canning

Filling the Pantry

Cool evenings and crisp mornings…there are hints of fall colors starting.  The change of seasons is becoming more evident with each passing day.

We’ve been working in the garden to clean out summer crops passed their prime while planting crops for over-wintering.  Crops in the works include: lettuces, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, scallions, kales, collards, and even crazy things like cauliflower (may be too late but worth a try).

In the meantime, the last summer harvests have been processed in order to savor the tastes later on.  It is a bit of work, but there is a feeling of satisfaction when the pantry gets full.

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The results of a few weeks of canning.

Soon, I’ll get some beets and garlic pickled and restock our supply of hot pepper jelly.

What are you filling your pantry with?  Do you have a favorite canning recipe?

Rainy weekend tasks

The weather is the top talk of the town these days…from extremely dry to record breaking rains…it has been a season of extremes, making many gardening tasks rather difficult to even consider.

For the past rainy weekend, social activities were cancelled due to rain and the to-do list was refocused to indoor activities. I posted some time ago a recipe for canning sweet pepper relish. A customer and friend supplied me with this recipe, and with bell and hot peppers still producing, Saturday was a perfect day for revisiting this relish.

Peppers

Peppers

With every available color bell pepper and a few hot ones for good measure, this relish makes a colorful and fun alternative to your run-of-the-mill pickle relish common to the backyard hot dog. Easy to make, this recipe is definitely a great rainy day canning project to tackle.

Have a peck of peppers you don’t know what to do with? Consider making this relish.

Do you have a favorite bell pepper canning recipe to share?

Hot Pepper Jelly

What to do on a rainy, dreary day?

Why, some canning, of course!

It was a good weekend to get in the kitchen and start preserving some of the remaining summer fruits. Saturday was a day for making hot pepper jelly. Today was devoted to pickling pepperocini peppers. Still in waiting are oodles more jalapeños (more jelly and some pickling), more pepperocinis, some Hungarian hot waxes (thinking of drying these), serranos and habaneros that I will probably dry, too.

Prepping peppers for jelly

Prepping peppers for jelly

Lesson learned...I wear gloves

Lesson learned…I wear gloves

Stirring in the pectin

Stirring in the pectin

The recipe calls for the option of adding food coloring, but the peppers confer a natural, lovely green color to the jelly. Food coloring? Pshaw. Au natural is nicer.

What’s your favorite way to preserve hot peppers?

What did you do last night?

Last night, I took on the adventure of pickling some beets, thinking that it all seemed pretty easy and straightforward…shouldn’t take too long (cursed).

The process begins with preparing the beets:

A mess of beets

A mess of beets

Boiling beets

Boiling beets

A good scrubbing under some cold water. What I neglected to read was that these guys had to be boiled for 20-40 minutes…ok. I’ve time. So, let’s boil them.

Meanwhile, I made my pickling liquid. I had to have onions in the mix.

Pickling liquid

Pickling liquid

Once the beets were soft, I drained them and rinsed them under cold, running water per Ball’s Book of Canning’s instructions…and “slipped the skins”…which I hadn’t done before, but after boiling beets, just running your fingers over the exterior beet causes the skins to “slip” right off. Very easy! Then I sliced instead of quartered.

Ready to pickle!!

Ready to pickle!!

Such pretty colors! Golden, Red Ace, Merlin and Chioggia beets.

The sliced beets got added to the pickling liquid and brought to a boil. Then hot jars were packed with beets and liquid (some got whole cloves per another recipe) then processed.

After processing, the jars were allowed to cool. Here’s the line up:

Good morning pickled beets!

Good morning pickled beets!

So, my hour and a half long project really was more like 3 1/2 to 4 hours long. Such is how it goes when I think something will be “easy.” Honestly, though, it WAS easy and fun….and delicious (I sampled a few pieces while packing the jars)….I just need to be sure to read the sidebars to recipes for better time estimations! 🙂