Kitchen Hint of the Day!

September 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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A wonderful and – dare we say it? – fun way to make your fruits and veggies last longer is to try home canning. You may think canning is just for country folk, but it’s becoming more and more popular as a way to save money and make sure you’re eating foods with the least amount of preservatives possible. Buy foods when they are in season, or better yet, grow your own and can to save later. The biggest trick in canning is to make sure that no air (which contains bacteria) gets into your jars; this is achieved with a pressure canner or boiling – water canner. Find out what these contraptions are and how safely fruit, vegetables, pickles, meat, poultry, seafood, salsas, pie filling, jams, and more from the USDA‘s extensive free Guide to Home Canning, available at: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html.

It’s that time of year! – Canning 101

September 26, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Posted in cooking, Food, vegetables | 1 Comment
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I thought I would pass along an informative article on Canning. From the latest issue of Healthy Cooking/Taste of Home. Fantastic magazine that’s always packed with great and healthy recipes. The web link is at the bottom of the post.

Canning 101

New to canning? Preserving and canning can seem intimidating at first, but they can be an easy way to save money and give fruits and veggies a longer shelf life. You can enjoy homegrown vegetables and fresh fruit year round and make pickles, salsa, jams and jellies from scratch.

Getting Started

Before you get started, it’s important to have all the right tools. Here’s a list:

Mason jars with new lids and bands.
Everyday kitchen utensils such as a spatula, funnel and tongs.
A pressure canner or a boiling water bath canner.

Foods with high acidity, such as fruits and tomatoes, can be processed in a boiling water bath canner. These foods are naturally acidic and able to kill bacteria at boiling point (120°). Foods with low acidity, like vegetables and soups, require a pressure canner (not to be confused with a pressure cooker), which reaches high enough temperatures (240-250°) to kill any bacteria.

It might be easier to try canning produce with high acidity first, because most pots found at home can be converted into boiling water bath canners.

The Process

Although low-acidity and high-acidity foods use different kinds of canners, the overall canning process is virtually the same for both.

Gather ingredients; read through recipe and instructions.
Wash and dry jars, lids and bands.
To prevent cracking when hot food is added, heat jars and lids in hot (not boiling) water. Bands should be kept at room temperature so they’re easier to handle.
Simmer 2-3 inches of water in pressure canner or fill boiling water canner half-full of water and simmer while food is being prepared and placed in jars. If using a pressure canner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Prepare food.
Remove jars from canner using tongs or similar kitchen utensil and fill with food, leaving appropriate headspace as called for in recipe. (Headspace is the space between the food and the lid.) If the recipe calls for it, remove air bubbles in food by running a spatula between the food and the inside of the jar.
Clean rim of jar and place lid on top, making sure it’s centered so the seal makes contact with the rim. Tightly screw on band.
Return filled jars to canner. If using a pressure canner, follow manufacturer’s directions. If using a boiling water canner, place lid on top and bring to a boil. Depending on the recipe and your altitude, processing times will differ.
Remove jars from canner and let sit 12-24 hours. Don’t retighten or adjust the bands.
To be sure the lid is sealed to the jar rim, remove the band and try to lift the lid off. If the lid stays put, the jar was sealed successfully.
Label your jars and store in a dry, cool place.

Sources: USDA Guide to Home Canning (2006) and Ball Canning Corporation. For more information, visit http://www.uga.edu/nchfp or http://www.freshpreserving.com

 

Canning Tips

Remember to adjust the processing time for your altitude. The air is thinner at higher altitudes, which causes water to boil at a lower temperature. Lower boiling temperatures are not as effective at killing bacteria. To compensate, increase the processing time or canner pressure.
Use Mason jars to preserve foods, but never re-use the lids.
Only use a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner. Open-kettle canning or the use of a dishwasher, oven or microwave for processing is not recommended
Canned food should only be kept up to a year. Only can the amount of food your family will consume over the span of a year.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Healthy-Cooking-Magazine?pmcode=IMIKA07U&_mid=2385109&_rid=2385109.976649.250799

Pickled Beets

July 31, 2012 at 7:49 AM | Posted in cooking, Food, vegetables | 2 Comments
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Pickled Beets
I’m not a fan of Beets but I thought I would pass along my Mom’s recipe, which came from my Grandmother, for Pickled Beets. My Mom loves Pickled Beets but I never aquired the taste for them. Anyway here’s her recipe.
Ingredients;
4 – 5 bunches of Beets, the bunches will contain anywhere from 4 – 5 Beets. This amount, depending on the size of the Beets, will make 2 – 3 quarts.
Quart Mason Jars and Lids
1 cup Water
2 cups Sugar
2 cups White Cider Viniger
1 – 1.5 oz. container of McCormick Pickling Spice
Directions:
(Preparing the Beets)
* Wash the Beets and trim the leaf steams, except 1″ from the top of the Beet.
* Heat a large kettle of water to a full boil and add Beets.
* Boil Beets until they are tender, fork tender
* Drain water from Beets and cut remaining stem and peel Beets. Cut Beets in half or thirds and set aside.
(Preparing the Pickling Mixture)
* In a large sauce pan add: 1 cup Water, 2 cups Sugar, 2 cups White Cider Viniger, and 1/2 of the 1.5 oz. container of McCormick Pickling Spice. Heat and bring to a boil. this amount will picle 2 – 3 quarts. The recipe as is can be doubled or tripled depending on how many quart you’ll be doing.
* When mixture comes to a boil you can add your Beets to the mixture and reduce heat. Turn off heat and slowly pour the mix into the quart jars. Another way is to add your Beets to the jars and after the Pickling Mixture comes to boil add it to the jars that already contain your Beets. Either way when jars are full seal your quart jars and fasten lids.
*The 4 bunches of Beets my Mom had produced 2 quarts.*

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