The Numbers (updated)

131 148 half pint jars

35 41 pint jars

30 pint and a half jars

40 quart jars

256 279 total jars

It was a lot of work to fill 256 279 jars, but I spread it out over the whole summer.  I started in April when the rhubarb is fresh and juicy, making “Old Recipe” Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Chutney.

Old Recipe Rhubarb Jam

Old Recipe Rhubarb Jam          photo by vsimon

Today I put the last of my fermented dill pickles into jars from the crock.

In between I have put up 91 jars of jams and jellies, 107 130 jars of pickles, 9 jars of relish, 40 jars of salsa/sauce, and even 9 jars of ketchup.  

We have packed away everything our garden could produce, from fresh rhubarb, red beets, green beans, red currents, lots of ground cherries, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and cucumbers.  

Three types of cucumbers that were new to me this year.   The best being the “Pearl” cucumbers.   Just so, so where the “Lemon” cucumbers (taste like regular cucumbers), and not to be planted again where the extremely small “Mexican Gherkins”.  More on the cucumbers later.

gherkins

Mexican Gherkins                         photo by vsimon

And there where new things to try this year.  For the first time I made salsa.  Not the crisp, freshly chopped refrigerated type, but the cooked and then canned type.   Also new this year was a shot at making ketchup.  Ketchup without all the sugar or high fructose corn syrup found in store bought ketchup.

After much searching I was able to locate (from my sister Betty) the recipe my mother used to make the most wonderful, sweet pickle relish.  I have a niece who used to request this yearly as a Christmas gift from my mother.  

The biggest “new” thing I tried this year was to pickle green beans.  We now have a total of 18 pints of pickled green beans.   Three or four varieties of green beans where used along with a variety of different spices trying to find the best combination. 

Here is a partial list of the spices used: dill,  fennel,  caraway,  garlic,  black pepper corns,  coriander,  turmeric,  and red pepper flakes.  

Until we sample all the varieties, I will not know which of these spice combinations worked best.  Some will be repeated next year and some most likely will not.

.Preserve Shelves

Our winter stockpile                            photo by vsimon

So here are the shelving units in our basement stocked with all the great foods to be enjoyed through coming months.  (Notice the water bath canner and the dehydrator on the lower right hand shelf.)

So, if after reading this you start to question Linda’s writing style, please note that this post is penned by me, Vincent. 

And it hasn’t quite ended yet as I still have a grocery bag full of sweet and hot peppers to put up.   Any suggestions?   Have a great pickled peppers recipe?  Or maybe an “all peppers” salsa?   Let me know.

Update 10-8-2010 Today I pickled my peppers. Three different recipes, 23 jars. Short Brine Peppers, Pickled Sweet Peppers, and Marinated Sweet Peppers. All from “The Joy Of Pickling“. We now have many gifts for the holidays. Hope everyone loves pickles, jams, and salsas.

Preserved and Pickled Presents

pickles (5)

beet, cauliflower, and cucumber pickles photo by vsimon

We are making a list and checking it twice. Sorting through our colorful pickle and jam selection, choosing just the right kind for each recipient. Wouldn’t you like to get some summer in a jar?

These gifts took some forethought. We pickled and preserved this summer. But the time spent then is paying BIG dividends now.

We had an overabundance of produce in our garden. We ate it, gave to the local food pantry, froze, dried, and canned some. This was the first time Vince made pickles and jams using a water bath canner. He became a canning maniac. 🙂

Many nights after dinner, 6-12 jars of new pickles would appear. All of the pickle recipes were from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.

These are mighty tasty pickles that brighten up winter meals with loads of flavor and color.

Beets were wonderfully flavored with cinnamon, allspice berries, whole cloves, brown sugar and cider vinegar.

Turmeric makes the Indian style cauliflower and cucumber spears sunny yellow. They are also highly spiced with garlic, cumin seeds, fresh ginger, a bit of very hot carrot pepper, distilled vinegar, and salt. These are my favorite.

Whole red cherry peppers were pickled with a garlic clove, bay leaf, several whole peppercorns, distilled vinegar, and salt. They are so pretty with the green stems intact.

Dills, dills, dills. We have many.

These are pretty too. One recipe of sliced cucumbers has a sliver of hot carrot pepper, a chunk of red cherry pepper, whole dill seed heads, and yellow mustard seeds.

Another recipe of chunked cucumbers has dill heads, grape leaves, garlic, another sliver of carrot pepper, black peppercorns, distilled vinegar, and salt.

Jams

plum-jam (3)

plum jam photo by vsimon

Vince made plum, ground cherry with orange, tomato, tomatillo, and arctic kiwi jams. Our homemade jams are made with love and sugar. We left the high fructose corn syrup out, unlike most store bought kinds.

The plum and ground cherry jams are winners!! These are perfect slathered on wonder buns. We need to make more next year.

grnd-cherry-jam (6)

ground cherry jam with orange photo by vsimon

One orange tomato jam used pineapple tomatoes flavored with ginger. Another jam used yellow peach tomatoes flavored with lemon.

Both of these jams are good on toast. And also make excellent pan sauces for pork or chicken. Just cook the meat, then melt a bit of jam in the pan. Scrape up the browned bits and you have an instant sweet and tangy sauce.

Great gifts, don’t you think? Plan ahead and next year you may be able to share your riches too.

Note to self, buy more jars.

J is for Jam

Everyone’s first thought is to spread jam on toast. And many gluten free breads certainly benefit from it. But there are other fun ways to use jam.

  • As a filling between cake layers.
  • Warm it and serve as a sauce over ice cream.
  • Serve with soft cheeses and crunchy rice crackers.
  • As a filling for crepes. See Montina crepe and jam recipes below.
  • Make a pan sauce for chicken or pork chops. Cook the meat as you like and remove from the pan. Add a few tablespoons of jam to the drippings. You can cut the sweetness with a bit of vinegar, lemon juice and /or mustard. Pineapple jam is good with chicken, apricot is good with pork. Or use your favorite flavor.

Last year my husband made raspberry jam for the first time. We always freeze berries, but that alone could not keep up with the huge harvest. So to get out of a jam, he made some! By late summer, we had a shelf full of wonderful jewel tone Christmas gifts.

raspberry-jam-jars photo by rusty grass

Making jam is really very easy. Homemade jam is just fruit and sugar, lots of sugar. Even recipes that claim they are low sugar have a lot. Some fruits also need pectin so they will thicken to jammy goodness. You can buy that at the grocery store. Be sure to follow their directions exactly.

What is the difference between jelly and jam?                                             Jelly is made from fruit juice and sweetener. Jam is made from crushed fruit and sweetener. Jam is chunkier and may contain seeds.

What is the difference between store bought and home made?                 Store bought jellies and jams often have high fructose corn syrup and may have preservatives. Recently, mercury was found in high fructose corn syrup and some of the products made with it.

I am not a fan of many of the jellies and jams offered in the supermarket. When you make your own, you will see how much sugar is added. A lot, did I mention that before? But at least it is not contaminated.

Vince’s Raspberry Jam

Adapted from a recipe on www.recipezaar.com posted by Pam in B.C. We like the combination of sweet and heat, so Vince added some cayenne.

Yield: 6 half pint jars. I think the diamond pattern jars are special.

4 cups mashed red raspberries, start with about 6 cups whole berries

4 cups sugar

½ teaspoon cayenne, optional

Sterilize jars, lids and rings in boiling water. Or a dishwasher if it has a sterilize cycle.

Put berries in a very large, heavy bottomed pot. Bring to full boil, the mixture will easily double in volume. Boil for 2 minutes.

Add sugar, stir constantly. Boil for 6 minutes.

Remove from heat. Be careful, the hot jam is like lava. Fill two jars with jam. Add the cayenne to the rest of the batch if desired. Fill 4 more jars. This way you get some slightly hot jam and some not.

Screw on lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 5 minutes.

IMG_0290 

crepe-pan-and-Montina-blend-crepe photo by vsimon

Montina Crepes

Adapted from Joy of Cooking, 1997 edition

Yield: about 8 six-inch crepes

½ cup Montina  flour blend, other blends work well too

½ cup milk

¼ cup lukewarm water

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons canola or walnut oil

2 teaspoons sugar

Using a whisk, mix it up in container with a pour spout. Or use a blender and whirl for about a minute. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.

The old wheat recipes needed this time to give the gluten time to relax. We need the time to allow the fiber in the Montina flour to soak up the liquid. The batter will be thicker and smoother after the resting time.

You can test to see if your pan is hot enough with a droplet of water. If it dances on the surface, it is hot enough. I like to use a 7” steel crepe pan. But any shallow pan will do.

Give the batter a good stir. Oil, or melt a bit of butter in the hot pan. Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter in the pan. More is not better, you want a thin coating. Lift the pan off the heat and swirl it, so the batter encircles the pan. Cook for just a few minutes. The underside will brown and the top will set. Flip the crepe over and cook for about another minute. Remove this crepe to a plate while making the rest.

To serve, spread with jam and fold into quarters. You can garnish with a bit of powdered sugar if you like.

IMG_0300

Montina-blend-gluten-free-crepes-with-raspberry-jam photo by vsimon

Crepes can be cooled and stored for future use. Layer between sheets of wax paper and store in the fridge for up to a week. Or in the freezer for longer storage.

What is your favorite filling?