Saturday, August 25, 2012

Salsa Verde

I have never made salsa verde before.  For that matter I have never even tasted it before.  My mom had planted several tomatillo plants this year so we had a bunch to try.  Last night I picked 2 gallons of tomatillos.  I gave one gallon to my mom and I took home the other.  I wanted to try salsa verde.  I looked up several different recipes and found out that salsa verde is a quite spicy hot salsa.  I wanted a more mild version that my husband and kids would like.  So I just added more tomatillos in place of the green chilies and jalapenos. 

I ended up using the recipe out of my canning book So Easy To Preserve.

Salsa Verde
5 cups chopped tomatillos
1 /2 cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
1/2 cup seeded, finely chopped jalapeno peppers
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup bottled lemon or lime juice (I used lime)
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin (optional, but I added it)
3 tablespoons dried oregano leaves (optional, but I added it)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Start out by husking your tomatillos.  I had no clue how sticky they were.

Once husked wash them very well.

Chop them up and measure out your ingredients.  I used tomatillos in place of the peppers.  I did add in to banana peppers to give it a little pepper flavor.  But I did not want the heat.  Add the rest of your ingredients and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Stirring frequently.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Put in clean, hot, sterilized jars.  Leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Wipe rims clean and put on new hot lids.  Screw on rings and
tighten by hand.  Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

I ended up with 6 pints.  The recipe says it makes 5.  I think I had a little
more tomatillos than called for though. 

The taste was truly amazing.  It has just a little kick but very mild.
Plus I love the lime flavor to it.  It tastes so fresh!! Yum!!
I will be making this again.  I am hoping we get more tomatillos out of the garden
At least enough to make one more batch.  I put several jars into 1/2 pints to give away as gifts but after tasting the salsa now I am thinking I just might keep it.  Or just make another batch and still give some away!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Canning BBQ Sauce

Have I mentioned that we have an abundance of tomatoes!! They are starting to slow down and the vines are beginning to dry up.  Which is kind of early for the tomatoes.  But with our warm spring and dry summer it is to be expected.  Yesterday I decided to make a batch of BBQ Sauce.  I haven't made any in a couple of years.  My family does not eat a lot of it but occasionally they like it on chicken or shredded venison.  I also canned a 5 gallon bucket of tomatoes.  Nothing special just canned halved tomatoes.  I got 12 quarts and 1 pint of tomatoes!!

I had already juiced my tomatoes so I adapted some recipes to make the sauce.  Here is the original recipe that I used to adapt from.

The original recipe says that you can start with 3 quarts of tomato sauce.  I had 12 quarts of tomato juice so first I cooked it down by half.

Once it cooked down I add my other ingredients.  Since I now have 6 quarts of tomato sauce I doubled the ingredients from the original recipe. I added garlic powder and onion powder instead of the actually onions and garlic.

I put in 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 2 cups of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of canning salt, 2 tablespoons of dry ground mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons of paprika,  and 3 cups of vinegar. You can see how the color has changed after I put in the brown sugar and all the spices. 

Then I continued to cook it down until it got thick.  I did not make it quite as thick as my ketchup.  But this is a matter of personal preference.  Cook down until you get the thickness you want.  Make sure you are stirring frequently.  Especially the thicker it gets. 

Now put the sauce in your clean, hot, sterilized canning jars.  Wipe rims and adjust caps.  Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. 

I just love my old canning jars.  The one on the left is an old Atlas mason jar.  They are a square jar.  I have some in quarts too.  The one on the right is an older Ball mason jar.  I ended up with 10 pints of  BBQ Sauce.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Home Canned Ketchup

I have not canned any ketchup in several years.  My youngest son used to eat ketchup on everything.  I had canned some one year and we ran out half way through the year.  So the next year I canned a bunch.  I think I canned 52 pints of it.  I figured on using one pint a week.  That year my son decided he no longer liked ketchup and instead developed a taste for mustard.  So I had plenty of ketchup to last for several years. 

We have an abundance of tomatoes this year.  I have already canned a ton of pizza sauce (28 quarts and 16 pints), 2 batches of salsa, vegetable juice, stewed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes.  So I decided to can just one batch of ketchup.  I have used the Mrs. Wages packets before but they are really hard to find in the stores around here.  I also have made it from scratch before.  The flavor of the one from scratch did not taste like the ketchup you bought from the store.  I searched my canning book and searched a bunch of old recipes I had and came up with something that I thought would taste similar to store bought ketchup.  I was successful.  I can't believe at how much this ketchup does taste like the kind you would buy from the store. 

I used the recipe from my canning book to start with.  Then used the spices from a recipe out of an old church cookbook. 
To start you need 24 pounds of tomatoes and 2 pounds of onions.  I washed them cut them up and then cooked and smashed them down just like you would if you were making juice.  I cooked them for about 45 minutes.  Making sure I stirred often to keep from scorching.

Put the tomatoes and onions through a strainer and then put the juice back on the stove and bring to a boil and boil gently for 1 hour.  Making sure to stir frequently.

Now add 9 cups of sugar, 9 cups of vinegar, and 1/2 cup canning salt.  Put in a spice bag 1 tablespoon of celery seed, 1 tablespoon mustard seed, and 1/4 cup of pickling spice.  Bring this back to a boil and cook until thick.  Stirring frequently.  The thicker the mixture gets the more often you will have to stir it.  I let mine cook for 3 hours and I knew I had to leave to go to a wedding so I cheated a little.  I added clear jel to thicken it  up.  You can dissolve either corn starch or clear jel, whichever you prefer,  in some cold water and add it to your ketchup.  Stir it up and cook until you get the consistency you want.  Remember that the ketchup will thicken a little more once it is completely cooled.  If you let it completely cook until until it thickens on your own you should get 9 to 10 pints.  I only let it cook down for a few hours and thickened it.  I got 14 pints and 4  3 cup jars of ketchup. 

You can see the spice bag in the upper left on the kettle.  

I put the ketchup in my blender in small batches to blend up any bits of clear jel that did not dissolve.  This actually worked great because I was able to pour it from the blender right into my canning jars.  Fill your clean, hot, sterilized jars with ketchup leaving only an 1/8 inch head space.  Wipe rims clean and put on new hot lids.  Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. 

See how the ketchup just hangs on the spoon.  That is how thick you want it.
If you like thinner ketchup just don't cook it down as much. 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canned Stewed Tomatoes

Stewed Tomatoes are  great by themselves or added to soups, stews, and side dishes.  They are surprisingly easy to can. We have an abundance of tomatoes this year and I am trying to take advantage of it and make sure that I have plenty of food stocked up for the year. So I am canning all sorts of tomato products!

To can stewed tomatoes I followed the recipe in my canning book.  I did add a few spices to give it a little zip.
Stewed Tomatoes
2 quarts tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons celery salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients.  Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe jar rims.  Adjust lids and process in a pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure for a dial gauge or 10 pounds pressure for a weighted gauge. Process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes.

I quadrupled the recipe.  I had 8 quarts of tomatoes left after canning vegetable juice and another batch of pizza sauce.  I just love the accent of color the yellow tomatoes add to this.

I did not have celery salt so I just used regular salt instead.  I added a teaspoon of celery seed, 2 teaspoons of oregano, 2 teaspoons of  basil, and a small hand full of fresh oregano. 

I cooked in my kettle for 10 minutes stirring very frequently.  I learned a long time ago to baby sit any tomato products that I cook.  I had a few batches of ketchup that I scorched.  There is no way to get rid of that taste.  Tomatoes scorch very easily.  So stir frequently and stay close by.

Here are my jars ready to go into the pressure canner.

I put my stewed tomatoes into pints.  I got 12 pints and had enough to do a 3 cup jar.  Due to the high ratio of vegetables to tomatoes, stewed tomatoes need to be pressure canned.  I have seen a lot of recipes on the Internet for stewed tomatoes and a lot of them do not tell you to pressure can.  I always check any canning recipe I find with my canning book.  The canning book I have was published in 2006 and is one of the most recent updated versions. Always check your canning recipes with the most recent canning books.  I have several old Blue Ball canning books from the 70's and a lot of the canning information in them is out dated.  So to be safe check ingredient quantities and canning times with the most updated information. A lot has changed in the safety of canning that is why you will see recipes in older books like my old Blue Ball book that are not in the new ones.

When you first take your jars out of your canner you will see that the mixture has separated.
The bottom will look like water and the top will have your tomatoes.  Don't worry this is normal.
As the jars cool and seal the mixture will redistribute.  I canned these last night.  By this morning
the jars were cool and the mixture has redistributed.  They look so pretty in the jars.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Canned Vegetable Juice

If you love V8 juice you will love this!!  Mine is more like a V5 or if you count the herbs it could be a V6 or V7.   I used the approved recipe for home canning vegetable juice as stated in my canning book. 

To start with you need 22 pounds of tomatoes.  These need to be washed cored and quartered.  To this add 3 cups of finely chopped vegetables.  This can be any combination you want.  I used carrots, onion, celery, and green peppers.  Then I picked some lime basil and lemon basil and put in a few leaves of each to flavor.

Put all ingredients in a large kettle or stock pot and begin to heat while crushing the tomatoes.  I put it on high and continued crushing the tomatoes until the mixture was very watery.  Then continue to cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil.

When the mixture comes to a boil take it off the heat and put it through a strainer to remove the skins and seeds. I wish I had smellovision so you could smell this.  It smells just heavenly!!

After you have strained the mixture put into clean, hot, sterilized canning jars.  Add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice for pints and 2 tablespoons for quarts.  Or if you use citric acid use 1/4 teaspoon for pints and 1/2 teaspoon for quarts.  Fill jars leaving a 1/2 inch head space.  Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts.

I got 8 quarts and 1 pint plus 1 cup of juice left over which I drank.  It was so good.  This can be used as a drink or used in cooking for soups and things.  As the juice cools it mixes back together in the jar.  The quart jar on the right and the pint jar I had just taken out of the canner when I took the picture.  The other jars the juice has mixed back together. 

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Canning Diced Tomatoes

I use diced tomatoes for so many different recipes.  I am always buying cans of them at the store.  Then it dawned on me.  Why am I buying cans of diced tomatoes when I can just can them myself? I just picked a couple of 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes again.  I juiced enough to make another batch of pizza sauce.  I made another batch of salsa and canned that too.  The left over tomatoes I decided to dice up and can. 

To can diced tomatoes you first need to peel the tomatoes.  To peel tomatoes you first core them.  I have a handy little gadget that takes the core out.

Then dip the tomatoes in boiling water for 30-60 seconds.  I normally go 60 seconds.  The skins will begin to split.  Take out of the water and put in ice water to cool.

Once cool just pull the peel right off.  The easily slip off.  Once in a while you have a spot or two that get stubborn and I use a knife to help get it off.

After the tomatoes are peeled just dice them up and put them into your jars.  You do need to add some acid to your jars.  I normally use lemon juice but I was out.  So I used citric acid.  If you use lemon juice you need to add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to pints and 2 tablespoons to quarts.  If you use citric acid you need to use 1/4 teaspoon for pints and 1/2 teaspoon for quarts. fill with tomatoes pushing down to fill jar.  Leave a 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe rims clean and adjust caps.  Process in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Canning Sauerkraut

I was surprised at how easy it was to can sauerkraut.  Whether you are fermenting it the traditional way over 6 weeks in a brine or the quick way  like I did in a mason jar. After your sauerkraut is done fermenting you bring it to a boil with the liquid.  You know it is done fermenting when it no longer produces any gas bubbles. I did let mine ferment a couple of extra days.  Mainly because I was away and did not have time to can until today. It was no longer producing any gas bubbles.  I did taste the sauerkraut too to make sure it was fermented.  It tasted so good.  Very sour with a hint of saltiness and sweetness.

After it has come to a boil put into hot sterilized jars.  Fill jars with kraut and liquid  leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts.  When the liquid is in it the kraut looks a little darker.  Once drained though it will be nice and white like the picture above.  Let set until cool and check for proper seals. 

I started out with 7 quart jars that I fermented.  After the fermentation process I ended up with 6 quarts of canned sauerkraut.  It looks so pretty in the jars!!!

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Polish Dill Pickles

Up until a couple of days ago I never knew there was such a thing as Polish Dill Pickles.  My friend who is polish described to me how her grandma used to make pickles.  She loved them and wanted to make them.  So I told her lets look up a recipe for a polish dill pickles.  The recipe that I found was very similar to the one she remembers.  The recipe has a few more spices than a regular kosher dill. We canned her batch on Sunday.  I decided to make a batch for myself today. We did not have the coriander seeds and she did not put in the garlic.  She is allergic to garlic.  That is why she enjoys canning her own food.  So many things she buys from the store has garlic in it.

Most dill pickle recipes tell you to cut your cucumbers and put them into the jar.  I have tried this several times and it never fails that I have soggy pickles.  Two of my favorite pickle recipes has me soak the cucumbers first in a pickling lime solution.  Those pickles are always so crisp.  So I decided to do this with these pickles.  I soaked my cucumbers in a pickling lime solution which was 1/4 cup pickling lime to 2 quarts of water for 2 hours.  Then I rinsed well and soaked in clean cold water for an hour.  Click Here to find the recipe that I used.

To the bottom of each pint jar add
1 teaspoon dill seed
1 garlic clove
4 coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 small bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Fill the jar with you cucumbers leaving 1/2 inch head space

Top with a small sprig of dill (optional but I did)

To make brine,
4 cups water
4 cups vinegar
5 tablespoons canning salt

Bring to a boil and fill jars

Here are my jars waiting for the brine.  I cut most of them into slices
and a few into spears.  I did both pints and quarts.  If you do quarts
just double the amount of spices that you put in the jars.

Here are my jars waiting to go into the canner. The pints are already in.

To process can in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts.  Let cool and check for proper seal.  Store for later use.  You should wait at least a week before using them to allow the flavor to get to its fullest.  Although I opened one of the jars of my friends pickles today just to see how they tasted.   Oh they are so good.  I love the flavor and they were crispy.  I can't wait to taste mine with the garlic and coriander seed in them!!

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lots of Pizza Sauce

My family loves pizza sauce.  I not only use it to make pizza but also for pasta dishes.  One of my family favorites is Crock Pot Pizza.  A pasta dish that layers any type of pasta with pizza sauce, onion, mushroom, pepperoni, and cheese.  This dish needs a quart of pizza sauce.  We ran out of pizza sauce back in the early spring.  So I know I need to make a lot more this year.

I picked 7 gallons of tomatoes yesterday and after putting the tomatoes through my strainer I had 16 quarts of juice.  Enough to make a double batch of pizza sauce.  To see my recipe and tutorial on how to can pizza sauce look at my post on Pizza Sauce.

Since their favorite dish needs a quart of sauce I decided to can this double batch in quarts.  When I pick more tomatoes I will make another double batch and can half of it in pints.  I will use those when we make pizza. 

I canned 13 quarts of pizza sauce.  Hopefully this will be a good start and we will make it a year without running out of pizza sauce.