Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Make Tomato Juice

I have made a batch a pizza sauce and a batch of spaghetti sauce using tomato juice that I had canned last year.  I used up all the tomato juice I had canned.  Thankfully the tomatoes have finally started ripening at a faster rate.  So I picked close to a 5 gallon bucket full of tomatoes and took them home to make into juice.  Almost anything that you make with tomatoes except salsa starts out by turning your tomatoes into juice. 
I did not want to have to clean up a mess in the house so I decided to create a kitchen outside.  So I put up our folding table, put my strainer on it, got the extension cord and plugged in my steamer, and brought out my tomatoes.  Here is my make shift out door kitchen.  It was in the shade and nice and cool that day. 

I first core the tomatoes.  Then either quarter, halve, or leave whole depending on their size.  I use a variety of tomatoes to can with. This gives everything I make a great flavor. 

Then I steam the tomatoes until the skin splits on them.  Then they are ready to put through the strainer. Sometimes I will put the skins back through the strainer to squeeze out every little bit of juice I can get. 

The best thing about my out door kitchen is easy clean up.  I took the dishes back inside to wash.  I would need to clean them even if I did it inside.  Then the hose came out and viola!!  The table was clean in less than 30 seconds!!  And no floor to clean up!!!  I like not having to clean up afterwards!!

I got 8 quarts of tomato juice.  I put it in my stock pot and put it in the fridge to cook down then next day to make another batch of spaghetti sauce. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Candied Cinnamon Pickles

This is another recipe I got from my grandma's church cook book.  Are you noticing a theme here.  It is the cook book I use the most.  A lot of the ladies who put recipes in this cook book have gone on to be with our Lord.  But they have left a legacy of awesome down home country recipes.  Some that have been handed down throughout generations. 

 I altered the recipe some and renamed it.  The original recipe calls these Spiced Cucumber Rings.  The original recipe has you peel large cucumbers and to scoop out the seeds.  The rest is the same.  I use pickling cucumbers and I don't peel them.

These bright red pickles taste just like cinnamon candy.  They are the crispiest pickle I have ever eaten.  They look beautiful on a relish tray especially for the holidays!!  And they make great gifts with Christmas fabric on top and tied with a raffia bow.  The only thing about these pickles is they take 5 days to make.  The first two days are the most work.  The next two are just reheating syrup and letting sit.  The last day you can them. Everybody loves them but they don't want to make them because of the time it takes. So here is the step by step process to make my famous Candied Cinnamon Pickles.  They may take a few days to make but they are worth the effort. 

On a side note:  Your house will smell like cinnamon for a week!!! 
Day 1
Wash your cucumbers and slice enough to get 2 gallons of cucumber slices.  Put in a container that is not aluminum.  Mix 4 quarts of water with 1 cup pickling lime.  Pour over cucumbers.  If the cucumbers are not completely covered you can add some water.  If you need a lot more keep mixing 2 quarts of water with 1/2 cup pickling lime until you have enough to cover cucumbers.  Let this sit overnight to 24 hours. 

Pickling Lime can be found in the canning section at most grocery stores.  Soaking vegetables in pickling lime before pickling makes them very crispy.  It also gives pickles a very distinct flavor. Although these pickles don't have that flavor after you put them into the cinnamon syrup for several days.   I also use pickling lime when I pickle jalapeno peppers.  They stay so crisp.  

Day 2
Drain the cucumbers.  Rinse out the cucumbers very well.  I will fill the stock pot back up at least three times with water and drain it.  Then I will pour the cucumbers into colanders and put under the faucet and run water over them.  Then I wash out the stock pot with soap and water.  I will pull out the cucumbers by hand holding them under the faucet to further rinse off any lime.  Put all the cucumbers back into your container and cover with cold water.  Let sit for 3 hours. 

Drain off the water and then add 1 cup of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of alum, 1 2oz bottle of liquid red food coloring, and enough water to cover the cucumbers. 

Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat.  Simmer for 2 hours.  Then Drain.  The pickles will begin to look bright red at this point. 

Now I put the pickles into the containers that will sit on the counter for the next 3 days.  I use empty gallon ice cream tubs.  I split the cucumbers between 2 tubs.  Now you make the syrup that will finish pickling the cucumbers and candy them. 

To make the syrup bring 3 1/2 cups vinegar, 1  1 lb package of red hot cinnamon candies, 10 cups of sugar, 4 cups of water, and 8 cinnamon sticks to boil.  Continue to boil until all of the cinnamon candies have dissolved.  Pour the syrup over the pickles.

Now let these sit on your counter.  As the syrup cools the pickles will begin to drop down in the syrup.  I normally will push them down  later during the day.  Day 2 is done!!

Day 3
Drain the syrup into a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Pour the syrup back over the pickles.  Let  sit on your counter.  Day 3 is done. You can see that the pickles are getting darker red.  Almost all the green is gone on the pickles.  There are still a few pickles that have a slight green on the skin that are thicker slices.  All the thin slices are completely red.

Day 4
Drain the syrup into a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Pour the syrup back over the pickles. Let sit on your counter. Day 4 is done. The pickles are getting very red and there is no green left on any of them.  Wow my house smells good!!

Day 5
Heat pickles and syrup back up to boiling.  Ladle pickles into jars and cover in syrup.  I put one of the cinnamon sticks into each jar.  It looks pretty and also keeps adding to the flavor.  Fill leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe rims and put on new boiled lids.  Tighten on rings and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. 

I got 12 1/2 pints of Candied Cinnamon Pickles.  These are actually my mom's pickles.  She asked if I would make a batch for her.  They were leaving on vacation and would not be able to get them finished.  I will keep a couple of jars though.   Especially since this recipe makes so many pickles!! 
When you open up a jar the smell of cinnamon will fill the air.  They are so yummy!!  Just like eating candy!!

I am linking to The Homestead Barn Hop

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pizza Sauce

Well I went through the my pantry and found some more tomato juice.  I actually used up all the jars of just plain tomato juice for the spaghetti sauce, but I had a ton of jars of tomato soup.  The tomato soup is just tomato juice that also has onions and celery that has been cooked and put through the strainer too.  It might have a little canning salt and sugar in it too.  The milk and thickener is added after you open the jar.  So it works great for all kinds of meals and taste like a V-8 when you drink it straight.  I made a ton of this last year and we just didn't use it up.  So I opened up 16 pints and poured it into my kettle.  What is nice about my pizza sauce recipe it actually states the amount of tomato juice to use.  So you are not guessing with measuring out pounds of tomatoes.  I have even made this recipe with store bought tomato juice when I ran out of pizza sauce in the middle of the year.

The pizza sauce takes less time than the spaghetti sauce and you get about the same amount.  First you pour 8 quarts of tomato juice in a kettle. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 3 hours.  Stirring frequently. 

After 3 hours add your vegetables, if desired (I don't add them, my hubby does not like them in the pizza sauce), vegetable oil, oregano, salt, red pepper, basil, and sugar.  Bring back to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes.  Then add 8  6oz cans of tomato paste.  Bring back to a boil stirring constantly until all the tomato paste is incorporated.  Remove from the heat.

You will have a nice and thick bright red pizza sauce.  It looks just like any pizza sauce you would buy in the store.  But tastes so much better.   Before putting you pizza sauce into the jars add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the bottom for pints and 2 tablespoons for quarts.  This helps with the acidity issue.  A lot of tomatoes now days have less acid than they once did.  This helps insure a safe product.  Then fill your jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Clean the rims and top with new boiled lids.  Tighten the rings on and process in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. 

I normally get about 16 to 17 pints.  I can some batches in quart jars.  When I make crock pot pizza you need a quart jar of pizza sauce.  So I can in both quarts an pints.  Today I canned in pints and got 17 beautiful jars of bright red pizza sauce.  One jar will make 2 pizzas. 

Here is my recipe for Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce
8 quarts tomato juice
4 green peppers, chopped fine
2 cups vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup canning salt
3 lbs of onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon red pepper
2 Tablespoons basil
2 cups sugar
8  6oz cans tomato paste

Bring the tomato juice to a boil in a large kettle.  Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours stirring frequently.  Add peppers and onions, if desired, vegetable oil, oregano, salt, red pepper, basil, and sugar.  Bring back to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes.  Add tomato paste and bring back to a boil stirring constantly until the tomato paste has been thoroughly incorporated. 
Remove from the heat.  Put 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice in pint jars and 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice in quart jars, then fill up with pizza sauce leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes.  Yields about 16 -17 pints. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce

I have been trying to clean out my pantry and get things used up.  As I can new things this season I have been trying to go through my pantry and use up jars of food.  Normally be the end of canning season I am tired of making pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup concentrate, salsa, etc...  So I just can all the rest of the tomatoes from the season into straight juice.  Then I use that juice throughout the year for other canning things.  If I run out of pizza sauce or tomato sauce before the next canning season I will use up that juice making more.  I also can pinto beans to use with Mexican dishes.  I can those in my own tomato juice. 
I noticed I had quite a few jars left over so I emptied them out in my big canning kettle.  I just kept pouring more jars in until it was close to being full.  Then I add all the rest of my ingredients and turned on the stove.  I bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for 4-5 hours.  I just simmer it until it gets to the thickness I prefer.  As with any tomato product you have to stir very frequently.  You can't put it on the stove and leave the house.  Tomatoes scorch very easily.  And you just can't get that taste out of your sauce.  Here is how full my big kettle is when I start cooking it. 

After 5 hours you can see how much the sauce has cooked down.  It went down several inches in the kettle and the sauce was nice and thick.  Oh it smells so good!!

Once you have reached your desired thickness pull it off the stove.  And fill your clean jars.  This recipe makes about 9 quarts.  I got a little over 8 quarts.  I did not want to run the canner for another 40 minutes for just one jar, so we had spaghetti for supper.  It was family approved!!  Now I have 7 jars to put in the pantry.  It is not a lot but a good start.  Our tomatoes are being slow to ripen right now.  So at least I can get a jump start on some sauce before the tomatoes finally all get ripe!!

The recipe I used is on the taste of home website. Here is the Spaghetti Sauce recipe.  I followed the recipe pretty close.  Except I just started out with my kettle full of juice.  Then I added dehydrated onions and green peppers.  So I got those used up out of my pantry.  I then added all the rest of the ingredients following the recipe.  I did not rehydrate the onions and peppers before adding.  I was cooking this for 5 hours so I knew they would rehydrate in plenty of time.  This is a great recipe and tastes wonderful.  I shared this with my friend who is allergic to garlic.  She just makes it without the garlic and now she can enjoy spaghetti once again!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peaches are Done!!!

My peaches are finally done!!!  I am so happy now I can work on other things.  Plus now the 2 big boxes are finally out of my front room.  Which really makes my hubby happy too!!!  I picked peaches a little over a week ago and have been canning peaches every couple of days since then.  This is what I started with. Yummy Ohio grown peaches fresh from our local orchard!!

After canning for a week I ended up with a pantry full of peach goodness.  I got 3 1/2 pints of peach butter.

I made 4 pints of peach jam!!

I canned 30 pints and 7 quarts of sliced peaches.  And today I had enough left over to make a pie. 
Here is the last of the canning with my peach pie!!

I am so excited to have peaches this year.  I did not get any canned last year!!  And I should have enough to make us through a year!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

What I had for supper!!

Yesterday was a rather cool day.  No it was not 32 degrees and snowing!!  But the temperature only got up to the mid 70's and it was raining most of the day.  Which seems pretty cool when you are used to the temperature being in the 90's with 90% humidity.  So I decided to rummage through my freezer and pantry to see what I could make.  During one of my past post I talked about how I cook up chickens and use half now and half of it later.  See my   Chicken in every pot post.  Well I had half of a chicken shredded up and in the freezer.  I also had some chicken broth that I strained off  several chickens I cooked up for my friends wedding.  I had that frozen  in the freezer as well.  I pulled that out and put in a pot on the stove.  I also one quart jar of canned northern beans.  With this I made Creamy White Chili.  See taste of home web site for the Creamy White Chili recipe.  I just adapt it to what I have.  I omit the green chilies.  My kids don't like it spicy.  I also just add dried onion to the broth.  Sometimes if I don't have sour cream or heavy cream I just add any dairy that I have.  Last night I added a can of evaporated milk.  It still turned out scrumptious.  The flavors are so good and it is a nice difference to a tomato based chili.
I did not want to serve my chili alone so I made corn bread.  Now the recipe I use for corn bread came out of my grandma's church cook book.  It is titled The Best Corn Bread.  Now I don't know if it is the best corn bread ever, but it sure is the best I have ever tasted.  I think the fact you bake it in a iron skillet makes it so golden brown and crispy on the edges.  Here is the recipe. 

The Best Corn Bread
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup hot milk
1 egg, beaten

Put the margarine in an iron skillet.  Put in the oven and turn on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place cornmeal in bowl and add hot milk.  Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.  Now add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and egg.  Mix until combined.  Pull the skillet out and coat the bottom and side of pan with melted margarine.  Add the margarine to the batter.  Stir until combined and pout the batter into the greased skillet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

You can either loosen edges and invert onto a serving plate or cut first and then remove the slices.  I like to serve upside down.  You can see the golden edges. It is crispy and oh so good.  I serve with butter and honey. 

The meal is complete and ready to serve.  My son and I like to crumble the cornbread right into our soup.  My husband and younger son just eat it with butter and honey.  When all four of us are eating there are never any left overs of this corn bread.  Here is my meal all served up and ready to eat.  The jar on the table is filled with fresh golden honey.  A gift from a friend with Bees!! 

I am linking to Homestead Barn Hop

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Canning Peaches

Canning peaches may seem intimidating but they are actually very simple to do.  You must first select nice and ripe peaches.  Normally peaches are picked before they are fully ripe.  When buying peaches or picking them make sure you realize you won't be canning the same day.  If I pick or buy large quantities I realize that I will be canning every couple days.  It is the same as with pears.  Use a variety of peach that is a free stone.  Which means the flesh does not stick to the pit.  Red Haven is a very commen free stone peach that people like to can with.  Free stone is also called no cling.  You want a peach that will easily come right off the pit so your halves or slices aren't all butchered up when you put them into your jars.

To remove the skin from peaches you bring water to a boil.  Then drop in your peaches.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove the peaches and put in cold water.  Once you are done with all your peaches then you begin to remove the skins and halve or slice them to can.

The skin will peel right off a peach that is nice and ripe!!
I don't live in a perfect world.  So  not every peach that I put into that hot water comes out perfect.  Some peaches have stubborn spots that the skin don't peel off.  That is when your pearing knife comes in handy and you simply help it along.  The peaches don't always come right off the pit either.  So a pearing knife aids in that process too. 

Next you need to decide whether you are going to keep the peaches in halves or to slice them.  Most people can peaches in halves.  They look beautiful in the jar this way.  You fill the jar with the peaches with the cut side down layering the peaches around the jar filling the jar as tight as possible.  To slice the peaches just slice them right off the pit.  They aren't as pretty in the jar as the halves but sometimes they are more practical.  I think about how I am going to use what I am canning.  Depending on how I am going to use something determines if I will can it in a pint or quart jar.  Regular or wide  mouth jar and how I prepare the fruit or vegetable.  I use peaches mainly in baking pies, desserts, or just to eat at lunch or breakfast.  So slices makes more sense for me.  I also canned them in pint jars this year.  Most of the dessert recipes I use calls for only about a pint size jar of sliced peaches.  Plus if I am using them to eat a pint size will be used up quicker so the peaches don't go to waste.  If I want to make I pie I can always open up 2 jars.  So I sliced my peaches up as I peeled them into a saucepan filled with water with some citric acid to prevent browning.  Once all my peaches are sliced I will rinse out the peaches add enough water to cover and put them on the stove to heat to boiling.

I prefer to hot pack peaches.  Peaches can be cold packed or hot packed.  Hot packed peaches tend to can better than cold pack.  To cold pack you will put your peaches right into the jars as you peel and halve or slice.  Then fill with your hot syrup.  To hot pack you will cover the peaches with water or syrup and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and put in your jars.  I cover my peaches in water.  Then I use a slotted spoon to fill my jars.  Once the jars are filled then I put the syrup in.  I allow the jars to settle some so they can be nice and filled.  If the jars are packed tightly and you let them settle it will help your fruit or veges from rising a lot after the canning process.  I also make my syrup in a separate pot.  This way I can reuse my syrup for another batch and it will keep well in the fridge.  You can can fruit in water, syrup, or fruit juice.  Syrup or fruit juice helps your fruit keep its color better.  I have a friend who cans her fruit in appel juice.  So after her kids eat the fruit they then can drink the juice it is canned in.  I normally use a light syrup which is made by combining 1 part sugar to 3 parts water.  Basically 1 cup of sugar and 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and cover  your peaches leaving 1/2 inch head space. 

Wipe your rims clean then adjust your lids and process in a boiling water bath.  If you hot pack you process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes.  If you cold pack your peaches you process pints for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes.  I canned another 7 pints of peaches.  I canned 5 pints a few days ago.  I will keep canning peaches every couple of days until they are all canned. 

The syrup that I don't use goes into a gallon jug labeled syrup and into the fridge.  I don't like to waste the sugar that I bought.  This will be used up during the next batch of peaches I can. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Peach Butter

I found this recipe several years ago in the September/October 1996 edition of the Crafting Traditions magazine.  I got the magazine at a yard sale several years ago.   It is a very simple recipe for peach butter and makes up rather quickly.  I did not get any peaches last year.  We had a late frost which nipped the peach blossoms.  So any peaches we got last year were imported in.  This year is a great year for peaches in our area.  So I was happy to be able to pick peaches at our local orchard.  I picked about a bushel. I had enough get ripe that I was able to make a few things.  Here is how to make Spicy Peach Butter.

First you need 18 medium ripe peaches.  Peel the skin and slice the peaches.  The skin on peaches can be easily peeled off by first dipping the peach into boiling water for 30-60 seconds.  Take the peach out and plunge into cold water.  The skin will slip right off of nice ripe peaches. 

Put the sliced peaches in a saucepan with 1/3 cup of water.  Cook the peaches until they become tender.  Stir frequently to prevent scorching.  Remove from the heat and put the peaches in a food processor.  Process until the peaches are smooth.

Return the pureed peaches to  a saucepan and add 4 cups of sugar 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg.  Cook the peaches for 30 minutes or until it becomes thick.  Ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Adjust the lids and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.  This will yield about 4 pints. 

Here is the recipe for Spicy Peach Butter

Spicy Peach Butter
18 medium ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup water
4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Cook peaches with water until tender.  Put in food processor and puree.  Return to a saucepan and add sugar, ginger, and nutmeg.  Cook for 30 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently to keep from scorching.  Ladle into clean sterilized jars.  Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Yield:  About 4 pints

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Yesterday was a very productive day for me.  I did a lot of canning.  I started out by using some of my peaches that I had picked on Friday.  I picked about a bushel and some of them have been getting ripe.  So this morning I started out by making peach butter.  While that was processing I started making peach jam.  Then I finished up with peaches by canning a few pints of what was left that was ripe.  By this time it was lunch time.

After lunch I went to the garden and I picked cucumbers, some dill, tomatoes, and onions.  Then I went back home and made another batch of salsa and some dill pickle slices.  My bounty of filled jars looks so pretty on my counter. 

I had a very productive day of canning but my house went uncleaned, the laundry did not get done, and my husband came home and had to make his own supper.  I was running off to take the kids to a  4-H meeting and did not have time to fix dinner.  I guess this is why my husband hates canning season.  At least he enjoys the benefits the rest of the year when he gets to eat all the goodies I put up during the summer.  He has learned to deal with the messy house and other things not getting done.  And I have learned to try and get as much done as possible and try to keep things picked up and clean!!!  Compromise is a great thing in a marriage!!  It makes for a happy household!! And enables me to do a lot of canning which I enjoy!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dill Relish

I made some sweet pickle relish two years ago and just used up the last jar.  My hubby always liked dill pickle relish better.  So I searched the Internet until I found a recipe that I liked.  None of my cook books had a recipe for dill relish.  This is a great recipe since it uses dill seed.  Some of our dill has gone to seed.  So I used that for this recipe.  You don't want seeds for your dill pickles, so this is a great way to use up your dill that has gone to seed.

I did not have enough cucumbers so I substituted zucchini and extra onions to make up the difference.  You can do that with pickling recipes.  Never add extra vegetables to tomato sauce recipes because it lowers the acidity level too much and can make the sauce unsafe when canned. When pickling vegetables the acidity comes from the vinegar added.  So you can safely replace one vegetable with another.

First I ground up my cucumber, onions, and zucchini in my food processor.  I added my salt and turmeric and  let sit for 2 hours. 

After two hours I rinsed and drained the vegetables.  I poured it into a colander and let it sit until no more liquid was coming off of it.  Then I poured the vegetables into my stock pot and added the sugar, dill, turmeric and vinegar.  This was brought to a boil.  Then I reduced the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Pull off the heat and fill your clean and sterilized pint jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe rims and adjust lids.  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 

Here is the recipe that I found on the Internet Dill Relish .  I made some adjustments though.  Here is the original recipe with the adjustments that I made next to it.  It tastes awesome.  I love the dill flavor in it and it is so pretty and yellow.  The color reminds me of fresh dill in the garden!!

Dill Relish

  • 8 pounds pickling cucumbers   I had 2 pounds and 2 pounds of zucchini
  • 1/2 cup Ball 100% Natural
  • Canning and Pickling Salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 quart water   I did not use the water
  • 1 pound yellow onions   I used 5 pounds of onions (this made up for the other 4 pounds of cucumbers)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dill seed I used about 3 Tablespoons of dill seed
  • 1 quart white wine vinegar
Prepare jars and closures.

Wash cucumbers; drain. Remove 1/16-inch from blossom and stem ends of cucumbers. Finely chop cucumbers in a food processor or food grinder. Place chopped cucumbers (I also put the zucchini and onions in the bowl) in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and turmeric. Pour water over cucumbers;(I did not pour the water over it) let stand 2 hours. Peel and finely chop onions. (My onions were added to the cucumbers already) Drain cucumbers. Rinse under cold water; drain. Combine cucumbers, onions, sugar, dill seed and white wine vinegar (I added 2 more teaspoons of turmeric) in a large sauce pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Carefully ladle hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim clean. Place lid on jar with sealing compound next to glass. Screw band down evenly and firmly just until a point of resistance is met - fingertip tight.

Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
Yield: about 6 half-pints. I got 7 pints

I am linking to Homestead Barn Hop