Tattler Lid Review

I read about Tattler reusable canning lids a couple of years ago. The lids are guaranteed to last a lifetime, BPA free, indefinitely reusable, made in the USA…what’s not to love? I finally got around to trying them out when I made salsa this week. After brushing up on the directions, I was impressed! I had no sealing failures and every jar of salsa sealed beautifully.

photo 2Passing on one of the tips: when you screw the band on finger-tight, you back off the band about 1/4 turn. I was concerned when I put the jars in the water bath canner, thinking that the bands were too loose as they rattled. Then, when you pull the jars out, tighten the band finger-tight while the jars cool. I trusted the info. and it worked perfectly. Each jar was sealed without a hitch.

No more purchasing disposable lids for my canning. Just like canning jars, its an investment at first, but worth the cost. Every once in a while Tattler has a sale, so join their Facebook page to get notifications.

Recommend: Absolutely
Easy to Use: Yes


Pear Fruit Leather

Hi friends.

Sharing my super simple recipe for fruit leather today. We received a huge box of various fruits, candies, nuts, etc. for Christmas. The pears were individually wrapped and were amazing. However, the pears began to ripen faster than we could eat them. Time to fire up Guinevere, my awesome Excalibur dehydrator, and make some pear fruit leather.

Pear Fruit Leather

3 pears
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. lemon juice

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1. Wash and dry the pears. I do not like to peel the pears – hello, all sorts of nutrients and fiber here – but I do core them. So, go ahead and core the pears. Cut up into pieces and add to your food processor.

2.  Add the cinnamon, honey and lemon juice. Puree until you have a nice consistency. You may want to add a little more sweetener at this time.

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3. Pour pear mixture onto the non-stick dehydrator sheets for your dehydrator. Using an off-set spatula, spread out on the sheet to about 1/4 inch thickness.

4. At this time, you can add any other ingredients. I sprinkled toasted pecans, flaked coconut and chia seed.

5. Dehydrate on 135° for 6 hours. You will know the leather is done when it is dry and not sticky to the touch.

6. Let cool on sheets. When cool, pull off of the sheets and cut into strips. You may want to roll up on parchment paper. Store in an airtight container. Can keep up to a year in the refrigerator.

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This recipe is for pear leather, but you could adapt it for any other fruit leather. If you want to read more about homemade fruit leathers, visit the Cooperative Extension Studies website.


Pomegranate Hard Candy

pomegranate candy

Our little pomegranate tree put out almost two gallons of juice this year. This does not include the poms we left on the tree for the birds. After 40 jars of pomegranate jelly we were left with about three cups of juice. Bring on the candy!

Pomegranate Hard Candy

1 cup pomegranate juice
2/3 cup corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Put all ingredients into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Turn on high heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil (without stirring) and let it boil until it reaches 290° – hard crack candy stage. Watch closely and you may even want to reduce heat when you are close to 290°. Immediately remove when it reaches temperature.
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2. Pour onto a marble surface or alternatively, a lightly sprayed  jelly roll pan. Immediately score with knife or pizza cutter into 1-inch pieces. When cooled, break into squares.
3. Dust with powdered sugar by placing sugar and candy into a bowl and stir or large Ziplock and shake. Use a kitchen (paint) brush to brush off excess powdered sugar to give a more professional look.
4. Store in sealed jars.
Things I learned:
– Don’t use cooking spray if you pour onto marble. It makes the candy oily to the touch and affected the powdered sugar coating. I didn’t try the baking sheets.
Immediately remove when it reaches temperature because if you leave it on too long, it will turn from red to brown quickly. Don’t fret if it browns; it still tastes good, but the color changes and the candy looks like broken beer bottle glass instead of deep red pomegranate glass.
-Keep stored in sealed jars (I prefer small mason jars) because if you just put it in a bowl on your counter, then I guarantee you will have a giant hunk of candy that will be nearly impossible to chip off a piece. 😉

Cranberry Jalapeño Pepper Jelly

Here’s a jelly you are going to want to make! Terrific and beautiful jelly for gift-giving during the holidays. Don’t forget to include crackers.

Cranberry and Jalapeño Pepper Jelly

Pepper Jelly
Pepper Jelly

1 1/2 cups cranberry juice (not low-calorie)
1 cup vinegar
2 to 4 medium fresh jalapeño chili peppers, halved and seeded*
5 cups sugar
3 oz. package (1 foil pouch) liquid pectin
5 small fresh red serrano peppers

1. Start boiling water in a water bath canner. Add half-pint jars to canner to get hot. Also start a small pot of water for the seals.

2. In medium stainless-steel, heavy bottomed pot, combine cranberry juice, vinegar and jalapeño peppers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-meshed sieve and discard peppers. Measure out 2 cups liquid. I have never ended up with two full cups of liquid, so add hot water to make up the difference (probably about 1/4 cup).

2. In pot, combine the 2 cups liquid and the sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Stir in pectin and serrano peppers. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off foam with a metal spoon.

3. Remove hot jars from canner. Ladle hot jelly into hot canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Add a serrano pepper to each jar. The peppers will probably float up. I like to use a chopstick to push the pepper down, but they never seem to stay. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids to finger tight.

4. Process filled jars in your boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner to cool on a clean dish towel.

Makes 5 half-pints.

*I used 3 jalapeños, without seeds, and one fresh green serrano in each jar. Although it has a distinct pepper taste, there isn’t any heat. Very mild.  For heat-loving friends, include some seeds in #1 above.

Original recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens special addition of Canning, pub. 2012 with comments and modifications from yours truly.


One Watermelon

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One Watermelon

One watermelon = 2 1/2 quarts of dehydrated red flesh, 4 pints of pickled watermelon, 1 tub of peels to compost and enough dried seeds to grow another garden full of watermelon next year.

Sadly, I don’t have enough room in my garden to grow many sprawling plants, so I purchased my seedless melon. Here’s a thought: As consumers we’ve grown accustomed to seedless watermelons. No seed, no plant, no diversity. Just sayin’.

Watermelon – Dehydrated

Slice up your melon into 1 inch slices.

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Slice up the red flesh of the watermelon and place on your dehydrator at 135°. I left mine overnight – so about 12 hours. Fruit will be pliable.
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I have an Excalibur dehydrator named Guenevere.  Get it?  {chuckle}

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I sealed my melon in jars with the Food Saver Mason Jar Sealer. Isn’t it beautiful?

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Watermelon Rind – Pickled

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rinds. Slice off any meat. You want just the white part of the rind. Throw all the trimmings into the composter.

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Place the white rind (I had about 2 quarts of rind) into a bowl with 3 quarts of water. I also added about 2 cups of ice cubes. Add 3/4 cup pickling salt. Put in refrigerator overnight.

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Now comes the fun part. There are many, many recipes out there for pickled watermelon. Most either use peppercorn/mustard seeds OR cinnamon/lemon/cloves. I started with a recipe from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine pub. July/August 2010 with the peppercorn/mustard seeds.

The original recipe calls for 4 quarts of watermelon rind. Since I only had 2 quarts of watermelon rind (1 medium-sized watermelon), I halved the recipe as follows:

2 quarts watermelon rind, prepared as above
1 gallon of water
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
3 1/2 cups sugar
4 pint canning jars with lids

The first thing I like to do is to get my canning pot of water started and bring to a boil for processing. It always takes awhile to bring the water to boil so do this first! Add your pint jars to get hot. Also prepare a small saucepan of water for the lids.

Meanwhile, place rinds in a colander and drain off water, thoroughly rinsing. In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook watermelon rinds with 1 gallon of water. (I buy well water, but you can use bottled water and here’s why.) Cook the rinds until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Return the pot to heat and add vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add watermelon rinds and cook until translucent, about 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place lids in the small saucepan of hot water. Remove hot jars and spoon rind in the jars. Pour vinegar solution over rinds, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal jars with lids and rings, finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool on a clean towel on the counter overnight.

rind

Sweet and delicious.


Preserving Sweet Corn

Last week was a week of corn.  I froze corn – I canned corn kernels – I canned corn relish – I dehydrated corn. Five ears for $1.00 is a decent price for corn around here, so I filled my bag. Forty ears of corn for $8.00 produced 4 quarts of frozen corn kernels, 8 pints of pressure canned corn kernels, 6 pints of water bath canned corn relish and 1 pint of dehydrated corn. What a cost savings! I think next year I’ll put up more corn relish for family and friends because visitors are threatening to walk off with a jar or two.

By the way, here’s an awesome Pinterest tip: Cut corn from the cob by placing the ear of corn in the center of a bundt pan and run a knife down the cob. The kernels collect in the bundt pan. Works like a charm.

Want to bump up a hamburger or hotdog? This is the relish.

Corn Relish  Water Bath

5 to 6 pint canning jars

Cornc

8 cups corn kernels (abt. 8-9 ears corn)
3 cups water
3 cups celery, chopped (6 ribs)
1 1/2 cups sweet red peppers, chopped (2 med.)
1 1/2 cups green peppers, chopped (2 med.)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. pickling salt
2 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. ground turmeric
3 Tbs. cornstarch
3 Tbs. water

1. Get your water bath canner going with hot water and add your canning jars. Start another small saucepan with hot water for the seals. Remove husks from corn. Scrub to remove the silks and rinse. Cut kernels from cobs.

2. In a large stainless-steel heavy pot, combine 8 cups of corn kernels and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 4 to 5 minutes or until corn is nearly tender. Drain.

3. In the same pot, combine corn, celery, sweet peppers, and onion. Stir in vinegar, sugar, mustard, pickling salt, celery seeds, and turmeric. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water. Add to corn mixture. Over medium heat, stir until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir for 2 minutes more.

5. Remove hot jars. Ladle hot relish into canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids, finger-tight.

6. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner and cool on a dish towel.

Corn Kernels  Frozen

1. Remove husks from corn. Scrub to remove silks and rinse.

2. Blanch the corn cobs in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove the corn and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

3. When cooled, cut kernels from cob.

Shucked corn ready for processing.
Shucked corn ready for processing.

4. Place corn kernels in freezer bags or Seal-A-Meal (corn will freeze in a solid chunk). If you want loose corn kernels, then spread out on a baking sheet and freeze. After frozen, remove from baking sheet, Seal-A-Meal in bags and label.

Raw Pack Corn Kernels  Pressure Canned

6-8 pint canning jars

1. Start a large pot of water to boil. Add pint jars to pot to get hot.

2. Remove husks from corn. Scrub with a stiff brush to remove silks and rinse.

3. Cut kernels from cob. Scrape the cob to get the inner part of the kernels for a creamed corn.

4. Remove pint jars from hot water. Add cut kernels. Pour boiling water over the corn, leaving 1 inch headspace. Add seals and rings.

5. Follow your pressure canner instructions for processing. My canning instructions recommend processing the corn-filled pint jars for 55 minutes at 10 lbs. of pressure.

Corn Kernels  Dehydrated

1. Start a large pot of water to boil.

2. Remove husks from corn. Scrub to remove silks and rinse.

3. Blanch the corn cobs in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove the corn and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

4. When cooled, cut kernels from cob.

5. Spread corn kernels on a sheet in your dehydrator. Follow your dehydrator’s instruction manual for dehydrating vegetables. I have an Excalibur Dehydrator so I set on vegetable setting, 125° for 6-10 hours. Corn should be brittle.

6. Vacuum pack in a mason jar with your Seal-A-Meal.

Creamed-Style Corn   Pressure Canned

See the Ball recipe for creamed-styled corn at: http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes/cream-style-corn


Dehydrator Madness

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It’s a dehydrator. It’s not a puppy. This is what I keep telling myself as I lay awake at night trying to come up with a really great nickname for my new Excalibur dehydrator. This baby works like a dream.

To date, I’ve experimented with:

Lemons – Sliced up thinly, I store in a mason jar and add a slice to my iced water for a refreshing beverage. Put a few through my blender and now I always have lemon zest on hand.

Oranges – Same thing as with the lemons.

Bananas – A mason jar full of dried bananas does not last long on my counter.

Apples – By far a favorite of the family to date. I’d like to try a pie with the slices but they don’t last long enough. Slice the apples and place in a bowl of water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice while you’re slicing the rest of the lemons. This will keep them from turning brown. Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for a little extra crispness. Awesome healthy alternative snack!

Mixed Frozen Vegetables – I read that frozen veggies are great in the dehydrator and there is no prep to the veggies since they were prepared prior to freezing. So, I bought a 5 lb. bag of mixed veggies on sale and loaded up the trays. Five pounds dried down to 1 1/8 qt. mason jar. Amazing! I rehydrated as a test and it took about 20 minutes. The corn was the last to plump up and was a little tough, but I’m told the dried veggies are terrific to add to a soup. A great solution if you have limited freezer space.

Frozen Veggies

Croutons/Bread Crumbs – Leftover herb bread from the bread machine makes terrific croutons.

Kale – Mixed with a little olive oil and sea salt. Family didn’t like them, but the dog loved them. I throw on the floor for her like popcorn.

Beets – Dried into beautiful chips. Still sweet and earthy tasting. I need to experiment with this one a little more. I think sea salt may be the ticket.

Bagel Chips – Another yummy treat that I will make again.

Kiwi – I had a bunch of kiwi in my CSA farmer’s box. More than we could eat so into the dehydrator it went.

So, so happy with my purchase. I know it’s something I’ll use for years to come. Nickname suggestions anyone?


Puttin’ up poms – Pomegranate Jelly

This was a good year for our little pomegranate tree.

It was also a good year for the birds that discovered the little pomegranate tree.

Thankfully I was able to steal away from the birds enough pomegranates for a few batches of jelly.

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I usually use  a simple recipe from a lovely book called, The Glass Pantryby Georgeanne Brennan. This book would make a wonderful gift for any friend who enjoys canning; the photographs are gorgeous. However, this year I tried a new recipe that seemed to set a little better. Here’s the recipe with a few of my modifications.

Pomegranate Jelly
4 cups of pomegranate juice
1 package of dry fruit pectin
1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
5 cups of sugar

1. Cut pomegranates in half. Squeeze each half in your juicer. Place juice in large jar and save mash in a large bowl. I like to use a food press to get every drop of juice. Hang a jelly bag over a bowl. Strain all the juice through the jelly bag. Let the strained juice sit overnight in the refrigerator. Toss the mash in your composter.

2.  The next morning, you will notice a separation of juice and dregs. I don’t use the dregs in my jelly. Start your water bath canner heating up your water. I have to use bottled or spring water because our tap water is very hard. The hard water will give my canning jars a terrible white film. Start warming up another small saucepan of water for the lids.

2. Pour 4 cups of juice into a stainless steel, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the pectin and lemon juice and stir for several minutes to dissolve the pectin thoroughly. Place pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

3. Add the sugar and continue to stir constantly until the mixture is a rolling boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then begin to test for jell point. Alternatively, use a candy thermometer. Jelly is done when it reaches 220°.

4. Remove from heat. Ladle or pour hot jelly into prepared hot jelly jars to 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with damp cloth. Cover with lids and then the rings, finger tight.

5. Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove and enjoy the pop of the jar lids. Label, remove rings and store jars in a cool, dark place.

Pomegranate jelly in the cupboard makes me very happy.


Canning Stout Beer Jelly

What? Stout beer jelly?

My family was skeptical…I was intrigued.

Of course, I had to try it.

After the first batch, I made a run to the store for more jars. Yum!

Great gift for friends and family on St. Patrick’s Day.

Original recipe from Grow It, Cook It, Can It  via  Punk Domestic:

Stout Beer Jelly
makes 4-5 half pint jars

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Ingredients:
2 12-oz bottles of Guinness beer
1 package powdered Sure-Jell pectin
3 1/2 cups sugar
1. Get your water heating in your canner. Start heating a separate small pot of water for seals.
2. Place jars in canner to get hot.
2. In a large, non-reactive pot, bring the beer and powdered pectin to a rolling boil. Stir in sugar and bring back to a rolling boil. Cook on high heat for two minutes.
3. Remove hot jars from canner. Pour hot jelly into jars. As the original recipe suggested, I left a layer of foam on the top of the jelly so it looks like freshly poured beer in a mug. Wipe rims clean and place seals and rings on the jars. Process half-pint jars in your water bath canner for five minutes.

The label is printed on thin cardstock and adhered to a plain white cupcake wrapper for that bit of frill peeking out from the rim of the ring. Tie it off with a piece of jute.


Puttin’ Up Pickles

Just before adding the brine.

Tonight we put up some delicious pickles – 7 quarts of beautiful green pickles.

I couldn’t decide which recipe to use.  Everybody has a favorite recipe. We ended up following and combining a couple.
We put a grape leaf from our vines in the bottom of each jar along with garlic cloves and fresh dill.  I keep staring at the beautiful jars. In two of the jars I added a little bit of pepper flakes that I made from dried peppers from the garden for grins.
The finished product.

Do I really have to wait until Thanksgiving to try them?!

Update: Tried the pickles on Thanksgiving and they were delicious! I will definitely use this recipe again. Pickles were crisp and yummy.


Zucchini Relish

Just getting around to sharing the zucchini relish recipe we use. It’s a wonderful recipe and tastes like pickle relish so we use it on hamburgers, hotdogs, etc.  In fact, now we don’t buy pickle relish from the grocery store.

Zucchini Relish

4 to 4 1/2 lb. zucchini squash
2 medium onions
1 sweet red pepper
2 tablespoons salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cut up vegetables and grind in food chopper using course blade.  Add salt; cover and refrigerate overnight.  Rinse well in cold water and drain well.

In 4 to 5 quart kettle, combine vegetable mixture and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.  Cover and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring often.  Ladle hot mixture into hot, clean pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.  Wipe jar rim.  Adjust lid.  Process jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Start timing when water returns to a boil.

Yield: 4 to 5 pints