Archive for the 'Preserving' Category

Pumpkin Butter

Friday, October 9th, 2009

1- 2 lb pie pumpkin

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

3/4 cup maple syrup

Cut the pumpkin in half and dig out the seeds and pulp.  (Don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting!)
You can process the pumpkin any way you like. If you peel the pumpkin, dice the flesh and cook it in about 1 1/2 cups of water, you can put it in the food processor to finish off. Personally, I find peeling and dicing pumpkin quite tedious.   I steam the pumpkin in a roaster, scoop out the insides and process them through my chinois sieve.

Place pureed pumpkin in a saucepan with the remaining ingredients.  Cook over very low heat for an hour or until thick.  It will take less time to cook if you process the pumpkin the way I do.   This can be frozen or processed in jars.

Versatile Jelly Recipe - Natural Pectin

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

This is a fun little recipe.  I have been playing around with it a great deal this week.  It works as a great base for so many different kinds of jelly, it is truly amazing.

To Begin: Put the following ingredients into a six quart (non-reactive) saucepan.

4 pounds tart apples cut into quarters

3 cups water

3 cups white vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon peel

Now this is the fun part!  Add any of the following combination of ingredients or make up your own.

Jalapeno Jelly  -   8 chopped jalapenos,  1 chopped  sweet green pepper

Habanero  Jelly -  4 chopped habanero  peppers,  1 large chopped sweet red pepper

Mint Jelly -          1 1/2 cup freshly chopped mint leaves

Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Mash with a potato masher until it looks like lumpy applesauce.

Strain mash through a mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth.  I like to do this in the evening and let it sit overnight.  If the mixture is thick add a little water.  You will want at least four cups of liquid but I usually end up with more.   The key is to really mash the apples
In the morning, measure the juice and put into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. For every cup of liquid add  7/8 cup of raw or turbinado sugar.   (Yes,  I know that is a lot of sugar but it is jelly, after all.)

Bring this mixture to a boil while stirring to dissolve sugar.  Now simmer the mixture until it reaches soft ball stage on a candy thermometer.   You should see a bit of foam forming as the mixture reaches 225 degrees.  Don’t worry that is just the natural pectin of the fruit.    Test the thickness of the mixture and when it is ready process the jelly.

Grandma Ghilain’s Chili Sauce

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

This is a recipe which has been handed down in my husband’s family.

1 peck of tomatoes

2 cups ground onions

1 cup bell peppers

2 cups brown sugar

3 cups apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup salt

1 teaspoon cayenne flakes ( I use a bit of freshly chopped)

3 teaspoons ground ginger ( I use fresh)

3 teaspoons  cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

Make a small herb bag out of cheese cloth in which to place the herbs. This will be tossed in with the other ingredients and removed before processing.  Stem and quarter the tomatoes.   Combine all of the ingredients and boil in a heavy stainless steel pan until the mixture has reduced by half.   Remove herb bag and  ladle sauce into sterilized pint jars.  Process with hot water bath method for 10 minutes.

Homemade Hot Sauce

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

This is my attempt to replicate a bottle of hot sauce my brother brought back from New Orleans.  It is a weak imitation as I have no wooden barrels in which to age the stuff but it is fairly good.

1 pound cayenne peppers (I used mix of cayenne and jalepeno), chopped

1 head  of garlic, minced

2 cups of vinegar

2 teaspoons sea salt

Mix the ingredients together and simmer in a stainless steel sauce pan for 5 minutes.  Put this mixture in a blender or through a chinois sieve. I really prefer using the sieve; it seems to do a better job of grinding the garlic and peppers together.

Bottle this in clean bottles and store in fridge.  I make a lot so I process it in jelly jars in a hot water bath.  You can always pour it into a hot sauce bottle for serving later.  Let the sauce sit for at least two weeks (bare minimum) before using.

Preserving the Harvest

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

When many people think of preserving, they think of traditional items such as jams, jellies and tomato sauce  When you are gardening on a smaller scale or purchasing  from local farmers, you don’t always have the quantities of  food necessary for this type of food preservation.  This doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea altogether.   If  you only have a small harvest ;  find a recipe you like,  make a large batch and preserve what you don’t eat.  If nothing else strikes your fancy, you can make vegetable stock to be used in recipes at a later date.  This practice is useful even when you do have a large harvest.. I prefer spending my time preparing a large batch of soup to be frozen or canned, rather than  chopping, blanching and freezing ingredients to be used at a later date. It seems much more efficient time management to me.  For  freezing meals, I use re-usable plastic freezer containers.  They stack nicely in my small  freezer and are great to have around for lunches.  The half-pint size holds just the right  amount of pesto for a meal.    I also have a canner and a small pressure cooker which I  use to put away pints of soup and broth.   I feel good knowing I have healthy , locally-grown convenience foods put by.   They have saved me from making an unhealthy fast food pit stop many times.

Independence Days Update

Monday, December 15th, 2008
Time for a much overdue update…
1 Plant something- I actually did this week, I re-potted an aloe plant into a bigger pot and my son’s cactus which we haven’t managed to kill yet.
2. Harvest something- Maybe next year I will get my indoor garden to work but the tomatoes I brought in died after they produced the last tomatoes about three weeks ago.   Back to the drawing board…
3. Preserve something- I don’t think this really counts as preserving but I made some beverage syrups out of limes and lemons. My husband really likes these, and I made them as a holiday gift for him. I froze some leftover soups, too.
4. Store something- I stored away this month’s buying club order  The focus this month was on Fair Trade items :  25 pound of fair-trade, organic sugar, 10 pounds of fair-trade coffee and a pound of fair-trade Irish Breakfast Tea.   I keep my beverage teas in tins on a shelf in my kitchen so part of the tea was stored as is and part I mixed with cloves, orange peel and cinnamon to make my favorite holiday tea.
I also stored away a large batch of homemade cocoa mix made from fair-trade cocoa and fair-trade powdered sugar.
5. Manage reserves- I have been very happy to have all of the foods frozen in the freezer.  They have saved us from going out to eat a few times.   I am trying to be more diligent about planning meals based on what we have around the house.
6. Cook something new-  I tried out a few slow-cooker recipes this week.
7. Prep something- Most of our energy around here has gone to working on handmade gifts for the holiday. We did get the fireplace mortar work done and go get a load of firewood from our local supplier.  The result is a beautiful rip-roaring fire on could end up being a very cold evening.
8. Reduce waste- The girls made “Ugly Dolls”  out of old fabric and recycled items to give to their friends as gifts. I have been using old wool sweaters from Goodwill as a base for some of my needle felted playscapes.   We have also been sewing gift bags out of recycled fabric such as top sheets and other stuff we have kicking around the house.   We are making shopping bags as holiday gifts for relatives who don’t necessarily use them now.
9. Learn a new skill- I learned to crochet this week.  I had never crocheted anything much beyond a really long chain.  I crocheted a garland for our real tree and two snowflakes.
10. Work on Community food security-  Well I can’t say that there was any sort of focus on food, but I did get our holiday tree and firewood from local suppliers.  We have been working very hard on creating community amongst our members of our homeschool group.  We hosted the December potluck at our house and are starting to host a craft circle every Friday.  This has been a lot of fun because we are passing along skills to young people while learning at the same time.

Gearing Up For Pioneer Days

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

How did you spend your Saturday afternoon?

<meta content=" 2.4 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /><style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style>Having committed myself to Pioneer Week only yesterday, the children and I spent some time brainstorming, today.</p> <p>Over at Crunchy Chicken, there were <a href="">some suggestions for activities.</a></p> <p>We came up with some fun ideas too so I am looking forward to the week!</p> <p>I admit to having already done a bit of prep work today as far as food goes as well.</p> <p>My husband is on a business trip this week which makes this a little more of a challenge for me so I wanted to get a head start.</p> <p>We bought most of the groceries for the week to cut down on the need for transportation. We also made one last trip to the orchard and picked apples for more sauce and fritters which sounded like a good way to start the week.</p> <p>I plan on keeping a thorough journal of our week here on the blog. </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="" title="View all posts in Natural Home" rel="category tag">Natural Home</a>, <a href="" title="View all posts in Preserving" rel="category tag">Preserving</a> | <a href="" title="Comment on Gearing Up For Pioneer Days">1 Comment »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-181"><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to November Challenges">November Challenges</a></h3> <small>Sunday, November 2nd, 2008</small> <div class="entry"> <p><center><a href=""> <img border="0" src="" /></a></center><br /> <center><a href=""> <img border="0" src="" /></a></center></p> <p>There seem to be quite a few challenges beginning this month.  I have decided not to over do it but there are a couple I am going to participate in.  I think that Pioneer Week sounds like good fun so we are going to give it a whirl around here.  I don’t know that my children will feel the same but they usually tolerate my whims fairly well.  Perhaps we will read some Little House on the Prairie this week to put them in the mood.I also think that the Make, Do and Mend challenge sounds worthwhile so those are the two I will commit to at this point.</p> <p>On other fronts, I am appreciative of the extra hour tonight  as I am still busily canning away.  Wednesday was the last day of the Farmer’s Markets so I came across some good deals.    I did 8 1/2 quarts of veggie pasta sauce and ten pints of diced tomatoes today.</p> <p>I am off to try to catch up on some of my favorite blogs while my sauce processess… </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="" title="View all posts in Preserving" rel="category tag">Preserving</a>, <a href="" title="View all posts in Daily Life" rel="category tag">Daily Life</a> | <a href="" title="Comment on November Challenges">1 Comment »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-179"><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Green Tomato Recipes">Green Tomato Recipes</a></h3> <small>Tuesday, October 28th, 2008</small> <div class="entry"> <p>I will put these recipes up for all of you who are bringing in the last of your tomatoes to save them from freezing.   Green Tomato Pie and Fried Green Tomatoes are the more traditional method of using them up but here are a couple of others that I have found that we enjoy.<br /> <strong>Green Tomato Relish</strong></p> <blockquote><p>4 cups finely chopped onions</p> <p>4 cups finely chopped green cabbage</p> <p>4 cups finely chopped green tomatoes</p> <p>4 cups finely chopped sweet peppers (combination of red and green)</p> <p>1/2 cup salt</p> <p>6 cups sugar</p> <p>4 cups vinegar</p> <p>2 cups water</p> <p>2 tablespoons celery seed</p> <p>1 teaspoon curry powder</p> </blockquote> <p>Put onions, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers and salt in a glass dish. Cover and let stand overnight.</p> <p>The next day combine the sugar, vinegar, celery seed and curry powder in a large kettle.  Add the drained vegetables.   Simmer for 20 minutes.  Pack the mixture in jelly jars or pint jars and process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes.</p> <p><strong> Green Tomato Ketchup</strong></p> <blockquote><p>6 pounds green tomatoes</p> <p>3 pounds onions</p> <p>2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper</p> <p>2  Tablespoons dry mustard powder</p> <p>1 teaspoon ground cloves (alternately you can bundle whole cloves in cheesecloth)<br /> 2 cups vinegar</p> <p>1 cup honey</p> </blockquote> <p>Chop green tomatoes and onions .   Put the chopped vegetables in a large kettle with the vinegar and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and put mixture through a food mill. Return to the kettle, add mustard powder, pepper and cloves and cook for about 3 and 1/2 hours longer.  Add honey, at this point you may want to  blend the mixture for a smoother consistency.  I have a stick blender which works well for this.  Then pour the ketchup into sterilized pint jars or jelly jars. Place lids and rings on jars then process in a boiling canner for five minutes.</p> <blockquote /> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="" title="View all posts in Gardening" rel="category tag">Gardening</a>, <a href="" title="View all posts in Recipes" rel="category tag">Recipes</a>, <a href="" title="View all posts in Preserving" rel="category tag">Preserving</a> | <a href="" title="Comment on Green Tomato Recipes">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-178"><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to End of the Season">End of the Season</a></h3> <small>Monday, October 27th, 2008</small> <div class="entry"> <p>I suppose as we had snow this evening I must grudgingly admit that the growing season has come to a close.   We managed to get out and get somethings done before the day ended.   I have about a bushel and a half of apples we picked from my sister’s trees today.  I also picked a bunch of herbs  Some of the herbs I will dry, some I will put in some herb butter.</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Herb Butter</strong></p> <p>2 pounds of butter  softened</p> <p>garlic</p> <p>basil</p> <p>rosemary</p> <p>The herbs should be used to suit your own tastes.   I usually start with 8 cloves of pressed garlic but honestly I don’t measure the herbs.  I just pick them, wash them in the salad spinner, and chop them.   Then I stir the herbs into the butter. Pack it into small containers and then pop the containers in the freezer.  I use this butter to season rice, grits and other side dishes over the winter.</p></blockquote> <p>I also wanted to cover my tomatoes tonight but the wind is just ridiculous.  I will have to hope that all the leaves that got caught in them today will protect them a bit.   Tomorrow I will be picking green tomatoes.  Its a good thing I live with a Southern boy. </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="" title="View all posts in Recipes" rel="category tag">Recipes</a>, <a href="" title="View all posts in Preserving" rel="category tag">Preserving</a> | <a href="" title="Comment on End of the Season">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="navigation"> <div class="alignleft"><a href="">« Previous Entries</a></div> <div class="alignright"></div> </div> </div> <div id="sidebar"> <ul> <li> <form method="get" id="searchform" action=""> <div><input type="text" value="" name="s" id="s" /> <input type="submit" id="searchsubmit" value="Search" /> </div> </form> </li> <!-- Author information is disabled per default. 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