Zucchini Relish

I know is has been a LONG while since I have posted a recipe.

It has been a LONG few months for me.

Most of my extra time has been full of family and work. With out going into a lot of boring details….cause HEY who wants boring? But, in case you are worried, everything seems to be going pretty smooth right now. I just finished teaching summer school, my Mom the Princess, is doing much better and I am ready to spend more time in my garden, messing with my backyard chickens and of course and always in the kitchen cooking and messing it up. (cleaning is for grandchildren to do right?) Ha!

Since it is gardening season now, and if you are like a lot of my friends that grow zucchini, sometimes you get an abundance of zucchini. You grow so much that you are giving it away to everyone and then your friends start avoiding you when they seen you coming toward them with zucchini. So, I thought I would help you out and post a few zucchini recipes.  I will start with  my favorite zucchini relish recipe that my kids and grand kids will eat first, before they even think about opening a can of store bought relish. It is a sweet relish. You can use it in any recipe that calls for sweet relish. Like, chicken salad and tater sauce and it is great on brats and hot dogs.

Besides being tasty and delicious…it looks great in the jars. ; ) I mean…we want pretty fill jars too…right?

Here goes:

Above is a picture of the relish I made with a mixture of orange and red sweet peppers. I love the colors!

Here is what you need. Zucchini (0f course) apple cider vinegar (I put the white vinegar in the picture by mistake oops), sugar, sweet peppers, sweet onion, mustard seed and celery seed.

First you chop up your zucchini. I do not peel mine. I like the texture of the peelings being left on in the relish.

Chop up the sweet pepper. In this picture I used green peppers. Make sure you remove all the white pith and seeds out of the chopped peppers.

Chop up the onion. Try not to cry. I seem to always cry chopping onions.

In a large bowl put in the zucchini, onions and peppers.

Cover with cold water.

Add salt and stir. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours.

Drain off the salted water, rinse, and drain again.

Here is a picture of the correct cider vinegar…oops.

In a large sauce pan or stock pot, pour in the vinegar.

Add in the sugar.

Add in the mustard seeds.

Lastly, add in the celery seeds.

Bring to a boil.

Add in the zucchini mixture.

Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Fill jars and water bath can for 10 minutes.

It really is easy and I have doubled this recipe when I have made it and it turned out fine. (I would not double a jam or jelly recipe though.)

Anywho, I hope you give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Enjoy!

Becky

Here is the  recipe:

Zucchini Relish

Adapted from Ball Blue Book

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped zucchini (I do not peel mine)

1 cup chopped sweet onion (I used vidalia onions)

1 cup chopped sweet peppers (In one batched I used green in another I used a mixture of orange and red)

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons celery seeds

Directions:

Chop the zucchini, onions and peppers. Put the veggies in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Sprinkle the salt over the mixture and stir. Let it sit for 2 hours. Drain off the salted water, rinse and drain again.

In a large saucepan, add in the vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds. Now, add in the zucchini mixture. Bring to a simmering boil for 10 minutes.

Hot pack the relish in pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Remove air pockets by poking a skewer or a Popsicle stick in the relish. Wipe off the jar rims and put on the lid and ring.

Water bath can for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Follow water bath canning instructions found on the Ball Canning web site if you need further instruction

Remove the relish from the water and let the jars cool over night. Making sure the lids are sealed.

 

 

In a Pickle!

Have you ever made something, but then could not eat it for a couple of months?

That was me!

Or, have you ever found yourself so busy with family and work that you had to put off working on something you love doing for a few months, until things slow down?

That was me!!

It seemed, there for a few months, my life and free time was, “in a pickle!”

I guess that is my way of explaining why I have not posted in 6 long months!

I missed all my readers!

I missed posting my recipes and talking about my back yard girls as I affectionately call my chickens.

I missed everything there was to do about staying connected with everyone through this webpage.

So, I think my life is slowly, slowing down, and I can finally get back on track with posting and chit-chatting with everyone now.

You might have wondered what I have been up to the last few months, and I will explain in the coming recipe post, as I try to get caught up.

Even though, I might not have posted a recipe, my kitchen has been busy and so has my camera!

I have a ton of things to share!!!

One thing I will share now to try to explain my absence is that my Mom “The Princess” first had a breast cancer scare and then had a heart attack along with pneumonia right before the holidays. My super strong mom is a fighter though and is slowly getting her strength back and is now able to get out of the house some and going back to church.

Prayers were answered!

So anywho, I thought what was more fitting to get back to posting and get my webpage out of being “in a pickle,” was to post about me canning sweet pickles.

So here goes!!

Sweet Cucumber Pickles!

When I first made my pickles and water bath canned them, my pickles floated. I thought maybe I had acquired magic powers to get pickles to float, only to find out that after a couple of weeks they settled down and went to the bottom. I was later to learn that the air trapped inside the cucumbers had to slowly release for the pickles to stay where they were suppose too.

By the time the pickles were ready to eat, they decided to quit showing off and sit still.

These little pickles are perfect to snack on and are the perfect size to put on little slider hamburgers.

Here is what you need to make these delicious little sweet pickles.

Pickling cucumbers, (not regular salad cucumbers that are bigger and longer) sugar, pickling salt, ice, vinegar (5%), celery seed, whole allspice and  mustard seed.

The first thing you need to do is cut the blossom end off the cucumber, (it can cause soft pickles) and then slice the cucumbers into slices. Mine are about 1/4 inch.

My sliced cucumbers filled up this big bowl.

Next, sprinkle the pickling salt over the cucumbers.

The next thing you do is cover the cucumbers with ice and put in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. If the ice melts, add more ice. Now you can get all your jars, lids and rings out and set up for water bath canning….or you can take a nap, like me..LOL

Time to make the brine. Measure out the vinegar and pour it into a large sauce pan.

Add the sugar to the vinegar.

Add the celery seed to the vinegar and sugar mixture.

Next, add in the mustard seeds.

Now, add in the whole allspice. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Be sure and sterilize your jars before you fill them with cucumbers. I do a dip in boiling water with my jars before I fill them up.

Take you pickles out to the fridge. See how much they have shrunk….LOL…

Drain the pickles and remove any ice that is left.

Fill each jar with pickles to 1/2 inch from the top. Try to pack tightly as the pickles will shrink as they are processed.

Fill the jars with the hot brine leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove the air bubbles. You can do this with a wooden skewer but running it down the inside side of the jars.

Wipe the rim of each jar with a wet paper towel to remove any syrup/brine and put on the lids and rims.

Water bath can or process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes for pints or 15 minutes for quarts.

Now, here is one of my favorite parts….waiting to hear the pop of the lids after you take the jars out of the boiling water.

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting a few weeks (4 to 5) to allow the pickles to develop the ideal flavor.

As with any food that is canned, be sure to use a certified canning recipe and follow all the steps. Please refer to the Ball book of canning or  your local extension office  for complete instructions on water bath canning.

Here is the recipe.

This recipe is from Ohio Extension Office. They have a great video you can watch to assist you making these pickles. Here is the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo5Yx6ADsTg

Ingredients!

8 pounds 3 to 4 inch pickling cucumbers

1/3 cup canning or pickling salt

4 1/2 cups sugar

3 1/2 cups vinegar (5%)

2 teaspoons celery seed

1 tablespoon whole allspice

2 tablespoons mustard seed

Directions:

Cut 1/4 inch off the blossom end of the cucumber and discard. This blossom end can lead to soft pickles. Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup canning salt. Cover with ice and put into the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. This will help draw the moisture from the cucumbers.

Combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, allspice and mustard seed into a large saucepan. Heat to boiling.

Drain the liquid from the cucumbers.

Pack the cucumbers into the jars and fill the jars leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top.

Fill the jars with the hot canning liquid. Filling the jars to  1/2 inch from the top.

Remove any air bubbles. (you can use a wooden skewer to do this but running it down the inside side of the jars)

Adjust the lids and rings.

Water bath process for 10 minutes for pints or 15 minutes for quarts.

After procession and cooling, store the jars for 4 to 5 weeks to allow pickles to develop the best flavor.

As with any canning, be sure to use approved recipes and follow all the proper canning steps to prevent spoilage.

Enjoy!

Becky

 

Unearthing Canning Jars

Several years ago my friend Roberta found 5 large boxes of canning jars for sale at a garage sale. She called me and wanted to know if I wanted her to buy them for me.

Of course I said yes.

Looking back I am not sure why I wanted them. I was not even canning food at that period in my life. I had done some jam making, green bean canning and corn freezing years before. But, at that particular moment, I wasn’t. I was too busy finishing my masters degree, teaching junior high and raising kids.

I just knew I wanted those jars.

Roberta dropped them off at my house and I paid her back the $25 she spent buying these jars. (did i get a great buy?)

Not sure where to store the jars, I dragged those boxes across the back yard and put them in the shed. Where they have stayed for several years.

The jars have had many adventures in the shed.

Spiders and wasp just love to keep the jars company.

My brother in law, Gary even painted their little house (shed) the same color as the trim on the house a couple of summers back.

The MOST exciting adventure was when the jars had to share the shed with a ground hog that loved living in the shed.

That ground hog dug a big hole in the dirt floor of the shed and threw dirt all over the jars, buried several of the jars, broke some of the jars and when he finally left (not on his own free will) he had left a pretty good mess in the shed.

Now, that I am back to canning and growing (or rather trying to grow) some of my own back yard veggie vittles.

It was time to unearth the jars.

Company and I have been slowly bringing the jars out of the shed. One by one.

They were dirty and a little dinged up. We threw away the broken ones and checked for cracked in the other ones.

Then we set them outside to let the rain and the sun shine, clean them up a bit before I bring them into the house for a final big cleaning.

We still have three boxes left to bring out.

I think the jars look happier now. Dusty and and a little worn but happy to be out of the boxes.

But jars are never truly happy until they are filled with garden goodness.

What do you think?

Let the canning season begin!

Becky

Other post you may enjoy:

    blackberry jam

 Rhubarb Jam                                                                                  Blackberry jam

 

 

 

Spice Plum Jam

I am back!

I am so sorry that it has taken me a whole month to finally find the time to post a proper post!

A lot has been going on.

The biggest news is that my Baby College Girl got engage! I will do a whole post on it with adorable pictures and all fun we have had picking out her wedding dress and brides maids dresses, shoes, ect ect ect….exciting times!

I also went on vacation for 10 days to Savannah GA., been canning and freezing and dehydrating yummy food, and then before I knew it, it was time for school to start again…and did I mention taking care of chickens….: )

Anywho, do not worry. I took a ton of pictures of everything and I promise to get you all caught on up recipes and fun small town news.

I will start with this Spice Plum Jam recipe.

I love love love plum jam. I love the tangy sweetness and the dark red color. Oldest daughter does too. She tried some tonight and told me that it was amazing. It took about a hour and a half to make and I have 6 beautiful jars of jam. I just hope I remember to share. : )

Here is what you need:

You will need plums, about 2 quarts, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar and a box of sure jell.

    

The first thing you need to do is get the fruit ready. There is a small pit in the middle that you will need to cut out.

     

I put the fruit in a blender and pulsed it a few times to chop the plums into smaller pieces. I added 1/2 cup of water to the chopped up plums and boiled the plums for 5 minutes to cook the fruit. AFTER, you cook the fruit you measure out 6 1/2 cup of cooked fruit to make the jam.

     

Measure out 6 1/2 cup of cooked plums. Add one box of sure jell.

     

Measure out the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl. Bring the pectin and plums to a boil and boil for one minute. (I always time this.)

     

Add in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg mixture and stir in. Bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

     

Skim off any foam with a metal spoon. Ladle jam into prepared jars and water bath process for 10 minutes.

Take the jars out of the canner and place upright on a towel to cool.

Whalla….that is all there is to making “Awesome” Spice Plum Jam.

Here is the recipe:

Spice Plum Jam

Adapted from Sure Jell Plum Jam Recipe

Ingredients:

6 1/2 cup cooked plums

4 1/2 sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

Directions:

Using a dry measuring up, measure out the exact amount of fruit.

Stir in 1 package of Sure Jell fruit pectin into prepared fruit.

Bring mixture to a full rolling boil and boil for one minute.

Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to the fruit. Return to a full rolling boil and boil for exactly one minute.

Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle into prepared jars, filling each to within 1/4 inch of top. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids.

Place jars in a water bath canner.

Cover and bring water to boil.

Boil for 10 minutes.

Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely.

I think it is time to make some biscuits so I can open up the first jar.

Happy Canning!

Becky

Here is a few more post you might be interesting in reading:

              

Strawberry Jam                           Vanilla Rhubarb Jam              Cheesy Corn Chowder

 

Strawberry Jam

A few weeks ago, there was a sale on strawberries at my local organic grocery store. They had reduced the price of their strawberries down to .99 cents for 16 ounces.

Woo…hoo!

It was a great time  to offer a preserving cooking lab for my advanced foods class using fresh strawberries. So, I showed my classes how to make freezer jam. I try not to get on my soap box too often here on the webpage. In saying that, I promise I won’t stand on it for too long. but, I feel that preserving food is an essential lesson for students.

The preserving foods lab lesson offers the students the opportunity to; cut, chop, follow a recipe, measure, and participating in, start to finish, the techniques in taking a fresh food item and turning it into preserved food, such as jam. Last semester, we took pie pumpkins and made; pumpkin seeds, pumpkin puree and lastly pumpkin pies (with home made crust). You can read about the pie pumpkins here.

This semester, my beginning foods class took the remaining pumpkin puree and made these astonishing delicious pumpkin pancakes with home made caramel sauce. (I promise I will post those recipes soon.) It was refreshing to see how many different food items we could make from the pumpkin puree. Now, my classes were making freezer jam.

Here is one box of freezer jam, about to go into the fridge. You can refrigerate freezer jam for up to 3 weeks if you want to use it right away. Since the students were going to make Southern 7 UP biscuits to eat the jam on, we just put the jam in the refrigerator. Students brought their own containers from home to put their jam in. When we were done with the biscuit lab, the students were able to take their left over jam home….that is if there was any left over to take home.

Well anywho, since I was out of freezer room at home, I decided to take my strawberries and make cooked strawberry jam.  I could process the jam in jars and then be able to store the jam in my pantry. In the three weeks or so since I made the jam, I am not sure how many I have left. It is funny how many pieces of toast you can eat when you have fresh jam to slather on top. Not that I know anything about that. : )

Don’t feel you have to wait until it is strawberry season in your area to make some jam. If you are able to find some strawberries that are on sale during the off season, give this basic, simple and delicious strawberry jam recipe a try. Here is what you need.

You will need strawberries (of course), sugar, and sure jell fruit pectin

.          

The first thing you do is, cut the green stem off the top of the strawberries and slice up. Take a potato masher and mash the strawberries. Put the strawberries in a large sauce pan.

         

Add in the contents of the box of pectin and cook the strawberries and pectin together until the mixture comes to a FULL boil.

         

When it comes to a full boil,  quickly add in the sugar and stir. Return the mixture to a full boil.

         

When the mixture comes to a full boil, boil for ONE minute, stirring constantly.

         

Ladle the jam into sterilized jars to within 1/8 inch from the top. (you want less air in the jar as possible). Wipe the jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. (screw bands and the flat lids that have the little rubber circle edge).

         

Screw the bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner.

         

Lower rack into the canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Cover, and bring water to gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes.

          

I did not process this jar, as I did not have enough jam to go to the top, so I put it in the refrigerator for us to enjoy now. Let the processed jam stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Store processed jam for up to one year. Be fure to lable the jam with what kind of jam and the date you made it. Refrigerated jam for up to 3 weeks. Note: that jar of jam that went into the refrigerator did not last one week ; )

See, that is all there is to making strawberry jam.

Here is the recipe:

Recipe Adapted from the Sure Jell directions located inside the box of pectin.

Ingredients:

5 cups crushed strawberries

7 cups sugar

1 –1.75 ounce box of Sure Jell

Directions:

1 Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water to a simmer.

2. Sterilize  and wash jars and screw bands with soapy water and rinse with warm water.

3. Pour boiling water over the lids and let stand until you are ready to use them.

4. Measure exact amount of crushed strawberries into a 6 to 8 quart sauce pan.

5. PRE MEASURE the sugar into a seperate bowl, so you will have it ready to add to the strawberries when the time comes.

6. Add the contents of the box of pectin into the crushed strawberries and stir.

7. Bring the strawberry and pectin mixture to a FULL rolling boil, stirring constantly.

8. Quickly add in the premeasured sugar.

9. Return the strawberry, pectin and sugar mixture to a FULL roiling boil. Boil for exactly ONE minute.

10. Ladle the hot jam into the jars. Fill the jars, 1/8 inch from the top. Wipe the rim and threads of jar clean of any spilled jam.

11.  Put a lid on the top of the jar and then screw on the band, tightly.

12.  Put the jars of jam in a elevated rack in the canner. Lower the jars into the canner.

13.  Boil,the jars (making sure there is 1 to 2 inches of water over the top of the jars) for 10 minutes.

14. Take the jars out of the canner and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. You should start hearing the lids pop as the jam cools, forming a airtight seal.

Now all you have to do is find an excuse to try some.

Enjoy!

Becky

Other post you may enjoy:

                              

Brown Sugar Meatloaf                               Molasses Cookies                       Poppy Seed Bread with Glaze

Apple Crisp

It took me a while to get the hint.

Over the course of the last several weeks, Oldest daughter who does not cook, suggested that apple crisp sure sounded good.

She said in once.

Then twice.

Then suggested that, when I had time, she’d love to have some homemade apple crisp.

Is that a hint?

Anywho, last summer I tried my hand at canning some apple pie filling. I used a special thickening agent called. clear jell, that I purchased at a Amish Store. The clear jell does not break down when you process the apple pie filling, like corn starch or flour. The pie filling turned out wonderful, except that I used a variety of apples that were a little soft, and the apples broke down when they were processed in the canner. What I ended up was this delightful tasty, chunky apple pie filling that would be perfect for apple crisp.

Here is a picture of my first try at making canned apple pie filling.

I decided to surprise the girl who hates to step into a kitchen (but some how dirty a ton of dishes) with warm apple crisp for dessert.

This recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together. You can use store bought apple pie filling or you can use fresh apples for this apple crisp. I will give you recipes for both, no worries.

If someone in you family gives you a HINT, try making this simple delicious and tummy pleasing apple crisp that has lots of crunchy crisp goodness on top.

Here is what  you need:

I am showing the picture of how to make this recipe with apple pie filling. (I will put the recipe for a fresh apple filling in the recipe section at the bottom. You will need one quart of apple pie filling, butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

The first thing I did was pour my apple pie filling in the bottom of a 9 by 9 baking dish.

         

In a medium size bowl, melt one stick of butter or margarine.

         

Add one cup of oats and one cup of flour to the melted butter.

         

Now add one cup of brown sugar and 1/3 teaspoon of baking powder.

         

Now add the baking soda. With a large spoon, mix the topping all together, making sure all the ingredients are moisten with the melted butter.

Sprinkle the top evenly on top of the pie filling and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Here is the recipe.

Apple Crisp adapted from Alrecipes

Ingredients:

1 quart of apple pie filling (or you could use another fruit pie filling)

1 cup quick oats

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick (1/2) cup butter

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

If you are using fresh apples for the filling:

5 cups thinly sliced apples

1/2 cup white sugar

2 teaspoon flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup water

Directions:

Pour the pie filling in the bottom of a 9 by 9 baking dish. If you are using fresh apples, mix the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon and water in a medium bowl and pour into the bottom of a 9 by 9 inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, melt the butter. Add in the brown sugar, flour, brown sugar, oats, baking soda and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.

Spread the topping on top of the filling.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Warm apple crisp.

I am so glad, that I finally figured out what Oldest daughter was hinting at.

Enjoy,

Becky

Other post you may enjoy:

                             

Mint Layered Brownies                      Coconut Cream Cake                          Farmers Oatmeal Cake 

 

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