Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I understand that plum tomatoes make for better sauce, more bang for your buck... but I had mountains of globe tomatoes and decided to make sauce out of some of them... We use tomato sauce in a myriad of recipes, so rather than add any spices for spaghetti, pizza, or chili... I did a couple batches of basic tomato sauce and will spice them up as I use them.
Here's what I did...
I cored and cut my tomatoes into eighths and put them in a large saucepan, squished a few in the bottom first with my potato masher to start the juices flowing and to help prevent sticking. I brought the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduced the heat and boiled gently for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking and scorching.
Then working in small batches, I pressed the tomatoes through my food mill... later I realized I have a strainer attachment to my KitchenAid mixer and finished up using it (forehead slap! why didn't I use it sooner? so much time saved!)
I set the pulpy mass of skins and seeds aside and poured the juice into my crockpot for the first batch (I had to go to work and didn't have time to let the juice cook down on the stove top). I set the crockpot on low and put the lid on loosely cracked and went to work... it took about 24-36 hours for the juice to cook down in the crockpot... the second batch I did on the stove top on medium-high heat and it only took about 2 hours. I stirred it occasionally to keep it from sticking.
I cooked down the juice until it was reduced by half and thickened to the consistency of a thin sauce.
I prepared my jars and lids by simmering them in hot water and keeping them hot until I was ready to use them.
I filled each hot pint jar with the sauce, then added a tablespoon of lemon juice and a half teaspoon of canning salt (salt is optional).
I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth, then tightened the lids on to fingertip tightness.
Then I processed the sauce in a boiling water bath, ensuring the jars were completely covered with water, bringing it to a boil over high heat, then reducing the heat to medium and processing them for 35 minutes in the boiling water bath (quarts would be processed for 50 minutes).
After processing, I removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar. Yum!
With all that pulp and skins left over... I didn't want to just throw it on the compost pile... so...
...I spread it out in my dehydrator and dried it... in about 24 hours I had a mass of crunchy tomato goodness... ran it through the blender until I had... Tomato Powder! I will be adding this to soups and stews later for some additional thickness and flavor.
Friday, July 27, 2012
I buy and use cans of Rotel by the dozen... so when blog reader, Kerry, shared a recipe for canning homemade Rotel, I had to do it... This delicious mixture of tomatoes, onions and peppers is so versatile, it'll be great to have on hand for adding to soups, mixing with cheese for dip, casseroles, tacos, and more...
Here's what I did...
I cored, peeled and chopped...
One gallon of tomatoes...
2 large bell peppers (I had some orange and yellow in my freezer, any color will work)
1 onion, diced
8 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (if you desire a hotter mixture, leave the seeds and ribs in the jalapenos, or you can use a hotter pepper, if you want it milder, add fewer, or leave them out entirely)
I mixed all the chopped veggies in a large stainless steel saucepan and added...
3/4 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar... white vinegar would work too)
1/4 cup sugar
And 1-1/2 Tablespoons canning salt
I brought the colorful mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduced the heat and simmered it for 45 minutes.
(Meanwhile, I washed, sterilized, and heated my pint canning jars and put my lids on to simmer)
To each hot pint jar, I added a teaspoon of lemon juice.
And filled the jars with the mixture, leaving a half-inch headspace.
I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth and tightened the hot lids on to fingertip tightness.
Then I processed the pint jars in a boiling water bath (ensuring the jars were completely covered with water and bringing the water to a boil) for 15 minutes.
After processing, I removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter, and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool...
And to listen for the musical sound of the PING of each successfully sealed jar!
This recipe makes 8-10 pints of Rotel.
For a printable copy of the recipe, click here.
Monday, July 23, 2012
We eat a lot of hamburger soup in the winter and I like to use V8 Juice as my soup base, adding browned hamburger meat, potatoes, onions, carrots and whatever other veggies I feel like adding. It's our winter comfort food... wonderful with cornbread or crackers on a cold winter day.
I read several recipes people had posted of their version of V8 juice and concocted my own version from all of these.
Here's what I did...
I cored and quartered 25 pounds of tomatoes.
Then in the largest stockpot I had (it actually took 3 of my largest pots, I'm ordering a bigger one!) I placed my tomatoes and squished them a bit with my potato masher to get the juices flowing. Then on medium low heat I began to cook them.
I added to the pot...
An entire bunch of celery, leaves too (they're so flavorful!)
A pound of carrots, sliced (just scrubbed and sliced them, no need to peel)
And a large bunch of parsley, roughly chopped.
To this colorful combination, I added a tablespoon of canning salt and brought the mixture to a boil, then reduced the heat and let it simmer until all the vegetables were softened (30 minutes to an hour)
After everything was softened, working in small batches, I pressed it all through my food mill, squeezing out all the yummy juices and pulp and to remove any seeds and peels.
After I got all the juiciness I could, I poured the pulpy juice back into my saucepan(s) and heated it to boiling once again.
In the meantime, I had sterilized and heated my quart jars and lids.
In each quart jar I poured in the juice to a bout an inch from the rim...
then I added
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
And a teaspoon of canning salt (optional)
I then wiped the rim of each jar with a damp cloth...
And screwed my lids on to fingertip tightness.
I then processed the jars of juice in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. After processing, I removed the jars and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar! Yay!
Now... I had all that pulp and stuff left over from running the veggies through my food meal and it smelled so good and I hated to waste it by just throwing it on the compost pile... so....
I spread it out in my dehydrator...
... and 24 hours (give or take) later, I had this crispy veggie mass...
... which I ground up in my blender and am storing it in a canning jar... Vegetable Powder! To add to soups and stews for additional flavor and thickening!
For a printable copy of this recipe click here.
Friday, July 20, 2012
One of my favorite, most fun memories of canning tomatoes was with my ex's sister when she lived with us for awhile. Martha and I became the proud co-owners of several bushels of tomatoes and we spent a day, from early morning to far into the night canning those tomatoes, my three children, and her two entertained themselves, made their own breakfast, lunch, and dinner... and we canned... and canned... and canned...
As evening turned into night and we were still canning... the kids drifting through from time to time... we had a big folding table set up in the middle of the kitchen and we stood with the sink and stove on one side and that big table on the other... so as the kids would walk past, we started doing a "Julia Childs" style "cooking show." We were that tired... you know when you get so tired you get silly... and giggly and even things that are not funny become the source of uproarious laughter... yep that was us! The kids were highly entertained, and they showed us their appreciation of our antics with much eye-rolling, but they kept coming in to see what the Julia Childs of tomato canning would do and say next... we were laughing at our own foolishness so hard there were tears streaming... fun times...
My most recent tomato canning session was much tamer and a much more quiet occasion... we're just starting to get a few tomatoes from our garden... more than we can keep up with just eating, but not enough to put up just yet... so I've been saving the ripest ones in a gallon freezer bag in the freezer and by this past weekend felt I had accumulated enough with that day's pickings to can up a few jars at least... my tomato canning finger was itching... I needed to get in there and can some up.
Here's what I did...
I put all my fresh, ripe tomatoes in the sink along with the frozen ones from the freezer and poured boiling water over them... leaving them immersed in the boiling water for a minute or so...
|Frozen tomatoes (see the frost?) and fresh ripe tomatoes...|
see that little green one... I planted one variety called
German Green and they're a yellowish green even when
ripe... yep that's a ripe tomato, I promise!
When the skins on the tomatoes began loosening and cracking, I plunged them into cold water and slipped the skins right off... I removed the cores and any blemishes or bad spots.
After peeling and coring, I cut the tomatoes into pieces... eighths for the larger ones, quarters or halves for the smaller ones.
I transferred them all to a large stainless steel saucepan and brought them to a boil (they were plenty juicy, no need to add water and I kinda crushed them as I stirred to extract even more juice)... I turned the heat down and boiled them gently, stirring to prevent any from scorching, for about five minutes.
In each of my hot, sterilized quart jars, I measured two tablespoons lemon juice.
Then ladled the hot tomatoes into each jar...
I checked for air bubbles and removed any by running a butter knife between the inside of the jar and the contents, then adjusted if necessary by adding more tomatoes and juice, leaving a one inch headspace.
I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth.
I centered the hot lid on the jar and screwed the band down until resistance was met, then increase to fingertip tightness.
I placed the jars in my canner, ensuring they were completely covered with water. I brought the water to a boil and processed the quart jars for 45 minutes in the boiling water bath (pints would process for 35 minutes). After processing, I removed the hot jars, set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool...
And to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar! Yay for tomatoes! One of the most versatile of all the canned foods I put up each year... can't wait for more tomatoes to ripen in my garden... and I'm thinking a trip to the farmers market might be in order for even more tomatoes!
Friday, July 13, 2012
Where I come from, some days we pick vegetables from the garden and get enough for a "run" and sometimes for a "mess."
Mr. G asked me once, "Exactly how much is a mess?" (he's a left-brain, analytical thinker and needed to know)
My answer, "Enough."
"Enough for what?"
A "mess" is enough of whatever vegetable you have... to serve for a meal... and have enough for everyone who is there to eat... so a "mess" can vary greatly... a "mess" for just Mr. G and me is much less than a "mess" for a family of 6... it took awhile to explain it to him, but I think he finally got it.
Recently I picked green beans from our little garden on the Ridge... I got more than a "mess" but not really enough for a "run" of pressure canned green beans (that would be a canner full, in this case 7 quarts of canned green beans is a run)... what to do?
I decided to make a few jars of Dilly Beans... a tasty, pickled green bean recipe...
Here's what I did...
I washed and sterilized my jars and lids by boiling them in water and leaving the water simmering while I prepared the ingredients.
In my large, stainless steel saucepan, I combined...
3 Tbsp. canning and pickling salt
3 cups white vinegar
and 3 cups water
I brought the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt.
I added about 4-1/2 pounds of green beans
and 3 small red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips... (at least that's what the recipe called for... I didn't have any red bell peppers but had a LOT of sweet banana peppers, I used banana peppers instead)
to the liquid mixture and returned it to a boil, then removed it from the heat.
(the recipe called for 2-1/4 pounds green beans and 2-1/4 pounds yellow wax beans, I didn't have wax beans so I used all green beans)
In each of my hot pint jars I placed...
1 sprig of fresh dill (or two, depending on the size of the sprig)
1 clove of garlic (or two, some of my garlic cloves were really small)
*Note: if fresh dill is not available, use 1/2 tsp. dill seeds per jar.
Next I filled my jars with the green beans (strung, trimmed and cut into jar-length pieces), trying to get them in vertically so they would look all pretty in the jars.
I ladled hot pickling liquid into the jars, covering the beans and peppers and leaving a half inch headspace. I removed any air bubbles and adjusted the liquid as needed.
Then I wiped the rims of the jars with a damp cloth.
And tightened my lids on to fingertip tightness.
I placed the jars in my canner, ensuring they were completely covered with water. I brought the water to a boil and processed them for 10 minutes. After processing, I removed the jars from the canner and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar!
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving says... These delicious and zesty pickles can be used in salads, on relish trays, or as garnishes... mix a little salad oil with the brine after opening for a flavorful vinaigrette dressing.
For a printable copy of this recipe click here.