Posts Tagged ‘canning’

Can Jam Strawberries

 

Well, it turned out more like Strawberry Syrup than Jam, but it tastes really good and I think pancakes with Strawberry Balsamic Syrup will be delicious.  The vinegar adds a really nice layer of flavor.  The strawberries were locally grown and organic.  The process went quite smoothly, but one thing I would do differently is to crush the berries.  The recipe never says to do that and so they really float in the syrup.  I hope the challenge for next month will be something. . . . . oh, I don’t know; they say you should be careful what you wish for.  I’ll just wait and see.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

from Eugenia Bone’s Well-Preserved

  • 8 cups washed and hulled Strawberries
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 5 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Pour the strawberries into a large, deep, heavy pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once the strawberries are boiling, add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.  The sugar tends to burn on the bottom, so keep it moving until it is thoroughly dissolved.  Bring to a boil and then add the butter.  (The addition of butter keeps the foam volume down.)  Turn the heat down to medium low and boil the jam gently for 40 minutes, until thickened to a loose, soft jam.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar.  Pour into half pint jars and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. 

Jars of Jam.

Advertisements

Tigress’ Can Jam Asparagus Pickles

Cold pack asparagus spears.

Asparagus pickles.  What else could it be?  I live in the south.  Rhubarb doesn’t grow here.  Asparagus does.  It was all that I could get.  And I could not find a recipe for anything other than pickles.   It turns out, I’ve got a lot of pickles so far in this Can Jam.  I wonder what will be next.  I have tasted the pickled carrots, I guess I should go taste the pickled scallions.  Now that I have my mouth back again, I could do that.  My front teeth still aren’t right.  They will have to have crowns and that will take a while.  I don’t have sharp front teeth anymore.  They don’t incise very well.  They kind of mush stuff up.  I have to wait a month to try these.  They look very nice though.   And so here is my version of the recipe from Eugenia Bone’s Well Preserved:

3 bunches of asparagus
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar with 5 percent acidity
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 garlic cloves whole
1 teaspoon dill seed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
Trim the asparagus to fit in wide mouth pint jars to allow for 1/2 inch head space.  Place about 2 inches of water in a wide pot.  Heat to boiling.  Lay asparagus in pot and cook til it comes back to a boil.  Remove asparagus and dunk in ice water.  Set aside.
Prepare 2 jars for preserving.  Pack with asparagus and garlic cloves.  Combine vinegar and other ingredients with 1 1/2 cups water.  Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve salt.  Pour into jars with 1/2 inch head space.  Place lids and rings on jars.  Process in hot water bath 10 minutes.In the hot water bath.

In the hot water bath.

 

Can Jam February

The Hot Water Bath steaming away

Pickles…it had to be pickles.  What else can you do with carrots in a hot water bath.  Well, I had found some recipes for carrot chutney, and even marmalade, but I’ve already done marmalade, and besides, there is only so much sweet stuff that is reasonable for a person who is eating to stave off type 2 diabetes to have around the house.  So, something that would be good snacky food, with not too many calories, was what I needed and I found the recipe in the newest edition of Well Preserved:  small batch preserving for the new cook, by Mary Ann Dragan.  Pickled Rosemary Carrots.  That sounded perfect.  Only the tiniest amount of sugar.  I had made something very similar that was not jarred up and sealed.  It just stayed in the fridge until you ate it up, which did not take long.  I liked them and felt sure I would like these.  The recipe was not challenging at all, at least compared to the marmalade from last month.  This one was pretty much old hat.  Cold pack, pour in the vinegar, put on the lids and hot water bath.  It was almost too easy. or so I thought.

Finding the carrots turned out to be the hard part.  I really wanted local, organic carrots for this round.  I thought it would be easy.  I know lots of local farmers.  I have access to some markets that are still open, even in the dead of winter.  Surely I could pull this off.  I called all my farmer friends.  No one had carrots.  The extremely cold weather we have had this winter had slowed them down to a crawl.  Some had carrots, but they were no bigger than a very slender pencil.  I was forced back to the grocery store, but I did get organic carrots.  So I have gotten something right.  And the rosemary did come from my own herb garden.   I did not have pickling salt, so I substituted sea salt.  The recipe also called for mixed peppercorns.  I could not find those but I did find some special Tellicherry black peppercorns and some green peppercorns, so I used them.

Chopping the carrots.

So I peeled and cut and packed them into the jars.  It didn’t take as long as I had thought it would, even doing 4 pounds of carrots.  And, they fit exactly into 6 wide mouth pint jars.  I put in the garlic, chili pepper and sprig of rosemary and they were ready for the vinegar.  My dear husband helped with getting the hot vinegar solution poured in and I put on the lids and set them in the steaming hot water bath.  They stayed in there for 15 minutes and were done.   The lids started popping almost immediately after I got them out.  I was very surprised at how quickly they were all sealed.

So here is the recipe.  Directly from the book except with a few minor changes:

Pickled Rosemary Carrots

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon each Tellicherry black and green peppercorns
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 hot chili peppers
  • 4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 6 – 3 inch sprigs of fresh cut rosemary

Prepare the preserving jars.  Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and peppercorns and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes.  Place one clove garlic and one chili pepper in each jar.  Pack carrot sticks tightly in the jars standing them upright.  Slide one sprig of rosemary into each jar.  Carefully pour the boiling vinegar solution into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe the rims clean and place lids and rings on the jars.  Place the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

packed jars awaiting the vinegar solution

It was very satisfying to see how easily it all went together.  Kind of zen-like in its simplicity.  I’m looking forward to tasting them.  I will let them sit for about a week before I take a taste and give them time for all the flavors to “swap around” as Huckleberry Finn would say.  I think they turned out quite lovely.  The green and orange complement each other in a satisfying kind of way.  I hope that they will be as delicious as they look. 

Now, I eagerly look forward to the challenge for March.  I hope that I can get the ingredients for it locally and organically.  I had thought that I was really good at that.  After all, the pick up for our local CSA is on my front porch.  I did not count on the weather knocking me for a loop.  But I guess that is what we all have to live with in reality. 

The finished product.

Tigress’ Can Jam redux

Slices of blood orange, ready to be made into marmalade.

Well, it seems that I did not read the directions correctly and so posted my recipe and story about the January canning experience too early.  I was excited and wanted to get it all down as it happened.  I also am leaving in the morning to go to Costa Rica for a week for a family reunion.  I was trying to get things done when they could get done.  So, now here is the recipe.  You can look to the last two posts for the full story of how it all went.  Thank you Tigress for having this great idea.  I can’t wait to find out what we are doing next month.

My recipe for Blood Orange Marmalade

5 small blood oranges, locally grown, if you are so lucky.

Slice them 3/16 inch thick, crossways, so that you get that pretty star effect.

Place in a heavy bottomed pot with the juice of one lemon and just enough water to cover them.  Make a jelly bag from cheese cloth or muslin.  Put the end pieces from the oranges and the lemon rind and seeds in it.  Place that in the pot also.  Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat.  Cover and let sit overnight or up to 12 hours.

Bring the fruit and liquid up to a boil again and cook for 30 minutes to evaporate some of the water and get the benefit of the pectin in the bits in the jelly bag.  At the end of this cooking, take out the jelly bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  This is where the pectin is in most abundance.  Pour that liquid back into the pot. 

Now it is time to measure the amount of fruit and liquid that you have.  I had approximately 4 cups.  Add the same amount of organic sugar to the pot and bring it up to boiling.  At that point, turn the heat to medium or lower and watch it carefully until it reaches 220 degrees.  Skim off any scum that develops.  Jar up the marmalade.  You should have at least 3 half-pints.  Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Set out on towel on counter and wait to hear the lovely pops of your jars sealing.

Finished marmalade

January Can Jam (part 2)

I, at least, bought organic sugar at the store so part of this thing is going right.  After cooking the fruit down, I measured it and found that I had 4 cups worth of fruit and liquid.  I added 4 cups of organic, made in Florida, sugar to it and began to cook it off.  It gets up to 200 degrees rather quickly, but that last 20 degrees takes a while.  I figured out that the sugar to water ratio has to be right for it to be able to go above boiling, so we are just evaporating off the  excess water in the meantime.  As I skimmed scum, I grew somewhat impatient and resorted to turning the heat up.  Unfortunately, it almost scorched, but I caught it in time.  At least I guess I did.  It does not taste burnt.  There was one tiny scorched spot in the bottom of the pan. 

marmalade bubbling away in the pot

The next time I make this, or any other jam or jelly, I will definitely let it go at a lower setting and just make up my mind to wait.   I will also use a smaller pot, so that the thermometer is deeper in the mixture.  I hope this is about learning, not just about achieving perfection.

I scooped it up into the jars and managed to make 3 full half-pints and about a half of another.   I put the three full ones  in the hot water bath for ten minutes.  The half of a jar, I just put in the refrigerator.  I’ll eat it first.  In fact, I’ve already had a couple of bites.  The color is very nice and it tastes good to me.  There is some bitterness from the peel and such, but I really kind of like it.  The pectin certainly did its job; it is very dense and stiff.  I detect no hint of laundry from the jelly bag.  I look forward to having some with biscuits or English Muffins in the near future. 

I learned a lot from this first Can Jam effort, how to use the mandoline, a little bit about patience, and how to make marmalade.  I have just ordered both versions of Well Preserved.  They are two different books with two different subtitles, by two different women, that are both about canning in small batches, which is more suited to the life I live now, unlike the huge batches I grew up with.  I have canned green beans, tomatoes, muscadine juice and pears.  I’ve made pickles of all kinds, pear mincemeat and just recently, scuppernong jelly; and many other kinds of jelly, but that was a long time ago.   This one was all in the technique.  I think the next time I make it, I will be smoother in the process, but I’m not sure that it could taste much better.  I really love the contrast of the bitter and sweet in one mouthful.

My recipe for Blood Orange Marmalade

5 small blood oranges, locally grown, if you are so lucky.

Slice them 3/16 inch thick, crossways, so that you get that pretty star effect.

Place in a heavy bottomed pot with the juice of one lemon and just enough water to cover them.  Make a jelly bag from cheese cloth or muslin.  Put the end pieces from the oranges and the lemon rind and seeds in it.  Place that in the pot also.  Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat.  Cover and let sit overnight or up to 12 hours.

Bring the fruit and liquid up to a boil again and cook for 30 minutes to evaporate some of the water and get the benefit of the pectin in the bits in the jelly bag.  At the end of this cooking, take out the jelly bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  This is where the pectin is in most abundance.  Pour that liquid back into the pot. 

Now it is time to measure the amount of fruit and liquid that you have.  I had approximately 4 cups.  Add the same amount of organic sugar to the pot and bring it up to boiling.  At that point, turn the heat to medium or lower and watch it carefully until it reaches 220 degrees.  Skim off any scum that develops.  Jar up the marmalade.  You should have at least 3 half-pints.  Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Set out on towel on counter and wait to hear the lovely pops of your jars sealing.

The finished jars of blood orange marmalade.

Canning Food

Click for tigress can jam food blog challenge

I just found out about this canning challenge.  Every month a seasonal food will be announced and you will have to find a way to can it. I am going to try and if you are interested in canning, you should try it out also.  There are only a few more days to sign up, so click the button above, check out her blog, send her an email and let her know you want to be part of the fun.

I learned to can at a young age. My mama did it every summer because we had such a large garden and that was what you did back then. I have come back to it this year. As I try to eat more and more locally, I realize that canning and freezing are going to have to be part of that. It’s hard to find a good local tomato in January. I don’t want to eat a fresh one in January but I do want canned, locally grown ones to put in my chili. So I will set aside more time to make that happen.

I do have some concerns about the BPA in the surface of the canning lids. I hope that the Ball people will address that soon. I have written to them and I urge others to write to them also. The link to their contact page is http://www.freshpreserving.com/pages/contact_us/10.php. But still with home canning, your food is not in constant contact with that lid surface like it is with the cans from the store.

Tomatoes I canned in the summer, along with a fall pomegranate that just looked pretty with them.

I only have a few jars of tomatoes left from the summer and they are precious to me now.  I only use them after careful consideration.  I also canned some muscadine juice that I am going to use spiced for the the holidays.  I’ll simmer it with spices, just like you would with apple cider.  The muscadines came from my neighbor to the back, so they are even more local than north Georgia apples.   Those apples are less than 100 miles away so they are not too bad either. 

I am going to spend the rest of the winter looking for used canning jars at the Goodwill and at yard sales.  I will need a lot more if I am going to make this work and can even half of the vegetables that we will use in a year.  They are so pretty sitting on the shelf.  I can’t wait to get started.  So bring on that January challenge.  I wonder what lovely winter vegetable it will be.