Archive for the ‘Canning’ Category

Green Tomato Chow Chow

At the end of the season there is always bits and pieces that need to be used in some way and that is how chow chow came about. My grandma didn’t make it every summer but when she did you can bet it packed a nice punch and went well with winter beans and peas and greens.

I have made all sorts of relishes this summer but here we are in fall and still getting produce from the garden. I decided to make the chow chow last week. Into the food processor went the veggies.

8 cups of cabbage.

3 cups chopped bell peppers. I cut these by hand because the food processor causes all the juice to come out and they lose their crunch.

6 cups green tomatoes.

Mix these vegetables well and add 1/2 cup of salt and cover with cold water. Let sit at least 12 hours. The brine helps the vegetables begin to ferment and really improves the flavors.

Drain and squeeze out all of the water from the vegetables. Add hot peppers to your taste. I used 8 large jalapenos chopped fine.

2 1/2 cups of finely chopped onions.

In a large stock pot bring to boil 4 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, 3 cups brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons of pickling spice – celery seeds, mustard seed, turmeric, coriander seeds, bay leaves, all spice and peppercorns. Add the vegetable mix and simmer 10 minutes.

Get your hot pint jars ready and ladle in the chow chow.

Apply hot lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner. For my altitude this means 5 minutes for pints.

Once processed allow jars to cool. After 24 hours I remove the rings, wash the jars in hot soapy water, dry and put away in my pantry. This relish gets better over time. I will let it sit at least a month before a jar is opened. It makes my mouth water to think about collards with hot pepper vinegar and a spoon full of this relish on the side.

Garden Fresh Tomato Soup

Is there anything more comforting than a hot bowl of soup and a sandwich when it is cold and rainy outside? I say not! I will even go so far as to say there is no soup and no sandwich better than tomato soup accompanied by a grilled cheese sandwich. I know when I offer soup and sandwiches everyone will request tomato soup and grilled cheese. With summer coming to an end and the abundance of fresh ingredients available I took advantage of the blessing and got myself busy.

A local farm offered up some end of season tomatoes so I hopped on the tomato train again. They are ‘canning’ tomatoes meaning they are ‘seconds’ or have blemishes and are small.

I brought them home, washed them up, cored them and run them through the food processor to a crushed tomato consistency. I did not peel them. This pot is about 35 – 40 pounds of crushed tomatoes.

I put them in my big stock pot and cooked them down until they began to thicken. You can see how much liquid evaporated and really heightened the flavor of the tomatoes. My ladle could stand on its own in the middle of the pot. This is a very low and slow process. It took nearly 7 hours of cooking at a simmer to reduce the tomatoes to this point.

I sauteed 4 cups of onions and 2 cups of chopped celery and 3 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic. Once they were soft and the onions were just at the point of caramelization I added them to the pot of tomatoes.

Using a stick blender I pureed the tomatoes, onions and celery until smooth.

The seasoning is tricky. For this batch I added 1 tablespoon of salt, blended the soup, let it mellow a little and then tasted it for flavor. This batch needed only 2 tablespoons of salt to be perfect. The second stock pot needed more. Remember it is also easier to add a little at a time instead of adding a lot and finding you have over salted everything. In something like this the only way to save it would be to cook down a lot more tomatoes and combining the two. Lots ‘o work!

Working in batches of 7 quarts at a time I filled my jars.

I made sure to wipe the rims of the jars clean before adding the hot lids and rings.

Because the last few days has seen temperatures in the 90’s (in October!!) I have my canners set up on my side porch to keep the heat out. So out with a canner load and into the pressure canner. I processed these jars for 20 minutes at 10lbs of pressure according to my altitude.

Let me stress here that you cannot -canNOT– water bath can tomato soup. Don’t even think about it and don’t send me emails asking if you can do it. The only safe process for canning tomato soup is using the pressure canning methods.

When I open these jars this winter we will feast on delicious homemade soup better than anything that comes out of a grocery store can. A pat of butter, a dollop of sour cream and a few croutons makes this soup a hearty meal served along side a grilled cheese sandwich. If I wanted cream of tomato soup I only have to add a good splash of heavy cream while it warms on the stove.

Making anything while canning means we will be eating that during one of our daily meals. Even as hot as it was we enjoyed steaming bowls of soup with the air conditioner blasting on us while crunching on crispy grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ingredient List
35 – 40 lbs of tomatoes
4 cups of onions
2 cups of celery
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
salt and pepper
canning jars with lids and rings
pressure canner

Canning Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one thing everyone in my house loves. Grilled, sauteed in butter, in spaghetti sauce, on pizza, gravy, beef stew – just to name a few ways we love them. When I find them on sale I buy way more than I need then I can them. I was at Costco recently and the crimini mushrooms (baby portobello) were a great price at $3.29 for a two pound basket. I picked up four baskets and hurried home to delight over my bounty.

I use a damp cloth and give them a quick wipe to remove any of the sterile growing medium that might be sticking to them. Then I slice the large ones the same I would for any recipe.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add the mushrooms a few cups at a time and bring back to the boil cooking for five minutes.

Using a slotted spoon I fill my jars with mushrooms – without the liquid from the pot. I also add a 1/4 tsp of salt to each jar.

When my jars are full I then add fresh boiling water to leave a 1-inch headspace. Apply lids and rings and process in a pressure canner for 45 minutes for pints and half pints.

Remove from the canner and allow to cool. After 24 hours remove the rings, wash the jars in hot soapy water, and label with the date. Store in a cool dark place for longer storage life.

You can find this and many other recipes on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

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