Thursday, September 03, 2009

Jellin' and Relishin' - My first Canning Experience


We be jammin' or jellin' or relishin', whatever you want to call it, my inaugural foray into canning was a huge success; thanks in large part to my father, who brought the biggest ass kettle I have ever seen in my life and his knowledge of canning. He showed me step by step how to sterilize the bottles, tops, tongs, funnel, etc. He watched over everything with the careful eye of the engineer he is. He told me exactly how much jelly and relish to put into each jar, how to put the full jars in the boiling water, how to cool them, and then how to test them to make sure they were sealed.

I am so glad to have this garden. All the mornings of going out to the backyard, shaking my first at the plants begging them to "give me something" have paid off. I'm all friggin' Martha Stewart and shit with my fruitful vines and fruit heavy tomato plants. I love love love the idea that in the grips of the cold, long New England winter I will be able to go down into the cellar and pull out a jar of something that I grew when the summer sun was hot and the days were long. I'll be able to open a jar and remember the heat and the smell of the summer, this more than anything brings a smile to my face, and you can bet your ass I'll say the following phrase every time I open a new jar, "I Made This Shit!"

So what did I make you ask. I took all the ready jalapenos from my garden and combined them with sweet dried apricots and and made a beautiful red/orange hued apricot jalapeno jelly, a jelly that upon first taste my dad exclaimed "that's damn good" - ahh the true test of a dish's merit in my kitchen, the official Damn Good rating.

The second thing we made used up about 6 of my zucchinis - we turned the zucchinis into a wonderfully sweet zucchini relish that I first had at the aforementioned "Maine Cookout". It is the most amazingly sweet and savory relish and we have already eaten a whole jar of it in the week since I made it. I've actually eaten it like peanut butter, just sticking my spoon in the jar and eating it.

Bottom line, I cannot wait to try new canning recipes. I have a date with my dad to make more jelly and pickles next month.

I'll post the recipes for these two canning items in separate posts with their own titles so that people searching for recipes can easily find them.

Recipes coming soon.

Dad showing me how to funnel the jelly into the jar.

This is what the jelly looked like in the pot as we were putting it into the jars.

Rating - Damn Good Time


stoned fox said...

Can I come next month?

This morning, I received a Not Your Average Joes Email and thought of you - here's a snippet of info that might be helpful to you!

- How to freeze summer tomatoes to be used over the cold winter in sauces and stews: Pick tomatoes that are fully colored and tender (but not mushy or soft) and clean them well. Dip 2 to 3 tomatoes at a time into boiling water, removing after 30 seconds with a slotted spoon. Slide off the skins and remove the core. Pack the tomatoes into freezer bags and lay them flat on your freezer shelf. Frozen tomatoes stay fresh up to one year.

~ How to pickle summer vegetables, also known as corning: Combine 3 C. white wine vinegar, 2 C. water, 1 1/2 T. sea salt, 2 cloves garlic, 1 t. black peppercorns, 1/4 C. sugar and bring to a simmer. Add vegetables and simmer until cooked to desired tenderness. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool. Add 1/4 C. olive oil and 1/4 C. balsamic vinegar to the pickling liquid and pour it back over the vegetables in storage containers. Cool, and then cover containers with lids. Pickled vegetables will last one month.

AM said...

This is so cool! I love that you're canning with your Dad. Husband and I made freezer jam once, but you are now approaching master preserver status.

JB said...

Oh, AM - Try water bath canning it's really not that hard and it's so rewarding, I really can't wait to make more.

AlwaysJoy said...

Julie I was JUST thinking about your garden when I saw this:
A great way to use your chives :-)

JB said...

Joy - when I was at the farmers market this morning there was a guy selling chive jelly. I may try to make that too, but this looks very interesting. Thanks for sending it along. Did you use the chives I gave you in your horse treats?

Dad said...

Fun and tasty! Hot pepper jelly sounds a little odd, but it's a great companion to cream cheese on your favorite cracker. For the truly faint at heart, you can use sweet peppers instead of hot - still good. JB and I had a good time making jelly and relish. I'm looking forward to doing it again.