02 October 2009

Canning on my own time table - an experiment

Is it possible to can something over a few days instead of just one long (hot) afternoon? I think more people would try canning if you could make things in a step-type process.

So that's what I'm going to try and see if it works - there are some recipes that might not work in this type of process, but I think the critical step is where in the recipe you decide to stop.
Where do you decide it's safe to leave off, cool down, refrigerate, and start again the next day (or so).
And another thought - I read somewhere to freeze blueberries during summer and use them to make jam later in the year - even in winter perhaps when heating up the kitchen seems like a good idea. So, I've cut up some local green jalapeno peppers and some local red serrano peppers. I put them in a zip top bag and then those two into freezer bag and found room for them in the freezer.
I figure later in the fall, when the kitchen is done (who the hell knows when that will be), I'll pull them out and make red and green pepper jelly - who knows that might be a Christmas present for a few people.
My logic, if it can be called that, is that since the starting point for the jelly is just water that has be used to simmer the peppers* and not the peppers themselves, time served in the freezer shouldn't have an impact on the outcome of the recipe. We'll see...

* Recipes that are titled "jelly" and still use the peppers are gross and are not jelly.

30 September 2009

Dill Pickles

As I have said before, I'm not a big fan of dill pickles, excepting on a media noche - but that is a sublime sandwich experience. That said, MotH and boy both like dills on other things so in an attempt (or two) should be made. 

I'm lazy. These dill pickles are refrigerator dills, but on a first attempt, I think that is acceptable. Perhaps next summer I'll brine for days on end, but not now. 

Sad Note: Local pickling cukes are over and out here now.
Happy Note: Green peanuts still rollin' on in. 

 Wonder:  How much does a bushel of green peanuts cost?
 Wonder also: How much is a bushel ?
 Wonder as well: How long would it take to boil a bushel?

Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Equipment: 5 pint jars, with appropriate lid stuff.

4 lbs of cukes
2 onions (optional)
5 Tbs pickling salt

Put scrubbed whole cukes in glass bowl, cover with boiling water briefly, and drain. Slice into 1/4" slices. Slice onions and place w/cukes in strainer over bowl. Add salt and stir, let sit 3 hours. Rinse and most importantly taste. If they are still too salty, soak in cold water for ten minutes, check again and repeat as necessary until they are pleasantly salty. 

3 c vinegar (white wine is lovely)
3 c H2O
7 T pickling salt
1/2 c sugar
3 1/2 t Pickling Spice

Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, 10 minutes.

In each jar:
1 tsp dill seed
1 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
4 sprigs of fresh dill

And ...
Pack jars with cukes and onions in jars that include the above. Pour in brine, release bubbles and seal (in scrupulously clean jars and rings w/new lids)*. Let cool in a draft free part of the kitchen (not right under the A/C vent if you get what I mean) and they go pop pop pop. Put in fridge, wait three to four weeks - if you can (insert evil laugh here). 

* If you do not know what this means, please do your homework at this site or here. 

Sources: Amalgamation (see pickling books in my librarything), plus a little playing around.