mdt

Canning And Preserving

269 posts in this topic

Mike are you canning or freezing the preserves?

I have not picked up Mes Confitures yet.  It's on the list.  Do you have Fine Preserving by Catherine Plagemann?  It's worth picking up if you can find it used.

I figured this would be a great topic to start a new thread on as I would love to hear what others are doing.

I am canning, my first real attempt, and cannot wait to try new recipes.

I have not seen that book, but will head to the library and see if they have it.

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This is my first time posting, so I'd ask you to be gentle, but I don't think I'd get that here! :lol:

Mr. Bimbap and I make a mess of jam in the summer after going to either Butler's Orchard or Homestead Farms for pick-your-own fruit. My personal favorite is spiced peach jam which I could just eat out of the jar with a spoon.

We had decided to give out little 4oz jars of our jams and jellies as wedding favors two years ago, which led to a summer of intense canning experiments. Needless to say, we feel like old pros now.

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Can anyone recommend good books on canning for techniques and recipes, as well as local go to farms to pick your own fruit?

Thanks :lol:

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Every year I swear I'm going to to a big batch of peach preserves, and every year I get swamped just as the peaches are ready to be preserved. Maybe this year...

I like to stick a jar or two of something home-canned in Christmas baskets/stockings every year. Big hits in years past have been the aforementioned peach preserves, peach butter, apple butter, blueberry marmalade, brandied pears, garlic chutney, smoky ketchup. The nice thing about the last two is that they don't depend on things being in season (I can used canned tomatoes instead of fresh, etc.), so they're easier to fit into my schedule.

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Glad to see there is some interest in this. Now how about some recipes or sources for what you have made.

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Here's the recipe for the Peach Jam (with my favorite Spiced variation) from the Ball Blue Book:

Peach Jam

Source: Ball Blue Book Guide

2 quarts peeled and crushed peaches

1/2 cup water

6 cups sugar

Combine peaches and water in a large pot. Cook gently 10 minutes.

Add sugar. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick, then ladle into jars and seal.

Process about 15 minutes in boiling water bath.

Makes about 4 pints.

Variation: For Spiced Peach Jam, add a spice bag containing 1 tsp whole cloves, 1/2 tsp whole allspice and 1 stick of cinnamon. Remove spices before pouring jam into jars.

We don't use any added pectin products for this recipe, so we make sure to boil the jam for a while to be sure we've boiled the water out. We usually bring the temperature to 222-224 degrees.

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Can anyone recommend good books on canning for techniques and recipes, as well as local go to farms to pick your own fruit?

Thanks ;)

CAtherine Plagemann book is wonderful but not for beginners. Try The Joy of Pickling, Preserving the Harvest and the Ball Blue Book (which is not actually Blue anymore :P ), which is published by the folks who make the jars.

I am canning blueberry jam, strawberry jam, pickled peaches, vidalia relish, pear/sour cherry chutney, pickled dilly green beans, hot pickled carrots, Indian spiced cauliflower, and sour cherry preserves. And this might be the year I make my own catsup. :lol:

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CAtherine Plagemann book is wonderful but not for beginners. Try The Joy of Pickling, Preserving the Harvest and the Ball Blue Book (which is not actually Blue anymore ;) ), which is published by the folks who make the jars.

I am canning blueberry jam, strawberry jam, pickled peaches, vidalia relish, pear/sour cherry chutney, pickled dilly green beans, hot pickled carrots, Indian spiced cauliflower, and sour cherry preserves. And this might be the year I make my own catsup. :lol:

Whoa! Wow! Thanks you for the references and the inspiration. Do the above mentioned references have the recipe for the pear/sour cherry chutney? If not could you share?, and if it's a well guarded beloved recipe, I understand.

Thank you.

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Garlic Chutney

This makes a lot, but it's easy to do and makes a great gift. It also keeps a long time in the refrigerator. I got this from Mimi Hiller. Not sure where she got it from.

Great on crackers, spooned over chicken or fish before baking, or just right out of the jar with a spoon.

2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and quartered

1-1/2 pints white vinegar

2 pounds dark brown sugar

1 pound raisins

2 heads garlic, cloves separated, peeled and chopped fine

4 ounces crystallized ginger, chopped fine

1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon dry pepper flakes

Cook apples in vinegar till soft and mushy. Add remaining ingredients (adding only half the pepper flakes) and mix well. Cook over moderate heat about 10 minutes. Taste. If spicier taste wanted, add remaining pepper flakes. Cook 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Pour into sterile jars and seal.* If not sealing, store in refrigerator.

Makes 8 jelly glasses.

* I use a boiling water bath to seal these - no need for a pressure canner.

Smoky Tomato Ketchup

I pulled this off of rec.food.cooking years ago. I make a batch every once in a while and just keep it in the fridge. WAY better than regular ketchup.

5 pounds tomato -- coarsely chopped (or 3 28 oz. cans crushed

1 large onion -- finely chopped

1 poblano chili -- finely chopped

2 jalapeno -- coarsely chopped

2 dried chipotle chilies -- or canned

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Combine all ingredients in a large nonreactive pot and bring to a boil over

medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until

vegetables are soft an sauce is reduced by 1/4. Puree in food processor.

Strain through a sieve into a clean pot (for a chunkier catsup, don't strain).

Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and simmer (partially covered to prevent

splatters) for 1 hour or until quite thick and dark brownish red. Store in

refrigerator for up to 1 month. Freeze for longer storage or can (boiling water bath).

Peach Preserves

From The Joy of Cooking. First time I made this for gifts, my mother's comment was "the only thing wrong with that jar of preserves was that it wasn't big enough." Really fabulous peach flavor.

Peaches, skinned, pitted, cut into lenghwise slices

For each cup of fruit, allow:

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Pour sugar over fruit, stir gently, and let stand 2 hours. Add lemon juice and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to maintain the simmer and avoid scorching. Continue cooking until fruit is transparent (I use a candy thermometer and stop cooking when the temperature reaches 221F -- for the true geeks, meaure the temp of boiling water in your area and add 9 degrees).

Place in jars and seal (hot water bath). If there's too much syrup, place the fruit in jars and continue boiling syrup to concentrate it before pouring over fruit.

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Garlic Chutney
I make a very similar recipe and heartily concur that this chutney is delicious!!!
Smoky Tomato Ketchup
Hey mdt -- you were wondering what to do with all those extra tomatoes? :lol:

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Spiced Peaches From the 1963 "Freezing and Canning Cookbook" by the food editors of the Farm Journal, this recipe is worth it even though it spans two days. Better to at least double the recipe to maximize the effort.

4 lbs freestone peaches (about 16 medium)

1 T. whole cloves

2 quarts water

2 T. plus 1 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

4 c. sugar

3/4 cup water

1 tsp. whole ginger piece

2 sticks cinnamon, plus optional half stick for each jar

Largest size you have non-aluminum pot

To peel peaches, bring a large pot of water to boil and dunk a few peaches in at a time for 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and peel. Stick one clove in each peach. Mix 2 T vinegar into 2 quarts water and pour it over the whole peaches (I used to use a scrubbed out sink to hold them all) and let sit for an hour or so while you suck down a couple of cold ones. In the large non-aluminum pot, combine the sugar, 1 1/2 c. vinegar, 3/4 c. water, add a cheesecloth bag or tea ball of the ginger, remaining cloves, and cinnamon, and bring to boil. Drain the peaches and add to the pot. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from burner and allow the peaches to steep overnight in the covered pot. Lift out the peaches with slotted spoon to drain, and put them in hot jars(putting the jars through the hottest dishwasher cycle by themselves works, but boil the lid disks in a pot.) Reboil the remaining liquid to a rapid boil and fill jars up to within 1/2" of top. Add a half-stick of cinnamon into each jar (optional). Pop on the lids and process for 30 minutes.

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We made three batches of jam today - strawberry, blueberry, and sour cherry are cooling on my counter. Half the jars went home with Mr and Mrs B who brought the cherries and strawberries and provided the wine and bahn mi (next time lunch is on me). Special mention to Mr Shorter and Nora who took the little ones to the pool while mom played with boiling fruit and sugar.

Tomorrow I prep a big batch of vidalia relish to be processed on Tuesday. And make some biscuits to go with the jam. :lol:

Edit to say I'll post some pretty pictures of the jars as soon as I find our digital camera.

Edited by Heather

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I took my kids to Westmoreland Farm, which is south and east of Fredricksburg, and came back with a bucket each of freshly picked red rspberries and blueberries, and a couple of buckets of blackberries. They have different varieties of blackberries out there. Some, which are not nearly ripe yet, appear to be what I will call "domesticated" blackberries. The ones that we picked were more akin to the wild blackberries that I used to pick on my grandfather's farm when I was a kid.

I rinsed the blueberries and put them on a cookie sheet and then into the freezer. When they freeze, they are like marbles and yoiu can roll them into a plastic bag and they keep in the freezer for a really long time. I like bringing them out in the winter for blueberry pancakes or waffles. I also make blueberry shortcake out of them.

The red raspberries and the blackberries get a different treatment. I puree them in the food processor and then I seive out the seeds. The pulp/juice that remains gets brought to a boil with a little sugar. Them it gets parceled out into plastic containers and frozen. In the winter, I will thaw out a container and use the stuff on vamilla ice cream (tastes like summer time) or use it to make sauces for roast meats (a blackberry/port reduction goes really nice on roasted pork or venison backstrap).

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Sounds good, Jacques. In addition to the jam I took half of the blueberry/sugar mixture, strained it and got a quart of blueberry syrup that was damn good on vanilla ice cream last night.

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;)

I opened a jar of blueberry jam last night and it didn't set properly. I tried not using pectin and obviously didn't do it properly. Anyone have ideas for 4 jars of blueberry sauce?

This weekend: pear/sour cherry chutney, and more blueberry jam. :lol:

Edited by Heather

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Anyone have ideas for 4 jars of blueberry sauce?

Homemade vanilla ice cream. But only if made in an ice cream maker that was brought over on the Mayflower.

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Homemade vanilla ice cream. But only if made in an ice cream maker that was brought over on the Mayflower.

You're bad. :lol:

I bet it would make good ice cream flavoring, or sorbet. Time to freeze the insert for the ice cream maker and start experimenting.

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Went to Westmoreland Berry Farm over the weekend to pick blueberries, black raspberries, and blackberries. Made a ton of jam and froze some of the blueberries.

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7/6/05 Washington Post has article and recipes with emphasis on reduced sugar and new pectin products.

Canning

This link will not last forever.

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Good article, but the recipes are all for freezer products which don't last as long.

I will be making low-sugar blueberry jam this weekend. I've never tried it, and have heard that the low-sugar pectin can do funky things to the texture. If it turns out badly I'll just give those away as "gifts". :P

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I got a copy of Fine Preserving, by Catherine Plagemann, from the library.

As near as I can tell, M.F.K. Fischer (sp?) found this book out of print, liked it,

and decided to get it back in print, with her margin notes printed along side

the text, in red. I would call those notes "marginalia", except that I always think

of marginalia as being pencil scrawls beside text.

Anyway, so far I find that the original author loved pectin, and M.F.K. Fischer

is definitely anti-pectin.

Will controversy never end?

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Is there some store in DC or nearby that sells canning supplies? Sometimes

I read "your local farming supply store will have ...". I have to go a good ways

to find such an establishment.

I have an assorted collection of empty jars, mostly traditional Ball type.

Checked out Sur La Table on-line, and see that they start with an entirely

different type of jars.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.

Strosnider's Hardware in Bethesda, Potomac & Silver Spring sells jars by the case, in a variety of sizes. They also sell lids, so you can re-use your old Ball jars.

Anyway, so far I find that the original author loved pectin, and M.F.K. Fischer

is definitely anti-pectin.

Much as I admire MFK Fischer, I have to disagree with her here. Without using pectin, preserves have to be cooked for a much longer time, in order to get them to thicken. To me, the flavor of the fruit is changed much for the worse by the longer cooking process. In the many years that I have made preserves with all kinds of fruits and berries, both with and without pectin, I am solidly in the pro-pectin camp.

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Count me in the pectin camp as well, just because it allows you to cook the fruit as little as possible.

That said, those low-sugar pectin recipes are a waste of good fruit and an expensive lesson - the lesson being if you don't want sugar in then don't make jam.

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I made some strawberry preserves with no pectin and am not to pleased with the results. Some of the berries are very firm and they have that 'cooked' taste. My other, with pectin, jams and preserves are much better.

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Can anyone recommend good books on canning for techniques and recipes, as well as local go to farms to pick your own fruit?

Thanks :P

I took a canning and preserving class at L'Academie several years ago. The book the teacher (sorry, I cannot remember her name!!) recommended has been invaluable: Preserving Summer's Bounty, edited by Susan McClure. It isn't just about canning, but also about freezing and drying. Very handy.

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I have to say, it is very heartening to see people canning and preserving. YAY! I have judged canning entries at fairs (I doubt I should say which ones) and though entries are down, the quality of what is entered is usually top notch.

So--have any of you put your chutneys and jams into a fair? How did you do? And if you haven't, why not? Like I said, entries are down, and nothing makes you feel as good as a blue ribbon hanging in your kitchen!

Now, another question for you all. Water bath or pressure canning?

Thanks guys!

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So--have any of you put your chutneys and jams into a fair? How did you do? And if you haven't, why not?

I just started canning last year, and I'm not sufficiently confident in my skills to compete. Two small children inhibit major prep and working with hot food jars and giant pots of boiling water.

Now, another question for you all. Water bath or pressure canning?

Water bath. I haven't tried canning anything low-acid yet.

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Any suggestions on how to preserve that Toigo "best corn I've ever eaten in my life" corn for future days?

My family, Iowans all, always scraped the corn off the cob and stuck it in freezer bags. Reheated with a little butter, it's heaven.

Obviously not quite the same as the on-cob experience, but how can you save summer?

Speaking of which, I'm thinking of trying to use some mint by making a simple syrup with it and then freezing that. Other ideas? It's just a little bunch but I don't think I'll get to use it this week and it just. smells. so. good.

Jael

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Any suggestions on how to preserve that Toigo "best corn I've ever eaten in my life" corn for future days?

Basic easy formula: Blanch corn, placing 3 or 4 ears of corn in a large pot of

boiling water for 6 minutes. Move blanched corn to a large amount of ice cold water for

6 minutes. Remove corn kernels from the cob with knife. Wrap small amounts of

corn in plastic wrap, squeezing as much air out as possible. Put multiple packets

in a larger freezer bag. Place in coldest part of freezer.

(a more traditional method uses "freezer-safe" glass jars)

I have seen numerous variations on these instructions from ag schools, etc.

To do corn-on-the-cob, blanch until done (9, 10 or 11 minutes). Place in ice water

an equal amount of time. Wrap and freeze.

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Basic easy formula: Blanch corn, placing 3 or 4 ears of corn in a large pot of

boiling water for 6 minutes.

To do corn-on-the-cob, blanch until done (9, 10 or 11 minutes). Place in ice water

an equal amount of time. Wrap and freeze.

Those times seem pretty long to me, as I put them in boiling water for ony 2-3 minutes. Does freezing require you to cook the corn longer?

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Those times seem pretty long to me, as I put them in boiling water for ony 2-3 minutes. Does freezing require you to cook the corn longer?

I'm already beyond my expert knowledge, but that has never stopped me before ---

blanching corn before freezing it is meant stop enzymes in the corn from whittling

away at the sugars (some biologist will correct me on this, I'm sure). These are

the same factors that make wonder fresh corn not so good if it is forgotten and

cooked a week later.

Published formulas for preserving (including freezing) tend to risk over cooking,

if that will increase the chances that the product can be pulled out of the freezer,

even 10 months later, and look good, and taste OK.

Corn-on-the-cob is an even more extreme example, since it needs to be in the

boiling water long enough for the cob to be heated through, all so it can be brought

out in February, and still look beautiful.

If someone did a test and froze some corn without any boiling , and some done

3 minutes, and some done 6 minutes (and some done 9 minutes ...) I don't really

know what the differences would be.

I know this does not really answer the question ..., but it's the best I've got.

(I know I should quit while I'm ahead, but ... (more muddying of waters) ...

Most cooks are not like me, in that they don't cook something, plate it up,

and hurry to dining room shouting "Eat this before it's ruined!" If I cook

corn, and it is not consumed for another 10 minutes, residual heat continues

cooking ... I knew shouldn't have started this ...

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As for canning, I don't think the AB process gets the temperature up high enough for it to be safely stored.

Do you mean WB (waterbath) process? Actually, tomatoes are among the foods that are safest to put by using waterbath canning. The high acidity in the tomatoes is the reason. I suppose low-acid, yellow tomatoes might be a concern.

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Do you mean WB (waterbath) process? Actually, tomatoes are among the foods that are safest to put by using waterbath canning. The high acidity in the tomatoes is the reason. I suppose low-acid, yellow tomatoes might be a concern.
AB = Alton Brown, from Food Network. His tomato sauce recipe starts with halved Roma tomatoes, roasted with oil and herbs in the oven, then put through a food mill to remove the skins. It definitely does not get hot enough, would need to be put into sterile jars, perhaps topped off with olive oil, and processed further. I have seen that suggested, but canning tomatoes scares me!

He also scoops out the seeds before he starts, to remove the "acidic gel." Why do people do this? To remove moisture, I suppose, and then they add moisture with other ingredients, like the white wine the recipe calls for (I don't put white wine into tomato sauce! The kids hate the taste of wine so no wine at all, but it would be red if I did.)

BTW- the recipe doesn't mention this but cover the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil. The juices WILL turn crusty, even in a no-stick pan.

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Fishers Hardware in Springfield has a wonderful array of canning supplies.
Yes, although they didn't have a jar lifter when I needed one (said they would get more). I found one at Ace Hardware in Chantilly. They don't carry Pickle Crisp, I found that at the Food Lion in Fair Lakes. Pickle Crisp is calcium chloride, if you look on the label of your favorite Kosher dills you'll probably see it as an ingredient. In addition to Fishers, Ace, and Food Lion, you can find stuff at Walmart, Giant and Safeway. This is seasonal for most stores except Fisher, who seems to carry stuff year 'round. Or buy online.

The canning pot needs to be deep enough to cover the top of the jar by a couple of inches, or else the jars need to be short enough yadda yadda. I've been using a stock pot with the spaghetti insert. Apparently you don't need the special canning pot insert, as long as the jars are up off the bottom of the pot so they don't rattle, but if I keep canning I will buy one.

My task for today is tomatoes, over 20 lbs of romas and heirlooms. I plan to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake all varieties indiscriminately tossed with olive oil until I get a sense that they're ready for the next step. Never done this before so somewhat winging it. I do have a food mill (the el cheapo without inserts, only one set of holes, from Fisher). Think I will just bake the tomatoes with olive oil and salt, mill off the skins, and pack in ziplocks and freeze, and treat them as I would fresh tomatoes for sauce.

I used the hot water method for pickles, even though the best ones are fermented. I am a coward.

Food Lion carries low-sugar pectin.
I have a tree full of green apples, am going to attempt the Mes Confitures method of using green apple jelly as a source of pectin.

I also have a collander full of crab apples, wondering what to do with them. My mother wanted me to plant her a crab apple tree, since she lives in an apartment, so I did, but now that it's fruiting she doesn't have any use for them.

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My task for today is tomatoes, over 20 lbs of romas and heirlooms. I plan to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake all varieties indiscriminately tossed with olive oil until I get a sense that they're ready for the next step. Never done this before so somewhat winging it. I do have a food mill (the el cheapo without inserts, only one set of holes, from Fisher). Think I will just bake the tomatoes with olive oil and salt, mill off the skins, and pack in ziplocks and freeze, and treat them as I would fresh tomatoes for sauce.

If you plan to use the tomatoes as if they were fresh, it would be better to blanch and peel them like peaches. The skins slip off easily after 30 seconds in boiling water, and the tomatoes don't get cooked. Then you can halve them, squeeze out the seeds and either pack them freezer bags or canning jars and water process them.

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If you plan to use the tomatoes as if they were fresh, it would be better to blanch and peel them like peaches. The skins slip off easily after 30 seconds in boiling water, and the tomatoes don't get cooked. Then you can halve them, squeeze out the seeds and either pack them freezer bags or canning jars and water process them.
You're right, and I misspoke myself.

This experiment starts with a recipe in the new Gourmet cook book, alleged "bruschetta" but essentially roasted roma tomatoes, cross-fertilized with Alton Brown's recipe.

I am inundated with roma and heirloom tomatoes. It seems to me that the best way to save them up is remove seeds and skins, cook them down so that the moisture evaporates, and then when needed, they are concentrated pure tomato meat.

I've observed that as roasted tomatoes cook down, they shrink. So why spread them out? I wish I took a photo of what I started with, 20 lbs of fresh tomatoes that I trimmed, and scooped out the juice and seeds, tossed with olive oil, and roasted. Here is what they look like, at this exact moment. (There are actually more in another oven.)

217341291_e152c8d7b4_m.jpg

I took them out of the oven after I read your post. After they cool down, will mill off the skins and freeze.

There will be more in a few days, I will try making those more concentrated as a comparison.

(Tomato plants from DeBaggio and Betty's Azalea. The ones from Merrifield Garden were ripped out due to excessive blight. Grown in raised beds full of compost, fertilized with manure and Tomato-Tone, and mulched with sheets of red plastic.)

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Yes, although they didn't have a jar lifter when I needed one (said they would get more). I found one at Ace Hardware in Chantilly. They don't carry Pickle Crisp, I found that at the Food Lion in Fair Lakes. Pickle Crisp is calcium chloride, if you look on the label of your favorite Kosher dills you'll probably see it as an ingredient. In addition to Fishers, Ace, and Food Lion, you can find stuff at Walmart, Giant and Safeway. This is seasonal for most stores except Fisher, who seems to carry stuff year 'round. Or buy online.

...

I used the hot water method for pickles, even though the best ones are fermented. I am a coward.

I got my mason jars at the Ace hardware in Dupont (on 17th south of R), and pectin at safeway, when I tried to make orange marmalade. I also use the "quick process" method for my pickles, although fermenting them is obviously on the horizon. I'm not particularly into sweets, so my canning needs are fairly light, although I do need to get a jar lifter at some point...I haven't done any boiling of my jarred goods.

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Report back on trying to mill partially roasted tomatoes. Not a good idea. Not at all.

Most of what came through the mill was tomato water, which, considering that I had deseeded and drained the cut up tomatoes, indicates to me that the actual flesh of the tomatoes is mostly water.

Next batch will mill fully roasted, concentrated.

The alternative, to parboil and skin almost raw tomatoes, is another alternative.

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This summer, a group of us did a canning project for the first time. We were very ambitious and learned much:

With 50 lbs of tomatoes, we canned several quarts, then made tomato jam with the "seconds".

With about a lb. of okra, we made four pint jars of okra pickles

Hungarian and jalapeno pepper jelly - unfortunately, we learned the hard way that one should never substitute powdered pectin for liquid pectin. Did not gel.

With 50 lbs. of peaches, we preserved several quarts of slices in light syrup, then made peach butter (using food mill) and peach jam with the "seconds".

Found smaller size jars and powdered pectin at Shoppers Food Warehouse in Potomac Yards, liquid pectin at Safeway in Chevy Chase, special ordered large jars through Logan Hardware, and found a huge Presto pressure canner online from Ace Hardware. Found a can lifter and funnel at Sur La Table.

Apparently, Strosnider's in Bethesda has everything you might need for canning, although it's more expensive.

It was fun but alot of work. Our written resources were an old edition of "Joy of Cooking", The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol Costenbader, On the Side by Jessica B. Harris, and the Good Housekeeping cookbook. The pressure canner also came with some recipes.

Our success will be measured by whether these stand the test of time and last long enough to become christmas presents!

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the canning experiment continues. next up. apple butter.

first timer on this one. anyone have recipes, directions, suggestions, tips? also - do you have recommendations on what kinds of apples are most suited for this?

any thoughts, from general to specific, would be much appreciated.

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Just came back from a trip to San Juan Islands where people catch and can their own tuna (glass jars w/olive oil). This in addition to catching, smoking, and vacuum packing salmon for later. It was awesome.

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Mrs. TJ and I tried a friend's ketchep recipe and it turned out AMAZING!

Here's the recipe --

JOHN’S KETCHUP

8 lb. ripe tomatoes, washed, cored and cut in quarters

2 large onions, peeled and chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

1 1/ 2 tsp. whole cloves

2 (3 inch) sticks cinnamon, broken in pieces

1 tsp. celery seed

½ tsp. whole allspice

1 cup sugar

1/ 2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/ 2 tsp. dried mustard

1 cup vinegar

2 tsp. salt

1) Put tomatoes, onions and peppers in large nonreactive kettle. Cook uncovered on high heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook 30 minutes more. Press mixture through strainer back into big pot.

2) Tie cloves, cinnamon, celery seed and allspice in cheesecloth. Add to tomato mixture, along with sugar, cayenne pepper and mustard. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is reduced by half its volume – 2 to 3 hours.

3) Add vinegar and salt. Continue cooking over low heat until consistency and taste suit you – about 2 hours. Remove spice bag and spoon the ketchup into hot clean jar, leaving a ½ inch headspace. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Store in a cool dark place. Once opened, store in refrigerator.

Note: for a less spicy ketchup, remove the spice bag at the end of step 2. Ketchup will be brownish in color from the spices but that’s OK.

NOTE-- I might edit the recipe after making it once. I might add a pound or two of tomatoes to go for the extra tomatoe-y tastes, and also kick up the heat just a nubbin. But that's just my personal preference. It is great just the way it is.

Sorry I meant to include a link to a picture. You can find it here.

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Today we buried my friend Audrey, who taught me how to can. This was the recipe she used when we did our first batch of spiced peaches together. I am going to miss her very much. But on the way to her services deep in the countryside of southern Maryland this morning, her daughters and I decided that as a tribute we will try to get together every year and make a big batch of these spiced peaches. Thereby "preserving" their mother's memory, and continuing our friendship throughout the years ahead.

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Today we buried my friend Audrey, who taught me how to can. This was the recipe she used when we did our first batch of spiced peaches together. I am going to miss her very much. But on the way to her services deep in the countryside of southern Maryland this morning, her daughters and I decided that as a tribute we will try to get together every year and make a big batch of these spiced peaches. Thereby "preserving" their mother's memory, and continuing our friendship throughout the years ahead.

Losing friends who were in the prime of life is a bitch. Your idea is a great and worthy one. There's nothing quite like a row of beautiful jars full of summer's home-canned bounty that speaks to a belief in the future and an appreciation for nature and good food and hard work.

When we lived in Vermont, on an old farm, I spent all of one summer gardening, foraging for wild berries, and "putting by" as they call it there. I filled the shelves of the walk-in pantry with dozens of jars of tomatoes, wild berry jams, pickles, beans, applesauce and peaches. There were bags of corn and berries in the freezer, too, but that was tucked away, out of sight. One of the other people who lived there with us used to love to take a chair into the pantry, and just sit and look at the shelves. He said it gave him a feeling of utter contentment and happiness. We saw him for the first time in thirty years, when we were in Vermont this past June, and just found out that he is clear of a cancer that he was being treated for when we were there.

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Went apple picking at Homestead Farms in Poolesville, Maryland, picked up 50 lbs. of apples and went nuts with canning yesterday. We made several quarts of applesauce, several pints of apple-raspberry sauce, caramel apple butter and bourbon apple butter. This year/summer has been our first foray into the world of canning and preserving, and we look forward to making it a tradition. It is wonderful to see the fruits of one's labor and to be grateful for the source of the bounty.

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Canning season is starting again - what's everyone preserving this year? My first project is a batch of rhubarb chutney using a recipe from The Joy of Pickling.

I had high hopes for peach chutney but the spring freeze will put a damper on canning peaches. Maybe chow-chow or cauliflower pickles might be a less-expensive choice.

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Anyone know where I can get canning supplies in the Silver Spring/Tk Pk area? I need two piece lids, and half-pint jars. Strosniders was the first place that came to mind but they don't have them.

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Anyone know where I can get canning supplies in the Silver Spring/Tk Pk area? I need two piece lids, and half-pint jars. Strosniders was the first place that came to mind but they don't have them.

That's very surprising. Strosnider's usually carries them--perhaps they were just temporarily sold out. It is a little bit early in the season for canning. That's where I usually get them. Have you called the Bethesda store? Sometimes Safeway and Giant sell them--they may not have the "quilted" decorative jars that Strosnider's has, but that's another option. I can't remember seeing them at The TP/SS Co-op, but it might be worth a phone call to see if they have any.

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Strosniders does carry them. I was looking in the wrong place.

I picked up four quarts of strawberries from Toigo yesterday and spent the morning making jam. I have ten beautiful little ruby jars cooling on the counter now.

BTW, they sold me a half flat for $4 a quart, rather than $6. Not a bad price.

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I picked up four quarts of strawberries from Toigo yesterday and spent the morning making jam. I have ten beautiful little ruby jars cooling on the counter now.

Do you use pectin, or the long-cook method? I think that pectin has the advantage of fast-cooking leaving you with fresher-tasting fruit and more bang for the buck, since the long-cooking method thickens by evaporating much of the water out, leaving you with smaller volume of preserves. But I'm interested to hear from people who think otherwise.

I made preserves yesterday, too. I had picked wild cherries in Battery Kemble Park on Saturday--my first official foraging coup of the year. There are a couple of very old cherry trees (Queen Anne-type) there, one of which is probably a feral tree, growing in a clump of other trees and the other was probably planted when the land around this part of DC was still farmland. Both trees have a lot of fruit on them but only the one that was more in the sun had ripe fruit on it. Most of it is up very high, inaccessible without a tall ladder, and must be left for the birds. The few cherries I was able to reach are smaller than last year's--due to much less rain this year. And even though the variety is not known to be a cooking variety, they work as preserves because they are very sour. The cherry flavor is not as intense as a Montmerency or Morello-type sour cherry. But, still the fun of it is that it is wild and "free."

Have you noticed, though, that the days you choose to do canning are invariably the hottest and muggiest of the season? It never fails, as far as I can tell. All that boiling and sterilizing, and heat and steam. I really understand the concept of the "summer kitchen"--imagining when this operation needed a hot fire in a wood-burning stove, and there was no air conditioning. Since it isn't even June yet, our only allowable cooling comes from open windows and ceiling fans and the kitchen feels like a sauna, and I don't feel as if I've come a long way, baby. But when those juicy, jewel-like jams are in their sealed jars, the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction --not to mention the deliciousness--makes it worth all the sweat and toil.

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I always use pectin, for the reasons you mention: fresher tasting jam and larger yield.

Canning is wonderful. I'd love to have a bunch of people over for a prep and processing session. We could split the cost of the jars and the fruit & veg, make a jam, a relish, and some kind of pickle and send everyone home with a jar or two of each. Would anyone be interested? I have two canning kettles and alll the accessories.

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Count me in... I have everything too ( and lots of jars). This summer I will can tomatos, hot pepper jelly, hot pickled beans, rosemary jelly, several pickles, applesauce and who knows what else!

I always use pectin, for the reasons you mention: fresher tasting jam and larger yield.

Canning is wonderful. I'd love to have a bunch of people over for a prep and processing session. We could split the cost of the jars and the fruit & veg, make a jam, a relish, and some kind of pickle and send everyone home with a jar or two of each. Would anyone be interested? I have two canning kettles and alll the accessories.

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I'd be interested, too. My maternal grandmother did a lot of canning and I always enjoyed a visit to Little Rock that included some of her awsome preserves. My mom wasn't a fan of the process, I guess, because we never did it at home. I'd love to learn more and would chip in for suppliese, etc. of course.

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I am interested in canning but scared to death of botulism. Do any of you know if there a canning class around where I can learn to can, and increase my self confidence that I will not poison my friends and family?

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I am interested in canning but scared to death of botulism. Do any of you know if there a canning class around where I can learn to can, and increase my self confidence that I will not poison my friends and family?

Depending on what you want to can the risk of botulism is rather low. Start with simple fruit preserves and move on from there. Don't know of any specific courses, but here are a couple of books that explain things well. You can probably pick them up from your library.

Book 1

Book 2

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I made some cranberry ketchup right after Thanksgiving. It turned out great! But I did not realize how

seasonal cranberries are. What seasonal something should I try to make next? ;)

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The USDA publishes a fantastic, free, and comprehensive guide to home canning.

I just made a batch of strawberry jam. I used about a quart of strawberries; yield was about three 8 oz jars. It jelled nicely, but it's a tad sweeter than I'd like.

(p.s. Hi. Newbie here.)

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I'll be taking care of the nieces for a week. One thing they enjoy about my visits -- besides later bedtimes -- is cooking with auntie. I'm thinking making jam or pickling would be a great activity. Is it okay -- or even advisable -- to make a small quantity of jams, jellies or even pickles and not can or preserve them? The products would only be around for a week or so and then tossed.

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I'll be taking care of the nieces for a week. One thing they enjoy about my visits -- besides later bedtimes -- is cooking with auntie. I'm thinking making jam or pickling would be a great activity. Is it okay -- or even advisable -- to make a small quantity of jams, jellies or even pickles and not can or preserve them? The products would only be around for a week or so and then tossed.
They should keep for quite some time in the fridge. You might consider freezer jam. It's super easy, makes smaller amounts, and doesn't involve giant vats of boiling water. Any package of Sure-Jell brand pectin will have the instructions inside.

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Make 9 jars of strawberry jam this afternoon from berries picked at Homestead Farms this morning. If you have not been out to pick there is very little time left. They did say that sour cherries will probably be ready by next weekend. I guess I need to block off some time next weekend to can some of those.

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I grabbed a pint of chillies from the farmer's market on Sunday, and I'd really like to have a jar of chopped chillies to hand in my fridge. I made up this recipe from the USDA. I didn't actually bother with sterilizing & putting it up, since I'm planning just to keep it in the fridge, but does it sound a bit suspect to anyone else? Just chillies, water and a teeny bit of (optional) salt?

How come this won't just rot in the fridge? Is the capsaicin content in chillies enough to retard spoilage? I know they typically don't rot in my fridge if I keep air circulating around them -- they just dry out and shrivel up, but I have a shaky gut feeling about this recipe (pun entirely intended).

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I grabbed a pint of chillies from the farmer's market on Sunday, and I'd really like to have a jar of chopped chillies to hand in my fridge. I made up this recipe from the USDA. I didn't actually bother with sterilizing & putting it up, since I'm planning just to keep it in the fridge, but does it sound a bit suspect to anyone else? Just chillies, water and a teeny bit of (optional) salt?

How come this won't just rot in the fridge? Is the capsaicin content in chillies enough to retard spoilage? I know they typically don't rot in my fridge if I keep air circulating around them -- they just dry out and shrivel up, but I have a shaky gut feeling about this recipe (pun entirely intended).

Since you didn't pressure-can your water-pack chilies, they will eventually mold in the refrigerator. It may take a month or more, but it is inevitable. A better, simpler method is to peel the chilies, lay them on parchment on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer. When frozen, peel them off the paper and pack them in a freezer bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you want them in a jar, and you don't want to pressure can them, you need to pack them in a vinegar brine--as chiles en escabeche, or pickled chiles. Then they will last for a year in the fridge, or you can process them in a water bath canner (loosely sealed jars, submerged in a kettle of water and boiled for 20-30 minutes or so, removed and the ring twisted tight). Then, they can be kept in a cupboard, and do not need refrigeration. Remember, if you are not freezing, and you want to process any low acid-vegetables: water-pack requires pressure canning; acid packing can be done in a water bath canner. Only red tomatoes have enough acid in them that they can be canned in a water bath without adding acid. In any case, you need to sterilize the jars,

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I bought a box of Honeycrisp apples yesterday at the Arlington Farmer's market (for a mere $15!) and am thinking about canning some of it as a pie filling or chutney. Anyone done this before? Google has found a lot of good information but if someone has any good recipes they'd like to share I'd be grateful.

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It's begun...I have made strawberry jam so far, and beets pickled in red wine with ginger and star anise. Various sour cherry concoctions coming up this weekend.

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We now own one of these, which substantially increases our production capacity for canning. Yay!
Scott picked up a fancy new pressure canner this weekend. I haven't had the nerve to try it yet; I need to look up how to convert the cooking times for jams, etc. I am looking forward to canning some green beans and other veggies this summer, and I'd like to figure out how to can my rillettes so that we can have them year 'round.

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I have two quarts of strawberries giving up their juice on my stove right now. I did an earlier batch of jam this summer, but it was very watery -- as others have theorized, perhaps due to the very rainy spring we've had this year. My first batch I also got fancy with the measuring, measuring the berries (by volume) by the amount of water that they displaced. I don't think my Joy recipe needs that much precision. Presumably that also upped the berries:sugar ratio.

My coworker tells me that I can save my runny jam by adding a smidge of cornstarch to the finished produce. Any thoughts from folks here on that? (I've been saving it by putting it on pancakes, which has also worked very well.)

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Scott picked up a fancy new pressure canner this weekend. I haven't had the nerve to try it yet; I need to look up how to convert the cooking times for jams, etc. I am looking forward to canning some green beans and other veggies this summer, and I'd like to figure out how to can my rillettes so that we can have them year 'round.

Pressure canning is fantastic. I have jars of roasted red peppers as well as poblanos for emergency chile potato soup. I've canned lots of things, and have only been disappointed in the pesto. The Ball blue book has times, and I also have a little book from the USDA. We are still unpacking from a move so I can't find it to tell you the name.

The one trick I can suggest is that you do a test run with an empty canner to learn the settings on your stove that will make it work. It is OK to turn the heat down if you need to, but if you have to turn the heat up during the process, a lot of the food will make its way out of the jars and into the pot. Not fun after all that work.

I've never used it for jams - I had the luck to find a steam canner at a garage sale years ago for a few dollars. It's wonderful to be able to process all the high acid foods with less water. That means less energy and less heat in the kitchen. Some day I'll be as smart as my Grandmother and do it all outside. :lol:

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I'm making cherry and blueberry jam this weekend. Anyone have any tips for making blueberry jam? It's the one fruit that has failed me repeatedly over the years, despite following the recipe. I'd prefer not to wind up with another six pints of blueberry syrup.

And does anyone have a good pickled peach recipe they would like to share?

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I'm making cherry and blueberry jam this weekend. Anyone have any tips for making blueberry jam? It's the one fruit that has failed me repeatedly over the years, despite following the recipe. I'd prefer not to wind up with another six pints of blueberry syrup.

Have you tried using homemade pectin? It's basically apple jelly. I use Christine Ferber's recipes that usually call for a kilo of fruit to 800 grams of sugar. You bring it all to a simmer, macerate overnight, then cook to completion the following day. This makes the fruit clear and sparkling - a very nice product. That's a rambling way to get to this point - her book has recipes that call for adding 8 oz of this homemade pectin to low-pectin fruit recipes to help them gel. It has worked for me in combination with using a candy thermometer to insure that the mixture gets to 20 degrees above boiling.

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Thanks so much. I have Mes Confitures and will check out her method.

Read her recipes very carefully-- in her pastry book, some of the amounts/ratios are WAY off. I did make a fig preserve from this book and it came out really well.

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I have two quarts of strawberries giving up their juice on my stove right now. I did an earlier batch of jam this summer, but it was very watery -- as others have theorized, perhaps due to the very rainy spring we've had this year. My first batch I also got fancy with the measuring, measuring the berries (by volume) by the amount of water that they displaced. I don't think my Joy recipe needs that much precision. Presumably that also upped the berries:sugar ratio.

My coworker tells me that I can save my runny jam by adding a smidge of cornstarch to the finished produce. Any thoughts from folks here on that? (I've been saving it by putting it on pancakes, which has also worked very well.)

You could empty the jars into a pot, add more pectin, and reprocess. I did that once with a runny batch. I think I used no sugar needed pectin when I added more.

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I'm making cherry and blueberry jam this weekend. Anyone have any tips for making blueberry jam? It's the one fruit that has failed me repeatedly over the years, despite following the recipe. I'd prefer not to wind up with another six pints of blueberry syrup.

And does anyone have a good pickled peach recipe they would like to share?

Sorry I don't have a recipe, but I'll gladly take some off your hands should you end up with more blueberry syrup! I'd make my own "fruit on the bottom" type yogurt, drizzle it atop oatmeal, add it to vanilla ice cream with some fresh blueberries on top...(blueberries, thankfully, are not one of my allergies!)

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I made freezer jam w sour cherries (combo Country Pleasures and Tree & Leaf) this morning, using Mark Bittman's recipe for low-sugar version. 6 cups fruit, 1 1/2-2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Pitted, w a few discards, I had around 3 1/2 cups fruit. Started out w 3/4 cup sugar. Cooked 15 minutes low, then another 15. Still very, very juicy. So after another 10 minutes, I decided to jar all the cherries and reduce the juice with more sugar (recipe encourages you to add more sugar if need be to gel).

While the juice became syrupy in pan (wow!!!! what a joy to clean the cooled pan with my fingers), I came home to find the stuff quite liquid in the jar I kept in the fridge. It's okay since I mostly plan to stir the stuff into yogurt, but...

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I completely missed the pickled peach recipe request. I have a recipe for spiced peaches that are in a vinegar/sugar syrup, but you can easily leave out the spices and just have sweet pickled peaches. It also works great with pears. If that's the sort of thing you are looking for, I'll be happy to dig it out for you.

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I completely missed the pickled peach recipe request. I have a recipe for spiced peaches that are in a vinegar/sugar syrup, but you can easily leave out the spices and just have sweet pickled peaches. It also works great with pears. If that's the sort of thing you are looking for, I'll be happy to dig it out for you.

Please post it!

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I made freezer jam w sour cherries (combo Country Pleasures and Tree & Leaf) this morning, using Mark Bittman's recipe for low-sugar version. 6 cups fruit, 1 1/2-2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Pitted, w a few discards, I had around 3 1/2 cups fruit. Started out w 3/4 cup sugar. Cooked 15 minutes low, then another 15. Still very, very juicy. So after another 10 minutes, I decided to jar all the cherries and reduce the juice with more sugar (recipe encourages you to add more sugar if need be to gel).

While the juice became syrupy in pan (wow!!!! what a joy to clean the cooled pan with my fingers), I came home to find the stuff quite liquid in the jar I kept in the fridge. It's okay since I mostly plan to stir the stuff into yogurt, but...

hi Anna Blume-

I don't know if you are committed to keeping it pectin free- but the gentleman at Country Pleasures suggested I use Pomona pectin- which doesn't use sugar to gel. It saved my strawberry jam a few weeks ago. of course then you'd have to reprocess...

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I made freezer jam w sour cherries (combo Country Pleasures and Tree & Leaf) this morning, using Mark Bittman's recipe for low-sugar version. 6 cups fruit, 1 1/2-2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Pitted, w a few discards, I had around 3 1/2 cups fruit. Started out w 3/4 cup sugar. Cooked 15 minutes low, then another 15. Still very, very juicy. So after another 10 minutes, I decided to jar all the cherries and reduce the juice with more sugar (recipe encourages you to add more sugar if need be to gel).

While the juice became syrupy in pan (wow!!!! what a joy to clean the cooled pan with my fingers), I came home to find the stuff quite liquid in the jar I kept in the fridge. It's okay since I mostly plan to stir the stuff into yogurt, but...

With juicy fruit, the only way it will thicken without added pectin is if you boil it long enough to reduce the liquid and then hard enough to raise the sugar temperature to somewhere near the soft ball stage. This, IMO, pretty much kills the taste of the fruit. That is why I always use pectin to make preserves.

Even with pectin, sour cherries seem to defy expectations of what jam ought to be, based on our collective early Smucker's experiences. I have never tried to make a low-sugar or freezer jam version, but my various experiences with sour cherry preserves ending up very runny, despite using pectin and following the prescribed ratios in the pectin package, have led me to make a major alteration in the recommended method.

I pit and chop the cherries and then drain them in a colander. I don't press or squeeze them, but after the majority of the juice has drained off, is when I measure the fruit for the batch. I save the juice and make jelly with it. And I use the huge amounts of sugar that the Sure-Jel package calls for--equal or slightly greater than the same volume of fruit. I also add a scant 1 tsp. of almond extract per batch, after it has cooked, which enhances the cherry flavor without announcing itself too loudly. Never had anything but positive feedback since I developed this method--my SIL in NYC reported to me that she shared some I'd given her with friends of hers who are restaurateurs and chefs and they said mine were the best sour cherry preserves they'd ever tasted. Ooh, ouch! I just dislocated my shoulder by patting myself on the back so vigorously. Better go fix that... :lol:

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Please post it!

Here it is - I'm pretty sure this is adapted from the old checkerboard cookbook, but I learned from my Grandmother.

Spiced peaches or pears

The basic ratio for the syrup to make enough for about five pounds of fruit is:

1 cup vinegar (white is the usual)

2 cups water

3 cups sugar (I cut the sugar from where it was. If you want a heavier syrup, you can go as high as 5 cups of sugar)

Put this on the stove and heat it up along with sticks of cinnamon and cloves. The measurements are going to be sort of "to taste" because spices vary so much in flavor. I usually start with two sticks of cinnamon and a couple of teaspoons of cloves, and that will be enough if they are really fresh. You can let the spices stay in the syrup floating around and then put them in the jars with the peaches or pears, but they will cause browning and discoloration with storage. For a prettier finished product long term, use cheesecloth or a tea ball.

Bring the syrup to a boil, and add the fruit in batches to heat it through. Cook just until almost done because there will be processing later. Small peaches can be left whole, and if you do pears, a firm variety works best. We use Pineapple pears off my Grandmother's old tree - they stay crispy.

Ladle the hot fruit into jars. At this point, I add in a slice of fresh ginger. Do the usual tamping down of all the fruit to pack it in and leave the threaded rim for headspace. Now divide the syrup into all the jars. This is the tricky part - I almost always end up needing more syrup, but the syrup in the pan is now full of spicy fruity goodness. So divide it evenly, then make more fresh to top off the jars if you need to. Close them up and process pints for 20 minutes, quarts for 30. If you have extra fruit, you can put it in a container in the fridge and break it open in a week or so.

Vinegary, spiced, and sweet all at once. :lol:

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Thanks for the peach recipe. Now all I need is some ripe fruit to try it on. :-)

This week I've made tarragon pickled carrots, onion/rosemary marmalade, Vidalia pepper relish, sour cherry relish, sour cherry jam, and pickled cherry tomatoes. Apricot marmalade on the list for this weekend.

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Thanks for the peach recipe. Now all I need is some ripe fruit to try it on. :-)

This week I've made tarragon pickled carrots, onion/rosemary marmalade, Vidalia pepper relish, sour cherry relish, sour cherry jam, and pickled cherry tomatoes. Apricot marmalade on the list for this weekend.

Wow, you been busy, girlfriend. Are the above for work, or for personal consumption at home? I made a few jars of brandied apricot preserves--1/2 fresh fruit, and 1/2 fruit that had macerated for a couple of weeks in a mixture of apricot liqueur, apricot eau de vie and brandy. Very tasty.

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Wow, you been busy, girlfriend. Are the above for work, or for personal consumption at home?

Let's call it R & D. :lol: Tis the season. The apricot preserves sounds delicious.

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I'm jealous! My shelves are too full so I am required to eat things before I can make any more.

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Thanks for the peach recipe. Now all I need is some ripe fruit to try it on. :-)

This week I've made tarragon pickled carrots, onion/rosemary marmalade, Vidalia pepper relish, sour cherry relish, sour cherry jam, and pickled cherry tomatoes. Apricot marmalade on the list for this weekend.

Are you doing waterbath canning? Pressure? When I make jam, I just flip the jars over after I've ladled the hot stuff in and tightened the lid. After a while I flip the jars back over and as they cool, the lids seal themselves. I love the sound of that little "ping" as the lids contract in the middle. But I used to do waterbath processing for pickles and relishes-- an extra step that preserves don't require. And all that steam in the kitchen in the summer heat...

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Even with pectin, sour cherries seem to defy expectations of what jam ought to be, based on our collective early Smucker's experiences. I have never tried to make a low-sugar or freezer jam version, but my various experiences with sour cherry preserves ending up very runny, despite using pectin and following the prescribed ratios in the pectin package, have led me to make a major alteration in the recommended method.
Interesting information, all. Thanks, especially for confirming what I suspected about the lack of syrupy consistency. Makes sense since my only other experiences with sour cherries are in making pie when there are other thickeners involved--or making a sauce (thanks, monavano for your comments there).

All these recent posts are making me hungry for breakfast!

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I picked up 2 quarts of Toigo's Japanese cucumbers at the market on Sunday, and today made my version of bread & butter pickles. They smell really good; they're better if they cure for a few days but I might not be able to wait that long.

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The nice ladies who set up at the entrance of the Penn Quarter market gave a great deal on a box of rain-soaked green beans. We put a beach towel on our dining room table, set up a fan, and spread them out to dry overnight. Today I get to figure out what to do with 15 lbs. of beans. Some are going to be pickled with dill, and I'm going to take a stab at hot packing and pressure canning some. We're having moo pad prik king for dinner tonight, and I might do a batch of sichuan green beans for the freezer. Any other ideas out there?

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The nice ladies who set up at the entrance of the Penn Quarter market gave a great deal on a box of rain-soaked green beans. We put a beach towel on our dining room table, set up a fan, and spread them out to dry overnight. Today I get to figure out what to do with 15 lbs. of beans. Some are going to be pickled with dill, and I'm going to take a stab at hot packing and pressure canning some. We're having moo pad prik king for dinner tonight, and I might do a batch of sichuan green beans for the freezer. Any other ideas out there?

Cook until just tender and shock. Cut into a reasonably bite sized length and make a cold salad--mix with quartered new potatoes, kidney or garbanzo beans, oil-packed tuna, sweet onion, capers, olives, herbs and a vinaigrette for a nicoise-type bean salad. or just make a good ol' American 3-bean salad. forget the wax beans, just do green beans, kidney beans and garbanzos, onions and celery and a vinegar-oil dressing with some honey or sugar in it.

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The nice ladies who set up at the entrance of the Penn Quarter market gave a great deal on a box of rain-soaked green beans. We put a beach towel on our dining room table, set up a fan, and spread them out to dry overnight. Today I get to figure out what to do with 15 lbs. of beans. Some are going to be pickled with dill, and I'm going to take a stab at hot packing and pressure canning some. We're having moo pad prik king for dinner tonight, and I might do a batch of sichuan green beans for the freezer. Any other ideas out there?

Our favorite preparation is to make a packet with foil and fill with green beans, chopped garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, and some good sea salt. Grill until the green beans are very tender and a bit caramelized from the heat of the grill. My 4 yr old almost always gets seconds on these and sometimes thirds!

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I have no business making anything since I have so many jars already in the cupboard, but there is a little bit of shelf space. We went to Johnson's Berry Farm, and the berries were so wonderfully flavorful and tart, and then the peaches at the market were so nice with that red blush. And everyone knows it isn't summer unless you are putting food in jars. :lol: So blackberry peach preserves are macerating in the fridge.

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We went a little crazy last weekend doing the PYO thing at Crooked Run Orchard and ended up with 11 pounds of blackberries, and way too many peaches. We made up about 4 pints of blackberry jam, 5 pints of what was supposed to be peach jam which didn't set once again and ended up being peach syrup for pancakes, waffles, and ice cream. We also canned 6 quarts of peach halves in light syrup for the winter and still ended up freezing at least two quarts of blackberries for a mid-winter crumble.

When we go for pears in a few weeks we will have to try and be restrained. We did manage to eat an entire bucket of apples within a week however.

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We went a little crazy last weekend doing the PYO thing at Crooked Run Orchard and ended up with 11 pounds of blackberries, and way too many peaches. We made up about 4 pints of blackberry jam, 5 pints of what was supposed to be peach jam which didn't set once again and ended up being peach syrup for pancakes, waffles, and ice cream.

Do you strain out all or part of the seeds for your blackberry jam? Blackberry is one of my favorites when it comes to preserves, but I don't like really seedy jam. So when I put up blackberries, there are the extra steps of pureeing and then running them through the food mill to get out the seeds. That cuts down on the amount of final product, because no matter how diligent you are, some pulp always manages to stick to the seeds and ends up being discarded. But oo-la-la what luxurious flavor and texture!

As regards the saucy peaches, I haven't done any preserves this year, but I've made peach desserts, and I think that the peaches are just extra juicy this year due to all of the rain we've had. My method of dealing with that, which I have used with pies and cobblers, and to make a peach bread pudding last Friday, is to macerate the peaches with sugar and a bit of lemon juice for half an hour or more, then strain off the liquid and reduce that by 2/3 on the stovetop, and then make the dessert. That concentrates and intensifies the flavor, and eliminates or cuts down on the amount of tapioca or cornstarch that's needed, depending on the application. For preserves, you could do what I do with sour cherries, which is to strain the fruit and only use a small amount of the juice when measuring the peaches for the preserving kettle. The peaches continue to exude juice when cooking the jam, and it seems like the amount of pectin you are using is being overwhelmed by all of the liquid.

I had a peach pie over the weekend, made by a friend (a very good cook) who says he doesn't like to use thickeners. The bottom crust was so soggy, he didn't even take any of it out of the pie pan, and it was basically peach soup with a top crust. It was very delicious peach soup, but not an unqualified success as a pie.

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Do you strain out all or part of the seeds for your blackberry jam?

I did not strain. I'm the only one in my house who is bothered by the seeds, and I don't have a food mill to make it easier to remove them.

As regards the saucy peaches, I haven't done any preserves this year, but I've made peach desserts, and I think that the peaches are just extra juicy this year due to all of the rain we've had. My method of dealing with that, which I have used with pies and cobblers, and to make a peach bread pudding last Friday, is to macerate the peaches with sugar and a bit of lemon juice for half an hour or more, then strain off the liquid and reduce that by 2/3 on the stovetop, and then make the dessert. That concentrates and intensifies the flavor, and eliminates or cuts down on the amount of tapioca or cornstarch that's needed, depending on the application. For preserves, you could do what I do with sour cherries, which is to strain the fruit and only use a small amount of the juice when measuring the peaches for the preserving kettle. The peaches continue to exude juice when cooking the jam, and it seems like the amount of pectin you are using is being overwhelmed by all of the liquid.

This is a good tip. I will need to try this next round. I can tell you that both batches of preserves had the same amount of pectin and the blackberry is a jam while the peach is liquid. I may try the reduction method you suggest next year.

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