I’m not a summertime person, summer being my least favorite time of year, but the one thing I do appreciate about the season are the fresh fruits and vegetables that come with it.
There’s nothing quite like a sliced ripe tomato sandwiched between two pieces of soft bread or a grilled Vidalia onion or just-picked scuppernongs. Sometimes I just want to bottle all these tastes up and save them for the rest of the year.
That’s where canning comes in. While all things summer fresh can’t be preserved in a jar, many fruits and vegetables can, and if you grow your own, you reap the benefit of savings.
It’s a thrill to have shelves stocked with home-canned food. The pleasure of seeing and serving the fruits of your labor is incomparable. My mother’s pantry, while a source of pride for her, was a place of wonder for me: All those jars filled with tomatoes, green beans, pickles, pears, fig preserves, chow chow and an assortment of jams and jellies were enough to make my head spin.
I’m still learning about canning and I’m determined to perfect the art of jelly-making this summer, so I’ve been poring over cookbooks for quite a while now. Below you’ll find some recipes from an assortment of cookbooks that I’m aiming to try in the coming weeks.
1 small head cabbage, chopped
4 medium green tomatoes, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 small cayenne peppers, chopped
1/4 cup canning and pickling salt
3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons celery seed
4 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoon mustard seed
2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 cups vinegar
Place chopped vegetables in a non-reactive container. Sprinkle with salt and mix well. Let stand 4 to 6 hours, or overnight if possible.
Drain well. Rinse and drain again.
Combine sugar, spices and vinegar in a large stockpot. Simmer 10 minutes. Add vegetables and simmer 10 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook until veggies are tender.
Pack hot relish into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove jars and let cool to room temperature. Jars should make a popping sound as their lids seal. If a lid doesn’t properly seal, do not store the jar outside of the refrigerator.
PICKLED GREEN BEANS
Fresh young green beans
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dill seed
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon red pepper
Apple cider vinegar
Wash and trim ends from young green beans and stack upright firmly in hot sterilized pint jars. To each jar add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1 clove garlic and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper. Bring vinegar to a boil.
Carefully ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more hot vinegar. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool to room temperature. Jars should make a popping sound as their lids seal. If a lid doesn’t properly seal, do not store the jar outside of refrigerator.
5 pounds plums, halved and pitted
4 cups water
1 package powdered fruit pectin
7 1/2 cups sugar
In a stockpot, simmer plums and water until tender, about 30 minutes. Line a strainer with four layers of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Place plum mixture in strainer; cover with edges of cheesecloth. Let stand for 30 minutes or until liquid measures 5 1/2 cups.
Return liquid to the pan. Add pectin; stir and bring to a boil. Add sugar; bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat; skim off any foam. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Remove jars and let cool to room temperature. Jars should make a popping sound as their lids seal. If a lid doesn’t properly seal, do not store the jar outside of the refrigerator.