Pickles 2011

I made pickles on my own in 2009.  And again in 2010, each year I try to take notes because I always find myself stumped… which recipe did I make?  How much produce did I buy?  On Saturday I grab 5 lbs of pickling cucumbers (all small enough to fit in a pint jar whole), ~2 lbs of green beans (and hey look, tomatillos, I’ll take 3 lbs for my favorite green enchilada sauce) from the farmer’s market and planned to pickle the weekend away.

9/3/2011

First up: Garlic Dill Pickles, recipe courtesy of Food in Jars.  We made these last year, but I find myself stumped?  Black pepper, I don’t remember that, did we prefer fresh dill or dill seed?  I don’t think we noticed a difference, or if we did it wasn’t enough to be memorable.  Oh, hey we did use dried whole chiles instead of crushed red pepper – 1 per jar. But what exactly is 2 quarts of cucumbers? I decided to do a little tracking.  Using a spare dry pint box from berries I filled it 4 times and dumped the cucumbers in a big bowl set up on my scale. 39.5 oz.  I get 8 jars ready, only to realize that my water bath canner holds 7 jars.  Oh well.  And then I only manage to fill 6 of those jars (each holds 6 cucumbers when I mix slightly smaller with slightly larger cucumbers, one jar has 5 thicker cucumbers).  So I grab 7 more cucumbers, quickly scrub and prep them (I cut both ends off because I worry I’ll mistake a blossom end for a stem end). This year we are aiming for a few spicier jars and add 2 chiles to 3 of the jars.  I do have some extra brine… oh well.

Garlic Dill Pickles: 41 cucumbers (not quite 3 lbs) in 7 pint jars.

Second batch: Cucumber Pickles with Lemon from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving.  Calls for 2 lbs of pickles (and I have 30 oz remaining).  Wish I had started sooner since the cucs need to be salted and sit for 3 hours.  I didn’t believe that the cucumber slices would fit in three jars so I prepped four jars and upped the brine (vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and spices by 1 1/3) only to have it all fit perfectly in 3 jars.

Third Batch: Dilly Beans from Food in Jars, with a slight modification to the brine (following the Ball Complete Guide… brine ratio so I used 2 1/2 T of salt instead of 4 T that Marissa called for).  2 lbs of green beans probably could have filled 4 jars, but I prepped three jars.  Ooops, processed them for 10 minutes instead of 5.

September 4, 2011. Tags: , , . preserving. Leave a comment.

Blueberry Lime Jam Notes (2010)

I first heard of Blueberry Lime jam on the Little Red Bike Blog. Then PDX Knitterati mentioned it. I had to make it. Batch #1 was a half-batch, just 3 half-pints. But it confirmed – this was a must-make jam. I did make it a bit more lime-centric, using a full lime’s worth of zest instead of half a lime’s zest.

Batch #2 was a full-batch, but still small, 5 half-pints (I really thought I’d manage a 6th jar, but it was only half-full). To get 4 cups of mashed blueberries I had to mash about 7 cups of whole blueberries. I used Pomona’s Pectin , the full sugar amount (2 cups), lime juice and the zest from one lime.

Time: cleaning berries started at 8 pm, full jars went in the canner at 11:30 pm…

September 3, 2011. Tags: , , , . preserving. 1 comment.

Third Pickle Round (2010)

We’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pickle recipe. Since I managed to find more small pickling cucs at the Farmer’s Market last weekend I gave another recipe a try. I ended up buying 1 3/4 lbs of very small cucumbers and using Food in Jar’s Garlic Dill Pickles recipe (http://www.foodinjars.com/2009/08/garlic-dill-pickles/) I made 5 pints of pickles. I actually reduced the brine by 3/4 and that made almost the perfect amount for my 5 jars with just a tad leftover. It is so nice to not frantically be making a 2nd small batch of brine to fill that last jar.

How many jars of pickles do I have now?
-5 pints cucumber garlic-dills
-2 pints sweet & spiced beets
-3 pints bread & butter zucchinis
-3 pints dilly beans
-2 quarts refrigerator dill cucumbers

and hopefully by the end of the day 2 pints (or halfpints) of sweet & spiced pear pickles

September 3, 2011. Tags: , , . preserving. Leave a comment.

Salsa 2010 notes

We purchased 15 lbs of canning tomatoes and 1 pint basket of jalapenos for our salsa canning adventure.

After pouring over countless recipes, worrying about vinegar versus lemon juice and the wide range of vinegar additions (necessary due to the questionable acidity level of the tomatoes combined with the low-acid peppers, onions and other salsa additions) we settled on Spicy Tomato Salsa (page 205) from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine.

Some things we want to remember: Our 15 lbs of tomatoes yielded 21 cups of diced tomatoes (after blanching, peeling and coring). We used 12 cups for the salsa and froze the remaining in 2 cups increments. We used 4 chile negros and 5 guajillo chiles for the the dried chiles in the salsa and left the seeds in one jalapeno. Our yield was 8 pints and 1 half-pint. (I’ve yet to have a spot-on yield from this book.)

It took like 2 1/2 hours to go from raw, unprepped ingredients to salsa in a pot. Another 30 or 40 minutes to bring it to a boil. And finally 3 hours 45 minutes from starting (or maybe 3 hours 15 minutes) the filled cans are in the canning pot.

September 3, 2011. Tags: , , , . preserving. Leave a comment.

Pickle Notes (2010)

I could have sworn I made notes of my canning efforts last year – which recipes, and what sorts of spicing modifications that I made, but of course now I can’t find that.

When Beth/Bookishbiker posted this zucchini recipe it caught my eye (I had some great pickles seasoned with tumeric earlier this summer at a pizza place). So when I didn’t get around to making dinner with some zucchini I decided to go ahead and make them. Once I started the recipe I realized how much sugar was in the recipe – yup, it tastes a lot like bread and butter pickles. That is okay though. And in classic fashion my yield is off from the recipe yeild. I packed 3 pints jars plus one very full 1/2 pint jar – I probably should have packed the zucchini and onion slices looser in 4 pint jars. Oh well.

And I knew I wanted to make sweet spiced pickled beets again, but I also knew I didn’t want to make last years recipe since that turned out way too sweet. I’m 90% sure I used the Small Batch preserving recipe. So this year I tried the Ball Guide to Home Preservation recipe with my addition of ginger to the spices. But how much ginger did I use last year? Drats. So I decided to add just over 1/2 tablespoon of the dried, cracked ginger. I bought 2 bunches of beets at the Farmer’s Market (with oodles of golf ball size beets instead of the 4 or so larger beets that I see so often) I know it wasn’t the 10 lbs the recipe called for, but I was okay tossing a bit of brine (better than scrambling to boil a second batch of brine like I did last year). I thought I’d end up with about 4 pints. I ended up with 2 pints. Which might be a problem, since my mom has asked for some for christmas. Last year she actually mixed her plain canned beets with my pickled beets and said that created the perfect sweet-level of brine. Here’s hoping this brine recipe is a winner.

And finally: stop trying to process more than one type of pickle in an evening. Or at least pay attention to processing times before you are 3/4 the way through the process. That is when I realized that my zucchini jars only need to boil for 10 minutes while my beets need to boil for 30 minutes. The mom suggestion was to just take the zucchini out sooner.

September 3, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . preserving. Leave a comment.

More Pickle Notes

Dilly Beans! Last year I never got around to making dilly beans, though I did convince my mom to make some. Then I forgot to bring home the jar after christmas. So this year I vowed to make Dilled Green Bean pickles (aka Dilly Beans!). I decided to try the Food in Jars recipe. Except I realized at about 9:45 pm that I didn’t have dill seed, but I did have dill weed in preparation for cucumber pickles (the dill heads at the grocery store looked very very sad and kind of icky). So work with what you’ve got… Additionally I used 1 hot dried pepper from my spice stash per jar instead of the cayenne (or red pepper flakes that another very similar recipe specified).

September 23, 2010. Tags: , , . preserving. 1 comment.