Friday, July 29, 2011

Cherries + Chocolate...yum...

Chocolate Black Cherry Sundae Topping
(Adapted Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

Makes about 6 (8 oz) half pints – also fantastic to put into 4 oz jars for gifts!

1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
*1 1.75-oz pkg Ball Original Fruit Pectin
4-1/2 cups black sweet cherries
*6-3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. lemon juice

(*If you used Ball flex batch low sugar/no sugar pectin you can reduce the sugar significantly. I used only 1 1/2 cup sugar. Make sure to taste the recipe after the first cup of sugar and increase by ½ cups until the flavor is sweet enough)

Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

Combine Cocoa powder and pectin in a medium glass bowl, stirring until evenly blended. Set aside.
Combine cherries and lemon juice in a large stainless steel saucepan. Using a potato masher crush the cherries as best you can. Whisk in pectin mixture until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once (taste if you are using the low sugar method but do not boil till you have correct sugar ratio) and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Ladle hot sundae topping into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes...

This morning, DH and I took a pumpkin and zucchini to the county fair.  We entered them in the largest vegetable contest.  I'm sure no one's pumpkin can beat ours.  We could barely load it into the back of the truck.  A worker from the fair helped DH load it onto a drivable cart.  They will judge them later this morning.  Too bad the fair is closed today.  It did give us two more fair tickets.  DH is going to give them to some friends that might not be able to afford them.  He's a sweetie, that way.

I've picked some more tomatoes, about 18 lbs. worth.  When I get 30 lbs. worth, I'm going to make this recipe:

Spaghetti Sauce
Makes about 9 pints.
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbls. oregano
  • 4 tbls. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 30 pounds whole tomatoes (1 lug)
Hot Pack

To remove skins, wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until the skins begin to split. Then dip in cold water, slip off skins, core and remove any blemished or discolored parts. Cut into quarters and boil in a large uncovered pot for 20 minutes. Press through a sieve or food mill.

In a heavy sauce pan or cast iron skillet, saute garlic, peppers, and onions in oil until tender. Combine with tomatoes and remaining spices and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered until thick enough for serving. Volume will be reduced by almost one-half. Stir often to prevent sticking.

Pack hot jars with hot prepared tomato mixture leaving 1-inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim and screw threads and adjust lids and screw bands.

Processing Methods

Pressure Canner:

Dial Gauge Type @ 11 pounds pressure or Weighted Gauge Type @ 10 pounds pressure.
  • Pints 20 minutes
  • Quarts 25 minutes
After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool. Test for a seal.
Note: Do not increase amounts of vegetables

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Note About Norway

My heart and prayers go out to the families and friends affected by the shooting and bombing. There is no reason to the torment people are willing to inflict on the average citizen trying to live a good life.  There is life after this world and the victims will be waiting for the day that their families join them.

Week 66

Another week has just run past me.  Man, I must be gettin' old!  Here is a recipe for an interesting jam.  It has a soft set, so it makes a great glaze.  I think I might try this one in a slow cooker with a pork roast.

Blueberry-Pepper Jam

2 large red bell peppers
2 large green bell peppers
2 large poblano peppers
2 large slim Jim or Anaheim peppers
8 jalapeno peppers
2 c. fresh blueberries
1 c. vinegar
½ c. lemon juice
1 pkg. sure gel powder pectin
8 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. butter

Cut peppers in half and remove most of the seeds. On hot peppers, the more seeds that are left, the hotter they will be. Cut peppers into chunks, run through blender with vinegar and lemon juice to puree coarsely. Pour into pan, stir in whole blueberries and Sure Gel. Over medium heat, bring to a rolling boil, then add ALL of the sugar at the same time. (Pre-measure it into a large bowl.) Add butter to help reduce foaming. Stir well, and return to a full boil (one that cannot be stirred down) and boil 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Pour into clean, sterilized 8 oz. canning jars. Wipe rims, put on lids and screw on rings snugly. Place in boiling water bath and process 5 minutes. Let cool out of drafts and check for seal after 1 hour. Any jars that have not sealed properly will need refrigerated and used within 2 weeks.

This jam is usually a "soft set" jam, which means it spreads easily and works very well as a glaze for chicken or pork too. Its good on toast or biscuits with eggs, or as an unusual but tasty ice cream topping. The blueberries can also be pureed with the peppers if you prefer a smoother jelly texture.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 65

Yes, the humble green tomato.   Here in So Cal don't worry too much if we are left with a lot of green tomatoes on the vine.  They will ripen in the fall or even winter.  However, for those of you who are not as lucky, here's a tasty recipe.

Green Salsa

Yield: 5 pints
5 cups chopped green tomatoes
1 1/2 cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
1/2 cup seeded finely chopped jalapeƱos
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup bottled lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin*
3 Tbsp oregano leaves *
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir frequently over high heat until mixture begins to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner 15 minutes at 0-1,000 feet altitude; 20 minutes at 1,001-6,000 feet; 25 minutes above 6,000 feet.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fair Results

All the hard work paid off. I won a blue ribbon for my whole wheat bread! I also won a blue ribbon for my Peru photo album.  (That's three straight years.) I won a 2nd place ribbon for my dill pickles and nothing for my jam.  I didn't think I was going to get anything for the jam.  It was too thick. Not a bad percentage.

Another Zucchini Recipe

If your garden is anything like mine, I went to pick tender baby zucchini and found 10 pounders hiding at the bottom.  Here's a recipe that is perfect for cubing those suckers and making Mock Pineapple.

 Mock Pineapple

4 quarts shredded or cubed zucchini, peeled
46 oz can unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups bottled lemon juice
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pineapple extract

Mix ingredients (except pineapple extract) and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes. Stir in extract. Fill hot jars with hot mixture and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath; pints and half-pints for 15 minutes (20 min. above 1000 ft., 25 min. above 6000 ft.).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 3, 2011

Every three months I have to give the Presidency lesson on the first Sunday of the month.  Since it was the day before the 4th of July, I decided to talk about something I know a little about, WWII.  I film the lessons each week and post them on YouTube for those that don't get a chance to see them.

This is a pic of my Dad.  They must have decided to take pics on the spur of the moment, because he's only wearing his jacket over his civies.

My guess is the photo is from 1945-46.  It's not marked.  This would make Dad 24 or 25-years-old.  My lesson is in 3 parts, below.

I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 64

It's the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Yes, I'll gladly blame this one on DH.  He wanted to try some giant pumpkin seeds, and lo and behold, we got humungous pumpkins.  Okay, now what?  Funny how when I say I want to plant pumpkin pie pumpkins, he says the vines take over everything. He's correct, but at least we'd get some edible pumpkins out of it. Enough of my rant...

Look what else I have lurking in my garden.  No it isn't an oblong pumpkin, it's a cucumber.  I have several that mysteriously appeared when I didn't check the garden for a couple of days.  Never fear, if you remember last year, I made mock spiced apple rings.  Here's a recipe from David on the Canning2 Yahoo group, for another variation:


7 lbs. cucumbers, sliced 2 ways (I use big yellow cucumbers)
2 qts. vinegar
2 gal. cold water
5 lbs. sugar, or if desired less
2 c. pickling lime
1 tbsp. pickling spice
2 pkgs. red hots (cinnamon candies)
Red food coloring

Slice big yellow cucumbers, remove all pulp and seeds. Slice in desired lengths. Mix lime with 2 gallons water. Mix well. pour over cucumbers. Soak 24 hours. Drain well. Soak 3 hours in cold ice water. Drain. Tie spices in rag. Mix sugar and vinegar, put in spices and red hots. Pour over cucumbers. Let stand 12 hours. Add red food coloring, a few drops to make pretty red. Bring to boil. Boil rapidly 30 minutes, until cucumbers begin to clear. Pack in jars and cover with liquid. Heat lids and seal.

Of course you would want to update the canning instructions (I BWB for 10 minutes pints/15 minutes quarts - adjust for elevation of course) and rather than stocks I make rounds from peeled cikes that have the seeds
removed. Same sort of idea without the lime soak or the alum.  Pickle Crisp could be added as a firming agent.

Once canned and stores for a couple months the pickle is a dead ringer for spiced apple rings.

And, in case you missed this recipe on the Recipes page:
From the 1969 book, Homemade Bread edited by Nell B. Nichols, comes this recipe for:

Zucchini Marmalade
2 lbs. young zucchini squash (I'm using my immense 50 lb. zucchinis, thinly sliced.)
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 (13.5 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 pkg. powdered pectin
5 cups sugar
2 tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger

  • Peel squash and cut into thin slices.  Measure 6 cups sliced zucchini into a large kettle.
  • Add lemon juice, peel and pineapple.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until squash is tender but holds its shape, about 15 minutes.
  • Add pectin.  Place over high heat and bring to a boil.  Stir in sugar and ginger.  Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat; skim off any foam.  Stir and skim 5 minutes to cool slightly and prevent fruit from floating.
  • Ladle into hot, sterilized jars; seal with hot paraffin.  Makes 5 half pints.
I would process this marmalade in a BWB for 10 minutes. (This is a different way to pawn off zucchini on your neighbors.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week 63

With the price of food going up so much lately, it makes sense to buy when the price is low on something you use.  Extra lean ground beef was on sale, so I bought 10 lbs.  I made my meatloaf recipe and put it these small baking dishes.  These are enough for DH and me and with a bit left over for lunch.  I freeze these in my foodsaver bags and pull it out when we want meatloaf.  I also make two patties and freeze them in the bags.  They are easy to defrost and there is no waste.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Week 62

Bet you thought I wasn't getting anything in this week.  You're sort of correct.  Here's July's bargains.

Hot dogs
Ground beef
Hamburger and hot dog buns
Condiments (ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce, relish)
Salad dressing
Ice cream

Bottled water
Iced tea mix and bags

Grill supplies (charcoal, lighter fluid)
Party supplies (disposable plates, cups, napkins and utensils)

I'm teaching a Relief Society lesson tomorrow at church.  I've been polishing it up this week.