It’s been a rough summer with my father’s passing and traveling back and forth to Alabama to settle his estate. Ive had crazy tooth infections, troubled teens and a road trip to hell and back. Short story is 3 tows, 5 breakdowns and 98 degree southern fun. Obviously my blogging has taken a hit. My laptop is currently being worked on so Im not going to up load an pics as of yet. I have been the last 3 weeks canning like mad. Its the season to put food by and I really enjoy it.
I hadn’t planned on doing as much as I have so far but it my eldest who got me rolling. By asking if I was going to make corn relish and pickled green beans this year. Being the dotting mother of course I had to obliged. Last few years I’ve made refrigerator style dill pickles and both family and friends say they are the best pickles they have ever had. I then started thinking I should try some fruit canning as I haven’t done much. I don’t have a pressure canner so I stuck to researching hot water canning. If you’re new to canning do not be afraid. This site is a good recourse online or I love the book Putting Food By.
So far I have done corn relish, pickles (not really canned more of a live fermented item), pickled green beans, brandied peaches, peach ginger jam, nectarine-blackberry jam, peach blueberry jam and am planning on doing pears in thyme syrup and some type of liquor pear. Hopefully I can scout out a pressure canner so I can do my vanilla applesauce and other items for the winter.
The brandied peaches I am a bit nervous about as they sit for a few months to age and always think of the scene from Holiday Inn when the canned peaches explode. I once made cherry wine with my sister we let in ferment in our parents basement, needless to say most of them exploded and shot across the basement. We did end up with one bottle which we consumed quickly. It was a huge mess and there are still souvenirs on the concrete wall from that experiment.
Once I can upload my pics I’ll get them posted.
Best Garlic Dill Pickles
The easiest method for the pickles I do is here. I make my own pickling spice and have used this method for slices, quarter, halves and whole pickles. I use whole garlic cloves, fresh red cayenne pepper, dill and occasionally Ill add some lemon grass if its lying around. I do use 5% acidity apple cider vinegar for my pickling. I have read that these can freeze wonderfully in the jar and still be crisp once defrosted. I plan on trying once my new batch is done.
Lemony Pickled Green Beans
I wanted to give the green beans more depth so I added fresh lemon grass cut into strips about 1 inch per pint jar. I also add either red pepper flakes or fresh red hot pepper. Ive done them with dill and fresh thyme, just depends on your preference. Even thought I have been doing for years, I always check my pickling brine ratios I used this for reference this year and I think I loaned my book out:(
Being in the Midwest our growing season is pretty short so farmers markets are abundant here in the summer. I hit them weekly and try to plan to can a thing or 2 so I will have some summer when we are under 12 inches of snow. I use Mirai corn from the farmers market it is some of the sweetest Ive ever had. I have a simple ratio I use for my corn relish it’s equal cups of corn and vegetables. This year I used celery, green tomatoes, red and green peppers and sweet onions. I of course did not write my recipe down, bad bad me. If you want to cheat and use frozen corn this is a good recipe. I borrowed the below from southernangels site (she is making me soooo hungry). I have to keep some secret to my canning. Best part is designing your own methods and recipes.
8 c. raw corn, cut from cob
3 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 c. sweet red pepper, chopped
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white corn syrup
7 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
3 c. cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Cover and boil for 15 minutes, stirring often. Pour into clean hot pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headroom. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars, complete seals if necessary. Yields 4 to 5 pints.
This is an old school item. I imagine being in Paris smoking cigarettes, sipping Champagne and then brandied peaches are served for dessert with clotted cream…Must be the romantic in me. It was this NY Times article that inspired me. I have no idea how these will turn out, they look petty and have been sitting for a few weeks. I used this recipe and only time will tell……I’ll update when I try them.
I’ve never canned jam, but I thought this year I would give it a try. Seems my youngest has become obsessed with jam production and wants enough to last the school year. Fine by me. I’m following a basic stone fruit ratio for a pectin free jam.
6 cup cut fruit
3 cup sweetener
4 tbl. acid (usually lemon juice)
Combine all ingredients and bring to a slow boil and stir and simmer for 30-40 min. If it looks medium thickness and broken down enough add any spices and then ladle into hot jelly jars, put on hot lids and rings, tighten lightly and process in water bath for 10 minutes. Remove, tighten lids and allow to cool undistributed.
-Jam will thicken as it cools
-If you desire a more consistent less chunky jam, then chop fruit small or process in food processor
-A larger batch will require more cooking time and lots of stirring
-when adding berries they add more liquid when cook down and less volume. A double batch of the recipe of just peaches yielded 5 pints a batch of nectarines and berries yielded 4 pints.
-any sweetener can be used sugar, honey, agave, stevia etc….for some type of sugar is needed for the canning process for sugar free recipe please research online.
Peach Ginger: add one inch of chopped/grated fresh ginger to ingredients at start of cooking or 1 tsp dry at end of cooking.
Nectarine Blackberry-2:1 nectarine:berries, I use lime juice for the acid, and added ground cinnamon at the end
Peach Blueberry: 2:1, lime juice, fresh ginger, grated nutmeg at finish
other possible ingredients are any herbs, jalapeno, brown sugar, orange juice and lemon juice, a blend with mango or pineapple
Remember when in doubt throw it out, never eat from a canned item that the lid pops when pushed or that looks or smells questionable. Wrap it up and toss away so no animal can access either.
Make sure to label and date all your items as well. Canned items make great gifts for holidays etc along with fresh bread or cookies.