Peter Piper has nothing on me!!!!!

I have done a blog about pickling in the past, but that was a long time ago. Some that are new to my blog don’t go back and look at some of the older blogs. They may not be as much fun as my new blogs but they still have good information about canning.

Peter Piper

Peter and his Peck of Peppers

peter-piper2

Peter and his Peck of Peppers

In the blog I am going to attempt to do what Peter did. You remember him, he picked a peck of pickled peppers. First question that some are now goggling, what is a peck? Well in days gone past a peck was a unit of measure. Sort of like a quart to a gallon. I hope most of you know what a bushel is, well it takes 4 pecks to make a bushel. Like it takes 4 quarts to make a gallon. A peck is in dry measurement. Sort of like your yard is a 1/2 acre or smaller or bigger. So the next time you go to the grocery go to the produce section and look for things in large baskets. More than likely that is a bushel. If you are not sure ask the Produce Manager and he/she/they will show you. Now in your mind divide that by 4 and you will get a Peck. So pick up a bag to put your tomatoes in and that bag might be a peck, or even a half a peck if you only want a few. You now have a idea how much Peter Piper picked.

To get started how about pickling a pepper???? After all that explanation I have to start with peppers. But I will including other things to make you want to try them all…….PLEASE.

Pickled Hungarian or Banana Pepper

Pickled Hungarian or Banana Pepper

PICKLED PEPPERS: 4 quarts long red, green or yellow peppers (Hungarian, Banana or other varieties). One alternative is to slice peppers and use them. 1 1/2 cups canning salt. 4 quarts plus 2 cups water, divided. 1/4 cup sugar. 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish. 2 cloves garlic, peeled. 10 cups white vinegar, not cider. 1 case of quart canning jars. Do not use other types of jars (jelly or mayo) these jars will break and destroy your effort.

Pickled Sliced  Peppers

Pickled Sliced Peppers

Cut two small slits in each pepper. Dissolve salt in 4 quarts water. Pour salt water mixture over peppers and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. You may have to rinse and drain 2 times. Combine 2 cups water and remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove garlic cloves. Bring pickling liquid to a boil. Pack peppers into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head-space. Ladle hot liquid over peppers, leaving 1/4 inch head-space. Remove air bubbles with a wooden stick or plastic stick. Adjust two-piece caps (dome and ring that have been washed and dried earlier). Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canning pot with at least 2 inches of water over the tops of the jars. Don’t start the timer till the water begins to boil. Remove carefully and let sit on a towel or cooling rack. When the jars are completely cool to the touch, check to make sure the jar is sealed (the dome is inverted). If not, the jar has to have a new dome and go thru the boiling water process again.

When jars are cooled place in a cool dry area for about two weeks for the pickling process to become complete. After opening, jars need to be enjoyed in all sorts of ways. Pickled peppers is the first way, but using the vinegar on your greens or as a spicy salad dressing comes to mind. The vinegar still is vinegar, but it has the flavor of the peppers added. Chop the peppers into small pieces and sprinkle onto your pizza after its cooked. Delicious

How about that!!!! Now you know what Peter was up to in the nursery rhyme. All these years and you never knew. What else is hidden in those childhood stories?

Pretty easy wasn’t it? Well the next one will require more hands on and more time on your part but the results will be something that will amaze your family and friends.

Piickled Okra

Pickled Okra

PICKLED OKRA: 12 pounds okra, 1/2 bushel. Only use young medium to small okra for pickleing. The larger one don’t pickled as good. Take a sharp knife and make a tiny hole in the side of the okra for better pickling. 1 gallon cider vinegar, not white vinegar. 1 gallon water. 1 1/2 cups canning salt. 24 cloves garlic, peeled. 24 sprigs fresh dill. 12 teaspoons dill seeds. 12 teaspoons dill weed (if fresh not available). 24 jalapeno peppers, sliced in half. 12 teaspoons cayenne powder. 12 teaspoons dried pepper flakes. You can get that amount of fresh dill sprigs from the produce manager, just ask and he will tell you if he has it on hand or will take a day or so to get.
In each jar put 1 sprigs dill weed, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dill seeds, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder and 1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes. Also put 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced in half in each jar. If fresh dill is not available, 1/2 teaspoon dill weed. Add garlic glove. Scrub and rinse okra well. Pack okra into jars careful to stay below line. Meanwhile heat the vinegar, water and salt to boil. Keep on low while you fill jars. Remember not to go above the line (1/2 inch below top of jar). Tap out any air bubbles. Process in water bath for 10 minutes. When you take the rack out of the water let the tops “pop” before you try to move them to the cooling rack. Follow the same instructions as above. Age for 2 weeks.

Great pickles for the people that like okra and a surprise for those that do not. Try them they are awesome. One of my favorites and one that my grandmother would always have on her table. She would have a pickle dish with just okra on it. She would have other pickles on another dish. She was a real Southern Lady and always had a pretty table for every meal. I learned my early canning from her and have followed her rules the rest of my life. I hope she would be happy with what I have done in my life as far as canning and other things. Grandma Austin, you will live on in all my recipes!

We did a easy pickle and a hard pickle. How about a pickle that is the easiest of all my pickles!!!!

Pickled Beets

Pickled Beets

PICKLED BEETS: Put on a pair of dis possible gloves before you start. Beets are messy! 3 cups Vidalia onions, sliced. 4 quarts beets, peeled, cooked, sliced or 2 No. 10 cans. 2 cups beet juice, from No. 10 cans. If you cook the beets save 2 cups of the juice. 7 cups white vinegar. 4 cinnamon sticks. 4 cups sugar.

Pickled Beets in pickle dish

Pickled Beets in pickle dish

1 tablespoon whole cloves. 1 tablespoon whole allspice. 1 tablespoon pickling spice. 1 tablespoon salt (kosher or canning salt needed not table salt). 1 tablespoon peppercorns. Combine vinegar, beet juice (if using cooked beets use 2 cups water from cooked beets), sugar, cinnamon sticks and spices. Put cinnamon sticks and spices in a spice bag. Add salt in large sauce pot. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove spice bag and cinnamon sticks. Pack beets and onion slices into 16 ounce canning jars. Pour hot liquid over beets. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch air space on top. Remove air bubbles with probe. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. The onions are needed for flavor not heat. So Vidalia or Sweet Onions are necessary. After boiling let set till completely cool then store in a cool dry area. After opening keep in the refrigerator till jar is empty. Don’t throw away the liquid. You can reuse it again with a small can of sliced beets. Just drain the beets and a few onion rings put into the liquid. Tighten the lid and let set for a couple of weeks. You can do that at least 2 times with the juice. Just fill with a little extra vinegar to make up the liquid. Impossible to get any easier!!!!!!!

I am going to finish up with something a little unusual for you. Try it, you might like it. If not you haven’t lost a big amount of ingredients or time. Everybody that has tried them has liked them, some have even loved them. Again, it is like many things, you may or may not like it.

Sweet Cucumber and Green Tomatoes Pickles

Sweet Cucumber and Green Tomatoes Pickles

SWEET CUCUMBER AND GREEN-TOMATO PICKLE: 1 quart thinly sliced unpeeled
cucumbers. 1 quart thinly sliced very green tomatoes. 2 cups thinly sliced white onions. 1 cup canning or kosher salt, not table. 1 cup sugar. 2 cups cider vinegar. 1 tablespoon whole mustard seed. 1/2 teaspoon whole celery seed. 5 or 6 whole black peppercorns. 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric.
Arrange alternate layers of cucumbers, green tomatoes, onions and salt in a bowl. Let stand six to eight hours, or overnight. Drain. Combine the remaining ingredients in a four-quart kettle and bring to a boil. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes and onions and boil until the vegetables are clear, five to ten minutes. Pack in hot sterile jars and seal at once. Process in boiling water bath like above recipes. Process 10 minutes. Let set for at least a week to come to full flavor. Serve cold.

Well I hope that I have given you some pickling ideas, some strange and some not so strange. Some as easy and opening a can and others with more hands on needed. Both with tons of flavor and will be enjoyed by many.

Family enjoying your cooking

Family enjoying your cooking

I have other recipes about pickling and many other ideas. Take several minutes and look thru my list. I hope you will try something and when you do you will realize the rush of enjoyment when your family and guests love your cooking. Few things can compare to that tingling you get when your personal family goes crazy about something you made by not opening a can from the store.

I know I keep saying this, but it is true. Seems like we just started and it is time to wrap it up. Hopefully you got some ideas to try in the future. Don’t be afraid to cook. Some of the worst mistakes made in kitchens become family favorites. Not all of them, but some of them. So experiment, you are the cook. Being the cook means you make the choices just how much to add or make. The only cooks that can’t cook are the ones that don’t imagine. People ask my how we come up with so many recipes. I tell them that it was easy, we just think of a taste or flavor and made something to match. It was not hard. Everything should be in your mind’s eye before you cook it. The more you think the better it gets. How do you think we got so many things to eat. Some one had to think them up and then cook their ideas.

Also don’t forget to check out my new blog dedicated just to Salsa. I have recipes for make and eat as well as canning recipes. I will also tell you when a recipe is just for make and eat with a chip. The site is www.canusalsa.com Stop in and check it out. From the looks of the numbers not many are looking. Hard to believe with so many request for salsa recipes that you have not at least peaked. Well there is no time like now as we are at the end of this blog. Bookmark it in your computer, or better still subscribe and you will get new blogs e-mailed to you. While you are at it, subscribe to this blog also.

To make sure that you are keeping up with the latest from both blogs all you have to do is click the subscribe (on the Salsa page it says follow along) bottom on the right and fill in your e-mail address and every blog from that day forward will be sent to your mail box. Really makes it easier to read and keep up. You never know what will come up next. I say that because I don’t know what is next!

Don’t forget…. let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you have for the next blog. Also if you have any questions you would like me to try to solve. Just drop me a note at jellymanga@gmail.com.

Please feel free to SHARE my blog on Facebook or Twitter or even MySpace.com, or any place else you can think. I want to get as many people exposed to the good things as possible. So share and ask your friends to share, PLEASE.

They just might give you something that they made to say thanks for the share. Don’t keep my blogs a secret, pass the word on to your friends, neighbors and family members.Jellyman Hat

Don’t forget, if someone asks you can you can it?

Say YES I can can it.

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About Pete Austin & The Austin House

My wife, Mary Lynn and I had a very sucessful canning business for over 15 years, called The Austin House Jams & Jellies. We had to close it due to pure health. I will be writing a blog about some of the recipes, and how to use them. Also some of the interesting, funny, weird things that have happened in our traveling with the business. If you follow me, you will see that I look at things just a little different than others. If you look at the header at the top of the page, you see that I am looking at things. Making sure eveything looks as good as possible.
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