"The Greene Thumb" August Edition | Canning
While we are about to see Labor Day come and go, the opportunity to can and preserve a little piece of summer is far from expired. With bushels of juicy tomatoes, plump colorful fruits and firm cucumbers dropping from the vine - it’s time to can!
Every summer I make batches of jams, jellies, salsa and sauce to last us through the winter months. I also make sure to share the love and hand them out to family and friends with the objective to inspire them to make the common canned goods they use at home, instead of buying them from the store. It is amazing how everyday real food grown fresh from the garden can be stored on your pantry shelves. Yes, this is an all-day project but worth the time and effort, good things come to those who wait!
Canning jars come in multiple sizes and it’s always good to have a variety on hand, however my go-to brand is the Kerr “Self-Sealing” Wide Mouth jars. We have come a long way since the years of my grandma standing in a hot kitchen over an electric stove maneuvering tongs around jars to seal and sanitize! These mason jars have a rubber ring on the inside of the lid (intended for single use) creating a seal when boiled and cooled. If improperly sealed the dome of the lid will be popped upward.
Apples are one of the easiest products to jar as they contain natural pectin so a quick boil and mash is all you need to manipulate this fruit into your breakfast jam or spread. Apples can be cored- no peeling necessary- boiled and mashed then enhanced with cinnamon sticks or warm nutmeg and packed away.
Tomato sauce is usually a staple recipe in households but not often shared with others. In mine you will only find blanched and peeled plum tomatoes, sliced garlic cloves, small diced onion, torn basil leaves, a pinch of red chili flake, kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Leave the fancy stuff for another recipe.
Pickles are the most versatile canning project and come in many different cuts and flavors- Spears, chips, whole, sandwich slices- Dill, Bread and Butter or Sweet Gherkins. Me? I’m a traditional Crunchy Garlic Dill Pickle lover.
Garlic Dill Pickles
3#’s Pickling Cucumbers
1.5C Apple Cider Vinegar
1.5 Cups Water
2T Pickling Salt
2T Pickling Spice
10 Garlic Cloves, Smashed
1t red chili flakes
Begin by removing the blossom end of your cucumbers and decide what shape you would like your pickles to be, I usually go for spears- infuses the most flavor and stays crunchy. Then line up all of your sanitized jars. Divide the cut cucumbers, garlic, pickling spice, dill and red pepper flakes evenly between all the jars. In a large sauce pan bring the vinegar, water and pickling salt to a boil. Pour th
e brine into the jars leaving “head space”- about a ¼ inch from the top. Lay the lid on each jar and screw on the band. If refrigerated allow the product to cool at room temperature and it will seal itself, before storing it in the refrigerator. Let the pickles sit for a week for added flavor. Enjoy in a Sunday Bloody Mary!
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