Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Food Preservation

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Even though the challenge for this month wasn't new to me, I was still very excited when it was announced. I've been canning food for a long time and love doing so. So this month I decided to do a variety of things in addition to one of the items from the challenge.

Bruschetta in a Jar

I chose to do the bruschetta in a jar. I love bruschetta but rarely have everything to make it so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to have some in the pantry. It was very easy to make. And very delicious! Definitely worth all the time it took to chop up the tomatoes!

Bruschetta in a Jar
Recipe Source: Bernardin Canning Website - http://www.bernardin.ca/pages/recipe_page/51.php?pid=435
Recipe: Bruschetta in a Jar
Special Instructions
Plum/Roma Tomatoes *
3 1/2 lbs
1.6 Kg
20 Medium
Wash, seed and chop
Fresh Garlic
5 Cloves
Dry White Wine
1 Cup
250 ml
White Wine Vinegar
1 Cup
250 ml
Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbl
30 ml
Sugar, Granulated
2 Tbl
30 ml
Dried Basil
2 Tbl
30 ml
Dried Oregano
2 Tbl
30 ml
* Note: Although other tomato varieties may be used, firm plum tomatoes yield the best results. If using round garden-variety tomatoes, seed tomatoes and drain in colander for 30 minutes then chop.
Headspace: 1/2 “ (1.27 cm)
Processing Time:
20 minutes for altitude of 0 ft (0 m) to 1,000 ft (305 m)
25 minutes for altitude of 1,001 ft (305.1 m) to 3,000 ft (915 m)
30 minutes for altitude of 3,001 ft (916 m) to 6,000 ft (1,830 m)
35 minutes altitudes above 6,000 ft (1,831 m) to 8,000 ft (2,440 m)
1) Place 7 clean half-pint (250 ml) mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat lids in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.
2) Wash, seed and chop tomatoes into 1/2 inch (1cm) pieces; measure 9 cups (2250 ml), set aside.
3) Combine garlic, white wine, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, water, sugar, basil and oregano in a deep stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a full boil; reduce heat. Stirring occasionally, boil gently, covered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
4) Pack tomatoes into a hot jar to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of top rim. Add hot liquid to cover tomatoes to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top rim (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more tomatoes and hot liquid. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining tomatoes and hot liquid.
5) When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 20 minutes.
6) When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
7) After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.
Serving Suggestions:
With boiling water canning, very little oil is used since the oils can weaken the seals on the jar.
For the Bruschetta, olive oil and fresh herbs can be added before serving on top of toasted bread or as a condiment to a dish.

Popaw's Barbecue Sauce

While visiting my grandparents over Labor Day weekend, my Memaw (hi Memaw!) and I made some of our family barbecue sauce. Sorry! No recipe for this one...it's a family secret!

I did the jams and jellies below not long before the challenge was announced (with my Memaw during the July 4th holiday) but I thought I'd go ahead and post these with the rest. They are delicious!

Strawberry Jam

This is the most delicious smelling strawberry jam I have ever smelled. I could have eaten the whole pot before we put it in jars. And it's just as good later too!

Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

This is a low sugar strawberry jam that we tried as an experiment. While not as tasty as the regular strawberry above, it was still quite good.

Wild Plum Jelly

This one involved my Popaw spending many hours in the rain picking wild plums. These little babies are hard to get at times (watch out for the rattlesnakes!) but the resulting jelly is worth it. The thickets don't always make well or at all so it's always a good idea to pick as much as you can and freeze the juice for later jelly making. Memaw has tons waiting for next year!

Blueberry Jam

This blueberry jam rivaled the strawberry in terms of delicious aroma while cooking. While it was still warm, it would have also made an excellent topping for pancakes. Also excellent on biscuits too! 

Also over Labor Day, my Popaw picked a lot of okra from their garden for me to bring home. Because I had also brought home already frozen okra, I decided to pickle what I had left. Pickled okra is one of my favorite foods and I usually go through ton of it so it's always nice to pickle it when I have the chance. I went with a recipe from The Joy of Pickling.

Pickled Okra

The last item I preserved was regular dill pickle slices. I picked up about 4 pounds of pickling cucumbers from Central Market last weekend and within a few hours had a few pints of pickles. I used a recipe from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving this time.

Dill Pickles

I forgot to pick up fresh dill so I used dill seed instead. The recipe listed it as an acceptable substitution so we'll see how they taste in a few weeks!

Thank you to our host this month, John for inspiring us this month! To see more from the Daring Cooks, check out the blogroll here. You won't be disappointed! There are loads of delicious goodies to see! 


3 Treats for Charlie:

Sara @ Belly Rumbles said...

What an amazing array of goodies preserved. I think you have just inspired me for the up and coming summer here in Australia. Memaw must be very proud of you :)

Sabrina said...

You made some delicious looking canned items! I canned some spicy pickles last night. I just wish I didn't have to wait a few weeks to eat them! :)

Beth said...

Your preserves look wonderful. There's nothing like homemade strawberry jam!

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