Thursday, August 26, 2010

Adventures in Canning: Part 1

The last two days, my kitchen has been a small batch canning factory. I've done some canning before, last year it was tomatoes from the garden and blueberry preserves. This year, my tomatoes haven't been too plentiful and I haven't been able to find blueberries for the same low price I them for last year.

Instead, I have a ton of zucchini and found peaches on sale. And I have a fair amount of cucumbers this year as well.

Yesterday and today, I put all of the above into jars of some form and processed them to store up for the long winter ahead. Or not so long winter ahead, whatever.

Canning is actually a very easy process, it just takes some set up and equipment and then the time needed to prepare the food and process it. Currently I only am doing hot water bath canning which requires higher acid foods for safety reasons. Foods with a good acid content are safe to can this way and not run the risk of eating god knows what kind of germs. For meats and some vegetables, a pressure cooker/canner is the way to go. I haven't purchased or tried pressure canning yet, but it is something I am considering.

I have three recipes to post. After I've posted them, I will talk about the supplies, equipment and techniques one should use for safe, at home, canning.

First up, a zucchini relish.

This recipe requires some prep time. The zucchini, onions and some bell pepper are shredded and left to sit for at least 12 hours with pickling salt to pull out the extra water.

Then into a pot with some seasoning and vinegar to cook down a bit.

Once cooked, into jars it went for processing, but not before I took a quick taste.

So very good. I can't wait to cook up some hot dogs and brats to top with this yummy relish.

Zesty Zucchini Relish

12 cups finely chopped or shredded zucchini

4 cups chopped onions

3 red peppers, seeded and chopped

1/3 cup pickling salt

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 tbsp ground nutmeg

1 tbsp ground turmeric

5 tbsp prepared horseradish

2 Anaheim chilis, diced, including seeds

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the zucchini, onions, red bell peppers and pickling salt. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 12 hours or over night.
Transfer to a colander to drain off water, squeezing out as much as possible.

In a large, non-reactive saucepan, combine zucchini mixture, sugar, vinegar, nutmeg, turmeric, horseradish and chili pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently for 45 minutes until liquid is reduced.

Prepare canner, lids and jars.

Ladle hot relish into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and add more relish as needed for correct headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar, screw on top until resistance is met and increase to only fingertip tight.

Place jars in canner and bring to a boil. Process for 15 minutes, then turn off heat and remove canner lid, allowing jars to remain in water for additional 5 minutes. Then remove jars, allow to cool and store.

No comments:

Post a Comment