Posts Tagged ‘canning/jarring’

pickle me green

what do you do with 8 pounds of green tomatoes?
why, pickle ’em, of course!

the tomato plants in the veggie garden have been looking rather sad these past couple of weeks, i think its the colder weather at night, or the sun not performing to its fullest during the day… whatever it is, i decided on saturday that they were coming down to make way for the crimson clover seeds i ordered to create some green manure over the winter!

the GREEN party getting started:

the first round ready for the brine:

and the final product:which could easily be mistaken for monkey brains – be sure to label :0)

here’s how it all went down this sunday afternoon–>

PICKLED GREEN TOMATOES

The recipe below can make from 12-21 pint jars (or 6-10 quarts), I used about 5-8 pounds green (no red at all) tomatoes – can be grape, cherry, or if bigger you may have to cut them up so they can fit nicely in the jars.

BRINE Ingredients:
2 qt. white distilled vinegar
3 qt. water
3/4 c. fine non-iodized salt

Put all of these ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, each of your sanitized jars (this is for pints, double if using quarts) gets filled up with:
1-3 garlic cloves (or shallots)
1 t. fresh dill
1/2 t. olive oil
1/4 t. pickling spice
1/4 t. alum (optional – keeps product crisper)
1 t. – 1/2 T. chopped spicy pepper
green tomatoes until about 1/2″ from the top

Directions:
Once the brine comes to a boil, fill your jars (that are already filled with the tomatoes, herbs, spices) until about 1/2″ from the top.
Clean off the rims.
Place on the lids.
Screw on the lids until finger-tight.
Place in hot water bath to process for 10 minutes, after it comes to a rolling boil.
Let rest in water with heat off for 5 mins.
Take out, place jars on straining tray, leave them be for 12-24 hours, then check the seals – reprocess if necessary.
Let the pickling powers work their magic for a couple of weeks, then ENJOY!

~*~

i think this calls for a GIVEAWAY!!

leave a comment letting me know if you’d like to be entered in the drawing to
win a PINT of MEL’s PICKLED GREEN TOMATOES
(family, friends, people I see every day – ALL are allowed to enter in the drawing!!)

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im seeing GREEN

what started with a ‘do you think you can make me some pickled green tomatoes turned into one of the tastiest experiments in my kitchen to date!

REWIND:
last weekend the hubster was doing his usual lawn upkeep and has been on me for weeks about how my tomato plants are ‘invading his beautiful lawn’… i guess it got to the point where i could no longer just shrug it off with ‘well, that’s just the way the plants grow’ :0)

so, we (errrr, he) decided to pick some of the green tomatoes that were on the overhanging stems… and the anti-veggie-loving-husband amazed me again when he asked if i could pickle them for him, because supposedly, he LOVEs them?!?! {never ceases to amaze me, that one}

well… almost 8 pounds of pickled green tomatoes sounded to me like we’d pretty much be eating them every single day until we turned green ourselves! so i hit up the web for some help with what to do with all of these and came across THIS recipe that i put a bit of my own touch into

and boy o’ boy, i think i am now in LOVE with chutney (which btw, i actually had to look up what chutney even was, as id never had it… now i can’t stop using it for everything in the kitchen!)

talk about making lemonade out of lemons

mind you, it does look like ‘dog food’ (quoted from JC) but it tastes AMAZING… the combination of flavors, that i have never to this day put together, just melded so gracefully in the pot as it reduced away for hours on the stove

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Green Tomato and Apple Chutney

Ingredients:
3 lbs. green tomatoes
2 lbs. firm, tart apples
2 c. raisins, either dark or golden
1.5 c. diced onions
2 t. finely minced garlic (or shallots)
2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2 t. pickling or other fine non-iodized salt
1.5 c. cider vinegar, plus a little more if needed
3 to 4 T. finely minced fresh ginger, to taste
1.5 T. mustard seed
2 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. finely minced fresh hot red pepper

Directions:
1) Rinse and drain the tomatoes. Cut out the stem scars and any blemishes and cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch chunks. Place the tomatoes in a preserving pan or heavy pot.
2) Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/2-inch chunks; add them to the tomatoes. Add the raisins, onion, garlic (or shallots), brown and granulated sugar, salt and vinegar. Mix the ingredients well and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and boil the mixture slowly, uncovered, stirring it often, for 30 minutes.
3) Add the ginger, mustard seed, coriander, cinnamon and hot pepper. Return to a boil, adjust the heat and continue to cook the chutney uncovered at a slow boil, stirring it often, until it holds a mounded shape when lifted in a spoon. This could take hours depending on how many times you multiply the recipe and continue to taste it carefully, remembering that the balance of flavors will improve as the chutney mellows in the jar; add, if needed, more vinegar, sugar, and/or salt.
4) Ladle the boiling-hot chutney into hot, clean pint or half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Seal the jars with new two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer’s directions and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bat. Cool, label and store the jars. Let the chutney mellow for a few weeks before serving.

ENJOY!

simple salsa recipe

while the carolinas were getting blasted by hurricane Irene – and the Jersey shore was anxiously awaiting her arrival – i thought there was no better way to spend a rainy afternoon than being in one of my favorite places, the kitchen, for a couple of hours with one of my favorite people, (my Grams – one of our hurricane house guests) making some salsa and canning it up for future consumption and gifts for family and friends

i found THIS recipe through Simply Recipes and pretty much followed it to a T. it worked perfectly and the end result was so incredibly scrumptious! just the right amount of spice and the fresh ingredients from the garden tantalized the tastebuds in my mouth like no other

we now have 12 jars of this goodness… yuuuuup – they ALL ‘dinked‘!!!  i think i’m really getting the hang of this whole canning thing now – and my new kit worked awesomely, i love it and highly recommend it to anyone, plus you can’t beat the price – $30!

the bestest part = there was a bowl’s worth of salsa leftover that didn’t make it to the jars and we got to enjoy it ‘fresssssh off the presses’ while we had our eyes glued to the weather channel and listened to the wind and rain beginning to roar by

canning-a-fied

last friday when i mentioned how i’d be experimenting in sauce and salsa jarring this past weekend… wowz, can i look back now and admit how naive i was or what!!

the bona fide researcher in me thought it could be as simple as following the directions on the back of the Ball mason jar box – HEH! who was i kidding?!

one thorough hands on lesson by Farmer T later and i think i can now say i feel a lot better about the whole process, and even more sure that i’m not creating a recipe for disaster months down the road when i decide to eat from these jars

i stuck to just making and jarring tomato sauce, instead of the sauce and two versions of salsa that i had planned on… there are more tomatoes a’growin away in the garden as we speak and always another weekend to get my creations just right.

so… how’d we do it?!

well, i highly suggest picking yourself up one of these kits if you are even thinking about canning/jarring
its got all of the picker-uppers, funnels, magnet thingies and whatnot that you need to keep your process sanitary and complete

thankfully T had a set on hand to bring over… what was i thinking when i thought i could use my kitchen tongs to pull scalding hot jars out of the pots?! yeah… i dont know either :0)

anyways… so the next step was to sanitize the jars and the lids/bands that would be used

then you carefully use the jar tongs to place them on a cookie sheet with the rack in it – this helps from getting your counter-top a sloshy mess and – again – everything sanitary

use the handy dandy funnel to carefully fill ’em up

wipe the rims off so the seal can be created correctly

use the even cooler magnet stick to pick up the lids and bands from the vat of hot water to – againverrry carefully place on the tops, btw having a partner to do this totally helps!

screw on the bands – just finger tight – you can’t fully tighten them until 12 hours after they’ve been processed

use the jar tongs to place them back into the water bath… and yes, you can see, i had to improvise to create a make-shift grate for the bottom, who knew you can’t place glass right on the bottom of the pan?! ya learn something new every day! so one power drill, a broken drill bit and a scrapped cake pan later – viola:

i checked a couple of sauce recipes online to figure out these needed to be boiling for 35 minutes in order to be fully processed… so we watched the boiling pot and waited for these to complete

and when they say a watched pot never boils, they ARE NOT kidding! it felt like it took for-ev-errrrr!

T left after the jars went into the water bath for the processing and told me to ‘wait until they dink and you’ll know they’re good to go’ – 6 out of the 8 ‘dinked’ and i stuck the other two in the freezer knowing i’d be putting them to good use soon enough in a recipe.

i think all in all my first canning/jarring experience was a wonderful afternoon of learning and the next day i ordered myself one of these
to use on my salsa experiment – hopefully next weekend!