $100, so I am glad that I did it.

Now on with the topic of pears.

Pears are one of my favorite fruits, so it is exciting when the are ready to be picked. I think they taste best straight off from the tree, but when I don't have that, I still like my home canned ones better than store bought. I also like pear butter on my toast in the morning, so I will have to write a post about pear butter. For now, I am just writing about in syrup.

Once again, soak your fruit in Fruit Fresh as you peel it so that it doesn't turn brown.

I give instructions for light syrup, but you can use a heavier syrup (more sugar) if you want. For a heavy syrup use equal parts water and sugar. For medium syrup use 2 1/4 cups sugar and 5 1/4 cups water.

Pears in Light Syrup
(yield is about 4 quarts)
Printable Recipe

8 to 12 pounds pears, peeled, cored and cut in half.
5 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar

Combine the water, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Working in small batches, add some of the fruit and cook till fruit is heated through (about 5 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to fill the canning jars with fruit, and then ladle hot syrup over fruit. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath. Process pints for 20 minutes or quarts for 25 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Kiwi Gooseberry Jam

A reader asked me if I had a recipe for kiwi-gooseberry jam. Honestly the answer is, "no." None of my books had such a recipe and I had never thought of that combination on my own. However I figured I could come up with such a recipe.

I figured that I should test it first and make sure it sets. The problem is that my gooseberry picking is pretty much over for the year. I decided to buy some canned gooseberries at the grocery store, and rinse the syrup off. This may not be exactly the same as using fresh berries, but I hope it is a close enough approximation to use for a test batch.

It definitely did set. In fact it was almost too firm for spreading. I think that next time I try it I will either try using a little less sugar or a little more fruit to see if I can get a slightly softer jam.

In any case, it was a very good combination of fruits. I am glad that it was suggested to me, because I don't think I ever would have thought of that combination myself.

For now, I will print the recipe as I made it, but next year when I have fresh gooseberries, I think I will try improving it a little.

4 kiwi, peeled cut into bite size pieces and gently crushed
2 cups gooseberries, crushed
1 package powdered pectin
7 cups sugar

Combine fruit and pectin. Bring to boil over high heat. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary. Fill hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process 10 minutes in a water bath.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Canning Virgin Tells All

Sep 30th, 2011by Jeanne.
Honestly, if I had been this nervous about sex, I would still be a virgin. I can proudly say that I am a canning virgin no more. In contrast to other such firsts, this time I was very anxious before, but deeply satisfied later.
This inaugural journey into canning was not pretty. You might say the journey of a thousand tomatoes begins with a single slice. In my case, I was about… oh… maybe, THREE tomatoes in when it happened. That’s three tomatoes in — to the FIVE pounds of tomatoes my first canning recipe called for. When I sliced my finger, I sliced it well. A beautiful u-shaped cut that supplied copious blood. I contemplated a trip to the ER, weighing it against the loss of the produce and against the concept of a failed canning adventure.
I recalled the time a nurse told me that 20 minutes is the point at which the bleeding should stop and if it hasn’t by that time, you go get stitches. In that case, as I recall, it was more like 40 minutes and a roll and a half of paper towels…but this time, I had a mission. And, I had a bunch of fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market...

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The Verdict on Pickled Carrots

A couple of weeks ago I made pickled carrots for the first time. Now that they have had time to soak up some of the flavor from the spices, I figured it was time to give them a try. I also asked several other people to try them so that there was more than just the opinion of one person who doesn't care much for carrots in the first place.

First let me say that they were much crisper than I had expected. The processing in the water bath really didn't turn them mushy.

The second recipe in the post (the one with cinnamon and sugar in it) definitely went over the best. The reaction to that one ranged from, "that is not bad," to, "that is good." It was definitely my favorite, between the two recipes.

The general reaction to the first recipe (the one with parsnips in it) was that it was too sour. I figured that everyone was just trying them plain when they gave that opinion, so I decided to see how they tasted in a salad. It was an improvement to have a big bite of lettuce and some dressing with them, but I still felt that they were too sour.

As a person who does not like carrots much to begin with, I am not sure if I will try pickling them again. Still I am glad that I started blogging because it lead me to try something new and I think it is good for me to try new things.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Canning Pear Butter

I was looking at the recipe for pear butter in The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving and pondering why they would give instructions that seem to me like the hard way of doing things. It actually took awhile for it to occur to me that people who don't do much canning might not even own a food mill. I was a little slow to figure things out, but I did finally realize that perhaps I should write both instructions.

My recipe for pear butter is reall basically the same as apple butter, except that I use a little less sugar.

Pear Butter
(Yield is about 4 half-pint jars for every dozen pears used)
(Printable Recipe)

Use one of the following methods to prepare the pulp. As always, I recommend using Fruit Fresh when cutting up the fruit.

Method 1: To prepare the pulp, first quarter the pears. Cook pears until they are soft (about 20 minutes) using just enough water to prevent sticking (enough to cover bottom of pan). Run the pears through a food mill.

Method 2: Peel, quarter and core pears. Cook pears until they are soft (about 20 minutes) using just enough water to prevent sticking (enough to cover bottom of pan). Process in a blender or food processor.

Measure pulp. For each quart of pulp, add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Cook slowly until thick. At first you only have to stir occasionally, but as it thickens you will have to stir more often. The pear butter is ready when it will mound up on a spoon.

Fill hot canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Delicacies at Revel Restaurant - the Fermented Kind

National Can it Forward Day has come and gone but that doesn’t mean the pickling action is over in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to working with Canning Across America I have the great privilege of working with amazing chefs and farmers at Seattle area markets and culinary events. Through this connection I’ve become involved with the Seattle’s Chef Collaborative chapter and therefore am afforded the opportunity to enjoy an amazing array of educational events offered up at area restaurants and farms.
Most recently I was invited to one of my favorite Seattle restaurants headed by Chef Rachel Yang, Revel, to partake in all things fermented. And while we didn’t eat everything you can ferment there was a pretty overwhelming array of preserved delicacies to try. Chef Yang and her co-conspirator and husband, Seif Chirchi have had a very healthy fermenting pantry going for years at their restaurant, Joule, in Wallingford and they favored us with an incredible dose of what they’ve been up to in that magic pantry...

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Apple Pie Filling

I honestly still consider myself to be a newbie at canning pie filling. I use to just can the fruit in syrup and then add the remaining ingredients for a pie later. Though I have seen sites on the internet that say to can it with cornstarch, the USDA doesn't recommend this (see post on ClearJel) and I don't do it. Even after ClearJel can along I still just kept canning fruit in syrup for awhile. I guess I can be quite a creature of habit some times.

When I first tried canning , I followed the USDA instructions exactly. However I had problems with getting too much liquid in some jars and too little in other jars.

This year I decided to fill the jars the way I fill them if I am canning them with syrup. That is, use a slotted spoon to put the fruit in the jars, and then ladle liquid on top. This is pretty easy to do because the ClearJel actually doesn't thicken until the jar is cooling. It is still thin when you are filling the jars.

This worked much better for me. I am happy with the results and look forward to enjoying a tasty, hot pie when the snow is piled high outside.

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The Line in Winter

It’s hard to conjure green in January. While it dominates the landscape for most of the year, in mid-winter it is a fugitive from the cold, hidden beneath a thick blanket of snow. We’ve just had our third major blizzard of the season here at Stonegate Farm, and only the fence lines now mark the faint contours of productive land.

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It’s been quite a star turn for tomatoes on the farm this season.  No blight, no gummy end rot, just loose, far-reaching tangles of sweet fruit splattered across the fencerow in the orchard.  Their indeterminate sprawl has been almost unseemly, shaming the rest of the farm with an insatiable appetite for sun and sweetness.

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This Too Shall Pass

Hurricanes Irene and Lee came and went last month and ripped through the farm with blustery, sodden winds and a muddy swill of rain that’s still running down the drive.

Newly planted seeds of Fall arugula, snap peas, and mesclun greens were washed out of their beds, heading toward the Hudson.  Chickens stood out in the wind and rain, transfixed by the chaos, their pouffy feathers matted like leaves. Bees hummed in damp confusion around the hive.

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In a muddy drizzle last week, we harvested the last of the oak leaf and lolla rosa lettuce, tilled under the remaining rain-stunted eggplant and peppers, and yanked out the tangled sprawl of tomatoes in the orchard.

The normally solemn end-of-season ritual was buoyed by some cranking iTunes, although “This is the End” by the Doors didn’t do much to lift the mood.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Picking the Right Tomato for your Garden

Could you imagine where the pizza industry would be today without tomato sauce? The top two condiments in the United States, ketchup and salsa, are tomato-based. It is safe to say that the tomato is an all-American culinary entity, a piece of Americana sharing ranks with apple pie, maple syrup, and that staple of staples, good ole corn. We've become very familiar with the pale, mild-flavored hybrid tomatoes in the supermarkets, the thick canned pastes, and those cute little cherries at your local salad bar. But, for those of us who really love tomatoes, and are looking for something a little more unique or very specific, we grow our own. I am going to attempt to briefly cover the basics of tomato varieties that gardeners should be familiar with.

Determinate vs. Indeterminate

Many growers have heard these terms applied to a few different fruits. These words refer to the specific plant's fruit production habit.

Determinate tomato varieties produce one large crop and then produce little or no fruit for the rest of the season. They are usually shorter than indeterminate varieties and have a fixed height. So, there is no need to stake them. These are often paste or plum tomato varieties.

Indeterminate or the vining varieties are going to be the most common variety for home gardening. They produce a continuous crop all summer until frost, and then they will start to die back.
Tomato Varieties

Your standard or slicing tomatoes are the common medium-sized round tomatoes. These will most often be used in soups or sliced for salads. You've seen these in six-pack trays at your local supermarket.

Beef Steak are big tomatoes, some up to 2 pounds. These are the ones that, when sliced, fit sandwiches and burgers very nicely. Beef Steak varieties are also great for stuffing and baking. They are rarely found in supermarkets because their size and tenderness makes them more trouble than they are worth for big retailers. However, they are a home garden dream, a big tasty return on the simple investment in a tiny packet of seeds. Some popular cultivars of this variety are 'Better Boy', 'Big Beef', and 'Park's Whopper'.

Cherry tomatoes are very small tomatoes, ranging from barely bigger than your finger tip to the size of a golf ball. They are often very sweet and perfect by themselves just as a snack. They are the sublime salad tomato because they add lots of flavor, and you don't have to slice them. The elongated smaller and sweeter grape tomatoes are also a tasty variation of the cherry tomato. Cherry tomato plants produce a large amount of fruit, so you don't have to plant many to get plenty of tomatoes.

Paste or plum tomatoes are, as the name suggests, often used for canning and sauces. They work well for this because they are less juicy than other varieties, they don't have a core, and they have far less seeds than other varieties. They are usually small and slightly elongated or pear-shaped. They are often lumped together as Roma tomatoes, which is actually just one cultivar of this tomato variety.

Choose Your Tomato Wisely

Breeders have had fun with this popular garden plant. They come in all sizes and colors, from pink and striped to almost black. But, the best way to pick your tomato is to grow for your needs. If you want sandwich tomatoes, grow Beef Steaks. If you love tomatoes in your salad, try some different cherry varieties. If your garden is the source for most of your canned goods, you should probably try to grow a few paste tomatoes. Growing your own tomatoes will give you power over selection and power over growing methods. It is cheaper than than buying them at the supermarket, and it can be much more rewarding. Have a good time in your garden, and grow the tomato that's just right for you.

Monday, October 24, 2011


During the long, hot days of summer, the last factor we think about is Christmas looking. After all, that's a task we typically relegate to the month of December, proper? But the truth is, the job of shopping for Christmas items is something numerous men and women loathe. Parking lots are crowded, malls are jam packed, and finding just the suitable reward for that unique someone can take hours, or even days. What if there was a method to get some of your Christmas items ready in the course of the summertime and place them away in storage so they'll be ready to go when the vacation season rolls close to? Before you grab your keys and jump within the car to go purchasing now, stop and take a look around your personal home and garden. There may possibly be some reward possibilities lurking appropriate under your personal nose which are home made, thoughtful, and really inexpensive.

A lot of of us raise vegetable gardens in the summer time, and we wind up with far more recent develop than we can possibly use. As opposed to letting it rot on the vine or giving it all away to neighbors, think about canning. Many vegetables like refreshing green beans and tomatoes may be canned and then given away as gifts at the holidays. Recent bell peppers is often built into relishes, and cucumbers may be pickled and canned. Cans of refreshing produce also make wonderful hostess's gifts when you are invited to holiday parties. Top off the jar having a colorful square of fabric and tie with a ribbon to make the present actually attractive and special.

In case you get pleasure from cooking, take into account utilizing your refreshing produce to make other things like home made spaghetti sauce, fresh salsa, or pickle relish that could be canned. For a actually great touch, put a couple jars of spaghetti sauce into a gift basket after which consist of some related products such as a pound of pasta along with a loaf of contemporary Italian bread. Other great touches may possibly incorporate an Italian cookbook, a bottle of good red wine or gourmet olive oil, and even some refreshing Parmesan cheese. The thought of themed present baskets based on your home made canned goods can be expanded into other areas, too. As an example, if you've created some refreshing salsa, contain products in your present basket like tortilla chips, margarita mix, plus a bottle of great quality tequila.

Homemade items from the garden don't have to be limited to only vegetables. In case you grow fruits such as blueberries, cherries, or raspberries, contemplate making homemade jams or pie fillings that is often canned for vacation gifts. Nice additions to round out a gift basket with these goods could contain a new pie dish, or some do-it-yourself bread for toasting. Fresh fruits can also be built into syrups that may be given as presents along with some selfmade pancake mix. Furthermore, if you grow fresh herbs just like parsley or basil, take into account producing recent pesto at the end of the summertime and canning it into little jars to give as items.

Related Post: Homemade Christmas Gifts

Tomatoes Using

The English word tomato comes from the Spanish tomatl, first appearing in print in 1595. A member of the deadly nightshade family, tomatoes were erroneously thought to be poisonous (although the leaves are poisonous) by Europeans who were suspicious of their bright, shiny fruit. Native versions were small, like cherry tomatoes, and most likely yellow rather than red.

The tomato is native to western South America and Central America. In 1519, Cortez discovered tomatoes growing in Montezuma's gardens and brought seeds back to Europe where they were planted as ornamental curiosities, but not eaten

Start with great tomatoes and the right cut. You'll get the best results if you buy ripe tomatoes at a farm stand or farmers' market or get them from your own garden. They'll be the tastiest and juiciest, since they've been picked at their ripest. How you cut the tomatoes is important, too. A half-inch dice is the perfect size, because it will give you a juicy sauce while maintaining the integrity of the tomatoes.
Add a good amount of olive oil. The oil serves a double purpose here. First, it combines with the juices drawn by the salt to make the sauce. No oil means no sauce, just tomato juice. Second, a good fruity extra-virgin olive oil will lend its rich flavor to the dish, giving it lots of body and depth.

Toss the sauce with hot pasta. This is key: The heat of just-cooked pasta helps release the flavors in the tomatoes and creates a better integrated dish than if you mixed the sauce with cold pasta. Please send your review to Indo Munch

The high acidic content of the tomato makes it a prime candidate for canning, which is one of the main reasons the tomato was canned more than any other fruit or vegetable by the end of the nineteenth century. For more information

Grandma Hystad's Recipes, Drinks, Bar mixes, Food and Cooking Tips














3 tablespoons.(45 ml)butter
2 cups(500 ml)thin sliced onion
4 cups(1125 ml)bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
2 teaspoons.(10 ml)sugar
French bread
Parmesan cheese or other finely grated cheese
heat butter, add onions, simmer about 10 minutes or until soft
and lightly brown. Add bouillon, bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Add sugar.
Pour soup into individual soup dishes. On top of each, float a slice
Of sauted French bread and sprinkle with grated cheese. Put in oven
350 F, (175 C), until cheese is melted.

YIELD: 6 servings.
TIME: 60 minutes.

1 cup, 2 tbsp. .(280 ml)pudding mix
2 cups(500 ml)water
2 tablespoons(30 ml)butter or margarine
1-teaspoon(5 ml)vanilla
Combine pudding mix and water in saucepan. Bring to boil, turn
Stove down and boil gently for 2-3 minutes. Stir constantly. Remove from heat, add
margarine and vanilla. Stir. Let stand for 15 minutes, stir again and chill.

YIELD: 4 servings.

Super Easy Vegan Pasta Salad

2 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked & cooled

2 ripe tomatoes, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cucumber, chopped

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon paprika


Mix together the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Pour the dressing over the pasta and veggies, and stir well.

Peach Muffins

1 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

4 teaspoons oil

2 eggs, beaten lightly

cup peeled peaches

Bake at 400 F., 15-20 minutes.

1 teaspoon (5 ml)sugar
2 teaspoons..(10 ml)..salt
teaspoon..(2.5 ml)...pepper
teaspoon .(2.5 ml)...paprika
1 cup(375 ml).salad oil
cup(125 ml).vinegar
1 clove of garlic (if desired)
Put sugar, salt, pepper and paprika in jar. Add oil, vinegar and
garlic. Shake well. When dressing is thoroughly blended, pour
over salad.
YIELD: approximately 2 cups (500 ml)
CALORIES: 92 per tablespoon (15 ml)
TIME: 10 minutes.

1 egg yolk
teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
teaspoon(2.5 ml).dry mustard
teaspoon ...(1.25 ml)...paprika
dash cayenne
2 tablespoons ..(30 ml)vinegar
1 cup .(250 ml)..salad oil
Put egg yolk and seasoning in bowl and mix well. Add 1 tablespoon( vinegar and beat well. Gradually beat in oil until cup of mixture is used. Then add 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) at a time. As mixture thickens add remaining vinegar. If oil is added to quickly, mayonnaise will curdle. To fix this add 1 more egg yolk and continue.
Store mayonnaise in covered jar and refrigerate.
YIELD: approximately 1 cup (310 ml).
CALORIES: 104 per tablespoon (15 ml).
Time: 15 minutes


A Sure Cure

An older lady came out screaming after being told by the young Doctor she was pregnant. The head doctor of the clinic stopped her and asked her what the problem was. She tells him and he gets her to settle down in a chair, and then rushes over to the young doctor that she came from.

Whats the matter with you, telling a 80 year old lady she is pregnant he asks the young Doctor.

The Doctor kept writing the prescription he was filling out, and without looking up at his superior, asked, Does she still have the hiccups?


TENDER CUTS of meat can be cooked by dry heat, as in broiling, pan-broiling, or roasting.
TOUGH CUTS can only be made tender by moist heat, as in pot-roasting and Stewing.

Our main object is to prevent shrinkage in so far as possible, and produce a tender, juicy, tasty product. In roasting, searing does little to help keep in juices, less shrinkage results at a lower temperature for a longer time (300 F). Searing however makes the meat look attractive and the outside layers taste better.

An uncovered pan with a rack in the bottom gives the best results in roasting. Cooking time varies with preference.
For rare meat, 16 minutes per pound.
For medium meat, 22 minutes per pound.
For well done meat, 30 minutes per pound.

Add salt during or after cooking, not before. The salt flavour does not penetrate more then 1 inch. If the meat does not reach the desired colour during roasting, increase the heat to (500 F) for a few minutes before removing from the pan.

Methods of searing is subjecting the meat to a high temperature until it is nicely browned.

By Browning in an uncovered pan in a hot oven (450 F-500F).
By Browning in hot fat in a frying pan on the surface burner.
By Adding boiling water and cooking at boiling temperature until the outside of the meat has lost its red colour.

Reasons For Cooking Meat
To develop flavour.
To soften the connective tissue when present in large quantity.
To kill any living organisms that may be present


How safe is our food supply?

Increasingly, the corporations that supply us with processed foods are unable to guarantee the safety of their ingredients. As a result, not just red meat and poultry, is now a potential carrier of pathogens, government and industry officials concede. As the drive to keep food costs down intensifies, most corporations do not even know who is supplying their ingredients, let alone if those suppliers are screening the items for microbes and other potential dangers.

Some concede that they cannot ensure the safety of items from frozen vegetables to pizzas and that they are shifting the burden of safety to the consumer. It seems the only time we know the products are unsafe, is when there is a problem, people get sick, and the product is recalled.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association has called for new safety initiatives. They include new training and more food safety audits. The grocers also want a new internet-based recall system to speed up the process of finding and removing recalled food products.

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit:

Dont just guess to tell when meat, poultry and seafood are done. Instead, use a food thermometer to make sure foods have reached at least the following internal temperatures:

Steaks: 145 degrees F (medium rare)

Ground beef: 160 degrees F

Chicken breasts: 165 degrees F

Whole poultry: 165 degrees F

Pork: 160 degrees F

Fish: 145 degrees F

Officials of Ottawa Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency remind home canners and consumers that home canning and bottling of seafood is popular in Canada, but food safety awareness should be the priority when home canning or when buying home canned products from vendors.

Improper preparation, canning or storage, especially of low-acid foods such as clams, lobster and whelks, can cause serious illness, even botulism. Bacteria that produce colourless, odourless, tasteless, invisible toxins not necessarily destroyed by cooking cause botulism.

To keep home canned food safe, the Canadian health agencies advise canners remember to:

Use a pressure canner and strictly follow the manufacturer's instructions for low-acid food canning or bottling. Recipe ingredients, amounts, or jar sizes should not be changed because these can affect times/pressures needed and could result in bacteria remains in the food.

Clean and keep sanitizing hands, all work surfaces, food, utensils, and equipment during all stages of the canning process.

Use home canned product within one year. Once the container has been opened, refrigerate leftovers immediately.

Never eat canned foods if the closure or seal has been broken, or if the container is swollen or leaking. If in doubt, throw it out.

The Memorial Day weekend is coming up. It marks the unofficial start of summer. Many will celebrate with a cook out or picnic, two things that can lead to food borne illnesses.

Food safety experts say hand washing and cooking food thoroughly can help prevent those illnesses.

Never use the same plate to carry both raw and cooked food.

And that burger-flipping spatula? Same principal applies: Don't use the same one to drop the burgers on the grill and then retrieve them once cooked.

Most people believe that when meat turns brown, it's done. In fact, one out of four burgers turn brown before it reaches 160 degrees. Use a cooking thermometer.


Cooking steak is not the same as cooking ground beef. Bacteria like to congregate on the surface and edges of steak. So be sure to sear it to kill toxins.


If you have teenagers, or in fact any adult, impress on them the risks of driving while intoxicated. Statistics demonstrate drunk drivers cause many fatal road accidents.

It should be known that like any other drug, addiction is a potential hazard. Excess of alcohol will affect organs such as the brain, heart, and liver.


In tall glass add half chilled Guinness stout, and half chilled champagne. Stir quickly.

Rum Punch

Pint Puerto Rican Rum

Pint peach Brandy

Pint Lemon or Lime Juice

5 tablespoons Bitters

6 Pints Soda Water

Stir rum, brandy, juice and bitters in a bowl. When ready to serve, add block of ice and soda.

Serve 10 persons

House Standard
1 jigger Tequila
2 jiggers Tomato Juice
2 dashes Tabasco
Shake with cracked ice and strain.
Serve with slice of lemon.

3 cups brewed strong black tea
1 quart orange juice
1 cup lime or lemon juice
2 cups raspberry syrup
1 cup crushed pineapple
Bar sugar to taste
2 quarts club soda

Pour all ingredients except soda over a large block of ice in a punch bowl. Stir well. Let it chill. At serving time, add chilled soda.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Winter Dinners in a Jar

The reason I mention heritage fruits and vegetable is that with items such as tomatoes, you will not need to add another acid to your mix. However if you choose to buy your fruits in the grocery, you will need to add some lemon juice to your mix. The rule of thumb here is two tablespoons lemon juice or teaspoon citric acid into each quart of tomatoes, added before you fill your jars.With spring around the corner, farm markets and road side stands are getting ready to offer you a wide variety of organically grown heritage food stuff. Now is the time to start thinking about your foods for the summer and next winter. And canned dinners is a good place as any to begin.Planning dinners so far in advance can seem not only time consuming, but a daunting prospect. The simplest thing to do is to go into your cabinets and see what store-bought goods you already have there. Most of us havespaghetti sauce,pizza sauce,baked beans and BBQ sauce -great for sweet and saucy ribs. And if you have children, canned pastas seems to be the mainstay.

There is very little information on canning your own pasta dinners out there. Yet the major companies as well as homesteaders have been doing this for years. The problems occur with what types of pasta you want to can and how much of it you stuff into a jar. You will need only enough to loosely fit into the can/jar, never jam pack it in, or fill it to the brim. As with any home canning you need to leave at least inch of head space. Elbow macaroni, shells or spaghetti noodles are the easiest. It is not recommended that you can pasta because dense foods are harder to heat all the way through during processing.Homemade pastas are simple, and something that everyone should try their hand at. And you can add your own twist, or flavoring, to the noodles, like beet, spinach or Parmesan. Once you have your noodles, forming them into shapes is simple, pack them into the jar, loosely and then add your sauce. Kids love meat ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, and beef and macaroni. Processing takes the same amount of time as your meats do, 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts at 10 pounds pressure, unless you live at an altitude more than 1,000 feet; consult your canning manual for directions for increasing your pressure.

Soups, like chicken noodle soup, are a wonderful item to always have on hand. Any of the soups you buy at the store can be modified to your taste, removing or adding certain vegetables, seasoning, and salt . If you have meats in your stock, processing time will take longer then a plain, chicken, meat or vegetable stock. Stews, like roast beef, are the same.And speaking of meats, canning your own meats, poultry, fish and seafood is very rewarding. These items are cooked and stewed in their own juices creating an extra tender meal in a natural stock. Canned Beef strips make an excellent stroganoff. Canned chicken works wonders as a quick chicken with almond rice, while canned salmon makes an irresistible salmon and raisin pie.Which ever dinner tempts your the most, remember that healthy eating requires that you know what is in your food, that you follow all the canning instructions carefully, never eat anything that isn't sealed properly, and throughly cook all your foods. And most importantly, enjoy.