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We have been on a jamming/canning tear this summer after doing it for the first time last summer. A few weeks ago when strawberries were still ripe and available at the farmers market and for picking at Larriland, we made a couple of big batches of jam with the Ball low-sugar pectin that turned out great.  Even better was the addition of a fresh vanilla pod (scrape out and then the pod thrown in) to the fruit while cooking - delicous strawberries and cream like falvor. The plain strawberries with fresh picked from the farm were really good too.  Can't wait to do blackberries and peaches again later this summer.

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100 NJ Rutgers tomatoes. Not canning, but making marinara and freezing in quart containers. $10  

My kirby cucumber plants are starting to wane but I'm not done making pickles just yet. Anyone know of a good farm stand (or even a farm) in DC or not too far outside where I could get a large quantit

Unlike last year, we did not have bumper crops of apricots, Nanking cherries, plums, and pears. The apple trees, however, are going off. We had a full tree of sweet cherries, but the birds picked that

What vegetables have people put in leftover pickle juice with success?  And did you do anything to them first?

I've tried sliced cucumbers in a few different leftover brines and mostly been failures. I think if you have a stronger brine and maybe cooked the vegetables in it for a bit (as I've seen some recipes call for 3-8 minutes of simmering before ladling into the jar) that you might have some success.  I do need some help here too as I'm about to finish eating through 3 jars of great homemade pickles and would love to not waste what is likely a quart plus of brine.

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I've tried sliced cucumbers in a few different leftover brines and mostly been failures. I think if you have a stronger brine and maybe cooked the vegetables in it for a bit (as I've seen some recipes call for 3-8 minutes of simmering before ladling into the jar) that you might have some success.  I do need some help here too as I'm about to finish eating through 3 jars of great homemade pickles and would love to not waste what is likely a quart plus of brine. 

I am trying radish and onions in a leftover jar of maille gherkins.  I will let you know how they go.  They are still sitting, it's been about a week now.

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The salt in the brine draws water out of the cucumbers and dilutes the brine. The resulting leftover brine is then watered down and doesn't have the necessary salt:water ratio to pickle a new batch of cukes. Either add more salt, or start new brine for the next batch.

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What vegetables have people put in leftover pickle juice with success?  And did you do anything to them first?

I saw someone suggest that hard-boiled eggs in leftover pickling liquid from jalapeí±os makes great pickled eggs, but I haven't tried that myself.  (And jalapeí±o juice would be spicier than plain pickle juice.)

Lately, I've made a couple batches of quick-pickled banana peppers.  My husband loves banana peppers, and I've been finding them a lot at the market.

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Adding more salt helped, but it wasn't really any better than just quick pickled that I do with salt and vinegar.

I hot water bath canned some salsa this weekend.  I really love canned peaches and keep thinking about trying to do some myself.  I really miss my grandads canned green beans.  Anyone know a good pick your own farm for beans?

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If you are in the market for a nice canner, Costco.com is selling All American pressure cookers at pretty good prices right now.  I'm almost tempted to get one but I have an unsuitable glass cooktop plus I've basically stopped bothering to can anything other than jam and jellies.  (Blanching and freezing or refrigerator pickles are just so much easier to do in a pinch).

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No, and for even more of a buzz kill, you have to have a pressure canner to put up green beans. :(

Yes, I know.  Luckily I have some framily who has a pressure canner who will help with this, my Mom also wants to make beef vegetable soup, so we may pick a day for that and the green beans- if I can find a good farm for that.  http://www.pickyourown.org/VA.htm looks like a promising site.  But I will probably try the peaches on my own.

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Yes, I know.  Luckily I have some framily who has a pressure canner who will help with this, my Mom also wants to make beef vegetable soup, so we may pick a day for that and the green beans- if I can find a good farm for that.  http://www.pickyourown.org/VA.htm looks like a promising site.  But I will probably try the peaches on my own.

You could check with Great Country Farms in Bluemont.  I did pick-your-own there in conjunction with a CSA I had some years back.  Currently they are featuring yellow free-stone peaches, but the more general schedule indicates that they could also have green beans now.

They proved to be too far away to be reasonable for frequent trips for me, but I was always satisfied with the quality of the produce.

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If you have the freezer space, blanching and freezing green beans is so much easier and you end up with a much better product than with pressure canning.

I just like the taste better, it's what I am used to, I don't love the flavor of blanched and frozen in comparison.  But I grew up with a family that put up a huge amount of produce because we lived/live in the middle of nowhere.

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My kirby cucumber plants are starting to wane but I'm not done making pickles just yet. Anyone know of a good farm stand (or even a farm) in DC or not too far outside where I could get a large quantity of kirby/pickling cucumbers?

I've really gone a bit nuts making pickles this summer. I experimented with all different kinds of brines and spices, but since I didn't know which ones I'd like I didn't can any of them. So I have about 8 pints of assorted pickles in my fridge that are getting devoured. Now I want to make some more with the flavors that worked best and actually can them for eating later in the year.  Here are some of my trial by error tips I discovered by reviewing and breaking the rules in recipes:

1. Don't use premade pickling spice - it is boring. Make your own blend of whatever you like.  I found that I like about 5 black peppercorns, 2-3 garlic cloves (whole or crushed a bit, but not chopped), a big heaping TB of mustard seeds and another TB of coriander seeds were great as an all purpose blend.

2. Don't slice vegetables into rounds (except for same hour/day quick pickles) - they get floppy and there is no need.  If the cucumber or other vegetable is too big, then slice into spears

3. Don't use dill seeds, celery seeds or other spices that you don't really like just because they are traditional.  I did use dill seeds in some recipes and found them to be ok.

4. Be adventuresome with your spices - fresh or ground spices both work (if ground you need to shake it up occasionally).  I liked using ground curry powder, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, pieces of ginger to make Indian spiced pickles (worked especially well with zucchini spears) and I also add fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano for an Italian spice blend.

5. Add heat - 2-3 dried fiery chili peppers like chili de arbol worked great in a pint jar (possibly a bit hot for some) - sliced jalapenos don't work as well.  Or add some heaping TBs of prepared horseradish for horseradish pickles.

6. Try all kinds of vegetables - I had great success with cucumbers, zucchini, okra.and Vietnamese style carrot/daikon radish.  This was a great use for oversized garden zucchini (you know that spawn on you all of sudden when you are out of town or that hide under a bush till too late) - just cut them down to size and cut off a bit of the extra seedy center.  Next batch is beets.

7. When not doing more complex spice blends, it is better to ferment for a cheaper and tastier sour pickle.  Out of 4 fermented pints I made, 3 successfully fermented (I think I messed up the covering on the 4th) and were some of the best pickles all summer.

8. Use a variety of vinegars - I found plain white vinegar to be too harsh, so I switched to cider and milder rice vinegars depending on whether it was a sweeter pickle (cider) or more sour (rice).  Also, I found blending in balsamic with white vinegar to give a flavor boost.  I'm sure you could use other more expensive vinegars too.

9. Don't cook the vegetables in the boiling brine - some recipes call for this and it ruined the crispness of the veggies. It is much better to cook the brine to dissolve any sugar and infuse liquid with whole spices, and then pour over veggies packed into jars.

Finally, I know I sound like these guys:

http://youtu.be/yYey8ntlK_E

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I just like the taste better, it's what I am used to, I don't love the flavor of blanched and frozen in comparison.  But I grew up with a family that put up a huge amount of produce because we lived/live in the middle of nowhere.  

I tried making my Grandmother's three bean salad with fresh beans once.  Never again.  It just wasn't right.  Even after she got a freezer, there were canned beans for that salad.

KeithA, that's a lot of pickles.  :)

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Let's say a person was too pressed for time to do any serious canning or jamming this summer. Let's say that same person just wanted to stuff jars full of summer fruit and top them off with booze.

So far have 4-5 peaches sitting in about 2/3 of a bottle of vodka, well covered. I plan to do something similar with blueberries and gin (and maybe a little lemon peel and/or ginger). Per the advice of the internets, I froze the blueberries first.

What do I need to know to keep this safe? I'm assuming high-test booze is pretty safe, but could I do this with, say brandy?

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No direct experience with either fruit, but I put up raspberries and sour cherries (unpitted) in booze every year.  Never had any problems with spoilage.   I use vodka for raspberries and Seagrams 7 for everything else, so about similar proof as brandy (I think they're all around 40% alcohol).  Top it off with a spoon or two of sugar and wait a few months for things to settle.

Sour cherry is hands down the favorite, followed by raspberries (the firm California berries tend to do better than softer PYO raspberries from local orchards).  Tried with sweet cherries and blackberries, but the results tasted too much like cough syrup for my liking.  Sweet cherries are much better pickled.

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When Azami and I moved back to New Mexico in the spring, we expected to buy a place whose yard we'd need/want to xeriscape. What we did *not* expect to buy was a place with no fewer than seven mature rosebushes and a smallish orchard. We've got three varieties of apples, two of pears, and one each of plum, nectarine, apricot, sweet cherry, and sour cherry, plus our realtor gave us a Sierra fig tree. The only varieties we know we have are Nanking cherries, Red and Golden Delicious apples, and a Williams pear. We harvested a boatload of Nanking cherries this morning, most of which are in the freezer now. I'm planning to make liqueur with some of them and haven't decided whether to make jam from the rest or a tart. Not sure I have enough for both. . .

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I made the first (and only for this year) batch of jam using apricots picked from our orchard. I used this recipe, which I cooked for 15 rather than ten minutes because my apricots were especially juicy and the jam hadn't thickened much at all by ten minutes. It really is a lovely, tart, fresh-apricot tasting jam.

The Nanking cherry liqueur base has been fermenting for about ten days. It's been sitting outside during Albuquerque's string of 100+ degree days and is starting to develop bubbles. I'll open it and put some spices in it mid-July and let it go for another month before finishing.

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Well, the Nanking cherry liqueur was a success. I completely failed to put any spices in during the fermentation process because, well, newborn. But it has a lovely cherry flavor and makes a nice, if redder than normal, Aviation. I now have a batch of plum liqueur going.

I harvested the last of the plums, which I think are Ruby Queen, two weeks ago. Some went into the fermentation jar, some got roasted and pureed into baby food, and the rest went into two pints of plum jam. I'm now trying to harvest the most useful of the pears (organic orcharding is a challenge when: a) you move into the place after fruiting has begun, b ) you don't know what you're doing, and c) did I mention the newborn?) before they turn. Those will also get split into baby food and canned stuff, probably another batch of crockpot pear butter.

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The last batch of pear butter for the year is in the crock pot. There were three batches: one vanilla, one salted caramel, and one bourbon. The salted caramel pear butter is delicious.

To recap, the first year of canning/preserving at Flame and Glass Orchards resulted in one bottle of Nanking cherry liqueur, one batch of apricot jam, one batch of plum jam, three batches of pear butter, one bottle of plum liqueur, and a bunch of pureed plums and pears for the baby. I'm looking forward to next year, when we'll actually know what we're doing with the orchard.

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Unlike last year, we did not have bumper crops of apricots, Nanking cherries, plums, and pears. The apple trees, however, are going off. We had a full tree of sweet cherries, but the birds picked that thing clean while I was in Vegas for the Stanley Cup Final. I'd rather have the Cup.

We are already awash in slightly premature windfall apples. So far, I've made a batch each of bourbon apple butter, dehydrated slices, and applesauce. I've also got a gallon jar of apples fermenting on the back patio.

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 Just made some bread and butter pickles and canned them using my Anova sous vide implement. I formulated a plan from a combination of info from ChefSteps and the USDA pickling recommendations. From what I can tell, if I get the interior of the jars >180°F for more than 10 mins, then they’re safe to store.  My question to you experts is this: if I only can high acid items, can I get rid of my huge canning pot which takes up lots of space in my pantry?  

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This week's projects involved turning a boatload of organic Gala apples from the orchard into dehydrated slices, applesauce, maple bourbon apple butter, and salted caramel apple butter. Some of the applesauce will likely go into a cake or muffins tomorrow. I just got an apple corer -- so much faster than quartering and cutting the core out! -- so dehydrated rings will be coming soon. Chutney will likely also be forthcoming because I'm not sure how much more apple butter I want to make.

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I just put a batch of banana-plum (CSA plums, not from the orchard. The boy ate 95% of this year's harvest.) fruit leather in the dehydrator to set up. This is my second batch of fruit leather, the first being Nanking cherry from the orchard. I think it's my new favorite easy way to process the harvest.

This year, we got a bunch of Rainier cherries (eaten), apricots (eaten and processed into jam and mostarda), peaches (eaten), pears (eaten, baked into muffins, made into brandy, and used with figs in mostarda), and the Nanking cherries (fruit leather and jam). It was a good year. ❤️

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I just put up around 10 jars of peach jam and around 20 jars of blackberry jam using fruit I pre-ordered from Kuhn's Orchard that I picked up on Saturday at the Cleveland Park Farmer's Market. Happily they all seemed to turn out well even if 2 lids didn't seal right the first round in the water bath, but second time was the charm. I used the Pomona's Pectin which is great in that you get a quick set and don't need a ton of sugar in your jams. They are still plenty sweet I did a cup of sugar for each 4 cups of mashed peaches and did 1.5 cups of sugar for each 4 cups of mashed blackberries. It was kind of a pain getting extra lids and additional jars this year. Apparently there is a run on canning supplies as people are coming up with new ways of coping with the pandemic/enforced staycations. I had to order my Ball regular lids 2 weeks in advance and got the last two trays of 4 oz jelly jars on the shelf at Tenleytown Ace. Some of the local Ace's still have some - but much less than the usual abundance normally available.

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