Monday, July 30, 2012

Canning Season is here!

Again, since it's summer, I'm taking a break from actual meal planning.  Like, last night we knew we'd make hamburgers, but then we started rummaging around in the fridge and found way too many delicious side dishes -- we ended up with lovely burgers, grilled/roasted potatoes, grilled corn on the cob, salad, and sauteed mushrooms and onions.

You see, I have an inability to limit myself at the farmer's market.  The rest of the year I can go to the grocery store and come out with only the things on my list -- the things I'll need for the next week.  But farmer's markets cause me to react a bit differently.  It might be the limited time -- this stuff won't ALWAYS be available, or the appreciation of the freshness, or the fact that if I buy a dozen ears of corn I can save a buck.  Whatever it is, we tend to have an abundance of produce all summer long.  I just can't say no.

Of course, I love to dabble with ways to preserve and save some of the good stuff.  So a few years ago I started exploring canning, and I try to branch out to a few new recipes each year.

Canning season has officially started in the Allmen household.  We started yesterday with corn relish, from the plain old Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  Here's what it looked like today after I cleaned up the jars and got them ready to store:

How could you NOT love a hobby that makes beautiful things like this?  And now we'll have an excuse for crab cakes all winter long...

Here's the recipe:

9 c corn kernels (I blanched 11 good-sized ears to get 9 cups.  Actually, I blanched 12, but only needed 11, so we finished the last one on the grill)
3 c finely chopped cabbage
1 c finely chopped onion
1 c finely chopped red bell pepper
4 c white vinegar
3 c granulated sugar (upon tasting this, it's a big sweet for me, but I know there are rules about changing ingredients when you're canning, so I'm not sure if I can add less sugar.  I'll try to investigate.)
1 c water
2 tbsp dry mustard
1 tbsp celery seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground turmeric

1.  Combine all ingredients in large stainless steel saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until liquid is reduced and veggies are tender-crisp.
2.  Prep canning jars (simmer in water in the canner).  Prep closures.
3.  Fill jars (1/2 inch headspace), put on lids and bands, and return to canner.  Make sure there's at least an inch of water over the top of the jars.
4.  Bring water to a full boil.  When it gets there, start timing:  boil for 15 minutes, then remove lid and turn off heat, letting jars sit for 5 more minutes.  Take them out and put them somewhere they can sit undisturbed for 24 hours.

The recipe said it would make about 5 pint jars, but I got 7 out of it.  Plus a little extra to use with the burger extravaganza last night.

Next up:  Zesty Zucchini Relish (with horseradish in it -- looks good!)

Have a great week!

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