Winter cooking ideas for things to do

Winter Scene2

Winter

 

Winter

Winter

I know most of my readers are snuggled up warm in their house for winter. Got plenty of time to cook but no fresh fruit to cook. No problem, here are a few things that are tried and tested to be worth the effort! So make a list of things to get at the grocery store and get to cooking. Hungry mouths are waiting for something special that tastes great.

The first thing that comes to mind is apple butter mainly because cooking this will drive your family members wild with the aroma. Don’t want to hear how hard it is because it is not. Just a few simple steps to start and let your crock pot do the rest. It doesn’t have to be fresh apples. It can be made with apple sauce, but it has to be no-sugar apple sauce.

Crock Pot cooking

Crock Pot cooking

EASY APPLE BUTTER: 12 cups apple sauce (unsweetened, it says so on the label). 9 cups sugar. 1/3 cup cider vinegar. 3 teaspoons cinnamon. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice. 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Mix all ingredients completely and pour into a large crock-pot. Cook for 10 – 12 hours, removing the lid for the last hour (this thickens the butter). While cooking, stir every few hours to make sure no sticking occurs. If you are really lazy use crock pot cooking bags found in your grocers with all the other baggie stuff. It is next to the turkey bags (which also work if you can’t find crock pot bags).

Sample size spoonfull

Sample spoonful

Try to keep spoons for sampling before it is done. While it is still warm from cooking try it on hot biscuits, toast and yes even pancakes or waffles or to really kick it up (I have heard that before) try it on ice cream. For a long time I would not eat syrup on my pancakes. I only used apple butter and not syrup. No special reason, I just love apple butter that much. Something about apple butter that makes it different from other toppings, you can rewarm it in the microwave. Don’t put the whole jar in, just put a couple of tablespoons in a small saucer and pop it in for about 15 – 30 seconds depending on your microwave. I say that because we recently had to buy a new one and the time the new one cooks anything is about half of the time our old one took. So try it 15 seconds, stir and taste. If it is hot, stop there and eat. If not 15 seconds more. Any longer and it might be time to buy another microwave.

Canning Pot. Worth the investment of less than $15

Canning Pot. Worth the investment of less than $15

If you want to put some up in canning jars, you will need real canning jars, domes and rings as well as a good canning pot with rack. Carefully ladle butter into clean canning jars filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Take a damp paper towel and clean the rims (very important). Now place on a sterilized dome and add the ring. Finger tighten the ring, this means not too tight (no air escapes, jar won’t seal). Not tight enough and water leaks in and spoils your work. Place jars on rack and put into boiling water pot that has water at least 2 inches over the tops of the jars (necessary for a good seal). Boil the jars for 10 minutes then carefully remove and place jars on racks or towels. Let set a couple of hours. During this time you will hear a popping sound, this is the domes sealing. When jars are completely cool check to see if any did not pop, if you find some two choices: 1. Start over with the cleaning then a new dome, the old ring is OK. Reprocess in the water bath. 2. Place jar in the refrigerator and eat those jars first. I like #2 but that is just me. You have enough apple butter for a while, depending on how many hungry people are closed up for winter.

Frozen fruit

Frozen Fruit

In case you have never checked your grocery store freezer department, it might be stocked with all types of frozen fruit that is just begging for you to cook something with it. We have a company in a small town just North of were we live that puts all sorts of fresh fruits in a flash frozen bag. When thawed the fruit tastes almost like the fresh fruit you had back during the summer. In some cases it tastes better, because not all fruit is available everywhere. We have recipes for Peaches (https://canucanit.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/its-peach-time-part-1/), Strawberries (https://canucanit.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/strawberry-recipes/), Blueberries (https://canucanit.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/blueberries/), and Blackberries (https://canucanit.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/blackberry-time-at-last/), just click on the link and it will take you to the recipe. But you have to come back to see what else is going on. You can make jam or preserves or fruit syrups from all of them. No picking, no peeling, hulling or anything else. Just thaw in a colander set in a pan in your refrigerator. This is important, because when fruit thaws juice drips into the pan. Use this for jelly or syrups or just add to fruit when you cook it. As far as directions, just use thawed fruit in the same recipes I have given you over the past few years. Look up recipes in the archives of my site it is not hard (even I can do it). After cooking jams, jellies or preserves use the same canning procedure listed above for things that might last you till the spring thaw comes.

Jams, jellies and preserves or butters are not the only thing you can make from the fruit you find in your store. I will give you a couple of recipes  that we enjoy. One recipe our neighbor made and brought over. We tasted it and went crazy, it was one of the best peach cobblers we had ever eaten. So I will give you the recipe and tell you my neighbors name so when you taste, you will know who started this. I am also going to give you a recipe for a super desert that came from a craft show we did in West Palm Beach Florida.

Booth6

Outside at Yellow Daisy Festival

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Inside at Columbia South Carolina

FlagBooth4

Inside at West Palm Beach

We used to travel all over with our setup and did indoor and outdoor shows from Miami to Washington D.C. and from Charleston west to the Mississippi River. We had invitations from other areas but could not do the trips to further away places.

Well on with the story and recipe for an exotic desert that is easy!!! The ingredients are apple butter, graham crackers, french vanilla bean ice cream. The utensils needed are a small ice cream scoop (like the ones used for melon balls, they make scoops the size of a quarter). First thing you need to do is make a whole bunch of melon ball size ice cream scoops and put on a sheet to freeze. Take some graham crackers and put into a small zip lock bag, crush the crackers with a rolling-pin or a small pot bottom. You will use the apple butter when you are going to serve the desert. Now the story of how this came about. We were doing a late spring show in West Palm Beach at the fairgrounds. One of our regular customers from Georgia shows stopped by and said that she had moved South. She was in trouble and needed a fancy dessert for a dinner party she was having. I told her to stop back in a while and let me come up with something. When she stopped back I told her to put a about a small amount of warm apple, depending on how many people you are serving. Allow at least 2 tablespoons per person. Heat in a microwave till it was hot (not bubbling),  into a small dessert bowl add the cracker crumbs then ice cream on top. This needs to be served immediately as it will all melt into a mess if you wait too long. She stopped back the next day and said the dessert was a huge hit. So big of a hit that she bought 4 cases of apple butter for use later. Sorry I don’t have any photos to show you they melted. She also said that more people raved about the desert than the dinner that she had cooked for hours.

The next dessert is the one from our neighbor Kim. She is Mary Lynn’s biggest buddy. They talk and message each other all the time. She made this one time while I was just home from the hospital and Mary Lynn had no free time to cook anything. Kim brought this over along with several other things to eat. She is that type of person, she brings us stuff all the time.

Kim's Peach Cobbler

Kim’s Peach Cobbler

Well now the desert, Kim’s Peach Cobbler: 1 box Duncan Hines moist butter cake mix. 2 cans Comstock brand Peach Pie filling. 2 cups sugar. 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon. 1 can Del Monte sliced peaches. 1 1/2 to 2 sticks butter cut into pats. Take some butter and butter the pan. Pour all the peaches into a long rectangular pan with high sides. Pour the dry cake mix over the peaches. Place pats of butter on top of the cake mix. Mix sugar and cinnamon and save. Bake peaches/cake mix pan on top of another flat pan to keep over flow from your oven. Cook at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the top, make sure to cover the top well as this is where your top comes from. Return to oven for 45 minutes. Remove and check to see if your top is formed from sugar/cinnamon.

Kim's Peach Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

Kim’s Peach Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

If it is return and finish cooking another 10 minutes. Your peaches should be bubbling out the top. Remove, let cool to eating temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream topping. It is absolutely awesome. You would never think that cinnamon would work with peaches. Well it does more than work, it goes crazy with peaches!!! If you don’t want ice cream (and I can’t figure out why), you can just scoop up a big batch of cobbler in a bowl. Great any way. How about whipped cream (the real stuff)?

Have not tried this with any other fruit, but keep watching and I will let you know if and when I do.

I know you have heard this before but just when I get going it is time to stop. Well if you like this blog and would like more ideas about making thing you buy in the store, let me know and I will do a whole blog about these type of items. Remember when you get closed in with winter weather you can still make great things in your kitchen.

Don’t forget…. let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you have for the next blog. I do take request. I don’t even have a “Tip Jar”. Don’t be shy and think that someone else will ask for the things you want made. 

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.

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? 

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Posted in Apple, Apple Butter, Award Winning, Best of Show, Bing Cherries, Blackberry, Blackberry Jam, Blackberry Preserves, Blueberry, Butters, Canning Jars, Cider Vinegar, Cooking, Family Tradition, Food Gifts, Food Preservation, Fruit Butters, Fruit Syrups, Gift Basket, Holiday Cooking, Holiday Gifting, Home Made, No artifical ingredients, No preservatives, Old Fashioned, Peach Cobbler, Peaches, Recipe, Strawberry, Strawberry Huller, Strawberry Shortcake, Syrups | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday cooking and gifting time!!!

Gift basket Fancy

Fancy

Gift basket Sweet

Sweet Gifts

Gift basket Simple

Simple gift

Gift basket Tasty

Gift Basket

Almost every family has a tradition of cooking certain things at this time of year. Most all are celebrating church holidays. Almost all are exchanging gifts with someone. Well I am going to change things up in your eating and gift giving ideas. Don’t stop making cookies, or fudge or whatever is your special item. But here are a few things that really don’t take long and are the kind of gift that everybody will look forward to. I know that home canned food gifts take longer than say a set of ear rings in a small box with a bow, but the food just might be a favorite. When you give someone food verses a store bought item, the food says that this is something for your family to enjoy. It is different!

Supplies for cooking

Supplies for cooking

Supplies 2

Supplies for cooking

Now you have to decide what to make. Apple Butter is always a hit, maybe pepper relish or jelly with a recipe to turn your sugar cookies into a jelly cookie. Maybe your have something you have made earlier in the year. Whatever way you go, get busy and get everything you need in one trip to the store. Make a list:

just the right tools for canning

Just the right tools for canning

Ball jars

Canning jars

Canning jars, sugar, pectin, fruit or juice to make jelly with. Or if you are doing a relish, all the items you need for the relish. Butters need fruit, sugar and spices as well as a big crock pot. You might pick up a few other little items that will make your work easier.

Canning pot with rack included.

Canning pot with rack included.

 

A real canning pot and rack and a jar grabber and blades for jar bubble removal if your are doing relish or pickles. These items are usually found in the same spot you found the jars. If not you will find everything you can think of in a old fashioned hardware store, not one of those mega stores that takes 30 minutes to find someone to ask where something is.

 

Supplies laid in now the fun starts, cooking time.

Colored jars with straws still in

Colored jars with straws still in

Apple Juice

Apple Juice from apples not concentrate

The easiest thing to make is jelly because butters and relishes or pickles take much prep time. So lets start with something simple like Apple Jelly: I made the name different colors because with a little pack of food coloring we will make jellies all different colors. So pick up a pack that says Natural Food Dye or Coloring. I say natural because you don’t want anything artificial in the jars. In a large cooking pan add 3 1/2 cups apple juice (bottled will work, but make sure it is real juice not concentrate and water). 5 cups cane sugar (cane always works best in place of sugar that does not say cane). It says Cane Sugar on the package. 1 package of pectin (if you have a Kroger’s the store brand is the best! Check your store for food pectin vs chemical pectin. Last ingredient is 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Combine Juice, and lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and bring back to a boil for  1 minute. Ladle the liquid into cleaned canning jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top.

Also used for egg coloring at another time of the year

Also used for egg coloring at another time of the year

Now open your food dye and place one or two drops into a couple of jars, open another color and do the same. Combine colors to get other colors. Add 1 drop red to 1 drop yellow to get orange. 1 drop red and 1 drop blue to get purple. After adding the drops take a straw and mix each jar. Rinse the straw between colors. Now you have a rainbow of apple jelly.

Take a damp paper towel and carefully clean the rims. Now place a sterilized dome and ring on the top. Finger tighten the rings (that means not too tight or not too loose). Place jars on rack and put rack into a pot of boiling water that covers the top of the jars by at least two inches (also important). Boil 10 minutes. Remove the rack and place the jars on cooling racks or dish towels. Let set for at least 3 or 4 hours. During that time you will hear a popping sound. That is the dome sinking and sealing. When completely cool check the jars to make sure all have popped. If you find some that did not, they have to be re processed. Remove the ring and dome. Throw the dome in the garbage, the ring can be used again. Re clean the rim and place the new sterilized dome on top and tighten the ring. Boil again for 10 minutes and cool. The last step in important. make a label for your jars. You can use the labels that come with the jars or make some on your computer and printer. It’s up to you. Be sure to put on the jars what the ingredients are, some people have food allergies!! Add a bow or put into a basket with other things and you have a gift that will make someone very happy.

Adding jelly

Adding jelly

Jelly Cookies: Now to make those sugar cookies or peanut butter cookies with jelly on the top. Make your cookies your usual way, from scratch or from the frozen food section, either ways works. Place on cookie sheet and cook in oven the right temperature. When the cookies are about 2 or 3 minutes from being ready, open the oven and pull out the sheet with the cookies. Take a damp spoon and make a pocket on the cookie top. Next take a small amount of jelly and fill the pocket. Place back in oven and finish cooking. When they are finished you have Jelly Sugar Cookies or Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies. How about that, not hard from start to finish. I will agree that it has taken a little more time than I said, but not as long as going to the store and shopping for a gift and standing in those long lines.

Apple Butter Gifts

Apple Butter Gifts

Apple Butter was covered in one of my earlier blogs. Here is a link to it: https://canucanit.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/canucanit/ go back and take a look, while you are looking at older blogs look around in my blog files, I have over 50 other blogs that will give you great cooking idea to give or eat. Just click on a item or search in my blog role.

A Time of the Season means Time To Cook. Check it out because there are other recipes that go along with gifting. Many different holidays are happening this time of year, not just Christmas or Hanukkah. So many different friends or neighbors need a gift. Apple Butter fits in just about every bodies diet or foods to eat. So it is a perfect gift either in a basket with other personal items. Just put a bow on top and you have a great gift for your office. Low cost and everyone loves apple butter.

straw1

Jar Dollies

Gift Basket

A piece of fruit from the craft store

jardollie6

Can you make this?

jardollie1

A dollie and a piece of ribbon

jardollie3

A piece of wrapping paper and a ribbon or string

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Cloth and a string

Making gifts you need a few ideas how to wrap or fix your jars for a gift. It is not hard, just a small amount of cloth and scissors and a little twine or string. Here are some ideas on how to decorate your gifts. Try one and you will see just how easy it is to make your jar look like a gift. In case you have a Secret Santa gift to get, why not make it something you have made! It will be easy and fast just add a bow on top.

 

Well I have run out of space for this blog. The mail man/woman is coming. So I have got to cut this off. Seems like I  just get started good and boom the old word count at the bottom of my page says Too Many Words!!!!

New tower

New tower

Before I forget, I know it has been a very long time since my last blog, but I have a good excuse. My computer went belly up, it died a slow and painful death and with it many of the things I had saved to the wrong place (not on my external hard drives). I have two 1 terabyte hard drives that I use for music and photos and important documents. I would recommend this for everyone. Well anyhow, I bought a new tower and had to buy all new programs to go with my new operating system. Seems my ancient programs did not work very good with the modern computers. I am now back up and running while still learning.

Don’t forget…. let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you have for the next blog. I do take requests they are free, I don’t even have a “Tip Jar”.

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.santa-hat

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

 

Reply                                Yes I Can Can It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Apple, Apple Butter, Award Winning, Best of Show, Canning Jars, Canning Salt, Cider Vinegar, Citrus Fruit, Cookies, Cooking, Dollie, Family Tradition, Food Gifts, Food Preservation, Fruit Butters, Georgia National Fair, Gift Basket, Holiday Cooking, Holiday Gifting, Home Made, Hot, Hot Pack, Jar Dollie, Jelly Cookie, Key Lime Juice, No artifical ingredients, No preservatives, Old Fashioned, Preserves, Secret Santa Gifts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog Problem

I hate that it has been so long since my last post. My computer, some how, caught a virus. I have a antivirus thru Uverse that did not protect me. My system was very old, it came with windows XP. So that should give you an idea of the age. Well anyhow, it did not survive the infection. I have a new replacement finally, a Dell tower with all the bells and whistles. It is setup for gamers, I only play Free Cell and Solitaire, so it came with super power and memory. I think it will take me a while to figure out the new windows and get everything set up. So maybe in a week I will have my new blog ready to publish. It will feature all kinds of things that you make this time of yeast. So it is going to be a All Star Special!
Please watch closely and say a little prayer for my learning ability on my new computer.

Posted in Home Made | Leave a comment

You want me to eat pickled what???????

Watermelon2Just when you thought you were up to date on pickles, this blog is going to take you where you never thought you could pickle. We are going to use items that you use in your every day cooking and eating, but never thought to pickle. You may have heard of some of these items. Well I am going to tell you how to make them. You will be surprised at the taste and ease with the pickles you will make. Not just you, but your family and friends will enjoy. Enough talking and putting off, let’s get to Pickling!

Peeled water

Peel the rind. No dark green left.

Kick off Pickling with Watermelon, The great taste treat of summer. Wait don’t put the left over rinds in the garbage after you have eaten all the juicy red melon. This is the starting point for pickles. Carefully peel all the green skin from the melon rind. Don’t use any of the red “meat’ of the melon. Take a spoon and clean the rind, it doesn’t have to be completely cleaned. A little red showing makes for prettiest pickles. Cut the rind into pieces about 1 inch square. For really fancy pickles use different cutters for a variety of sizes and shapes. Use small cookie or biscuit cutters. Now you are ready to start pickling.

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon Rind Pickles (Not Preserves): One large Watermelon makes about 4 to 5 quarts or 8 to 10 pints. 4 quarts cubed melon. 1 cup canning salt or kosher salt (not table salt, the iodine in table salt will turn your edges dark). 1 gallon cold water. 7 cups sugar.  1/2 cup thinly sliced lemon (about 1 medium). 1 tablespoon whole cloves. 1 tablespoon whole allspice. 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed. 3 sticks cinnamon. 2 cups vinegar.

Dissolve salt in water; add rind and let stand 6 hours or overnight. Drain; rinse. Cover rind with cold water in a large sauce-pot. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain; set aside.
Tie spices in a spice bag. Combine sugar, lemon slices, spice bag and vinegar in a large sauce-pot. Bring mixture to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Add rind, simmer until rind is transparent. Remove spice bag. using a slotted spoon. carefully pack hot rind into canning jars (only use real canning jars, all others could lead to disaster). Fill to almost the top of jar, carefully ladle liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles.  Clean the jar rims with a damp paper towel. Finger tighten two-piece caps. Too tight and air can’t escape, not tight enough and water leaks in and spoils your hard work. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canning pot. Remove from boiling water and place in a spot that will keep them from being disturbed. Next day check for sealed jars, if not the ones not sealed have to be reprocessed. Remove 2 piece lid saving the ring, it can be reused. Re-clean the rim with a damp paper towel then place a new dome on top of the jar. Then tighten the ring and rewater bath.

This is the recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rind. Watermelon Rind Preserves are a completely different taste. They use a different recipe. They are often confused. We had many occasions that people came into our booth at a show somewhere and asked for one and thought they picked the one they remembered from growing up. The Watermelon Preserves will be in a later blog so keep watch.

Wow! That was a strong way to kick off this blog. Let’s keep it going with one of my families favorite pickles.

SPECIAL NOTE!!!!! Don’t open any pickle jar for at least 2 weeks after processing. You have to give them time to do their magic.

Dilly Beans

Dilly Beans

Dilly Beans: People love to eat green beans, in fact I think it is the number one vegetable consumed. We are not going to snap them, cut them, cook them. We are going to use fresh green beans, the kind you get at a farmers market or really good grocery. First you need to wash the beans in running cold water, them look for any that are off (you know what I am talking about). Next is to clean off any extra bean tops, the part that connected it to the vine. All done? Next take a long bean and put it in a canning jar. Using your finger or thumb to mark off how tall the bean needs to be for canning. That length is the jar height minus 1/2 inch. Place beans on cutting board and cut several at at a time using the bean you cut for correct height. Save the pieces for cooked green beans or a jar of Dilly Bean Pieces. All done. They are ready for the next steps on the road to eating enjoyment. One more thing, use real canning jars, pint size. You can buy them at Wal-Mart, many grocers, old-fashioned hardware stores (not super hardware stores). Wash and rinse the canning jars in HOT water. Let dry on clean dish towel, drying rack or paper towels. This is done to protect from adding anything to your dilly beans that you don’t want.

4 pounds green beans, cut to size of jar minus 1/2 inch. 3 cups white vinegar. 3 cups water. 2 teaspoons cayenne powder, 1 /4 teaspoon to each jar. 7 garlic cloves, 1 for each jar. 7 sprigs dill, fresh, 1 per jar. 4 teaspoons dill seeds, 1/2 teaspoon per jar. 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon per jar. 6 tablespoons salt – kosher or canning. Some recipes call for two or three peeled garlic cloves.

Adding the garlic gives your pickles a Kosher Dill flavor vs just a pickle flavor. This remains true for pickling other items as well.

Canning Pot

Real Canning Pot

Combine vinegar, water, and salt bring to boil. To each jar add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder, 1 clove garlic, fresh dill and 1/4 teaspoon dill seed, 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes. Pack prepared jars with beans and pour hot liquid over top of the beans, be sure to leave 1/2 inch air space on top. Make sure all beans are covered with liquid. Take probe or long plastic spoon handle and remove excess air bubbles (this is important). Process 20 minutes in water bath. Use a real canning pot for this. Anything else and you are headed for trouble. They are available at the same locations as the jars. It is just a little more, but makes a huge difference in success or failure. Remove the jars from the boiling water and carefully place jar in a place that will be undisturbed for 24 hours. At that time check jars to see if the all sealed. That means the dome of the top is depressed in. If not you need to re clean the top and place a new dome on. Then reprocess the jars………….. If you like to serve your dilly beans at a party, snap the beans into smaller pieces (the size a tooth pick works well with).

New Orleans Bar

New Orleans Bar

I have to tell you how Mary Lynn and I first found out about Dilly Beans. We were in a bar in New Orleans, not far from Jackson Square. Enjoying everything about the place. We noticed the bar tender making many Bloody Marys, so we asked why. Was it a double secret recipe or what??? He told us he garnished each tall glass with 3 or 4 dilly beans and not celery like most bars. He said that the beans had multiple positive effects. First being the customers really liked them, second they made people drink more than just using celery. Finally he said the most important reason, it kept his garbage from being full of celery stalks. Next he gave us several to sample. We were hooked!! Of course we ordered another round of drinks. Then we set out to find the best recipe possible. Well the above recipe, is tried, true and tested. If you are not sure about Dilly Beans ask my niece Stephenie.

Pickled Garlic

Pickled Garlic

Pickled Garlic: 15 cups garlic cloves, peeled & blanched. 1/2 gallon white vinegar. 3 cups sugar. 3 teaspoons salt, kosher or canning.   (You can buy garlic that is peeled and ready to use in some wholesale stores such as Sam’s. Each pint jar of garlic has approximately 4 cups of garlic.

Add vinegar, water, sugar and salt to pot and bring to boil. Pack 16 ounce canning jars with blanched garlic cloves. Pour hot liquid over top leaving 1/4 inch air space. Take probe and remove excess air. Process in water bath 15 minutes. Use all the canning techniques above for cleaning and processing. This is another party favorite. It tastes like nothing you would expect, it is sweet with a much milder flavor than raw garlic.

I am running out of numbers and space so I will finish this blog with my all time favorite. This pickle was on my Grandmother’s  dinning table for dinner and supper. If you are not from the south, we call lunch dinner and the evening meal we call supper. Every time I eat pickled okra I remember her. She was the person that started my doing home canning at the age of 3. I would help her do her canning (or as she would say, putting up). She taught me some valuable lessons that we have carried forth in our lives ever since. We based our business on those principles, and for 15 years we were so successful, that we could not keep up. Also this is a little Southern language lesson. I will try to give you more in future blogs. Well again, enough talking, on to our last recipe.

Pickled Okra Notice how half of the pieces point up, other half down.

Pickled Okra
Notice how half of the pieces point up, other half down.

Pickled Okra: So many people are turned off Okra because of the slimy ooze you get from slicing them.  Pickling them does away with this.

12 pounds okra, 1/2 bushel. 1 gallon cider 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. Dried is OK if fresh is not available, just use less. The drying process concentrates the flavor. Don’t want to make this much, cut recipe in half. Also a hot pepper in the jar really gives it a great taste and not a whole lot of heat. But remember, heat is relative. Some folks can eat any kind of pepper and some folks think ketchup is hot. So if you fall into the latter group, leave out the pepper.

In each jar put 1 sprig dill, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dill seeds, and if fresh dill is not available, 1/2 teaspoon dill weed. Scrub and rinse okra well. Trim tops. 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 ten minutes. When you take the rack out of the water let the tops “pop” before you try to move them to the cooling rack. Age for 2 weeks . The chill overnight and enjoy! Can’t compare this pickle with any other for tastes and texture. Don’t be shy, go ahead….eat one!!!

If you like Salsa, no not the dance!!!! The chip & eat kind. Check my new blog series dedicated to just that subject. It is located at www.canusalsa.com

If you like this blog and would like more ideas about making thing you buy in the store, let me know and I will do a whole blog about these type of items.Don’t forget…. let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you have for the next blog. I do take request. I don’t even have a “Tip Jar”.

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? 

 

Just say                               Yes I Can Can It!

 

Posted in Award Winning, Canning Jars, Canning Salt, Cinnamon Sticks, Cooking, Dill Seeds, Dill Weed, Dilly Beans, Family Tradition, Food Preservation, Garlic, Green Beans, Home Made, Hot Pack, Kosher Salt, No artifical ingredients, No preservatives, Okra, Old Fashioned, Pickled garlic, Pickled Green Beans, Pickled Okra, Pickled Watermelon, Preserves, Recipe, Watemelon, Watermelon, Watermelon Rind Pickles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It is A “Pear”rently time to talk about Pears

Delicious Pear Relish

Delicious Pear Relish

From the looks of my blog stats many of you are making Pear Preserves. I don’t want to interrupt this. But there is other things you can do with your pear harvest. Have you ever tasted Pear Relish? It is delicious and can be used on many things. Not to mention it is very attractive looking relish on the table. With multiple ways to use, it might just be a good thing to give a try. And most of all, I relish the idea of talking about relish!

I use the hard pears in my recipe. What you didn’t know there was hard pears? The “old-fashioned” pears that grow in many yards around the South and maybe in other areas. I haven’t lived anywhere else but the South so I don’t know about other areas. If you have more information on hard pears in other parts of the country please let me know so I will be more informed in future blogs. The big difference in pears from your grocery store and from the trees in your yard are pretty obvious. The store pears are one variety and the hard pears another. Hard pears never look like store pears, they have a dirty look.As you can see there is a pretty big difference, in tastes as well as eating texture. The name Hard Pears is the best way to describe the pear. It is very, very hard, when you try to eat it, you have to wash very hard to get some of the brown off the skin. I quite doing this as it wasted my pear and time. I found that taking a knife and cutting pieces from the pear to eat is the best way. Yes, I know you have seen your Grandfather sitting and doing an apple that way. You can eat the pear without cutting chunks or pieces, but you also might break a tooth, so be careful. I like to eat my hard pears in a relish or as sauce, like apple sauce. What you have never hard Pear Sauce. Well I will give the recipe on how to make it later in the blog, but now the recipe is going to be pear relish.

Pear Relish

Pear Relish

PEAR RELISH: This is best made with hard pears, soft pears don’t hold up to the cooking. Soft pears are best for Pear Sauce, something I will cover. 14 cups hard pears, peeled, cored, chopped. 3 cups bell peppers, green – chopped small.  3 cups bell peppers, red – chopped small. 4 tablespoons sugar. 1 tablespoon pickling spice. 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or canning salt. 5 cups cider vinegar. 1 tablespoon turmeric. Combine all ingredients in a medium to large pot. Bring mixture slowly to boil while stirring to keep from sticking. Cook 30 minutes, then hot pack into 8 ounce canning jars leaving  1/2 inch of air space at top. This is between your relish and the rim. This means put into canning jars while mixture is hot. Makes sense doesn’t it? Clean rims of canning jars with paper towels. Place sterilized dome on top, then add ring. Finger tighten the ring, this means just tight. Too tight and the air in the jars will not escape or too loose and the water in the pot will leak into your jars and spoil your hard work.

just the right tools for canning

Just the right tools for canning

Doing this will be a lot easier with the proper utensils and equipment. Real canning jars are an absolute must, no jelly jars or mayonnaise jars are to be used. They will exploded in the boiling water bath!!! Next is a funnel a canning funnel is set for the size of the canning jar. Next is a knife to put into jars before you seal them to get the extra air out. And last, but not least you need a real jar grabber that is also for the size of real canning jars. After all this place your jars Process 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Make sure to have 2 inches of water over the top of your tallest jar. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars carefully and place on top of a couple of dish towels to cool. If you have a cooling rack so much the better, but if you don’t use the towels it works. After the jars have cooled overnight, yes I said overnight, check to see if they are all sealed, this means that the dome on top is sunk into the jar. If not, start over with a new dome. Re-clean the rim and place the new dome on top. You can use the same rim. Finger tighten and re-process in boiling pot. Or you can put it in the fridge and eat it first. This is the method I like best.

Canning pot with rack included.

Canning pot with rack included.

It is easy with the right equipment again. You might think that it is going to send you to the poor house for all the equipment to do the right job. If you shop smart and buy the things you need in the discount stores. Canning pots can be found in the hardware stores, but we bought ours at Dollar General and save some money. Buy thing like the funnel and grabbers in the hardware store, I am not talking about the Mega-Hardware stores. I am talking about the regular small hardware stores. But these items can also be found in Wall-Mart at a savings of more dollars. So shop around and save money.

You might get tired of me preaching about what jars to use and how to clean the seal then boil the jars. I do this because it is the ONLY way to get a successful canning session. You have taken the time to prepare everything, why not take that same care in canning. You might hear other ways, believe me we tried every way we heard about, but the old way is the way that works every time! OK, I am getting down from the fruit box and no more preaching, just recipes and ideas about use of products.

Hot Pear relish

Hot Pear Relish in 8 oz. jars

Hot Pear Relish : This is easy, just use some of the hotter peppers in the Pear Relish recipe above. Bell peppers are still needed, just use 1 cup and the next 2 cups hot peppers. I like to use different hot peppers, sometimes I will use hot banana peppers and the next time I will use Jalapeno peppers. Some times I use both. It is all up to you. You know what your family likes, remember you can always add more later you can’t take them out.  One other thing to watch out for, if you load to many hot peppers to your relish that you are going to can, the relish gets hotter over time. One more like thing, use red and green jalapeño peppers to give your relish a better color.

Next is another fall favorite using two of every bodies favorite fruits;

APPLE-PEAR RELISH:

This might seem like over simplification but use the same recipe as pear relish only use half apples and half pears.

No peel, just easy to work with pieces or chunks

No peel, just easy to work with pieces or chunks

Cut your fruit in the same method as seen in the photo to the right. Of course the photo shows peel fruit, do no peel your apples or pears. Just wash and dry to make sure that you don’t get any dirt or other unwanted stuff in your relish. Don’t worry if they are not all the same size. Just don’t make any too small or too large. Medium size is perfect. You will find that working in small batches is better than a whole apple or pear. Core and slice into workable size.

Apple Chart

Apple Chart

 

 

To make a really attractive relish use two different color apples, one green and the other red. The chart will give you an  idea of apples and their color when ripe. It is not complete, as many other types are out there. Green apples are usually Granny Smith, a hard juicy apple used in most recipes. For a Red apple you might have to search a bit. I find it easier to ask the produce manager for help. I like a Fiji Braeburn, Courtland or Jonathan apples. You might have a local favorite, so use that one, the key is it is hard and will not dissolve when cooked. If you leave the peel on the apples, this adds color to your relish. Just make sure the apples are just tender to touch.

Now how about a fun thing to make Apple or Pear Sauce. Wash and clean 10-12 cups of apples. Cut your peeled and cored fruit. Place in a medium size pot add 3/4 cup water, or if you like add fresh apple juice from your produce section of your grocers. Cook, while stirring til apples are pretty much a mush text. Carefully place about 1/2 full blender, purée the sauce till smooth.

With or without Spices

With or without Spices

If you would like chunky Apple Sauce, remove about 1/3 of the apples when they are still firm, but cooked. Add to the sauce from the blender, mix, you have apple sauce. If you like sweeter sauce add honey or sugar to taste. Don’t over sweeten, you can add more later but it is hard to take it out. Another idea, if your family like cinnamon or nutmeg add to the boiling pot and cook with sauce. If you like divide the sauce in half and add spices to one and leave the other plain. This gives you many different flavors, remember some kids don’t like spices, so you have so for them.

Chunky Pear Sauce

Chunky Pear Sauce

For another variety do the type with chunks.Here is photo of Pear Sauce with Chunks, apples look very similar.

So how making something that you control the spice, sugar and anything else you might put in. For a little fun why not add some natural food coloring to makeColor Apple Sauce2 something a little different. What ever you child’s favorite color, make Apple or Pear Sauce that color. They will have fun while eating something that is really good for them. Not to mention easy to make. If they are old enough, let them help you make it. Let them pick out what to sweeten with, if they like honey then use honey. When I talk about using honey, I am talking about unprocessed honey. The kinds that you get at a farmers market or health food store. Use honey the is filtered and jarred by someone in your area that keeps bees. The cost is probably less than what you pay for the little animal in the store filled with honey that has been put thru a factory. Local honey is better to use because it is made from bees that use local flowers for their pollen. This type of honey is said to be good for allergies. Eating this honey will help in the sneezing you get when things are in bloom, according to many statements.

It seems that just when I get going it is time to stop. Well if you like this blog and would like more ideas about making thing you buy in the store, let me know and I will do a whole blog about these type of items.

Don’t forget…. let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you have for the next blog. I do take request. I don’t even have a “Tip Jar”.

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? 

 

Reply                                     Yes I Can Can It!

 

Posted in Apple, Award Winning, Best of Show, Canning Jars, Canning Salt, Cider Vinegar, Cinnamon Sticks, Cooking, Family Tradition, Food Preservation, Home Made, Honey, Hot Pack, Hot Pear Relish, Kosher Salt, No artifical ingredients, No preservatives, Old Fashioned, Pear Relish, Pears, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Spring, Time To Plan Your Garden

I know that in some places it isn’t Spring weather, but that should not stop you from planning for a garden. A garden that will produce things that you can put up, just like your grandmother did. She did not go to the store everyday just to pickup a few things. She had to have a garden that produced those things for her family to eat for the whole year.Vegetable-garden I know that some of you are saying that you don’t have room for something like the photo. Do you have a patio, deck or balcony? You can still grow more that enough to provide you a supply of fresh vegetables that should last for a long time.. Take a look at these photos, you can make something like one of them. It will cost more than a back yard variety of gardens, but you would still be eating or canning things that you grew.Patio Gardens I am sure that you can come up with something that will fit your budget and space.

After you have decided where and what you are going to try to grow, it becomes time to decide how you are going to get your plants. The easiest (but maybe the most expensive) would be buying the plants that you see at your local hardware or even grocery store. These come in plastic packs, some 6 to a pack, some 4 to a pack, depends on the size of the plant. Prices start around $1 a 6 pack up to $4.99 a single pack (some could run over $6 a pack). The cheapest way to start your garden is by buying seeds. The seed packs are much lower in price, but need more hands on time. You have to start seeds earlier than plants. Some plants already have blooms on them. Seeds take weeks to get to the blossom stages. The choice is up to you which way to go. I always started with seeds, til I got lazy and used plastic packs. Something you might think about, if your neighbor or a friend from work is planning on a garden, work as a partner. Seed packs have many seeds, depending on what you pick to grow. Have your partner plant half the seeds and you plant the other half.
Certain plants take a long time to sprout, others are pretty fast. Peppers take a long time to start, so they need to be planted a couple of weeks before other plants. I remember one year I planted peppers and radishes at the same time. I was eating radishes before my peppers had tiny leaves. If you are unsure how long it will take for each type of seed, look on the back of the seed pack, it will tell you the time from planting the seed to the time for the real veggie or fruit.
I was cheap, I used the half boxes that convenience stores have from cases of beer. I took dirt from the garden site and mixed with growth additives (such as cow manure that you can find that any place that has garden supplies). Cardboard boxesIt has been processed so that it is a rich black dirt. You need not worry about having manure on your patio or deck and how it might smell. After placing my planting mixture in my starter containers, I have to find the best spot for these containers. They need as much sunlight as they can get, protected from the cold or chilly spring night. You will have to figure that out. Sometimes I build a mini-green house with plastic wrap from the kitchen, and several ice cream sticks. I wrap my seed starter with the plastic wrap, using the sticks to keep the wrap up off the plants. When placed in sun light it makes the green house. The wrap holds heat and moisture. Don ‘t leave this sealed all the time; make an opening so you don ‘t give mold a place to start.

Sticks tell you what is planted and hold plastic wrap off plants

Sticks tell you what is planted and hold plastic wrap off plants

This is a cheap way, that works! One more idea for a cheap seed start is a plastic egg container. You have 12 perfect containers that work great for small gardens. Just pack in your dirt that has all the needed ingredients, add the seed and a misting of water. You have to be careful watering. Very little is needed, too much and you have a mess. One more thing is needed for this starter set. Take a tooth pick and poke a couple of small holes in the bottom to let excess waster drain. This type of starter is great for many reasons, the first being mobility. Just pick up the container and place it where the sun is shinning.

 

You have completed all the start-up tasks, it is time to become a farmer!

Plan it out, now is the time to make changes. Not when the plants are in the ground.

Plan it out, now is the time to make changes. Not when the plants are in the ground.

Now while your seedlings are growing take a piece of paper and draw your garden. When you have the size you want. Take some twine and divide up the garden into squares. It will make putting what you want to grow in the right spot. Work on the best layout for your space. Don’t put small plants next to big plants. The big one will rob water and sunlight. If you are going to have peppers, don’t place hot next to mild or sweet. As the blossoms develop pollen will mix and you will get spicy peppers in place of mild. Your hot peppers will not have the heat you want. Place them on opposite sides, as far away from each other as possible.

The twine or rope makes great dividers .

The twine or rope makes great dividers .

If you are not sure of the yield from each plant ask or look up the type you have. An example is zucchini. A couple of healthy plants will supply probably as much as you would want. Also check while the plants are growing to see if you need to keep your plants free of mature veggies. Some plants have to be picked every day. If not the plant will stop blooming and no new produce will grow.

Harvet timeAfter picking, decide if you will have enough for a meal, or if it will take a few days yield for your use. To store for a short time clean your produce, dry then wrap in enough newspaper as needed. Then place in the lower bin in your fridge. Don ‘t forget about what you have in the bin. You might put a small note pad with the contents of the bin on the outside of your refridgerator. You don’t want to waste your treasure. If you over-plant something, thin out some of the plants. If you crowd your plants you might get stunted plants, or even diseased plants. Another unwanted result of too many plants of one kind is having two much of that item. The first few times you share with your neighbors they will enjoy what you have given them. Too many trips to spread your harvest will lead to no one coming to the door. Sometimes they will go into their home and hide if they see you coming. Take it from someone who has had the curtains closed before.
Pick the things that you like to eat, don’t pick something because someone told you to grow them. Tomatoes are a good example of a garden item that many people have different ideas of the type to plant. There are so many different types, and they all taste a little different. A word of advice, stay away from the types that promise giant fruit. If you do get fruit, it will be nothing like the photo. Not to mention usually a very small number. You waste time and space trying for the ones that make a sandwich with only one slice. I finally came to the conclusion that I like Roma tomatoes because they tastes great, took up little space and canning the excess was easy. I also like grape tomatoes mainly cause they are small, and easy to clean and have for a salad or just a nice addition to your veggie tray. Spend a little time in picking the right type will pay off with just what you want a garden for.

squashIf you like squash, yellow summer squash is always a big hit. Just a couple of plants should keep you with a good supply. Zucchini is another favorite. They produce for most of the summer and can be cooked so many different ways. Like many veggies, they need to be picked when the size is right for your needs. If left on the vine, they get huge, and large fruit don’t have the best flavor.

peppers in gardenWhen it comes to peppers, you need to pick your types with a lot of thought. Does your family like hot, medium, mild or extra super hot. Keep in mind my suggestion about locations of your plants. I would strongly suggest that pepper plants be grown in pots that are easy to move. If you have little ones I would keep the hotter ones out of reach. You don’t want any accidents.

OK let’s go over what we have covered. Size and site are the two main items, then what you are going to use to grow your garden: pots, baskets, or a clean area in your yard. Next on the list, is what are you going to grow. Is this going to be just for the table, or are you planning on canning some things? Don’t get carried away with growing so many different things that stuff gets lost in the process. Start small in numbers til you see how much work is necessary. You can get behind in your gardening and lose everything. Forget to water, weed and keep up with picking can make a simple garden into a disaster site. You are going to have worked every day.
I hope this does not scare you away. It is so very rewarding to sit at dinner eating things you have grown. The food tastes better than ever. You have every right to be boastful. You did this from start to finish.

simple herb gardenWhile you are making your plans, make sure you set an area to grow herbs. For herbs I would suggest you use a long basket like container. Herbs will grow all year-long if you are careful and monitor your plants. Fresh herbs used in cooking or canning makes a huge difference in flavor. Invest in a dehydrator and you can have something to use the year round. You don’t have to do anything special to keep herbs. Just dry (only a day or two is needed).

dry-herbs-at-home.Put your herbs in a zip lock Baggie or a canning jar. Make sure you label everything carefully. Name, date and any other special information is needed. I always used bags vs jars. Easier to store, major cost difference are enough reasons to pick a bag over a jar. I have seen people having an herb drawer in their kitchen. You can use index cards as dividers and keeping track of inventory.

I hope I have given you some ideas to work on. If you do decide on a garden, make sure you take plenty of photos. You will have ammo to brag with at church, or work or just to have. People take baby photos of everything, why not your garden. Of course I am not putting a garden next to your children, but they both need time, energy and investment of funds. Of course a garden is only yearly.
I would ask if you do this and take photos, send me some photos and a little story telling me what you did and any little funny things that happened. If several of you do this, I will do a blog and use your story and photos.
I hope you try to grow something. It is so rewarding.
One more suggestion, this is from my Grandson Daniel. He told me to tell you not to plant anything close to the exhaust vent of the water heater or dryer. He said that everything close died. So remember to avoid planting next to an exhaust vent. outside-oven-ventWise words from a 7-year-old. He has learned a lesson that he will never forget. Successful gardens are a lot like his suggestion, we learn from others. If not in gardening, then in other things. Learn from others mistakes or success, and pass it on.
.

Looks like it is that time again. It gets here so fast. seems like we just started and now it is finished. 

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.

Don’t keep my blogs a secret, pass the word on to your friends, neighbors and family members. They just might make something and share with you.

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

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

Say YES I can can it.

Posted in Award Winning, Family Tradition, Food Preservation, Garden, Green Tomato, Habanero Peppers, Home Made, Old Fashioned, Plum Tomato, Regional Planting Zone, Strawberry, Tomato | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strawberry Salsa and Recipe – UPDATE – Important

Strawberry Salsa and Recipe – UPDATE – Important.

Posted in Home Made | Leave a comment