Heirloom Tomatoes... basil, garlic... oh my! Summer goodness
just keeps flowing into our kitchens from the gardens. We are
busy starting to put our food up for the coming cold months and
how wonderful it is to watch those can shelves fill up with all
that good stuff. Today we are going to busy making salsa and
sweet & sour pickles. Every time we add to the shelves, I
just stand back and cannot help but be so thankful for all we
have. Life is good! Today I am going to give some helpful
canning tips that I compiled several years back for my cookbook,
"Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats" along with my salsa &
pickle recipe... and of course a cute crafty idea too! Have a
"Tips for Relaxed and Enjoyable Canning"
*Always figure out approximately how many jars you will be
needing. Have them washed and ready to fill.
*Count out your lids and rings and have them ready.
*Keep a sink of hot, soapy water so you can wash as you go instead of having a pile of dirty dishes after you're done canning and tired, and don't feel like washing them!
*Have syrups, brine's, etc., made before you start into the fruit or veggies.
*Put salt in a bowl with measuring spoon.
*Make sure you have all needed ingredients AND enough of them BEFORE you start a project.
*If it's a 'first time' recipe, make a single serving to test if you and your family like it.
Make simple meals- use paper plates- don't try to do it all in one day.
*Include the children- they can be more helpful than we often can even imagine.
*If in Doubt about anything- call an experienced canner!
*Try new recipes- make the season fun!
*Time Saver fro Pressure Canning- use 15 pounds pressure instead of 10 and cut your processing time in half!
*Sugar Syrups for Canning or Freezing Fruit:
~Light Syrup: 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water
~Medium Syrup: 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water
~Heavy Syrup: 4 cups sugar and 4 cups water
Method: Heat sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. for canning, keep syrup hot until used, but don't boil down. for freezing, refrigerate until ice cold.
to help maintain quality of canned fruits, use Fruit Fresh: 1/4 tsp. dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water, added to each quart of fruit.
*Use hot water bath for fruits, tomatoes, pickles, jams and jellies. Use a pressure canner for meats, fish, chicken and other vegetables.
Tips for Canning Fruit, by Laurel Martin, taken from Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats, pg. 389
*Peaches: add 1/2 cup sugar to each quart. Bring water to rolling boil and turn off heat. Time: Hard peaches for 15 minutes and soft peaches for 10 minutes. Then remove from water bath.
*Pears: Add 1/2 cup sugar to each quart and 1/4 cup orange juice to each quart. Bring water bath to rolling boil. Turn off heat and time 5 minutes. remove from water bath. The orange juice gives the pears a delicious looking color.
There are tons more tips & ideas, along with almost 1000 recipe's, 100 in the canning section alone in the cookbook. I always have them at market for anyone interested!
Keep priorities in sight when planning your next trip by tying a to-do list onto luggage. We printed our list on card stock and used a metal eyelet to reinforce the hole through which a ribbon is passed. To be able to reuse the card for future jaunts, simply laminate it and check the things you've done with a dry-erase marker. Wipe off check marks and remove the tag when you head out on vacation. (to see a photo, go to the website).
Here is my personal recipe for Mexican Style Salsa... It is excellent fresh as well as canned!
26 large tomatoes, cored and chopped into small bite size chunks
10 medium onions, chopped (you can peel them if you want to, I don't bother)
7 Tbsp. dried cilantro or 1 cup fresh, chopped
20 fresh cloves garlic, minced- about 7 Tbsp.
1 1/4 cup lemon juice
7 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped Jalapeno peppers
3 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
1. In a large bowl: chop all tomatoes, onions and peppers; mince garlic; add rest of ingredients except salt.
2. Fill pint jars leaving 1 inch head space; add 1 tsp. salt to each jar.
Process in a hot water bath for 30 minutes. Yields about 16 pints.
Sweet and Sour Pickles...
Bring to Boil: Brine~ 1 Quart White Vinegar, 2 quart water, 3 cups sugar, 2 Tbsp. pickling spices, 2-3 tsp. alum.
Prepare~ Wash cukes, removing ends and any bad spots. Slice lengthwise and put in large bowl, sprinkle Kosher salt over each layer. Mix with hands; let set 3 hours or overnight.
Pack cukes in clean jars, add 1 sprig dill to each jar. Pour brine over till covered, leaving 1 inch head space. Make more if needed.
Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes.