I Am NOT a Canner, I’m Just Not

So today was the day. It was time to make the jam!

I looked at the containers of fresh raspberries from the garden and decided that I was going to make delicious jam and can it to enjoy all winter. We mashed the berries, strained out all of the seeds, then cooked the mixture on the stove with sugar. I sterilized eight jars in the dishwasher just before I cooked the raspberries.  It looked great and was starting to jell so I took it off the burner and poured it into the jar(s).  Guess what happened?

IMG_6654This…

IMG_6650produced this.

seriously…

I can cook or bake almost anything but I just can’t make jam. Or maybe I just can’t make enough jam, or jam that’s soft and delicious and makes toast taste perfect.

I put the full jar into the boiling water bath for ten minutes. I don’t think the lid popped so I put it in the fridge.

I’m going to try to spend some time reading and watching videos and picking my canning friends’ brains.

One of the problems I have with canning is that everything I read or watch is different from the last thing I read or watched. I get dizzy trying to figure out which technique will work the best. There’s so many questions like which pot or pressure cooker to use? What to put on the bottom of the pot, or not?  What size jars to use? How long to cook the preserve? Whether or not to use the fancy jar grabber that I bought a few years ago or should I just use tongs? There are a lot of heavy decisions in this canning business.

I’m lost.

I’m exhausted.

Time for bed.

I left the six unused jars on the counter so that their ready to go back into the dishwasher, along with the box of pectin, the jar mover tool, the lids and seals and my canning book. I’m still hoping that this might be my breakthrough canning year kind of like it was my breakthrough seed starting year.

Starting seeds is more fun than canning, even if they don’t make it.

Just saying…

Are you canning anything? Feel free to leave a link to your posts about your canning experience right in the comments.

You will become an official member of the Michele Parr canning turnaround team!

Thanks for listening!

Love, Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overnight Pickles

I published this post last August and I’ve noticed lots of visits this week from people googling overnight pickles, so here it is again!  These are wonderful!  

I’m an aspiring canner but I haven’t got it down yet. In the meantime this is a wonderful way to make pickles. They’ll probably keep for a few weeks in the fridge if you don’t have a crew like mine who eats them all before you have a chance to test how long they’ll last!

Overnight Pickles

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of pickling or kosher salt

2 tablespoons of sugar

garlic cloves (3 per quart jar)

1 teaspoon of mustard seed or 1 tablespoon of pickling spice

dill seeds or fresh dill

8-10 pickling cucumbers

Wash and quarter pickling cucumbers (or slice into rounds if you prefer) and pack into quart or pint jars. As written, this recipe makes 2 quarts and one pint, I double it to make five quarts.  Make a brine by bringing the first four ingredients to a boil and then cooling. Once cool, pour into jars over cucumbers and add spices, garlic and dill. Close jars and refrigerate overnight. They’ll be ready the next day!

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe and a favorite at our house. It’s perfect for this time of year when there are lots of cucumbers to use up.

Enjoy!

Overnight Pickles

I’m an aspiring canner but I haven’t got it down yet. In the meantime this is a wonderful way to make pickles. They’ll probably keep for a few weeks in the fridge if you don’t have a crew like mine who eats them all before you have a chance to test how long they’ll last!

Overnight Pickles

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of pickling or kosher salt

2 tablespoons of sugar

garlic cloves (3 per quart jar)

1 teaspoon of mustard seed or 1 tablespoon of pickling spice

dill seeds or fresh dill

8-10 pickling cucumbers

Wash and quarter pickling cucumbers (or slice into rounds if you prefer) and pack into quart or pint jars. As written, this recipe makes 2 quarts and one pint, I double it to make five quarts.  Make a brine by bringing the first four ingredients to a boil and then cooling. Once cool, pour into jars over cucumbers and add spices, garlic and dill. Close jars and refrigerate overnight. They’ll be ready the next day!

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe and a favorite at our house. It’s perfect for this time of year when there are lots of cucumbers to use up.

Enjoy!

Basil Day!!!

Yesterday I harvested and processed basil. It’s one of those jobs that looks kind of overwhelming at first but ends up being fun, with a nice reward at the end. I freeze basil in one or two cup containers that I can pull out about once a month to use as I need it. This year I also tried drying it in the oven with great results.  Of course now I want to dry every herb that I’m growing, and I’m pretty sure that I will!  I think I’ll love reaching for my own oregano, basil, thyme, dill and sage when I’m cooking in January!

The day started with a trip out to the garden to bring in my first bunch of basil. I like to cut it as I go to avoid wilt and so that it’s as fresh as possible when it goes into the freezer. This also gives me wiggle room if I have to stop to run a kid somewhere or make lunch.

I wash it thoroughly, a handful or two at a time. Sometimes I dry with towels if I’m really flying along time-wise. Usually it can sit for a few minutes to dry off while I’m working on something else.

To take the leaves off the stem I lay it flat and slice in a straight line.  I still cut some leaves off  individually, but I find that I can get a lot done quickly if I kind of “power chop” it like this.

I fill the food processer right up and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.

I pulse a few times till it’s chopped finely and adjust the olive oil so it’s well covered but not soupy.

I put it into plastic containers to freeze and it’s done! I try to fill to the top to prevent freezer burn and make good use of space. I’ve found that it will keep for up to a year. Experts might recommend less than a year, but I was still pulling basil out in June  and it was just fine.

As I mentioned earlier I also ventured into drying some basil. When I started this cookie sheet was covered with leaves (and a few bunches of leaves).  I used the “warm” setting on my oven (a GE Profile) to dry this in about an hour and a half. I set the kitchen timer after an hour and checked it every ten minutes or so. It reached a point where it was clearly ready to crumble. There was no moisture left at all!

I simply crumbled it as soon as it came to room temperature and this was the result.  It smells great and looks just like dried basil!  I’m hoping for great flavor, we’ll see!

I also made a big pot of pesto… we’ll enjoy pasta with pesto and fresh tomatoes tonight.

Have I mentioned that I really, really love summer?

Enjoy everything!

Michele