Sunday, August 24, 2014
It seems that Jarden (the company that manufactures Ball canning jars and lids) has made some changes in their recommendations on how to use their lids... No boiling???
Read the real scoop at Living Home Grown!
Saturday, July 12, 2014
I put all the cobs in my bid stockpot and covered them with water... brought the water to a boil, lowered the heat and simmered them, covered, for two hours.
I then drained the liquid into another pot and discarded the cobs.
I stirred in the sugar(s), brought the mixture to a boil, and boiled gently until the mixture reduced and thickened to a syrup consistency.
Meanwhile, I washed, sterilized, and heated my jars and lids (I used half pint jars).
Once my syrup had reached the thickness I wanted, I added a little vanilla extract (optional) and filled my jars, leaving a half inch headspace.
I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth and tightened on my lids to fingertip tightness.
I processed my jars in a boiling water bath (covering the jars with water) for 10 minutes.
After processing, I removed the jars of syrup using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.
The syrup will be yummy on pancakes or waffles... and I'm sure there are other uses I haven't come up with yet!
I even saved the silks for a medicinal tincture! But that's another story for another day!
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Honestly, I don't usually can corn... it freezes so nicely and is much less work to freeze than it is to can... but alas, I have no more freezer space and a bushel of beautiful sweet "peaches and cream" corn... so I canned it.
I'm also really really lousy at cutting corn off the cob... Mr. G bought me this handy dandy corn cutter made by OXO that helped TREMENDOUSLY! But I'm still pretty lousy at it.
To make cream corn, you take a knife and barely cut the tops off the corn kernels, then you take the knife edge and scrape all the goodness (milk)... I remember my Nanny Sensing (my Mom's mom) making cream corn by the bushel when I was a kid... she would have corn all over the counter, the wall behind the counter, down her apron, and even on her glasses as she worked.
To make whole kernel corn, you cut the... you guessed it... whole kernel! off the cob.
I think I do something in between when I cut off corn... I cut MOST of the kernel off... and then I can't stand leaving anything behind, so I scrape the cob with a knife edge and get the rest... It's the best I can do... and I like corn that way, so we're all happy!
HOWEVER you take your corn off the cob, canning it is the same way.
I cold packed my corn... which means I cut it off the cob and then put it in the jars without heating it up or anything.
Before I was ready to pack my corn, I got my jars and lids nice and hot by putting them in boiling water on the stove for 10 minutes or so.
I've heard horror stories about canning corn... overcooking, even burning those golden kernels... I learned that the trick is NOT to pack the corn in the jars too tight, allowing room for plenty of water.
I canned my corn in pints... I packed, VERY LOOSELY, my raw corn into my hot, sterilized jars. Don't press it down, shake it down, NUTHIN'! Just loosely ladle it into the jar.
Then poured in boiling water to fill the jar, leaving a half-inch headspace. I added a half teaspoon of canning salt (this step is, of course, optional).
I wiped the jar rim with a damp cloth.
Then a tightened my hot lids on to fingertip tightness.
I processed my pints of corn in my pressure canner at 10 lbs. pressure for 55 minutes. (Corn is a low-acid food and MUST be pressure canned, no way 'round it, corn spoils way to easily to take any chances)
After the corn processed and the canner cooled down and the pressure in my canner dropped naturally and on its own to zero, I removed the jars using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
|I ended up with 2 four-ounce jars, 7 eight-ounce jars, and one 12-ounce jar|
of blueberry syrup... plus a bit left over.
Our blueberries have been ripening over the past couple of weeks... but this week they've stepped it up a notch and I'm picking every couple of days. Mr. G has had a hankering for blueberry syrup over pancakes like they used to have at the original IHOP... back in our younger days.
So, I made him up a batch of blueberry syrup!
Since I failed to take photos of my process due to the fact that I decided to make this delicious syrup in the middle of the night... and since I followed exactly the recipe on the PickYourOwn website... I'm just going to link below to that site so you can follow their most excellent tutorial on canning your own blueberry (or any berry!) syrup. It's BERRY delicious!
Sunday, May 4, 2014
When I was growing up, honeysuckle blooms were so much fun... they meant summertime to us! They smelled so very sweet and we'd pick them and ever so slowly and carefully pull the stamens out and suck off the drop of tasty nectar from each one. Sweet and sticky and yummy!
My parents were always trying to get rid of honeysuckle... I never understood this as a child... it was so pretty and smelled so good... and gave us a delicious summertime snack! But, as we found out, honeysuckle is prolific... invasive really. So Daddy chopped it down, pulled it up, anything he could do to rid our yard of this invasive vine. At my grandmother's house, there was always a huge honeysuckle vine growing just outside... and up the side wall of the outhouse... made visiting that smelly place much sweeter!
When Mr. G and I moved back to the country a few years ago, we found we had honeysuckle growing near our front deck... being hardened against it as a child, I immediately began pulling it up to rid our yard of its invasive nature... Mr. G liked the stuff! He begged me to keep it! So we kept one small vine, with my warning to him that it would take over the porch... it has! But it smells so lovely this time of year... takes me back to barefoot, lazy, summer days with my siblings and cousins wandering the woods in the heat of summer, wading the creek and "falling in" to cool off... climbing trees, making "playhouses" underneath the pine trees with moss for our carpets and beds, and picking honeysuckle blossoms to suck the sweet nectar from them.
Since we now have a massive honeysuckle vine attached to our front deck and it showers us with its delicate, sweet-smelling blossoms several times each summer, I decided that SURELY honeysuckle has some usefulness... so I began scouring the internet and books to find out.
Guess what? Honeysuckle is indeed a useful, beneficial plant!
According to WebMD, honeysuckle (or as it is sometimes called, woodbine) "is used for digestive disorders including pain and swelling (inflammation) of the small intestine (enteritis) and dysentery; upper respiratory tract infections including colds, influenza, swine flu, and pneumonia; other viral and bacterial infections; swelling of the brain (encephalitis); fever; boils; and sores. Honeysuckle is also used for urinary disorders; headache, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Some people use it to promote sweating, as a laxative, to counteract poisoning, and for birth control. It is sometimes applied to the skin to reduce itching and inflammation."
From BellaVista Farm... honeysuckle medicinal benefits:
- clears toxins
- kills or inhibits germs
- coughs and asthma
- natural antibiotic used for staph or strep
- reduces fever and heat in the body
- for reducing ulcers, sore throats
- clears congestion
- used for acute symptoms NOT chronic symptoms
- reduces rashes from poison oak
- cuts that have become infected
- tea used as an eye wash
- helps nausea and vomiting from Hepatitis C
Thursday, December 5, 2013
I almost didn't write this blog post... ONE... I didn't remember to take very many pictures of the process... and TWO... it's so easy, I wasn't sure anyone would benefit from it... but, then, I thought maybe someone, who has never attempted to do anything with a leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass, would indeed have a thing or two to learn.
After Thanksgiving dinner, after we had eaten our fill of turkey and all the trimmings, and after my out of town family had made themselves to-go plates to take home (at my request!)... I was left with a naked carcass... mostly just the bones... with small bits of meat here and there. I had also purchased, while they were on sale, a second turkey, which I split in half down the middle and smoked in our electric smoker (major YUMMINESS!)
I decided to make turkey bone broth from the remainders of our delicious Thanksgiving feast.
I got out my huge stockpot and put the bird carcass inside... I chopped up 4 or 5 stalks of celery (I like to include the leaves, they're so flavorful), a couple of onions (peelings and all)... I would have included a few carrots but I didn't have any and was NOT going to the store on Black Friday! I added some salt, and other spices (garlic powder, peppercorns, a couple bay leaves... thyme would have been good, but I didn't think of it, wish I had! And parsley! Parsley would be good too!) That's how brainless turkey stock is... you just throw in a bunch of yummy stuff!
I added water to the stockpot, covering all the ingredients inside completely... I heated the mixture to boiling, then lowered the heat and let it simmer on low for several hours (I think I simmered for 6-8 hours... longer would be fine), I also added just a little splash of apple cider vinegar to help draw out the flavor from the bone marrow (doesn't give it a vinegar flavor, I promise!)
After all that simmering, a rich broth began to surround all the bones, meat, skin, and veggies. Smelling GOOD!
I strained the veggies out through a colander to get the big pieces, then again through cheesecloth to get all the small bits.
After the strained out carcass and veggies cooled, I picked all the little bits of meat left behind... and had a turkey sandwich!
I left the broth to cool overnight (refrigeration would be best, but my fridge was still mighty full!)... if you don't like turkey fat in your broth, refrigerating will solidify (sort of) the fat and it will float to the top so it can be skimmed off. I personally like a little fat in my broth, so I didn't skim mine very much.
I fed the scraps to my chickens... they thought it a delightful treat! (I've heard tell that some folks grind up the bones afterwards to make bone meal to add to their gardens... this time I was not THAT industrious!)
I brought the rich broth back up to a boil and began filling my hot, sterilized quart canning jars, leaving about an inch headspace. I tightened on my hot, sterilized lids, to fingertip tightness.
I processed the quarts of broth in my pressure canner at 10-11 pounds pressure for 25 minutes (pints would be 20 minutes).
After processing, I let the pressure in my canner drop back down to ZERO slowly and naturally (didn't want any liquid loss, aka siphoning, by force cooling the canner).
I removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel to cool and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar... LOVE the PING!
|From two turkey carcasses, I ended up with 14 quarts of rich, yummy broth,|
PLUS enough to add to the smoked turkey I canned the next day!
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Awhile back the great folks at www.pantryparatus.com sent me a sample package of their Modern Harvest home canning labels for me to try...
I set them aside and, well, honestly... forgot I had them.
Came across them recently and decided to give them a try... and am I glad I did!
I received the flower design labels which included 12 each of quart, pint, and half pint sizes... they can be found here. PantryParatus also offers several other styles of labels... (head on over there and check them out!)
So, basically here's what you do with these great labels...
Can your food like normal and let the jars cool...
Heat a pot of water to boiling (or, like I did... if your hot water bath water is still hot, just use it)
Choose the size label you need (I used the pint size) and with a Sharpie (black would probably be better, I couldn't find black) write the jar contents on the label...
on the flip side of the label you can check off the month and year... and there's even a space to fill in later when you open the jar...
Slip the label from the top or bottom of the jar towards the center and just adjust it until it sits where you want it... it'll fit loosely...
Now here's the fun part... the magic!!!!
Pick your jar up using your jar holder (canning tongs) and carefully dip the jar(s) into the hot water...
Like magic! Like Shrinky Dinks! Like Shrink Wrap!!!
After you're done with the jar of goodies, just carefully slide a knife under the label and twist to break the label loose... no more gummy glue, sticky residue... and they're cute enough for gift giving!
I love them!!!
Thank you PantryParatus!