Archive for the ‘Preserving’ Category

Adventures in Canning: How to Cure Olives

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Ever since we brought in our line of fermenting crocks, we’ve been absolutely obsessing over curing our own olives.  Why? Because olives are delicious and versatile. They’re great on cheese plates, amazing in cocktails, and SO good on their own as a snack.  Plus, they’re high in antioxidants and vitamin E. Can’t hurt, right? So when olives finally came into season here, we bought ourselves a ton of raw, uncured olives and got to experimenting.

Here’s a little thing about olives: when they’re uncured, they don’t taste good at all. In fact, they taste downright nasty. I think that cured olives had to be born out of desperation, since no one in their right mind would bite into and uncured olive and go, “Oh hey, let’s eat this.”  They’re bitter.  Another thing about olives: green and black olives can come from the same plant.  The green olives are unripe and the black olives are ripe. As you can see, we used green olives in our experiment, and we took a slightly unorthodox approach – we cured the olives like we’ve cured cabbage for sauerkraut in the past.  Put it in a crock packed with salt and seasoning and let it lacto-ferment. It seemed like a logical choice – less labor intensive than brine curing and less potential for chemical burns than lye curing. Ready for the details? Let’s learn how to cure olives.

Stuff You’ll Need

  • A fermenting crock or large, covered food-safe container
  • Sharp knife

Ingredients (this recipe can be multiplied as needed):

  • 5 lbs olives
  • 1 lb salt
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • zest of one orange
  • 5 sprigs rosemary
  • filtered water, as needed
Curing Olives in Brine

Items Shown: Fermenting Crock

Instructions

  1. Prep your olives. Pit them or cut a slit in the side of each to help them absorb the brine. Some recipes even suggest hitting them with a hammer. However you break them up, make sure you drop them right in a container of water or the spot that’s cut will oxidize, as some of ours did in the photo. This isn’t a bad thing flavorwise, but it’s not pretty.
  2. Prep your seasoning. Crush the peppercorns and garlic with a mortar and pestle or the back of a frying pan (put them in a bag first to keep them from scattering all over your kitchen.) Zest your orange in large strips using a peeler. If you’re not into the garlic/orange/rosemary thing, use whatever spices you like. Pickling spices work beautifully. So does lemon zest, thyme, and pink peppercorns. Really any mixture of hearty herbs (read: not basil or mint) works well here.)
  3. Toss your seasonings in with your salt. Get your hands in there and really rub everything together. You’ll have a crazy aromatic salt mixture, and you’ll find yourself very aware of any little cuts, nicks or scrapes on your hands. They’ll seriously burn.
  4. Add some of the salt mixture to the bottom of your crock and begin packing in the olives as tightly as possible. Once you’ve packed in about 1/4 of the olives, sprinkle about 1/4 of the remaining salt mixture. Repeat until all the olives and salt are in the crock.
  5. Pop the stones on top of your olives. Fill the water well seal and leave them alone, in a cool place, for a day. After 24 hours, check to see how much brine they’ve made (by naturally releasing juice.)  If the brine is covering the olives, leave them alone. If not, and it probably won’t be quite there, add filtered water until it covers the olives and the stones by at least a couple inches.
  6. Leave your crock in a cool dark place where it can sit for a couple of months. That’s right, you’re in it for the long haul.  Check the brine level every week to make sure they’re still covered. After about 3 weeks, open the crock, taste the olives (chances are they’ll still be bitter.)  If they’re not to your liking yet, simply check the water level on your olives to keep the fruit and the stones covered, and leave them alone. Check every week or so. Ours have been in the crock about 8 weeks and they’re FINALLY getting good!

  7. Once you’re happy with the way the olives taste, it’s time to transfer them into canning jars. You could store them for up to a year in their brine in a cool dark place. You can also can them in jars with fresh brine (1/4 cup salt to every quart of water.)  If you’re doing that, make sure to leave about an inch of head room in the jars for any gas that may try to escape.  My favorite way to store fresh cured olives is to pack them into large jars and submerge them in hot, fresh olive oil. I use lower quality olive oil for this, heat it, and pour it straight on top of the olives, leaving about an inch of headroom. The olives, which wrinkle slightly during the curing process seem to plump back up, and at the end of the day I also have this amazingly flavored olive oil to use. It’s great in a salad dressing or as a dip for bread. I also love it in my pesto.  Once these olives have cooled, I either store them in a cool, dark place for up to a month or my fridge. Or I give them as gifts.
How to Make Olives

A Jar of Cured Olives!

Well, there you have it. You’ve learned how to cure olives. Like so many things, it’s more time consuming than it is difficult. But the finished product is SO worth it!  Plus, you can actually say you made them yourself. Who makes their own olives, seriously?

How To Make Apple Pie Filling – And How to Can it!

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Have you noticed how good apples are right now? It’s because they’re actually in season. The rest of the year, those fresh apples you’re eating were actually picked ages ago, kept chilled and under-ripe, and gassed to ripeness, which is why you’re more likely to get a mealy, sour or bland apples in the spring or early summer. Since apples are SO crazy good right now, I try to take advantage of the season. I go apple picking or hit up my farmer’s market for the freshest, ripest, most flavorful apples. I buy bushels of them and preserve as many as possible. I make applesauce, reduce apple cider to syrup, apple butter, shred apples in with my sauerkraut  (it’s crazy good), pickle them, preserve them in syrup, make jam, and, most importantly make liter after liter of apple pie filling. Why? Homemade apple pie is amazing, and when you make it with apples at their peak it’s a magical and beyond flavorful experience. It’s worth canning gallons of apple pie filling even if you just make 2 or 3 pies a year. It’s great on vanilla ice cream as a quick dessert, good swirled into yogurt or oatmeal as breakfast, and SO good as an accompaniment on a cheese plate. Brie and apple pie filling on baguette? Pure, unadulterated bliss.

If canning is still a little intimidating, check out our basic canning tutorial – We made really delicious jam and talked you through it step by step.  You can also check out the fantastic Food in Jars blog – SO much good stuff.  Whether you’re a complete canning newbie or an old pro, I think you’re gonna like this recipe – It’s crazy easy, quick, and delicious. Plus, it multiplies and divides well so you can make as much or as little apple pie filling as you want.  Ready to make pie filling? Ready to become obsessed with canning and convert that spare closet into a canning cellar? Let’s go!

Ingredients – Recipe makes 3 quarts – enough for 3 Apple pies!

  • 10 cups peeled and sliced apples
  • 4 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown  sugar
  • 3/4 cup Clear Jel (a cornstarch-derived thickener)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Peel, Core and slice those apples, then toss them in half the lemon juice and water to keep them from browning.
  2. Prepare 3 1-liter jars or 6 1/2 liter jars by sterilizing them.
  3. In a large pot, combine the apple juice and the rest of the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer.
  4. While it heats, whisk the Clear Jel, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt together.
  5. When the juice mix is simmering, gradually stream the sugar mixture (step 4) into the pot, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  6. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
  7. When the mixture thickens, add your apples, tossing to combine.
  8. Fill the jars, leaving about a generous inch of headspace (this filling expands.)
  9. Wipe the rims, apply the lids, and process in boiling water for 25 minutes.
  10. Remove the pot from the heat and let jars sit in water an additional 10 minutes.
  11. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and let cool! Check the seals. If sealed, these keep up t0 6 months in your cabinet, or 3 weeks open in the fridge. Like it’ll last that long. . .

Some tips

  • Whatever you do, don’t use red delicious apples for pie. Them’s eating apples. I have the best luck using a variety of apples in my pie. I use a mix of granny smith, pink lady, braeburn, and golden delicious for a super-appley, complex tasting filling. Yummmm.
  • If you can’t find Clear Jel, don’t use thickener. Just whisk in cornstarch right before making the pie.
  • Wanna peel an apple quickly? This guy has a brilliant idea. Alternately, peeling top to bottom is more efficient than going in circles

    Peeling Apples fast

    There you have it. Apple pie filling that you can make while apples are in season and enjoy all year long.  Or, if you feel like giving the gift of pie (because seriously, everyone likes pie)  Consider wrapping these up with pretty labels and ribbons and giving them as gifts!  They make a great Christmas gift, or a Thanksgiving hostess gift. Plus, if you make it yourself, I hear the calories don’t count!

Simple Sauerkraut Recipe – Just in Time for Oktoberfest!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

So, you know we’ve got these fermenting crocks, and you know we think they’re awesome. You can see them in action in our kimchi and our pickles post. Of course, what good is a truckload of fermentation crocks without a killer sauerkraut recipe. Bonus: If you start your kraut now, you’ll have a fresh batch of sauerkraut for Oktoberfest. Because what’s beer and brats without sauerkraut?

Before we start, let’s break it down: What is sauerkraut and how do you make sauerkraut that tastes awesome? Simply put, sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Now, I know you’re thinking “eeew, fermented food is gross,” but you would be wrong. Other fermented foods that you probably know are: Kimchi, Pickles, Sourdough, Cheese, Coffee, Chocolate, Yogurt, Beer, Wine, Vinegar, and Miso. I’ve yet to meet a single person who doesn’t like at least one of those things. So get ready to be a home-fermenting convert.

Supplies You’ll need:

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 2 heads of cabbage – Ideally organic – sometimes pesticides impede bacterial growth. Great for farmers, terrible for fermenting.
  • 3 tablespoons seas salt

Seriously. That’s it. All that punchy, funky flavor comes from the fermenting process. Here’s how to make sauerkraut in just a few simple steps. It really is a basic sauerkraut recipe.

  1. Shred or finely slice your cabbage. You can see in our photos that we did a coarser shred, but the finer the shred, the quicker to ferment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl (or the crock itself)  toss the salt with the cabbage, kneading the salt into cabbage. Note: If you have cuts on your hands, this will sting. I learned the hard way.
  3. Once the cabbage has been thoroughly massaged and starts releasing liquid, pack it tightly into a crock. Use a plate, the stones, or a kraut pounder to pack it down.
  4. Once all of your cabbage is packed into the crock, pour any liquid remaining in the bowl into the crock.  The crock should have released a more liquid during the packing process and be submerged or close to submerged in liquid.
  5. Put weights on the cabbage.  The stone weights should be submerged in liquid by about an inch. If they’re not, mix a cup of water with a tablespoon of sea salt and pour enough to cover the weights.
  6. Once your weights are submerged and your massaged, salt-scrubbed cabbage (it’s like a veggie spa day) is packed in place and weighted, pop a lid on that crock.
  7. If you’re using a Crock with a water well seal (recommended), fill the water well. If you’re using a pickle pot or storage canister style crock, just pop the lid on. If you’re using an open crock, cover the opening in a couple layers of cheesecloth.***At this point, the hard part is done. Promise***

  8. Move the crock to a cool shady place and leave it alone.
  9. At this point, your only job is checking every few days to make sure the kraut is still submerged. If not, repeat step 5. as needed.
  10. It can take between a month and 6 months for your kraut to ferment. I can’t imagine what 6-month fermented sauerkraut tastes like. Our Sauerkraut recipe was pretty perfect after 1 month.
  11. Once you hit about 4 weeks, start tasting your sauerkraut every 3 or 4 days. I like mine crisper, so 4 weeks was perfect, but the longer you keep going the softer and more pungent your kraut will become.

A few notes:  Sometimes you’ll see a little scum floating on your brine. Simply skim it off with a slotted spoon. Once your sauerkraut is done, there are a few ways to preserve it. Either pack it into kilner jars and keep in the fridge for up to a year or you can go about actually canning sauerkraut. We added 4 cloves of crushed garlic, a teaspoon of ground pepper and a teaspoon of sugar to one of our cans to experiment with flavoring–truly delightful! Try it out if you want some added flavoring.

To can your sauerkraut, simply pack your kraut with brine into clean, sanitized Kilner jars. Leave 1/2 inch at the top of each jar, making sure brine covers the cabbage completely. Measure your head space from the top of the brine.  Once your jars are packed, put the covers on. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and process the jars of sauerkraut for 25 minutes in boiling water (start marking time when the water comes BACK to a boil after adding the jars.)  Remove from heat, allow jars to cool, check seals, and boom! Shelf stable sauerkraut.

See? That simple.

How to Make Pickles: A Tutorial on How To Pickle Like a Pro!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

make your own fermented pickles


Cucumbers are growing like weeds around here, and our local markets are selling them cheap.  We stocked up on cucumbers just so we could teach you how to pickle them and how to make homemade pickles! We’re nice like that.  This recipe for pickles is an old-fashioned fermented pickle recipe. These delicious pickles take about 10 days to 3 weeks to ferment.  If you start now you’ll be enjoying tangy, crunchy pickles before May! Since they’re the perfect side for burgers at summer barbecues, we suggest making a bunch and canning them so you and your guests can enjoy homemade pickles all summer long. We’ve even put together an awesome DIY Pickle Starter Kit if you want to have everything you need in one place!

Ready? Let’s ferment! It’s more appetizing than it sounds and is the simplest way to learn how to make pickles.

How to can pickles tutorial

Ingredients. – As you’ll see above, it doesn’t take many ingredients to make great pickles. I keep mine pretty simple.  This recipe doubles, triples, or even quadruples nicely.

  • 1 lb of pickling cucumbers, washed
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1/4 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp pickling spice (optional)
  • 1 head dill (optional)

Equipment

Making Pickles from scratch

Once you’ve gathered your equipment, begin by prepping the cucumbers. To do this, make sure they’re still crisp with no soft spots. Scrub them well, then slice off the blossom end of each cucumber, like you see me doing above. If you’re not sure, it’s the end opposite the stem. You can leave the stem, just snip off a tiny bit of that blossom end. It helps the pickles stay crisp.

how I make pickles

Next, throw some of your salt, any spices you’re using, and about half of the garlic in a clean pickle pot or fermenting crock. You’ll notice I’m using one of our storage crocks in this picture – I wanted to see if it was as good for pickling as it is for storage. And, if you’re wondering, it totally worked!

what is in pickling spice? I don't know.

Once that’s taken care of, add in your cucumbers. Literally, cram as many as you can fit  right on in there. You’ll still have room for the brine and stuff. While you’re at it, add the rest of the garlic as well. Also, if you’re adding dill (that’s how to make dill pickles, folks,) add it now. Once you’ve got all of that in there, it’s time to add the components of the brine: White vinegar and water (or, if you’ve got it, leftover pickle brine and water.) Either works.

How to make pickles, step by stepOnce you’ve added all that brine (I told you there was room,) make sure the cucumbers are covered completely (add more water if they aren’t) and pop a lid on the crock. If you’re using one of our open crocks, cover with a piece of cheesecloth or a muslin square, then top off with a plate to keep it airtight. You’re done for now. Seriously, that easy. Put the whole thing in a place where the temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees and leave it alone.  Every day or two, give it a peek. Skim any mold off the top of the brine (it’ll happen and it’s no big deal) and check that the pickles don’t feel mushy or slimy.  After about 10 days, start checking them for done-ness (they should look translucent all the way through. Cut one open. Taste it. Your homemade pickles are done when you’re happy with them.

Pickles in a Kilner jarOnce your pickles taste to your liking,  keep whatever you want to eat right away in your fridge. If you made a big batch, or if you want to save them for later in the season/give them as gifts, it’s the perfect time to can them.  Just pack the pickles into Kilner jars (our 1 liter jars fit pickles beautifully.)  Top them off with the brine. Pop the seals on the jars, then tighten down the rings until almost tight. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and process the jars in boiling water for 20 minutes. Let ’em cool, check the seals, and BOOM, you’ve got perfectly canned pickles that’ll keep at room temperature for 6 months. Not that they’ll last that long.

Pickling tutorialBoom! Now you know how to make pickles.

DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Now that it’s officially fall, pumpkin flavored treats are everywhere.  From pumpkin pies at your local bakery to pumpkin-scented soap, to the drink that may have gotten the pumpkin trend started: Nice-pumpkin-collection-2-13dede-sxcThe pumpkin spice latte.  It’s delicious, comforting and tastes like fall. We’re  totally addicted.

pumpkin-spice-latte-sign-7854631If you can’t afford the $4 a cup price tag, prefer to keep your drink vegan (the one at Starbucks is not), or if you’d just prefer to make your coffee from scratch, we’ve got an amazing pumpkin spice syrup recipe that’s delicious in lattes, as sweetener in tea, mixed in to cocktails, and even drizzled over vanilla ice cream.

When bottled in Kilner preserve bottles, this syrup makes a perfect hostess gift, birthday gift, or even holiday gift. If you’ve got a Pumpkin Spice Latte lover in your life, this is a great way to make sure they get to enjoy their favorite drink, even after they take it off the menu for another year.  I find that a 0.25 liter preserve bottle full of this syrup is the perfect size for both gift giving and at home.  This recipe makes enough so you can both keep some for yourself and give some away.  Each bottle holds enough syrup for 20-50 cups of coffee, depending on how sweet you like it. It’s the perfect Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe to give as gifts!

Ingredients:image_ 072

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½  teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine, just make sure it’s 100 percent pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)a6f392e9c6ae4527b712bb86e88be6f4

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
  •  Stir together over medium heat until the sugars have dissolved.
  • Continue cooking over low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  • Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer, triple layered cheesecloth, or muslin square.
  • Funnel into Kilner bottles OR Kilner preserve or clip top jars.
  • Syrup can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Syrup can be kept fresh longer by hot water processing it.*

To make your pumpkin spice latte, brew 2oz of espresso or very strong coffee in a large coffee mug.  Combine 2 teaspoons of syrup and 8oz of milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. Mix well and steam (if you aren’t able to steam your milk, simply heating it will work, flavor wise.)  Pour the milk and syrup mixture into the coffee, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon (if you like it) and enjoy!

*To preserve the syrup, process the jars or bottles as you would jars for jam or jelly (see our strawberry jam tutorial here.)  Add the syrup to the jars or bottles while hot, and close. If you’re using a preserve jar, keep the screw band ¼ turn lose. If using a clip top jar or bottle, close and latch the jars. Submerge in boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove with jam tongs and let jars cool completely.  Once you’re sure they’re sealed, they’re ready to be stored for up to 3 months.

 

Enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Lunch-Packing 101: Beyond Brown Bag Lunch Ideas

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

With so many schools back in session already, and so many more starting in just over a week, we think it’s the perfect time to talk about packing lunches. Whether you’re packing school lunches for children or brown-bagging it yourself, we’ve got some great lunch-packing tips that will even make eating at your desk like a special occasion.image_ 077 We’ll help make lunchtime exciting again with brown bag lunch ideas to wow you!

First, when possible, ditch the plastic.  We get it, life happens, sometimes a Ziploc bag or a plastic food container is the easiest tool for the job, but with a little planning, it’s easy to ditch the plastic for more environmentally friendly, green   lunch containers.  Wrap sandwiches in compostable paper and pack everything from soups to salad to cupcakes in jars! Glass Kilner jars are better for the environment. They’re re-usable so they don’t take up landfill space. They’re BPA free so they’ll help keep you and your loved ones healthy. And they’re airtight, so food stays fresh and doesn’t leak.

Some of our favorite meal-in jars are salads and soups.  For the salad, I use 1-liter Kilner preserve jars or 1-liter clip top jars.  I put the dressing in the very bottom of the salad, then the protein, then the heavy vegetables. I fill the rest of the jar with the greens, so they don’t get crushed.  When it’s lunch time, I either shake up the jar and eat the salad right out of it, or I empty it onto a plate.  One of the nicest things about salads in jars is that I can make up to 5-days’ worth at a time, stash them in my fridge, and they stay fresh and crisp. No soggy salads here, and in the morning it’s SO easy to grab a healthy, filling lunch.

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I love doing soups in preserve jars (I find that the 0.5 liter jars are the perfect serving size.)  When I make big batches of soup I put the leftovers in jars, put what I think I’ll eat in the refrigerator and freeze the rest. When it’s lunch time, I take the lid off, microwave the soup right in the jar, and eat it that way. It’s a great, no-mess way to have a filling, comforting lunch.

black-bean-soup-in-a-jar  34 3

Second, always include a treat. It doesn’t have to be unhealthy, just think about what will make your lunch (or your kids’ lunch) into a special treat.  I often find myself reaching for 0.35 liter Kilner clip top jars and filling them with fruit salad, pudding,  a few cookies, and even a cupcake. The jars keep baked goods from getting crushed, keep fruit salads from leaking, and are perfect for making and storing pudding.  You could also use the 0.25 liter preserve jars for treats. They’re a little roomier so they’re great for pretzels, chips, and popcorn. I’ve even seen people bake pies and cakes right in the jars. What a treat!

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Third, find the right kind of lunchbox. Jars seal pretty well, but they are made of glass, and even though the Kilner jars are sturdy, we want to make sure your lunch is safe. I love these bags from 100_6491-1024x1024A Tiny Forest – They’re perfectly designed to keep jars safe, upright and well cushioned, and they even come with a re-usable cloth napkin! They come in a variety of colors and patterns from sophisticated florals to kid-friendly ninjas, so no matter who you’re packing a lunch for, they’re sure to find something they love. Plus, the bags have room on top of the jars for extra delicious treats.   Her pint jar bags fit our 0.5 liter jars and her quart jar bags fit our 1.0 liter jars! This great one-woman business will also do custom bags to order.

Fourth, know how the lunch is going to be stored and if it can be re-heated. Will there be a refrigerator available, or will you/your child need an ice pack to keep that lunch fresh?  Can your child microwave their soup at school, or will they be stuck eating it cold?  Both hot and cold foods work really well in jars – Just know your game plan.

Fifth,  don’t forget a beverage. As a bonus, your drink can double as an ice pack. I often freeze tea, water or juice right in a jar, wrap it in a napkin, and throw it into my lunch bag. It’s melted by lunchtime, but it keeps everything else cold!

Fruit-Infused-Water1-1024x512-resized-600.jpg Photo3_MasonJars

Last, but not least, remember a fork and spoon, but if you’re packing for a child, pre-cut everything and skip the knife.  Since schools have become more security-focused, bringing even a butter knife to school has become a no-no. So make sure that everything is bite sized, fork sized, or able to be eaten with a spoon.

We hope that these tips help you get an A in lunch 101. Have a wonderful start to the 2013-2014 school year, everyone!

Celebrating Summer Produce: Tomato Sauce Recipe From Scratch

Friday, August 16th, 2013

023Last week we showed off beautiful raw tomatoes with our heirloom tomato panzanella salad. This week, we’re switching it up and teaching you how to make and preserve a lgreat tomato sauce. That way, you’ll get to enjoy the flavor of sun-ripened tomatoes all year!  As a bonus, this recipe works best with extremely ripe and even slightly overripe tomatoes, and they don’t have to be pretty. If you have any bruised, slightly squishy, cracked tomatoes, this is the perfect way to use them up!

 

This recipe makes 4 pints of tomato sauce and is pretty easy to multiply if you have a huge surplus of tomatoes. Just make sure you’re using a big enough pot, like one of our Kilner Jam Pans, and you’ll have perfectly thick, flavorful tomato sauce. You’ll never want to go back to store bought stuff again!

As with any canning project, make sure you have all your ingredients and all your equipment ready before you start!

image_ 074 image_ 072 image_ 072 image_ 077

Equipment    Preserve Accessories

Ingredients

  • 8 lbs ripe or overripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup bottled lemon juice *
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

* It is important to use bottled lemontom_paste-vars-harvest juice instead of fresh since bottled lemon juice has a consistent level of acidity and will ensure the shelf life of your tomato sauce.

You’ll notice that this is a pretty simple sauce. If you want to spice it up, feel free to add sautéed garlic, fresh basil, chili flakes, sautéed mushrooms, or anything you like in your tomato sauce. We keep ours simple because we don’t know what we’ll be pairing it with 6 months from now!

Let’s get down to business and make some sauce!

First, Prepare the jars and lids:
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Wash all jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your large pot with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Place one of the towels at the bottom of the pot and bring to a simmer. Using a pair of canning tongs, lower the jars in gently, tilting them to fill with the hot water.  Add the screw-bands to the pot as well, but keep the flat metal seals out of the water for now, but have them handy.

 

Meanwhile, rinse the tomatoes and pat them dry.

Option 1: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each tomato and blanch them for about 30 seconds in boiling water, remove to an ice bath, slip off their skins, cut in half and squeeze out the seeds.

peeling-tomato-m-m

Option 2: Roughly chop the tomatoes and run them through a food mill.

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Option 3: Whirl the tomatoes quickly in a blender and push the puree through a fine sieve.

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Personally, I find option 2 to be the easiest, but not everyone has a food mill. If you’re going to become serious about canning, it’s a tool you should have. But any of the 3 options will do the trick!

Once you’ve got your tomatoes peeled, coarsely chop them (if they’re not already broken up) and add them to your Kilner jam pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and stir/crush your tomatoes to break them up further and keep them from burning.

fermented-tomato-sauce

Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low boil. Reduce to the desired thickness, by a third for a thin sauce, or by half for a thick sauce.

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With your tongs, carefully remove the jars from the pot, tipping water out and setting jars upright on a clean dry surface.  Add the seals to the pot, continue to simmer.

Using your funnel, carefully fill your jars, leaving a half inch of headspace at the top of each jar.images5

 

Run a chopstick around the sides of each jar to help release any trapped air, then wipe each jar’s rims clean with a dish towel.

Using a magnet or a pair of kitchen tongs, remove the jar seals from the water and place them on the mouths of the jars. Place the screw bands on the jars and screw on the rings, then loosen each ring a quarter turn to allow steam to escape from the jars.

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Empty the stock pot you used to sanitize your jars and fill it with water again, keeping the dish towel in the bottom of the pot.  With jam jar tongs, place each jar carefully into the water and check that jars are submerged by at least an inch.

Bring water to a boil and let boil for at least 20 minutes, checking periodically to see that the jars are covered with water.

After 20 minutes has passed (longer if at high altitude.) remove jars from water, and set on a cooling rack. Leave undisturbed for 12 hours, then test seals. If any of the jars have not sealed, reprocess using method above or refrigerate and use immediately!

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We hope that this simple tomato sauce recipe helps you enjoy the rest of the year. If you need more help figuring out how to choose great tomatoes, click back to last week’s blog post for advice! From all of us at Kilner and Pacific Merchants, happy canning!

Today is National Cherry Cobbler day!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Did you know that today is National Cherry Cobbler day?  Now, that’s not a big deal as, say, Memorial Day, but here at Pacific Merchants, we think that every holiday, especially the delicious ones, should be celebrated, especially because there are really great cherries on sale at the farmer’s market right now. We pulled out our Mason cash mixing bowls and whipped up this amazing, easy cherry cobbler to celebrate!

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 5 cups pitted ripe red cherries
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 c orange juice
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 tsp almond extract

 

TOPPING:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk

 

 

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, toss cherries with 2 tbsp of brown sugar and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Drain juice and reserve

  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir in lemon juice, orange juice, and reserved cherry juice until smooth.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.

 

  • Add cherries and orange zest and almond extract; pour into an ungreased 9-in. baking pan.