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Monday, August 5, 2013

More canning in August

Woke up this morning, and it was gently raining again. Which is great, means I didn't need to water in the seeds I planted yesterday, hehe.

Also meant it was a cleaning day. Gagh, I hate vacuuming. But I always think the house looks so much better with clean floors. It sometimes feels impossible to keep up with four cats worth of shedding, lol. But the mantel is looking proper again now that I re-arranged stuff to accomidate Gluggs tank. Sooner or later I'll figure out how I want to hang pics above the mantel instead.
Which reminds me, I still need to sort back through wedding pics so I can choose what I want printed out.

Also meant another canning day. Yep, the 10 pounds of tomatoes I picked up yesterday. This time I was smart and sanitized 6 half pint jars. And 10 pounds of tomatoes fits 7 pint and a half, 6 half pint jars perfect. So now I have 14 big jars and 11 little jars of tomatoes for the pantry, yay! Not bad for a 12 dollar investment in 20 pounds of tomatoes. Especially considering how far, or rather not, 12 dollars gets ya in tomato product from the store. Just wish it had been tomatoes from my own garden, sigh. Well, maybe next year I will do better with that. Sooner or later I have to be able to get the garden going good, right?

Good day Saturday!

We had a lovely dinner out last night with the mum in law and the boys. I had shrimp and scallops, they were wonderful! So was the clam chowder :)
Started out the day by setting up a crockpot of pork stew. Lots of pork, homemade pork stock, carrots, potatoes, and celery, and thyme, winter savory, bay leaf, marjoram, oregano, and parsley. I tried doing the coating the meat in flour before browning to help thicken the stew, it didn't help much. So I did a roux fix, that didn't satisfy me either. So I added in some powdered potato, and that did the job right fine. 
But today was a wandering around day. Went back to Goodwill and picked up more seed- it's good stuff and the price can't be beat. And now I have lots of extra to put into the seed exchange pile. And I picked up a rather nice juicer- we are so going to need that when the apples and pears come into season, and now I can try my hand at making homemade V-8. It was brand new in the box!
Hit up the local farmstand once again. This time I picked up a quart of grape tomatoes- those are on the dehydrator right now. And a quart of yellow beans- those are going to get packed up as spicy pickled beans. I have about the same amount of green beans I picked from our garden, those are going to become another batch of dilly beans. I also picked up a peck of lovely peaches- those are going to get canned up as peach preserves. And a cantaloupe- that's just gonna be some good fresh eating, lol, and I'll probably save the seeds. I realized I needed more canning jars, and on my way back from the city I was going to hit our local hardware store since they are supposed to have them on sale- totally forgot that the peach glad festival is going on and got all diverted all the way around the town. So I picked up some 12 oz jars from Hardings. Then I ran out to the fruit exchange to see what they had going on- and I picked up a couple of lovely purple sweet peppers- gonna save the seed, and a large handful of huge banana peppers- gonna save the seed and those are going to get canned up.
Stopped at the dollar general on the way back- they had pint and quart canning jars for a really great price- so I picked up a pair of each carton, I think I might actually be set up for when the apples and pears come ripe. We shall see if that still holds true after tomorrows canning.
The tomatoes got wiped, labeled, and put into the pantry. Cept for one small jar, it didn't seal right. So I screwed a ring onto it and tossed it into the fridge to use in something this week.
Got back out to the peach glad fest- and I'm pleased I did. I took one of the boys with me and lol, he got a lesson in how to be patient while a girl shops. Well, while in one of the shops I spotted an AWESOME vintage stoneware chicken roaster- in the shape of a chicken of course! You bet your booties I will be roasting chickens in it. They had tons of cookbooks at that shop too, so I will have to go back sometime and check them out.

Ok, so, happy Monday. I didn't type and post yesterday because I was just too busy canning stuff all day.
Made the spicy beans from the yellow beans I picked up. There is now 3 12 oz jars of them on the table. Making up the brine, whew! It was a tear jerker.

Spicy beans: made 3 12 oz jars with enough brine leftover for at least 1 more jar
1 1/2 c water
2 c white vinegar
1 T pickling salt
1 t mustard seed
1 t dill weed
1/2 t coriander seed
couple bay leaves
2 t black pepper corns
Bring this to a boil, remove from heat, and add in to steep, covered, cuz it stinks all hot!
1 chilie, split. I used a hot fingerling this time
6 cloves garlic, smashed
When it's canning time, stuff the jars as much as possible, bring the brine back up to boil, and proceed to pour (leaving the solids in the pan), wipe, lid. Process 10 minutes

At the same time, I made 3 12 oz jars of dilly beans from the green beans I picked in my garden.

Dilly beans: made 3 12 oz jars with enough brine leftover for a couple more jars
2/12 c white vinegar
2 1/2 c water
1/4 c pickling salt
Bring up to a boil for packing
Add to each jar
1 teaspoon dill seed
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
I used a couple sprigs and flowers of fresh dill for pretty too
When it's canning time, stuff the jars as much as possible, add brine, wipe, lid... Process 10 minutes.

I did the spicy and dilly beans at the same time, using my regular canner. I had a lot of brine left over from both, so I poured them off into a quart jar- figured it would be good for making spicy fridge pickles.

So on to pickled pepper rings with those lovely 8 large banana peppers I picked up. Made 4 pints
2 c water
2 c white vinegar
1/2 t turmeric
Bring up to a boil for packing
Into each jar went
1/2 t celery seed
1 t mustard seed
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 of a fingerling pepper for a smidge of added zip
1 t pickling salt
Well, filled 3 jars with this brine, then ran out of brine, shit. Good thing I still had that hot brine set aside, that filled the 4th jar. So I guess that jar will be extra spicy rings, lol. But next time I will use 3 cups each of water and vinegar to make sure I have enough for all 4 pints. And ya never can tell, maybe the extra spicy ones will need repeating. Fill, wipe, lid... Process 10 minutes.

It should be noted for all three of these that air bubbles do indeed need to be tapped or squished out prior to putting the lids on.

On to making some sweets. I intended to make jams, but it does not look like they set well, so I might have made syrups instead, oops. I still have to wait another day to see if they have delayed setting, it can take up to 48 hours! And yep, one can open the whole batch up and re-set, but that means using new lids, and I just don't feel like wasting the lids just because the stuff isn't firm enough. This was also the first time I tried using liquid pectin, and I'm not sure if that had anything to do with anything or not.

Spicy peach jam: Made 6 12 oz and 5 8 oz jars
I picked up a basket of lovely peaches, by the time they were all skinned and chunked up, it yielded 10 cups- so I had to do two separate pots of jam. Why not just double? Because you aren't supposed to, doing so increases your jam not setting significantly.
5 cups chopped peaches
3 cups sugar
1 lemon- zest it and juice it
1/8 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 packet liquid pectin
First you need to get the skins off the peaches- skins are chewy. So blanch and shock them just like you would tomatoes and the skins come off right fine. Then using a paring knife, quarter cut them, cutting off any bad or bruised spots. I didn't bother taking off the segments and chopping them, I just crushed the segments off with my hands and into the measuring cup.
Bring the peaches up to a boil, add the spices and lemon, then drop to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes. Puree it with a blender, immersion blender, what ya got on hand to make it puree. Then back into the pot and bring up to a boil with the pectin, and boil 5 minutes. I think this is where I screwed up, I think perhaps I didn't let it boil quite long enough. Pour, wipe, lid, and process 10 minutes- I think this too might have effected the setting, since processing too long can result in underset. 

And we ended up not eating that lovely cantaloupe for dessert Sat night, so I figured screw it, we will try making that into jam too.

Cantaloupe jam: Made 3 pints, 4 1/2 pints
1 big cantaloupe- enough to yield 4 cups pulp
2 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 T vanilla
1/2 t salt
1/4 c lemon juice
1 box pink pectin
Bring the pulp up to a simmer with the vanilla, salt, and lemon juice. Take some of your sugar, and mix it with the pectin to prevent the pectin from clumping, and add to the melon. Bring it up to a boil, add in the rest of the sugar, and boil for 1 minute. Then pour, wipe, lid, and process 5 minutes.

So yeah, neither of the jams set, but we will find out for sure tomorrow evening if that is true or not. It looks like the peach might possibly solid up enough to be a thin spread, the melon just looks like syrup. But if that's the case, I'll just label it as such. Both of them tasted great though, so that's good :)

So here's all the canning, with the rings already off for drying and setting. Dilly beans, spicy beans, pepper rings, spiced peach jam, and cantaloupe jam.

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