Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Farm Fresh Recipes for Canning

The golden harvest season is finally here with gardeners and farmers hustling to bring in the last fruits and vegetables of their labor. The abundance of produce these autumn crops yield often requires preservation such as canning, and sometimes you can find these homemade delicacies at roadside stands, state fairs, craft shows, or even Grandma's house. I have great memories of helping my grandmothers pick squash and shell butterbeans that were later cleaned, prepared, and stored along with other canned treasures. To this day, I swear nothing has ever tasted better than what came out of those old Mason jars.

Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables or purchase them from the supermarket, canning homegrown produce helps to preserve foodstuff longer by retaining vitamins inside and blocking bacteria out - plus, it is much more cost-effective and tastier than buying commercial brands. Canned goods also make wonderful and inexpensive gifts. And if there is a power outage, they won't spoil - in fact, most canned goods will keep on the shelf for years.

Don’t fret if you are not familiar with the canning process because it is not nearly as intimidating as you might think. If you can boil water and keep track of time, then you are ready to set up shop. Here are some sites to help you get started, followed by a couple of recipes that will impress your family and friends:

The Canning Pantry

Canning Basics

Successful Home Canning

Apple Pie Filling (To Freeze or Can) Recipe

4 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
10 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
24 apples; peeled and sliced
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. lemon juice

Blend sugar, nutmeg, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon. Add water and cook over medium heat until clear. Add apples and lemon juice and cook till apples are soft. Pack in jars/containers. Makes 10 x 32oz containers. Thaw to use. One container is enough for a good size 9" pie.

Source: Abigail's Apple Pie Recipes

Dilly Beans

green or wax beans (about 4 pounds)
1/2 t cayenne pepper per jar
1 fresh dill per jar
1 clove
1/2 t whole mustard seed per jar
5 c distilled Heinz vinegar (5%)
5 c water
1/2 c canning/pickling salt

Wash beans thoroughly; drain and cut into lengths to fit in pint jars if necessary. Place pepper, mustard seed, dill, and garlic in each jar. Pack beans vertically in jars. Combine Heinz vinegar, water, and salt; heat to boiling. Pour boiling hot solution over beans, filling to 1/2" of top of jar. Remove bubbles with a spatula or a knife blade. Place a property pretreated lid on the jar and tightly screw band until firmly tight. Place jars in actively boiling water in a boiling water bath canner. Process jars in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
Yield: 7 - 8 pints

Source: Blue Ribbon Recipes

Grape Jelly Recipe

3 lb grapes (to make 4 cup juice)
7 c sugar (c & h)
1 Certo liquid fruit pectin

Remove stems from grapes; crush grapes. Place in saucepan; add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Place 3 layers of damp cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour fruit into cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth closed and let drip into bowl until
dripping stops. Measure 4 cups juice into a 6 to 8 quart saucepot. Stir sugar into juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to prevent foaming during cooking. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Quickly stir Certo into juice mixture. Return mixture to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam. Fill jars, leaving 1/4" to 1/8" head space. Wipe rims; adjust 2 piece lids. Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath.

Yield 7 - 8 (8 ounce) jars

Source: Blue Ribbon Recipes

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