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Category Archives: Canning

Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi is if not familiar is comparable to sauerkraut but a spicy Korean style.  In is made with a lacto-fermentation process.  This good bacteria is the kind you want in your stomach to keep it healthy and strong.  The link attached has some great information on the process Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

We love kimchi at our house.  Well not so much the kids because of the spicy but Mr.Picky and I do.  Usually if I felt the need for a jar we would go out-of-the-way and purchase some from as Asian store that prepared and sold their own recipe.  I knew there had to be a better way.  How To Make Easy Kimchi at Home Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn was a link I found off of pinterest.

So I went to work.   I collected my ingredients which was mostly getting the fresh vegetables but I had to find the Gochugaru or Korean chile pepper to spice the kimchi.  This seemed a bit more difficult.  I ended us purchasing some in paste form as opposed to powder.  I was upset to learn it also had MSG in it.  Next time I will be ordering some online and have patients until it comes.

Putting the Kimchi together was rather simple but time-consuming.  There is a lot of waiting with this dish, but all great things are worth waiting for right?  The end result is just as I like spicy and crunchy.  I can’t wait to experiment with different vegetables.

Something I did not follow was bothering to weigh my vegetables.  Turns out after cutting it all up I knew I about doubled my amounts.  So I went ahead and doubled my sauce and ended up with 3 partial quart jars probably only 2 quart jars compacted.  Word to the wise is weigh the vegetables and adjust the recipe accordingly.  The link above provided great step by step pictures of the process if you need them.

Homemade KimchiHomemade Kimchi:

  • 1 (2 lb.) head of Napa cabbage
  • 1/4 cup sea or kosher salt
  • water
  • 1 Tbs grated garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tsp fish sauce or water
  • 1-5 Tbs gochugaru (Korean Chili Pepper), add according to level of spice desired
  • 8 oz. diakon radish
  • 4 green onions, trimmed 1″ pieces

Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.

In a large bowl combine cut cabbage and salt.  Wearing gloves or just with your hand (it made mine soft) message the salt into the cabbage until starts to soften.  Cover the cabbage will cold water and place a plate on top of the cabbage to hold it down.  Now place weights such as soup cans or jars on top of the plate.  Let stand 1-2 hours.

Homemade Kimchi

Drain water and rinse cabbage with cold water at least 2-3 times.  Allow to drain for about 20 minutes in a colander in the sink.

Meanwhile combine garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, and gochugaru(I added 3 Tbs of spice but doubled the recipe and it is perfect for our taste, I would probably start with 1 Tbs for a single batch) until smooth.

Slice the radish into match sticks pieces and trim the green onions.  Add all the vegetables to the spices including the drained cabbage.  If using your hands to mix (wear gloves) or a spoon and mix all together until evenly coated.

Pack the Kimchi into clean jars and press down until most in under the brine, leave at least 1 inch head room in jar.  Seal with a lid.

Allow Kimchi to set out at room temperature to ferment for 1-5 days.  Press down the vegetables each day to release some gases and taste.  It will bubble and give you  a very pungent aroma in the kitchen.

When the kimchi has reached the point of fermentation that you wish move to the refrigerator.  It can be eaten now or store for 1-2 weeks for the best flavor.

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Slow Cooker Caramel using Sweetened Condensed Milk

Well all I can say was making caramel using Slow Cooker Crockpot Caramel using Sweetened Condensed Milk has a learning curve to it.  I myself am not a caramel fan but this did turn out rather well.  For my birthday we decided on doing an ice cream sundae bar for guest.  I made a batch of homemade hot fudge and thought I should give one more option.  Caramel is Mr.Picky’s choice of syrup so I looked up the instructions and made us some caramel.

I went with the option of using my slow cooker.   I did not find it safe to have my stove going to two hours while I had a list of chores to do.  Don’t get me wrong this was simple to make, there are only two steps how do you go wrong?  Well apparently one of my jars did not seal tightly and after about 3 hours my water in the cooker was milky.  I dumped the water and started again after tightening the jar back down.  My timing took a bit longer but I think it was due to having to reheat the water.

Jar on left is frozen and the jar on right is from the fridge.

Jar on left is frozen and the jar on right is from the fridge.

In the end the results were worth it and now I have an extra jar frozen for future use.  I figured I might as well make two jars since I was going to have the slow cooker going all day anyway.  To reheat the caramel or soften it just microwave with the lid removed for less than 30 seconds or place the jar in a pot of hot water.

We ate the leftovers the next day with sliced apples.  It tasted better than the little tubs of caramel you can get for apples.  This recipe will serve a lot of purposes.

Caramel using Sweetened Condensed MilkCaramel using Sweetened Condensed Milk:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pint jar with lid and screw band

Pour the sweetened condensed milk in the jar and screw the lid tightly.

In a slow cooker place the jar(s) and cover with warm water.  Turn the temperature to low and cook about 8-8 1/2 hours, depending on how hot your slow cooker runs.

When the caramel in the jar looks the right color to you pull it out it is done.  Be careful the jar is hot, I suggest using tongs and placing the jar on a wood board or towel to cool enough to open.


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Garlicky Dill Pickles

My first canning experience all by myself I made a huge batch of dill pickles.  Dill Pickles Recipe – Allrecipes.com gave me all the guidance I needed.  These pickles turned out great.  Crunchy and garlicky, I can eat them one after the other.  If you don’t care for garlic cut the amount in half or leave it out.

Homemade pickles are so much better and cost-effective.  If you have never canned just start with a small batch and have some fun.  The kids get a great kick out of canning and making their own pickles.

Garlicky Dill Pickles:

  • 8 lbs. pickling cucumbers 3-4 inches long
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 12 cups water
  • 2/3 cup pickling salt
  • 16 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 8 sprigs fresh dill
  • 8 heads fresh dill

Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink  with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours but no more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required. Sterilize 8 (1 quart) canning jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.

In each jar, place 2 half-cloves of garlic, one head of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about 1 pound). Then add 2 more garlic halves, and 1 sprig of dill. Fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar’s rims of any residue.

Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process quart jars for 15 minutes.

Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.

I made Grape Jelly

With mostly green grapes and a few red, we got a rose colored jelly!

With mostly green grapes and a few red, we got a rose colored jelly!

All I can say is to make Grape Jelly from fresh grapes is a process.  I have never even cared for grape jelly.  When a neighbor was going to let their grapes go to waste what is a girl going to do?  So I used How to Make Grape Jelly – Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs as a general guide on how to make jelly using fresh grapes.

I also researched many recipes with different ratios of pectin to juice to sugar.  This was my first time making jelly and I decided to combine a recipe that sounded right to me.  This could have turned out bad after all my labor.  Except it turned out great the perfect flavor and consistency.  We even ate it the next day.

After picking all the grapes and looking into recipes all suggested not using green grapes.  Well when life gives you green grapes you have to use green grapes.  With the exception to a small bag of purple champagne grapes I had thrown into the freezer before they spoiled.  I ended up with a beautiful rosy colored jelly.  It is sweet but not too sweet and actually spreadable.

If you need to use unsweetened grape juice you can do so.  If you have access to grapes pick them and see how it goes.  In the end I think I put out more effort than was needed but oh well.  I am happy with my end product.

Grape Jelly:

*This made 13 half pint or 8 pint jars with a bit remaining.

  • 8 cups grape juice, I used fresh
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 (1.75 oz.) packages of pectin (1 regular and 1 no sugar added)

To make the fresh grape juice:

This is how I made my juice, it might not have been the easiest or the best method but it seemed to get me an end product worthy of jelly making.

If using fresh grapes the first step is to wash them well and remove all big stems.  A few little stems won’t hurt anything you are going to strain them out.

Fresh Green Grapes for Jelly

Place grapes in a large pot and give them a good crush with a potato masher.  You can also put them into a food processor as I read but this seemed extreme.

Heat grapes over medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until they become tender.  This is going to help extract the juices.

Grape Jelly

I used my apple sauce food mill and ground small batches of my grapes into a deep pot.  This left me with juice and all the skins and stems in the mill to throw out.

My personal grape crushers!

My personal grape crushers!

After all the grinding of the grapes I then strained my juice using a jelly straining clothe.  This took out any bits of stems that may have gotten by the mill.  This was time-consuming to pass through the clothe, so make a cup of coffee while you are waiting.  The finished juice after being strained is now ready to measure for your jelly.  I froze the excess juice I had in a jar for later use or batch of jelly.

To make grape jelly:

Prepare jars by sterilizing them in hot water or dishwasher.  Place lids in a pan of warm water.  Heat water or canning bath so it is ready to process the jelly.

Use at least a 6 quart pot for making the jelly so you do not have a problem with the mixture boiling over when it has to boil.

Grape Jelly

Combine grape juice, lemon juice, and both packages of pectin.  Over medium/high heat bring the mixture to a rolling boil stirring constantly.

Boil for 1 minutes.

Add in sugar and again stirring constantly bring back to a boil and again boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and ladle into prepared jars.  Place a lid and screw ban on each jar.  Process pint jars for about 10 minutes depending on elevation.  If my instructions on the canning process are to vague please see the link above.

Once the jars have processed remove and allow to cool for 24 hours.  Label and store your jars.  Jelly should set up within 1 week if not sooner.  We ate some the next day.

 

Plum and Ginger Lime Jam

I look forward to the plums starting to fall on my in-laws tree.  Mostly I eat them fresh but with an abundance this year and not wanting any to go to waste I was searching for something to do with them.  Last year my Grandma canned them with the pits in and they were tasty.

Fresh Plums

My jam supply is running low and I never replenished the supply.  I thought there must be a good plum jam recipe.  Most were the same with nothing special and just gave quantities of sugar to plum.  I had just bought some fresh ginger root and thought to brighten my jam with ginger.

Most recipes required no pectin to set the jam.  Although I almost regret this because I didn’t feel the need to add so much sugar.  This led my jam to be more of a spread than a jam.  No matter what it is great and I have a cupboard full.

Plum and Ginger Lime Jam:

  • 10-15 cups plums, pitted with the skins on
  • 1 Tbs fresh ginger,grated
  • 1-2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2-4 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Add 2 cups sugar to start and sweeten after tasting.

Plum and Ginger Lime Jam

Using an immersion blender, pulse the fruit and sugar together until desired smoothness.  The smoother you go the less skin you have floating around.

Cook on medium until simmer.  Simmer until mixture becomes thick almost like a honey consistency.

Pour in sterile jars and can in a water bath for about 10 minutes for half pints.

Plum and Ginger Lime Jam

 

A great site for canning instructions is delish.com, I know my instructions are really general.

 

Sweet Pickle Relish

I use sweet relish frequently usually in my  tuna salad or on a hot dog which I love no matter how bad they are for you.  Lately I have been substituting bread and butter pickles chopped instead of relish in to my tuna salad, Mr.Picky in particular enjoys it this way.

So this year with the cucumbers from the garden I decided I would make a sweet/bread and butter relish.  I combined my bread and butter pickle recipe with a sweet pickle relish I found.  I just opened up the first jar and it tastes better than I imagined.  Why have I not made relish before?

Sweet Relish

Sweet Pickle Relish:

  •  4-5 seeded cucumbers, chopped finely
  • 2 cups onions,chopped finely
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs celery seed
  • 1 Tbs mustard seed
  • 1/2 Tbs turmeric

I got 6 (1/2 pint) jars out of this recipe, give or take some.

Chop all vegetables as finely as you would like them.  Sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water.  Allow to sit for about 2 hours.  Rinse and drain well.

sweet relish

In a pan combine brine ingredients.  Bring to a boil and add vegetables.

Boil for 10 minutes.Sweet Relish

Using a slotted spoon place relish into clean jars, add some brine if you wish.

Process jars if you would like or store in refrigerator.  Process pints for 10 minutes in water bath.

Crisp Pickled Green Beans

Crispy crunchy pickled green beans, a great snack. Forget the choice and pass the green beans. Not too often you will hear that. Crisp Pickled Green Beans Recipe – Allrecipes.com was the recipe I used.  This was the perfect pickled flavor I have tried yet.  Not too sour and of course I had to add garlic to each jar, which turned out wonderful.

I think any canned food especially pickled items make great gifts.  House warming presents or a Christmas gift for a neighbor can be done ahead of time during the summer when vegetables are plentiful.  Get out there and can something.

Crispy Pickled Green Beans

 

Crisp Pickled Green Beans:

  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup salt (canning or pickling salt is best)
  • 1-4 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 bunch fresh dill weed
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

 

Sterilize 3 pint jars with rings and lids and keep hot. Trim green beans to 1/4 inch shorter than your jars.

In a large saucepan, stir together the vinegar, water and salt. Add garlic and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. In each jar, place 1 sprig of dill and 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Pack green beans into the jars so they are standing on their ends.  I added 1 clove of peeled garlic in each jar.

Ladle the boiling brine into the jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the tops. Discard garlic. Seal jars with lids and rings. Place in a hot water bath so they are covered by 1 inch of water. Simmer but do not boil for 10 minutes to process. Cool to room temperature. Test jars for a good seal by pressing on the center of the lid. It should not move. Refrigerate any jars that do not seal properly. Let pickles ferment for 2 to 3 weeks before eating.

 

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