• Time to work on staples for the pantry!

    Stop spending money on those expensive sauces when you can make them yourself!

  • Are you Ready for Apple Season?

    Coming back into the fall season with Apples and Apple Butter is on the list!

  • Pressure Canning

    This step by step instruction for pressure canning will get you on your way to canning up your garden harvest!

  • Storing your jars, the Do's and Don'ts!

    Why we store our jars without the rings and why it's important not to stack your jars in the pantry.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Red Hot Apple Butter - An homage to Heather's Mamaw!

From Heather: This was my Mamaw Bradford's recipe for Red Hot Apple Butter. When I was younger, it was the one thing that I looked forward to the most in the fall. When she passed away, my mom took over the canning, and now I am teaching my daughters.

Thank you Heather for sharing this with me and the canning community! It's such an amazing color and the cinnamon will be so good in the apple butter. 


Red Hot Apple Butter

1/2 Bushel (24 lbs) Apples of your choice (we particularly like Gala or Jonathan)
2 1/2 to 3 cups of Red Hot Candies
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 water or apple juice

Peel, core, and slice the apples. Place in a large, heavy-bottomed, pan. Add the water or apple juice and cook on medium heat (with a lid) for approximately 2 hours, or until the apples are soft and start to fall apart. Add the sugar and stir. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Add the Red Hot Candies and stir to dissolve and incorporate.
At this point you can use a stick blender (or a regular blender) to smooth it out if it's still a bit chunky. This is also when you decide if it is thick enough. If it is not thick enough, remove the lid and continue to cook until you reach the desired consistency.
While it is still hot, ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Process in boiling water canner. 5 minutes for half pints and pints, 10 minutes for quarts (as per USDA recommendations).

Yield will vary based on how thick you want the consistency. 


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Cantaloupe Pineapple Jam - Vanilla Bean optional!

Many of you are anxious for this recipe so I will get right to it!!! 
Note: The most important thing about this jam is to get the sweetest tasting melon. The sweeter the melon the less sugar is required. It should not be overripe as melon will loose its flavor and will be mushy.

Cantaloupe Pineapple Jam

4 cups diced cantaloupe
2 cups crushed or small diced pineapple (you can used canned)
1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
1/4 cup pineapple juice, orange juice, or water
1 1/2 cups sugar

Pectin: 3 1/2 T. Ball Low sugar pectin or 
             4 t. Pomona pectin with 4 t. calcium water or
             1 box sure-jel no sugar pectin


Preparation: Prepare 5 half pint jars in hot water. Using  knife cut cantaloupe in half and using a spoon scoop out the seeds. Cut the melon in half again and using a pairing knife cut away the melon from the rind. Cut into smaller pieces for the jam. Cut fresh pineapple into small dice or you can use the canned crushed adding the juice as well. You will be using your 1/4 cup of juice at the bottom of the pan so you don't scald the cantaloupe.  

Cooking
In a stainless steel pot combine cantaloupe, pineapple and juice/water and cook on medium till cantaloupe starts to break down a little, about 10 to 15 minutes at a simmer. Add the vanilla bean by splitting it lengthwise with a knife and adding it to the pot. Stir in the vanilla then add 1 cup of sugar. Continue to heat for10 minutes. With a clean spoon taste the mixture remembering to let it cool on the spoon. If the jam is not sweet enough add the additional 1/2 cup of sugar. If it is sweet to the taste then bring the jam to a boil and then add the pectin. You will boil the jam stirring constantly for one minute.

                                                                                    Remove from heat.  


Processing: Ladle jam into hot, sterilized half pint canning jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Remove air bubbles and refill if necessary. Wipe rims, and add hot lids and rings. Place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 10 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.




Sealing: Sometime in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.

Cantaloupe jam
Black flecks are the pods from the vanilla bean

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pineapple Salsa - No tomatoes!

There is something about the combination of pineapple and tomatoes that just doesn't sound good to me. It probably taste fine but I wanted to put up a pineapple salsa where the star was just that citrusy sweet fruit. I finally found one a few months ago and I have waiting to taste it after sitting to give you my post. In a word yummy! In two words tropical savory! In three word... Can it up!

I have adapted a recipe that I found on Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving which is the Canadian company that is the counterpart to Ball. It's packed with amazing flavors and is perfect for the pineapple that you have done 100 ways and need a new idea. 

The flavor is a medium heat salsa but you can substitute habaneros for jalapenos or any of the other hotter peppers. Remember you can change them out but don't add more in volume than the original recipe or you will throw off the pH which keeps it shelf safe. 

I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do! Since I didn't make that many jars, some for me and the rest for my mom and cousin this will be a recipe to look for next time pineapples go on sale! 

Pineapple Salsa 

6 cups diced pineapple (you can use frozen but make sure to thaw it completely)
1 1/4 cups red onion
4 jalapenos peppers, finely diced
                       (you can substitute seranos, habernos, or ghost if you like it really hot)

1 red bell pepper, small diced
1/2 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 T. honey
2 cloves minced garlic
1 t. cumin (optional)
1 t. cayenne pepper (you can use chili flakes if you prefer)


Preparation: Prepare 6 half pint jars or 3 pints in hot water. Using  knife cut pineapple and cut into small dice. Also prepare red onion, jalapenos, bell pepper so all the vegetable and fruit are ready to go into the pot.  

Cooking
In a stainless steel pot combine pineapple and the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium till the salsa comes to a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the ingredients are well incorporated and heated through.  Remove from heat. 

Processing: Ladle salsa into hot, sterilized half pint canning jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles and refill if necessary. Wipe rims, and add hot lids and rings. Place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 15 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.
Pineapple salsa


Sealing: Sometime in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.

Alternative Recipe: Peach Pineapple Salsa

4 cups diced peaches 
2 cups diced pineapple 
1 1/4 cups red onion
4 jalapenos peppers, finely diced
                       (you can substitute seranos, habernos, or ghost if you like it really hot)
1 red bell pepper, small diced
1/2 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 T. honey
2 cloves minced garlic
1 t. cumin (optional)
1 t. cayenne pepper (you can use chili flakes if you prefer)

Follow the instruction above for cooking, processing and sealing! 

Peach & Pineapple salsa

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