CANNING


 

CANNING JAMS, JELLIES, PRESERVES, MARMALADES, CONSERVES, CHUTNEYS, BUTTERS? WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT?
The answer is in the consistency and below you will see a brief description of each of the types of recipes we make in canning. You will also see more about how the fruit makes up that type of jar. In addition some of these recipes may add one special ingredient to change or create a new version of something you may be already familiar with that is in a category all on its own.
There are additional recipes that we are more familiar with beyond this list that you can do with fruit such as whole fruit canning, pickling, and salsa. Those to many are easy to describe. The types of jars below and their classifications sometimes become confusing.

Jam – Consistency: soft spread, should be firm but spreadable, but does not hold their shape in the jar. Recipe: made by combining crushed or chopped fruits with sugar and cooking to form a gel. Some contain spices or alcohol. Pectin: Commercial pectin may or may not be added.  Type of fruit: Can be made with a single fruit or with a combination of fruits.  Visually: You will see “fruit bits” in the jar.

Jelly - Consistency: soft spread, should be firm and hold its shape in the jar. Recipe: made by combining fruit juice or acidified vegetable juice with sugar and cooking to form a gel. Pectin: Usually commercial liquid pectin is used but in some cases there are recipes using powdered. Type of fruit: made with single fruit or acidified juice. Additional Note: Pepper jellies contain vinegar for acidity. Visually: It will be clear, but in the case of pepper jellies you will see the minced peppers.

Fruit Butter – Consistency: soft spread, thick enough to mound on a spoon and spread easily. Recipe: made by slowly cooking fruit pulp and sugar.  Spices may be added. Pectin: No pectin added Type of fruit: usually made with a single fruit but combinations of fruits are possible. Additional Note: some butters are made in crock pots and then canned. Visually: thick and velvety.

Chutney -  Consistency: thick enough to mound on a spoon Recipe: combination of vegetables (onions and peppers) and/or fruits, (dried fruits are popular like raisins) spices and vinegar cooked for a long period of time to develop favorable flavor and texture. Chutneys are highly spiced and have a sweet-sour blending of flavors. Pectin: No pectin added Type of fruit: made with single fruit and usually apples or tomatoes or with a combination of fruits Additional Note: Chutneys once made should be left in the pantry for at least a few weeks for the vinegar to mellow and create a incredible symphony of flavor. Visually: chunky, seeing many of the ingredients.

Conserve - Consistency: soft spread similar to jam Recipe: made with a combination of two or more fruits, along with nuts and/or raisins. If nuts are used, they are added during the last five minutes of cooking. Pectin: Sometimes commercial pectin may be added. Type of fruit: most often made with a combination of fruits. Additional Note:  Because of the large population that have nut allergies make sure to note on the label that it contains nuts. Visually: you will see “fruit bits” and nuts either chopped or whole.

Marmalade - Consistency: soft spread, usually with bits of citrus rind Recipe: contains pieces of citrus fruit and peel/rind without the pith (white part) evenly suspended in transparent jelly. Marmalade is cooked in small batches and brought rapidly to, or almost to, the gelling point. Pectin: No pectin added. Type of fruit: made with citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes and sometimes paired with other non-citrus fruits. Additional Note: Marmalades are cooked to 220 degrees using a candy thermometer to create the gel. This is achieved by the sugar reaching a “soft ball” stage.  Visually:  Marmalades are similar in structure to jam seeing citrus peel woven within the fruit gel.

Preserves -  Consistency: soft spread, a true preserve does not hold its shape when spooned from the jar. Recipe: the fruit is preserved with equal portions sugar to fruit so it retains its shape. The syrup varies from the thickness of honey to that of soft jelly Pectin: No pectin added Type of fruit: usually a single fruit but could be made with a combination of fruits.  Visually: transparent, shiny, tender and plump (chunky) pieces of fruit. 

FLAT TOP & GLASS RANGES - IS CANNING OK?
I promised that I would put together some facts about the debate of whether canning, either pressure canning or water bath, was a problem on a flat or glass top range. I learned a few things that I want to pass along, as well as, a few testimonials of people who have been doing canning on these types of ranges/stoves for some time.

One thing to remember is that every stove may be a little different in that what you buy now you can research much more easily than the older stove models. Because of the need for canning in recent years most manufacturers are building in options for larger burners to accomodate canners. But for those that have this dilemma there are ways to do canning safely.

Cooktop Size vs Canner Size: Most of the damage to your cooktop will come from the amount of heat that is reflected back down on the top of the stove if you do not adhere to the diameter of the burner.  As many of you have seen just by using it for regular cooking it can be as simple as a discoloration of the glass or top of the burner, to the extreme of cracking of the glass tops.

Remedy: Use a flat bottom canning pot and make sure to measure the largest dimension burner and purchase a canner that is that size or no more than * 1" in diameter larger. (*Follow the basic information using your particular pot sizes on your glass top from your stoves manual)

 Scratching: Note from National Center for Home Preserving - Even if a manufacturer says a burner/cooktop can be used for canning you should be aware that scratching can occur if the aluminum canner is slid or pulled across the cooktop. This often happens with large, heavy filled canners, so people need to be careful.

 Controlling heat: (Specifically important in pressure canning) If your cooktop has an automatic "cut-off" on the burner when the heat gets too excessive your canner may cool too much and drop the pressure in the canner causing the product to be under processed and ruined. Your processing and pressure must be continuous or you will have to start over which will then compromise the quality of the end product.  Note: If you have a "severe" drop in pressure from lack of heat under the pot it will create the perfect enviroment inside the canner for siphoning. Siphoning will occur as spill over from the area of higher pressure inside the jar to the lower pressure now in the canner around the jar, basically the reason you will have loss of liquid.

 Remedy: Consult your manual if it does have an automatic "cut-off" and then it may be a big issue for canning.

 Water Bath Canning - Pot type: If a water bath canner is approved by your manual it may be better to use one of your own flat bottomed stock pots with a bottom rack added inside. Measure the "inside" diameter of the pot and you can check online for a "presto canning rack" and purchase one that will fit.  Some of the "canner" makers do not have bottoms that are flat enough to maximize the heat on a glass or smooth top range. Your pot used as a canner must also be big enough for water to boiling around the jars and at least 1 inch over the top of the tallest jars.

Pressure Canner Pot diameters:  For a better list of the pressure canners dimensions you can check out the "Pressure Canners - Just the Facts!" post to see the diameters.

The reason I think so many people are using the 16 qt. Presto is that it is truly a flat bottom canner. The diameter is 14.8x14.8 which means the flattest portion is the same as the outside edge versus the All American of the same approximately quart size is 16x15. This means that the outside edge is 16" and the inner ring which is the flat portion is 15" that will sit on the stove. This difference in dimension relates to the "warning" that you get from the reflective property from the description above regarding the cause of discoloration and cracking.

WATER BATH CANNING - STEP BY STEP!

Ready Set Can!

This is a step by step post with pictures of how to do the basics of water bath canning.  Note: This is not the recipe to process tomatoes. Tomatoes need acidity for canning and these pint jars would need 1 T. of bottled lemon juice in each jar for them to be safely canned.

This post will show you the tools you will need, the preparation of the equipment and your canning area, and finally how to process a recipe using canning tomatoes as the example. Some of the pictures are graciously donated by Bob Wint and his wife Rose, as part of one of their big projects. Thank you Bob for your contribution.

 Tools

 There are a few items you need to start canning. Each of them has a specific purpose and there are other tools that you can use that you may have in your drawers at home.

 Jar Tongs/Lifter - Lifting Jars from hot water

 Magic Wand -Lifting Rings from hot water

 Jar Funnel - Used on Jars to ladle food into opening

 Bubble Remover – Remove air and bubbles from filled jars and the other side checks headspace

 Ladle, Spatula & Thermometer – Ladle the food into jars, check temperatures for water, jams/preserves/jellies, and to stir your recipes.

 Water Bath Canner - You will also need a canning pot. Water bath canners are widely available at stores, but you can use any big pot that has a lid, but it must be deep enough for the water to cover the tops of the canning jars by 1 to 2 inches inches. You will then want it to be about 2 to 4 inches taller since you are boiling the water and don’t want it boiling over and either putting out the flame or making a mess.  The pot or canner will need a wire or wooden rack to fit on the bottom.  The jars must sit off the bottom so the heat can penetrate properly. The rack also helps to keep the direct heat off the bottom of the jars to prevent cracking or breakage. A couple examples that people have in their homes may be a tamale pot or a pasta pot where there is an insert so that you can set the jars in the pot covered with water but not on the bottom.

 Now that you know your basic equipment we are ready to go step by step to process your jars so they will be shelf stable.  Getting the prep work done ahead of time and setting up your tools to make a "canning station" or area is important so that you have everything within reach.  Now that we're Ready...let's get Set!

 Canning Prep

 Prepping your jars  is one of the most critical steps in doing canning because you want to have your jars be clean and sterile when you fill them with your food. You also want to make sure that your jars are as hot as possible when ladling in the recipe. Since your recipe or liquid will be hot and don't want to crack the jars if the they are cold.

You can clean and sterilize either by running them through the dishwasher that has a sterilization setting or sterilizing them in the water bath canner.  When sterilizing in the canner you will put the jars in the canner and cover the jars by 1-2 inches and put on the lid. You will turn up the heat on the stove and once at a boil will leave them at a boil for 10 minutes. Leave them in the canner or in the dishwasher with the lid on or the door shut till you are ready to fill them.

Prepping your lids  is important so that you can soften the rubber outer seal so they will adhere to the glass rim of the jar. Jar lids need to sit for 10 minutes  in hot, previously boiled water.

 You will either add the lids to your canning pot after the jars have finished

 being sterilized or you can boil some water in a small pot on your stove, then turn it off and add your lids till you are ready to seal the jars. You can put the lids in the canner and when it's time you will use your magic wand to fish them out. It has a magnet on one end that will help you get them out without burning yourself. (picture to follow)

Prepping your canning area will help to keep you organized. Using a dishtowel or large towel find a location close to the stove and lay it out.

This will be your canning station. You should have your tools above next to the towel. We use a towel to first make sure that when we are filling the jars that the jars stay hot. If we place the jars directly on the counter the counter is cold and it will cool them too fast. We also use a towel to keep the jars from slipping on the slick counter when they are wet. The towel will also be the final resting place when the jars come out of the canner to cool overnight.

Water Bath Processing

 When you are ready to fill the jars you will set up your area. Remove the hot jars from the canner or dishwasher and set them on your towel. Using your jar lifter pour out any water in the jar.

 Place your funnel on the jar and fill with the recipe. Fill up as close to the designated headspace in the recipe. Headspace is the distance from the top lip of the jar to where the food starts in the jar.

 To check your headspace use the "staircase" side of your bubble remover. Shown below set the proper "stair" on the edge of the jar and measure so that the food touches the bottom of the blue flat area.

 Then using the other side remove the air bubbles by going around the inside of the jar between the glass and the food.

 Recheck your headspace and refill to proper measurement if necessary.

 Wipe the top rims of the jars with a clean wet paper towel. This will remove any food that might interfere with a good seal once the lid is put on.

 Remove hot lids from the hot water

 with magic wand

Using your magic wand remove your hot lids from the water one at a time and place them carefully on the center of the jar. Repeat this process till all the jars have lids. Doing this one at a time will ensure you don't get two lids stuck together.

 Remember the lids are HOT!

Remember these have been in hot water and will be hot to the touch. Use the wand and your fingertip to release the lid from the magnet.

Add your rings, which do not have to be hot, by turning them on the threads of the jars. You will only turn them till they are finger tip tight.  As you can see in the picture only tighten as much as you can with only your finger tips till you can't turn anymore or have resistance.

If you over tighten by using your whole hand the lid may bend during canning  while the air is trying to evacuate and the jar may not seal properly.

Goal: Water Bath canning is done so that you can heat the contents of the jars to 212 degrees (boiling water) and kill the bacteria and microorganisms inside the jar. At the same time drive out the air in the headspace allowing the jar lids to compress and seal. What you will be left with is a jar that is airtight and free of bacteria that can't grow inside the jar.

Now you will return your jars to the water bath using your jar lifter.  The water will be at a simmer but not boiling. Place the jars, without tilting them in the canner making sure that the rack is on the bottom.

Add caption

 You will want to make sure after all the jars are loaded that the water is 1 to 2 inches over the top of the tallest jar before you start heating the water again. If the water is not high enough add hot water to the canner.

Put the lid on the canner or pot and crank up the heat.

When you see or hear the water is at a boil start your timer for the amount stated in the recipe. Continue to let the water boil rapidly while you are timing. When the time is up, turn off the heat, take off the lid, and leave the jars in the canner for an additional 5 minutes.

Using your jar lifter remove the jars and place them on a towel without tipping or tilting them. If there is water on the lid leave it there. It will evaporate or you can gently wipe it with the papertowel once the jars have sealed.  You will want to keep them out of a draft so they will cool gradually. Leave them undisturbed on that towel overnight so make sure this location is someplace that you don't need to move them.  Never turn your jars upside down!

During the next few minutes, several hours or overnight the jars will seal. You may hear a "pinging" noise that will indicate that lid has sealed to the jar. Your jars may also seal as you are taking them out of the canner. That is fine as well. The jars will seal as they cool so many jars may take time if the area around them is hot or the jars are clustered together.

Checking for the Seal the next day:

To make sure that the seal has been made put your finger on the lid in the center and gently push down and see if you have any resistance or the lid pushes back. If it's solid or the "button" (some lids) is depressed then the lid is sealed.  If you feel resistance or the button is up then you need to put that jar into the fridge to eat. Do not put an unsealed jar in your pantry. This jar is not shelf stable but the contents are still edible if you put it in the refrigerator to eat first.

Cleaning up the jars: Now that your jars have seal you will want to remove the ring and with a warm damp cloth clean up around the lid and threads of the jar. This will help deter ants in your pantry or other pests.  Once the jar rings are off, leave them off for storage. To read more about why we leave the rings off..see Storing your Canning jars - Do's and Don'ts

Jar is labeled and you can see that

the center button of the lid is depressed

so that it is perfectly sealed!

Labeling: Now that you have cleaned up the jars you will want to label your jars. Labeling is important since you will want to know what recipe is inside and the date that you canned it. Since the food in the jars will be at the optimal freshness for one year you will need to know when you canned it. With a Sharpie marker or sticker label write the recipe name and date of canning.

Storing your jars: To store your jars choose a location that is dark, cool, and dry with the optimal temperature between 50 and 70 degrees.

Final notes: This process and method takes a few times to perfect. Each recipe will be different but the procedures of how you ready your jars and process them for water bath canning will be the same. Be extra careful since you are working with water that is 212 degrees and you can burn yourself if you are not paying attention.

Take pictures and/or keep a canning journal so that you can remember recipes that you liked the taste and flavor and how many jars you made so that the following year you can plan for more if the jars were so good they didn't last very long. Remember you can always snap a picture and post it on my Facebook page at SB Canning and I will share it with other canners who love and want your inspiration.

PRESSURE CANNING - STEP BY STEP!
As my two weeks of spending time taking care of my dad in the hospital wind down and he is headed home tomorrow I am excited to get back to working on my posts and doing some more canning for the holidays. Many of you have been watching and waiting for Santa to bring you a new shiny pressure canner. I don't have to be there when it happens to know that your head will be spinning with the ideas, recipes, and notions of what food you will put up first.

I remember that feeling from the first time I saw my Presto walk in the door in a big box. I knew it was coming and was prepared days before with produce, dried beans, and my Ball Blue book tagged with post-its of what I was processing over the week. I wasn't nervous or scared about starting her up but headed straight on for the work to begin.

It was so awesome to be able to do almost the same process to fill the jars and prep them as the water bath canning  prescribed. I knew I had that down cold with over 40 jars of jams, pickles, tomatoes and other low acid foods sitting in the pantry. I just followed the basic instructions on how much to fill the canner with water and followed the ball book for the rest. The Presto, she was a champ, new sounds and dials to read, but in the end it was just as easy as water bath canning.

Matthew, my good friend on Facebook,  decided to endeavored 200 lbs of sweet potatoes to put up over the last few weeks. For him it's a labor of love and providing for his family with all the craziness that a new baby can bring. He was finishing up his last 14lbs tonight and I wanted to do double homage to not only a step by step of pressure canning but to burn into his mind and remind Mary Katherine when she gets older about the dedication daddy had to getting all 140+ quarts of them completed. (Yes he hand peeled all 200lbs.)

Pressure canning Step by Step (Sweet Potatoes)
Sweet potatoes washed / peeled and sitting in cold water with a little bit of lemon juice (idea from Bren) while they are waiting to be cut up. Put 2-3 inches of hot water in canner. Follow what the specific instructions say on your manufacturers manual. Bring the water to a simmer while you are filling the jars! Cut the Sweet Potatoes into cubes
Fill your jars.
Jars filled to 1 inch head space. About to start filling with near-boiling water. Fill the jars with boiling water to 1" headspace Using your bubble remover go around the jar and refill with boiling water if necessary. Add 1t. of salt if desired Wipe rims of jars with cloth that has been dampened in white vinegar. Add hot lids and rings and tighten "finger" tight! Place filled jars on the rack, using a jar lifter. Fasten canner lid securely. 7 Quart of Sweet Potatoes Ready to go! With lid secure leave weight off vent pipe.(Vent pipe is the to right of the dial gauge). Heat at the highest setting until steam flows from the vent pipe. Maintain high heat setting, exhaust steam 10 minutes. Place weight on vent port. The canner will start to pressurize during the next 3 to 5 minutes. If your canner has a "lid lock" on the front (see picture above for button in the foreground) it will sputter a bit then pop up.  Sometimes the lid lock will pop up before venting for 10 minutes. That is ok! You might have some condensation coming from under the weight or pressure regulator (weight to the right) during processing. You might have some condensation coming from under the weight or pressure regulator during processing. Once pressure gets to 11lbs start your time. (Sweet Potatoes - 65 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts) Continue to adjust your heat to keep thepressure above 11lbs without going up and down past 14lbs. It will take some finesse. Once your process time is complete turn off the heat. Do not move the canner off the stove to cool. Let the pressure completely return to zero and let the 'lid lock' drop before attempting to open the canner. Lift the weight off the vent pipe then remove the lid lifting it away from you since the steam will be hot coming from the canner. Wait 10 minutes before lifting the jars out of the canner so they can depressurize. Lift the jars out and place on a towel on the counter and leave alone for 24 hours before removing the rings, clean up the jars, and putting them in the pantry.

CANNING APRICOT MANGO JAM
My goal this week is to make Jams that work great with yogurt and homemade granola. This apricot mango is just perfect since the apricot stays in small soft chunks so it has a bite to it. I also wanted to show case the new labels that I am using.
These labels are shrink labels that do not have any adhesive and work perfect with a permanent marker like a sharpie. To remove them you can quickly use a scissor to snip one side and they easily come off. There are four designs for now but more are being developed. There are labels for half pints, pints, and quarts. If you want to see the selection click here! 
Also many of you use different powdered pectins that have different measurements for each recipe. I have decided to show the pectin choices (just use one) and their measurements in case you aren't sure how much to use.
Apricot Mango Jam
4 cups pitted and chopped apricots
2 cups fresh chopped mango
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
Pectin choices:    Ball - 3 T. low sugar/no sugar Ball Pectin or;

                                Sure Jel - 1 box no sugar (pink box) or;

                               Pomona -  4 1/2 t.  Pomona Pectin and 3 t. Calcium water

 New "shrink" labels (click here to purchase)
Preparation: Prepare 6 half pint jars, lids, and rings. Sterilize the jars and keep them in the hot water till it’s time for processing. Make sure to fill your water bath canner and get the water to a simmer. Prep the apricots and mangos.  
Cooking: In a large stainless steel or enameled dutch oven combine the apricots and mangos. You will need to cook them down till the mangos go mushy, about 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently. Apricots and mangos have a tendency to burn so make sure you are being attentive. Once the mangos have broken down add the sugar and bottled lemon juice. Continue to stir for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar increasing the heat to a boil. Once at a boil add your pectin and then bring back to a boil for one minute. Remove from heat.
Filling the jars:  On a dishtowel place your hot jars and using your funnel in each jar fill  leaving  1/4”  headspace.  Remove air bubbles and refill to the proper headspace if necessary. Taking a clean papertowel wet it with warm water and wipe the rims of the jars removing any food particles that would interfere with a good seal. Using your magic wand extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just "finger tight".
Processing: Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 10 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.
Sealing: Sometime in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.

HAWAIIAN JALAPENO COWBOY CANDY DELIGHT – canning recipe
1 lb fresh jalapenos
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup chunk fresh or canned pineapple, without juice
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed

PINEAPPLE AND JALAPENO'S - HAWAIIAN COWBOY DELIGHT!
Peggy from the SB Canning page asked me whether or not she could add pineapple chunks to the pickled jalapenos in order to make a sweeter-heat version. By using the same recipe for Cowboy Candy (pickled jalapenos) and adding about 4 or 5 chunks to the bottom of the jars the result is a great combination of flavors. This new jar has the makings of a Hawaiian pizza with Canadian bacon, a quick blend or chop and you have a great quick relish for hamburgers, or just a great appetizer with cream cheese and crackers. It could also be a dip you can blend in a food processor like the recipe Jennifer made (Cowboy Candy Dip) with cream cheese and serve it at your Hawaiian Luau. Be creative and if you find a great recipe come back and share!

HAWAIIAN COWBOY DELIGHT
1 lb fresh jalapenos
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup chunk fresh or canned pineapple, without juice
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
Slice jalapenos. Mix cider vinegar, sugar, and mustard seed to low boil. Reduce for 5 minutes to a simmer. Add jalapenos at the simmer for 5 minutes more. Load hot sterilized jars with 4 to 5 chunks of pineapple. Using a slotted spoon add jalapenos first and add liquid filling the jars leaving a 1/4 headspace. Remove air bubbles with a rubber spatula or chopstick and refill to headspace if needed. Wipe rims with wet paper towel. Add hot lids/rings and place in water bath canner. Process at a full boil for 15 minutes. Makes 2 and 1 half pints  or 5 half  pints.

CANNING PINEAPPLE CHUNKS FROM FRESH PINEAPPLES
A quick post for all of you that love pineapple like I do. There is something so simple about this once you have delved into getting that sweet Hawaiian beauty cut up and prepared to be canned. It takes no time to put up 7 pints as Tami did with her 3 pineapples she bought (shown below).
The pineapple requires no sugar to be canned. It's got enough acidity to hold it's own. You can add water or unsweetened pineapple juice to heighten the flavor but either way it's an amazing jar of goodness that will last you a year or as long as you can keep it from being eaten!
Here is the simple recipe for success... and yes this is water bathed!

PINEAPPLE CHUNKS
Average is 3 lbs per quart or  1.5 lbs per pint
Trick to sweet pineapple is to smell it. The trick to ripe pineapple is to pull out one of the frons from the top. If it comes out easily its ready!
Using a sharp knife peel and remove eyes and tough fiber. Cube or slice the pineapple and set aside.  Pineapple may be packed in water, apple juice, white grape juice, or in very light, light, or medium syrup. For the syrup mixture see the combination here.
In a large saucepan heat syrup, water, or juice, and simmer for 10 minutes. Fill hot jars with pineapple pieces and cover with hot cooking liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove
air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper
towel. Adjust lids and process in a water bath for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.
Thank you Tami for sharing your amazing work on your pineapple chunks!

RED PEPPER RELISH
Peppers are another vegetable that have been slow to come with the summer weather we have had over the last three months. Red, Yellow, and Orange Peppers are now at a good price at farmers market so I decided to get a relish together for hamburgers and other meats for bbq's. Here in Santa Barbara if it isn't raining it's fair game to light up the cue and start grilling!
I wanted to make this a colorful relish so I found a recipe that lets me use all the peppers in the rainbow.

FOUR-PEPPER RELISH
2 large red bell peppers -- seeded, chopped fine
1 large green bell peppers -- seeded, chopped fine
1 large orange bell peppers -- seeded, chopped fine
2 large yellow bell peppers -- seeded, chopped fine
2 small fresh hot chile pepper -- seeded, chopped fine
2 medium red onions -- finely chopped
1 1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 T. chopped fresh coriander (this is cilantro)
2 teaspoons salt
Put the peppers and onions in a heavy enamel or stainless-steel saucepan.
Add sufficient water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute, then drain well in a colander. Return the vegetables to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat and cook for 5 minutes. Pack into hot sterilized jars and attach the lids.
Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
This recipe yields about 3 pints

CANNING RELISH - APRICOT RED PEPPER RELISH
When I'm in the mood to do canning in the off season I try to look for recipes that have dried or frozen fruit as one of the ingredients. In the Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving I spotted earlier this winter the Apricot Red Pepper Relish which uses dried apricots and 1/4 cup of Cowboy Candy. I was given a red pepper from the neighbor and making a jar of this relish would be a great gift for them when they come home from vacation! The recipe is more of a savory jam than a relish as it requires using liquid pectin.

APRICOT RED PEPPER RELISH
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup diced sweet red pepper
1/4 cup drained Cowboy candy, diced
1 1/4 cups chopped dried apricot halves
3 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin
Combine vinegar, red pepper, and jalapeno peppers in blender or food processor. Process with on/off motion until finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer to large saucepan.
Add apricots and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pectin.
Peppers and apricots
Ladle relish into hot jars to 1/2 headspace. Remove air bubbles and refill if necessary. Wipe rims with wet papertowel and add hot lids/rings. Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner at a full boil. Remove from canner and leave undisturbed on counter overnight. Remove rings and store in pantry.
Makes 5 cups. 

CANNING ZUCCHINI - A RELISH OF A DIFFERENT VEGGIE!
If you are like me you have zucchini now coming fast and you may not have enough things to do with it. I turned to the section in the Better Homes and Garden magazine on canning to see what they had come up with. They have a whole section on "bountiful zucchini" with four recipes to work on. I decided to try the zucchini relish since I have a recipe using cucumbers to make relish and I wanted to do a comparison.
The recipe is a bit of work since everything has to be diced, but again great practice on my knife skills to keep everything proportional. I know that sounds silly but it is something that I really want to do well in cooking.  The result was a better flavor than the cucumber version and the zucchini, onion and peppers were still crunchy in the tester jar I put into the frig after water bathing it on Sunday night. It's less sweet than its cucumber version which made me think it could be more versatile for potato salad, tuna salad, and of course on hot dogs.
Here is the recipe:
Zucchini Relish
5 cups finely chopped zucchini (5 small)
Zucchini relish
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions (3 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped green sweet peppers (1 medium)
1/4 cups finely chopped red sweet peppers (1 medium)
1/4 cup pickling salt
Cold water
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 t. celery seeds
1 t. ground tumeric (I omitted)
1/2 t. mustard seeds
1 or 2 drops green food coloring (optional)(I omitted)
In a large non-reactive bowl combine zucchini, onions, and sweet peppers. Sprinkle with salt, toss gently to coat. Add enough cold water to cover vegetables. Cover and allow to stand at room temperature for 3 hours.
Transfer vegetables mixture to a large colander set in sink. Rinse with cold water; drain.
In a 8 quart stainless steel, enamel or nonstick heavy pot combine sugar vinegar, the 1/4 cup water, celery seeds, turmeric, and mustard seeds. Bring to boiling, stirring until sugar dissolves, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 3 minutes. Add drained vegetables mixture and if desired green food coloring. Return to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Ladle hot relish into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (starting with the canner water returns to a full rolling boil) Remove jars from canner. Makes 5 half pints.

LEMON GINGER ZUCCHINI MARMALADE
I have been so busy that I haven’t posted the recipes that I have worked on over the last week. I did add some new tips and information to the bottom of this page; questions about syrups for canning whole fruits and the question about headspace for different types of recipes. 
Last week my sister came through for me again with a friend of hers that has avocados growing and also Meyer lemons. Now normally I am not a lover of the strong lemon flavors.  I don’t like chicken picatta, hollandaise, or lemon meringue pie, but I looked at these amazing yellow lemons she brought and had to put something into jars.
I looked through the Complete book of Small Batch of Preserving and found a marmalade with some ingredients that I already had in my pantry. I have made a “basic necessities” list for my pantry in the “Canning Tips/Questions” tab that has served me well when I get inspired. The recipe that caught my eye was the Lemon Ginger Zucchini Marmalade.  I know it may seems like a strange combination all in a jar. My zucchini is flourishing in the garden so I was excited to use it in a different way. This also had a dual purpose in my head that it will be great as a brushed on “sauce” for barbecued chicken. Even though I keep telling myself I don’t like lemon, I take the leap of faith. 
Note: From this one recipe and the combination of these three main ingredients the taste was so unique that I think that I could be converted. I know the reasons why I don’t like picatta is the chicken soaked with the combination of lemon and capers, the hollandaise is that funky feeling of having a lemony sauce on my beautifully poached eggs or my al dente asparagus, and there is just something about lemons as a pudding or custard that just makes my cheeks pucker.

LEMON GINGER ZUCCHINI MARMALADE
3 lemons
1 medium orange
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped fresh peeled ginger root (I used 1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger)
1 cup shredded zucchini
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar (I used all the sugar so I wouldn’t have so much pucker action)
Remove the thin outer rind from lemons and orange with vegetable peeler and cut into fine strips with scissors or sharp knife; or use a zester. Place in a large stainless steel or saucepan.
Remove the remaining white pith in large pieces and add to saucepan. Stir in water and ginger root.
Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat and boil gently for 25 minutes.
Using tongs remove and discard white rind.
Finely chop fruit pulp in a food processor or blender. Add pulp and zucchini to saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar to fruit mixture. Return to a boil* and boil rapidly uncovered, until mixture will form a gel**, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. 
Ladle into sterilized jars, remove excess air and fill to ¼” headspace. Wipe rims and add hot lids and rings. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a water bath at a full boil.
Makes about 4 1/2 cups

BETTER HOMES AND GARDEN CAN IT! - TACO SAUCE
Over the summer Better Homes and Garden published a canning magazine filled with lots of great recipes. Many of them I have done and posted on my site. Last week BH&G decided that they were going to take that magazine, add some more pictures, and a few more new recipes and put together a Canning Cookbook! The book Better Homes and Garden Can It! arrived to me on Friday and I was very excited to see what new recipes I was going to have to make.
Today I put everything aside and for the first time in a while worked to get four new recipes on my list canned and processed. It was important for me to use up some tomatoes that I had received from my neighbor who was going on vacation and to put into jars something that they would like to have when they got home. I had about 4 pounds of tomatoes and decided to look through the BH&G book there it was...  Fire Roasted Tomato-Ancho Taco Sauce! This is a new recipe not in the summer magazine and since I have not done a taco sauce and I know the neighbors would love it I got to work.
This recipe is not a quick one, but a great flavor will develop over the cooking processes that makes the final product well worth your time. I used the vine tomatoes that I was given versus the plum tomatoes the recipe calls for in the cookbook. I didn't find an issue but it did take an additional 10 minutes to cook down after I strained out the seeds to get a thick consistency.

 FIRE ROASTED TOMATO-ANCHO TACO SAUCE
4 lb plum tomatoes
1 t cumin seeds
8 oz fresh poblano (pasilla)chile,  seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
4 1/2 t minced garlic
4 1/2 t sugar
1 T kosher salt
6 dried ancho chili peppers, seeded into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 t. lime juice
1/4 cup white vinegar
Preheat broiler. Place tomatoes in a single layer in a 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 8 to 10 minutes turning once until skins are lightly charred. Transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard loose skins. Coarsely chop and transfer to a large stainless steel, enameled or nonstick pot.
Meanwhile, place the cumin seeds in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until seeds are lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from the heat and let cool. Finely, grind the seeds in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle, stir into the tomatoes in pot.
Add the poblano peppers, onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic, sugar, and salt to the tomato mixture. Bring to boiling, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until peppers and onions are soft, about 30 minutes. Stir in ancho chiles. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
Recipe process in
Bullet!
Repeat!
Strained through fine
mesh strainer
Strained now ready to reduce on the stove!
Working in batches, transfer tomato mixture to a food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing liquid through and scraping the inside of the sieve with a rubber spatula, discard solids. Repeat with remaining mixture. Return strained mixture to the large pot. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer sauce, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened  and reduced to about 4 cups. Stir in lime juice and vinegar.
Ladle hot sauce into hot, sterilized half pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids. Processed filled jars in water bath canner  for 35 minutes (start timing when water returns to a boil). Remove jars and cool overnight. Makes 5 half pints

SPAGHETTI WITH MEAT SAUCE! -
SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH MEAT
Sauce with Italian Sausage
15 lbs tomatoes
1 1/4 lbs ground beef or sausage
2 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup red bell peppers
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp black pepper
Yield:  About 5 pints (Depends on how much you reduce the sauce)
Prepare tomatoes by choosing to peel or not, then dicing the tomatoes. If you leave the skins on you can use an immersion blender on the tomatoes to break down the skins.
Saute the ground beef or sausage until brown. If you use Italian sausage cut into chunks after browning. Drain the ground beef to eliminate some of the fat. Set aside the meat. In a saucepan with a trace amount of olive oil add garlic, onion, red pepper, and mushrooms.  Cook until vegetables are tender. Combine with tomato pulp in large sauce pot. Add spices and cook to a boil. Simmer, uncovered until the initial volume has been reduced by half. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
Prepare hot pints by adding 1/2 cup of ground beef or 5 pieces of sausage to the bottom of the jar. Ladle into pints the sauce from the pot, leaving 1-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened vinegar clean paper towel.  Adjust lids and process.
Processing in Pressure Canner at 10 lbs of pressure for weighted gauge and 11 lbs at dial gauge for 60 minutes for pints. If you do quarts process for 70 minutes.

CANNING WITH AN ITALIAN THEME!
What a busy weekend for canning. We were blessed with the National "Can it Forward" yesterday and today I was busy with the ladies for our monthly canning group extravaganza. I was anxious to get back to canning some very different recipes and tried to keep this month's gathering to a very Italian theme.
As many may or may not know I can not make spaghetti or pasta sauce if my life depended on it. It has eluded me for so long that I asked Susan who is one of the ladies in the group to come and give us a lesson in doing a safe but tasty recipe. Susan lived in Italy for 15 years on a whim, tired of what was going on for her here in the states and told us of her experiences living in Rome. Who better to teach me some of the tricks of making an excellent sauce than her? Well I was also very excited that my sister Cheryl was here from Las Vegas to share in the day and bring her Italian roots to the pot!
Susan has been canning with me and the group since the first month we started and she has a flair with flavors. She brings tastes of all of her creations and this week was no different. Her combination with fruits are bright and creative and she is daring and tries some recipes that I would turn the page. This week I stopped turning the page and brought something different to the repertoire.
We started with the pasta/spaghetti sauce. Susan's Saucy Sauce. It is a traditional marinara sauce without the meat but with enough acidity from bottled lemon juice to make it safe for water bath canning. There were seven of us today for canning so we doubled the recipe to make sure we had enough jars for everyone to take one home. I also wanted to mention that the color of this sauce is an incredible orange. Not from peppers, but from using the immersion blender and cooking it down for 2 1/2 hours while we did other recipes. We also decided that this sauce would be a perfect sauce for homemade pizza.

SUSAN'S SAUCY SAUCE
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup garlic peeled & minced
16 lbs. (26 cups) San Marzano (Roma or plum) tomatoes chopped with skins & seeds
4 bay leaves
1/3 cup red wine
4 T. chopped fresh basil
Good pinch of sugar
1/4 t. Kosher salt
1/4 t. pepper
½ t. dried chili pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup bottled lemon juice
Saut√© onion, red pepper flakes & garlic in olive oil until translucent and just begin to brown. Add bay leaves, wine, salt & pepper and bring to boil. Add tomatoes, sugar & basil and let simmer for about 2-3 hours until thickens. Remove bay leaves. Blend with immersion blender after cooking about ½ hour just enough to make a smooth consistency as skins and seeds were not removed, or can leave with some chunks.
Add lemon juice and pour into hot jars, wipe rims, remove air bubbles, fill leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process for 30 minutes in hot water bath. Makes 10 pints.
Our second recipe was the first of two daring choices. I wanted to work on something over the top that was different since we have all perfected the basics. My choice was Roasted Garlic Jelly from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving Cookbook. It starts with roasting three heads of garlic in a hot oven drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The finish is a sweet garlic jelly that smells fantastic. We are still working on it's use. We came up with bruchetta as the spread before adding the tomato mixture or as a side to a warmed brie cheese with crackers. The jars we made were the 4 oz size which was perfect for a taster size of an exotic jelly. Here is the recipe and the really beautiful picture of the completed jars.

ROASTED GARLIC JELLY
Roasted Garlic Jelly
3 medium heads Garlic
1 T. olive oil
1 T. Balsamic vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 t. whole black peppercorns
3 T. lemon juice
3 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
Roast garlic in 425 degree oven. In a medium stainless steel saucepan combine roasted garlic, wine, water, white balsamic vinegar, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
Transfer garlic mixture to a dampened jelly bag or a strainer line with several layers of dampened cheesecloth over a deep bowl. Let drip undisturbed for about 30 minutes. measure 1 2/3 cups garlic juice. If you don't have enough add up to 1/4 cup dry white wine or water.
Prepare jars. Transfer garlic juice to a saucepan. Stir in lemon juice and sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam.
Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 headspace. Process in water bath for 10 minutes, start timing when the water is at a full rolling boil.

CHA CHA CHUTNEY
The last recipe, enticing to me because of the sun dried tomatoes, but extraordinary in combination of flavors; Cha Cha Chutney (Sun Dried Tomato Chutney) was given that name based on the look of it in the cooking pot. It "looked" like chili but has a taste that is out of this world. This evening my hubby made Tri-Tip steak and we used the chutney as a side. It was a perfect accompaniment to the meat. It had a flavor like a mild steak sauce with the occasional bite of the sun dried tomatoes. It wasn't overly spicy and even after only a few hours in a jar the vinegar flavor was mild and lost much of its pungency.  It was really one of the best "chutneys" I have ever tasted. We doubled the recipe and it originally comes from the Complete Small Batch Preserving Cookbook.
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (3 cups)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
1/2 cup dried currants (used dried cranberries)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 inch piece ginger root, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. curry powder (omitted)
1/4 t. salt and hot pepper flakes
Combine tomatoes, onion, sun dried tomatoes and currants in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Stir in sugar, water, vinegar, ginger root, garlic, curry powder, salt and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and boil gently, uncovered for 30 minutes or until chutney is very thick, stirring frequently.
Tri Tip Steak with Cha Cha Chutney!
Remove hot jars from canner and ladle chutney into jars to within 1/2 inch headspace. Process 10 minutes for half pint jars. Makes 4 half pints.
For different texture you can also blend the chutney using an immersion or standard blender and use it like a steak sauce.

MY ORANGE MARMALADE
I had been looking at a Facebook post with a request for a Orange Marmalade recipe. I just picked about forty pounds in my neighborhood and tonight started a great batch using both navels and juicing oranges. The recipe is very simple, but prep work is always time consuming for citrus. This is a two step recipe so that you have time for the peels to soak to soften overnight. It's great when you have only enough time at night to do one step at a time.  First day prep, second day cook and can.

ORCHARD ORANGE MARMALADE
10 medium Navel and Juicing Oranges (see preparation below)
4 cups sugar
6 cups water
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Orange prep:
1. Peeling Orange with Potato Peeler
2. White Pith needs to be removed
Using a (1) potato peeler, peel the outside of each of the oranges and set the peels aside. When you have completed the entire peeling, remove all the (2) white part of the orange, which is called the “pith”, so that you can see the (3) flesh to segment the oranges. You can cut the orange in half width wise and separate the segments in smaller sections being careful to get rid of seeds and any of the membrane or internal white parts as you can. Once you have segmented the oranges into a bowl cut the peels into a (4) fine julienne or small strips and add 1 cup of them to the bowl as well.
3. Peel or cut down to the flesh
4. Julienne the rind
In a dutch oven or heavy stainless pot, add the oranges and peels, sugar and water. Leave overnight to pre-soften the rinds and infuse the sugar.
The next day place the dutch oven on the stove and begin simmering the recipe till it comes to a slow boil. Continue to cook for 30 minutes and stir frequently. You will see that the orange segments will start to break down in the pot and the mixture will become thicker for the spoon to stir. After 30 minutes add the lemon juice and continue to cook to get to 220 degrees on a candy thermometer or gel test using a plate in the freezer. Drop a tablespoon of the recipe on the cold plate, wait one minute, if you turn the plate upside down and the mixture is solid and you push your finger through and it "wrinkles" the mixture is set to be canned.
Example of the wrinkle
Ladle mixture into half pint jars and water bath for 15 minutes. When you remove your jars from the water bath they may take a few days to completely set.
This is a very basic recipe that can be varied by adding flavors such as vanilla bean (1 pod adding during cooking), cardamom (20 green pods crushed infused during cooking in cheesecloth), coriander seed (1 T. infused during cooking in cheesecloth or tea ball), and crystallized ginger (1 T. chopped finely added during cooking).
P.S If you need instructions on how to fill your jars, remove the air, clean the rims, add the lids and rings, and understanding processing time, please email me for a link to “how to basics”.

START YEAR TWO WITH BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA!
Happy New Year to all my readers. I have been ready to get back into the kitchen to work on some new fun recipes, but I wanted to start the year by working diligently on pressure canning. A large part of being sustainable in the pantry is having jars of food that aren't jams, jellies, pickled, or condiments.
 I have worked on my first soups but I am taking it slow since there are many things still to consider when pressure canning. For instance, I have been reading more about working with dried beans. I have found many hints regarding the expansion of beans as they are pressure canned. The headspace is important, as well as, the amount of liquid added to the not fully cooked beans that will be absorbed.
I am also interested in putting up chilis and beef stew but I have also read that the results of ground beef in a chili becomes a very strange texture. For a beef stew the leaner the meat the better as an end result. My idea is to can the base for chili by preparing a chili bean and vegetables that is ready to be put into the pot and adding cooked ground sirloin.
But first the beans...  I have to admit that I have never cooked any dried beans before now and didn't really know the process of sorting, soaking, straining, and cooking. Any bean I have every needed came in a can not a bag! It seemed a bit overwhelming at first since what does a rock or hard bean really look like. All the black beans are identical, but in the batch with a half hour of time I found a few I needed to toss. I was really excited about the prospect of making a black bean and corn salsa using the pressure canner. Remembering the expansion factor I followed a recipe and turned out a great rendition.

BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA
4 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 T. Epazote seasoning
1 T. dried Cilantro
1 t. red chili flakes
1 T. Kosher salt
1/3 cup vinegar
1 (15 ounce) tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) dried black beans, sorted, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed, then weighed
2 cups frozen corn or fresh
The night before, sort and soak your dried black beans in enough water to cover them. Leave in a cool place. The next day drain beans in a colander and put back into a pot adding 4 cups of water and cook for 30 minutes on a simmer. Do not boil as it will cause the beans to split.
To continue prepare 8 pint jars, lids and rings by sterilizing.
Once your beans have cooked the 30 minutes, in a dutch oven, add 15 ounces of the black beans without cooking liquid. You will have about a two cups left from a dried one pound bag. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 10 minutes till the mixture is boiling. Remove from heat and ladle mixture into the hot jars leaving 1" headspace. The extra headspace is for the expansion and beans absorbing some of the liquid. Put on lids and rings and place into a pressure canner.
Process in canner for 75 minutes at 10 pounds for the pints, 90 minutes if you choose to use quarts.
Note: When the processing time is complete, turn off the burner and let the canner gauge return to zero before you open. Once opened you will notice that your recipe in the jars will still be boiling and bubbling until they are cooled. That is totally normal.
You will find this recipe to be very versatile and you can add more heated peppers for a spicier flavor, more dry spices like cumin to add a smoky flavor, or additional vegetables such as green peppers to add more bulk to the chip.

SUNDAY CANNING - STRAWBERRIES & CHAMPAGNE
I had high hopes to get quite a bit of canning done. Unfortunately I only had time for two recipes, but I was excited to complete the Strawberry Champagne Jam. I again found that slowing things down for the fruit and putting in the time for a low simmer gave the jam an unbelievable texture and shine to it that made the recipe more luscious. After doing so many recipes I am becoming more interested in turning out a great jar of something than just doing a recipe to get it into the pantry.
I found this recipe to be very easy especially for the beginner. It was one that I would use in the future to talk about a twist on a normal Strawberry Jam. The champagne gave the strawberries more of a vibrant taste. The the original recipe called for 5 cups of sugar and I only put in two since I wanted to not over sweeten this beautiful combination. I used my "go to" Ball flex batch pectin and I also decided to cut the normal amount for 4 half pints so the consistency was a bit looser. The final product was exactly what I set out for it to be. Here is the recipe:

STRAWBERRY CHAMPAGNE JAM
4 cups fresh Strawberries
1 cup dry Champagne
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
1 T. Ball flex batch pectin
In a dutch oven or stainless steel pot add the strawberries and 1/2 cup of the champagne. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and lemon juice and bring the recipe back up to a boil. Add the pectin once at a full boil and then let come back to a boil for one minute. Turn off heat. Add the other 1/2 cup of champagne stirring till bubbles are stirred in. Skim foam as best you can.
Using sterilized jars ladle the recipe into 4 half pint jars, remove air bubbles and refill to 1/4" headspace. Using a wet paper towel clean rims, add heated lids and add rings. Process in the water bath at a full boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, wait five minutes and remove jars and set on dish towel on the counter overnight. The next day label your jars and remove rings for storage.

DANDELION JELLY - SWEET LIKE HONEY!
Last night I was cruising through the posts on my FB page and stumbled onto a beautiful picture of a familiar recipe from last year. It's sunshine color was either a hint of a lemon jelly or one of the craziest recipes; Dandelion Jelly.
Patti had done the recipe the day before and took an amazing photograph of the end result. I have seen this recipe go by on my site for the last several season, but I thought it would be a great time to add it to the page. It's a fairly simple recipe using the dandelion flowers seeped in boiling water.

DANDELION JELLY
Makes five half-pint jars.
Do NOT use any dandelions that have been sprayed with fertilizers or pesticides!
2 cups dandelion petals  **
2 cups water
4 cups sugar
¼ cup of lemon juice
4.5 oz of liquid pectin (1 ½ of the 3oz packets)
Preparation: Gather dandelions, bring inside and clip the petals only(Use scissors squeeze at the base of the flower head on the green part and just cut the petals right off).   You will need about 4 cups of whole flowers to make 2 cups of petals, the bigger the flower the better the petals.
Cooking: Bring 2 cups water to boil and add dandelions.  You can wait 30 minutes or I usually wait until it hits room temperature and I put in the fridge overnight.
Following Day! Get your jars and lids ready.
Preparation: Strain dandelion liquid (I put a coffee filter in a strainer over the pan for a
cleaner strain) right into a pot. (minimum 2 quart pan)
Cooking: As you start to warm up your liquid, slowly add the lemon juice and sugar. Bring
to a boil so that you can not stir it down. Add the pectin and remove from heat. (Also, you
can add about 20 drops of food coloring (yellow or green), if you want to make the color
prettier.)
Processing: Pour into hot sterilized jars filling to 1/4" headspace. Wipe rims and add hot lids/rings. Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on a towel overnight. Remove rings for storage.

HAVE CHIPS, NEED SALSA! TWO TOMATO SALSA ON THE STOVE!
As we get ready now, only a few weeks away from getting our seedlings in the ground, I craved the taste of a great salsa, home made, that has that combination of heat and sweet from fresh tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and chilis. I went to the local produce market that carries items from farmers in the tri counties and spied some great looking Tomatillos. They had some Romas also that were really ripe and juicy.  Now in the past I have made a green Tomatillo salsa but my hubby didn't like how acidic and bitter the green ones tasted. I decided to remake the recipe with a combination of both red and green for a two tomato salsa.
To-Mater Salsa
6 cups tomatillos, chopped
2 cups red onions, chopped
1 jalapeno peppers, seeded, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 dried pasillo chili, reconstituted, diced
1 1/2 cup diced roma tomatoes, juice and seeds included
6 T. sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large pot & stir frequently over high heat until mixture boils.
Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Ladle into pint jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Adjust lids, process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.
This salsa is a great combination of the sweet and heat. My hubby was right next to me at the stove taste testing as the flavors developed while it simmered. Needless to say some of this recipe never made it into a jar.  I am sure that the two pints and 3 half pints I put up will be gone in no time!

 

 

 

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