Saturday, October 27, 2012

Canning Stress-Free French Onion Soup

What could be better than a rich, hot bowl of French Onion Soup on a chilly winter evening...

Here's how I made a batch to have on hand...

I sauteed...

7 medium onions, sliced


2 Tbsp. butter

until softened and caramelized.

I divided the sauteed onions evenly among 5 quart canning jars I had previously washed well and sterilized by boiling in water.

For the soup part...

In my large stainless steel saucepan, I mixed together...

12 cups beef broth (your own, homemade broth... or storebought will do)
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. steak sauce (any kind)
2 tsp. salt (I used canning salt)

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

I ladled the hot broth over the sauteed onions in the quart jars, leaving a one inch headspace.

Using a damp cloth, I wiped the jar rims and added my hot lids and rings, tightening on to fingertip tightness.

I then processed the jars of soup in my pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes.

After processing, I allowed the pressure in the canner to drop to zero on its own... then opened it up and removed the jars using my jar lifter, setting the hot jars of soup on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool and to listen for the PING! of each successfully sealed jar.

All we need to do when we want French Onion Soup for dinner, is open a jar, heat it up... add a baguette or some croutons and some good mozzarella and Yumminess in a jar!

Not only is making delicious meals such as this french onion soup and canning food exciting and a great hobby it's also something that makes for an excellent source of stress relief. I would suggest it to anyone who likes to cook, needs a good hobby and has some free time!

For a printable copy of this recipe, click here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Canning Sweet Potatoes

Left, Sweet Potatoes in brown sugar syrup. Right, in water.
Sweet potatoes are in season... we didn't grow any this year and I've been meaning to take a trip to the farmers market to get some for weeks now... but life gets in the way... and I get lazy... and it's 45 minutes on the other side of town to the market in an area we just don't frequent unless we specifically plan to go... and I get lazy...

This weekend, Mr. G and I were out running errands... Lowe's, grocery shopping, JoAnn's... he received a call from a fellow he'd been talking to about buying some new toy he wanted... the guy wanted to meet in Dixianna... AHA!!!! same road as the farmers market... sure, let's go to Dixianna! And we can swing by the market and see if they still have sweet potatoes... and we did... and they did... and I bought 80 pounds of sweet potatoes! Yay!

Back home to can them...

Here's what I did...

First, I filled my ginormous stockpot with whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes and covered them with water... brought them to a boil and boiled for 10-15 minutes, just to make them easier to peel (raw sweet potatoes are a BEAR to peel!)... I drained them and let them cool until they were easy to handle without burning myself... then I peeled... and peeled... and peeled...

And cut them into chunks (they were still quite firm in the middle)...

I packed them into my hot, sterilized quart jars, leaving a generous half inch headspace.

In some of the jars I filled with boiling water, leaving a half inch headspace... I checked for air bubbles, released the ones I found using a plastic chopstick and adjusting the water as necessary.

And in some of the jars I decided to fill them with a simple brown sugar syrup... 2 parts water to 1 part brown sugar, brought to a boil to dissolve the sugar (example 6 cups water to 3 cups brown sugar).

I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth, removing any potato bits and residue. Then I tightened on the hot, sterilized lids to fingertip tightness.

I processed the jars in my pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes (pints would be processed for 65 minutes).

After processing, I let the pressure in the canner drop on its own, no hurrying it... didn't want any liquid loss (siphoning)... although a few jars DID lose a little liquid (and that's OK as long as I didn't lose more than half the liquid!)

I removed the jars from the canner 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. LOVE the PING!

34 beautiful quarts of sweet potatoes! 14 with brown sugar
syrup, 20 in just water... LONG day of canning, but such a
feeling of success when they're done and they all seal!
So satisfying!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jar Label Give Away!

Linda, over at Once Upon Supplies has graciously offered to provide some beautiful custom canning jar labels to give away to one lucky canner! Check out all the lovely labels and other supplies she has to offer over on her site.

The give away includes 80 jar labels of the winner's choosing (max 4 different designs) - approx $32 in value. Eligible for U.S. customers only.

All YOU have to do is comment in the "comments" section below and you're entered!

We will choose a winner one week from today, October 21, 2012, using and the winner will be asked to email us with their mailing information so Linda can get the labels out to them... Easy Peasy! And good luck!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Canning Oranges in Cointreau

I needed AN orange for a recipe I was making, but when I was at the grocery store, I just couldn't see paying a dollar for ONE orange when I could get a whole bag of them for $5! So I bought the bag of oranges and used one in my recipe... I had like 13 left! What to do?

I dug through my recipes and found a yummy sounding recipe... Oranges in Cointreau... Why not?

Here's what I did...

First, I made a spice bag (using a coffee filter, you can also use the traditional cheesecloth) with...

10 whole cloves
5 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

I tied the spices up in my coffee filter using a twist tie.

In my large stainless steel saucepan, I combined...

3-1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water

Then I dropped in my spice bag...

 ... and brought this mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. I reduced the heat and boiled the mixture gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then removed and discarded the spice bag.

Meanwhile I trimmed, sliced, and seeded 9 navel oranges (about 1/8 inch slices) then I cut the slices in half (because these were pretty big oranges).

I added the oranges to the sugar/water mixture, along with

3/4 cup Cointreau (if you can't find Cointreau, Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, or other orange liqueur may be used)

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

 Over medium-low heat, I brought the mixture slowly back to a boil, occasionally stirring gently so as not to damage the orange slices. Once it came to a boil, I removed the pot from the heat.

 Using a slotted spoon, I carefully packed the hot orange slices loosely in layers, in my hot, sterilized pint jars (you could also use half pint jars) to within a generous half inch of the top of the jar.

 I then ladled hot syrup (from the orange mixture in the saucepan) into the jar to cover the orange slices, leaving a half inch headspace. I removed any air bubbles, wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth, and tightened my lids on to fingertip tightness.

I processed the jars in a boiling water bath, ensuring they were completely covered with water. I brought the water to a boil and processed the jars for 15 minutes.

After processing, I removed the jars from the canner 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.

This delicious fruity concoction is wonderful spooned over ice cream or pound cake, or the orange slices can be used as an edible garnish and the leftover juice used to sweeten beverages... and let me tell you, the syrup is SO SO yummy... I had a little left over and just canned one jar of juice alone!

This recipe makes about eight 8-ounce jars. (I had a few extra oranges and canned in pints, so ended up with six pints plus one pint of just syrup)

For a printable copy of this recipe, click here.
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