Monday, September 26, 2011
The recipe I followed calls for walnuts and raisins, two ingredients I use often and therefore buy in bulk and store in glass jars in the pantry.
I have a wonderful nut chopping set: a wooden bowl with a chopping blade that fits perfectly into it. This was my Mom's, and I've been using it a good many years.
If you are starting out collecting kitchen utensils, I'd recommend shopping your local antiques emporium. Not only will you be supporting a local business, you will see that kitchen tools, like garden tools, were at one time built to last. The materials and craftsmanship will be far superior to what you might find in even a high end kitchen store.
So here we go:
One half hour before preparing the batter, grate 3 cups of zuccini into a large colander and sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of organic sugar. Mix thoroughly and allow to drain.
When the half hour is up, preheat oven to 350' and grease two loaf pans.
In a medium bowl, mix together:
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Combine in a large bowl:
3 cups drained zucchini
7/8 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pans and bake for one hour.
aluminum pan?? Where did that come from? Rather, how did it get back into the kitchen? I thought it was holding crayons or colored pencils!!)
Allow to cool before slicing. This is excellent with cream cheese, but it is also killer all by itself!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
This recipe for refrigerator pickles works well with yellow squash, zucchini, or a combination of both. Besides the squash, the recipe calls for green peppers, red peppers, and onions. For this batch, we didn't have any red peppers yet, so they are not as colorful as they might be, but they are still an attractive pickle, and a tad on the sweet side so they appeal to kids as well.
Here's the recipe given to me by a friend of my mother in law when Jack and I first were married:
Three hours in advance of processing:
Dissolve 2/3 cup salt in 3 quarts of water.
Add 16 cups thinly sliced summer squash and cover with a plate to keep submerged.
(one medium squash = 4 cups)
Soak for three hours.
In a large pan, heat:
4 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons mustard seeds
Stir constantly till sugar dissolves.
Add squash and:
4 medium onion, sliced
4 green peppers, chopped into large chunks
2 red peppers, chopped into smaller chunks
Bring to a boil, pack into hot jars.
Allow to cool then store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
These are yummy, crispy pickles!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
When freezing vegetables we use plastic bag liners inside of cardboard boxes. We rinse and reuse these bags as many times as possible. The food that they have contained was boiled before it went into the bag. Then it was frozen. There was no chance for it to go bad, so why not use the bag again?
In the lower photo you can see a row of cup hooks in the bottom of the shelf over the kitchen sink. The cup hooks are a very handy way to dry the bags before packing them away to use again next year.
In the top photo you can see the freezer boxes we use. We use sharpies to write the contents and date on the outside of the box. Different colors for different years.
We have had a few boxes get wrecked over the years, but on the whole we are very neat packers and don't often spill any food on the boxes as we fill them. Many of our boxes date back to 1987.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
To clarify: canning relies on two things to preseve foods safely: heat and acidity.
Tomatoes are an acid food* and therefore can safely be canned in a water bath canner. Beans, peas and corn are low acid, and therefore must be canned in a pressure canner, which achieves much higher temperatures.
Salsa falls somewhere in between...Tomatoes are acidic, but the onions, peppers and garlic are not, so the safest way to process the salsa is to add lots of vinegar to really crank up the acidity.
* Some of the newer tomato varieties have been designed for a lower acid content to make them more digestible. So you cannot even trust that all tomato varieties are safely canned by the water bath process. So if you do make salsa, I advise you to pack it into wide mouth CAN OR FREEZE jars and freeze it. And if you want to make sauce, I advise you to freeze that too... see Freezer Tomato Sauce.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Well, I'm not all that crazy about canning things: I find it just a tad labor intensive.
But with the power knocked out by Hurricane Irene, and lots of ripe tomatoes everywhere we looked, we had little choice.
We do have a generator to keep the freezers and refrigerators going, but it wouldn't be wise to add a bunch of warm tomato sauce to them at this time. So water bath canning seemed an obvious choice. If you're new to canning, please refer to The Ball Blue Book: The Guide to Home Canning and Freezing,or visit http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_home.html.
Now, using the jar lifter, remove one jar from the hot water, and carefully drain the hot water back into the canner. This is the part of canning that really scares me. This water is hot enough to burn your skin if you get splashed. I can't believe I did this with small kids in the house. I just recently discovered these big blue gloves with a nice non-slip surface. They are somewhat heat resistant and I probably should have been wearing one on my right hand as well.
Use a damp cloth to wipe the top and threads of the jar. Place the lid on the jar and screw ring down securely. Use jar lifter to return the filled jar to the canner and remove the next empty jar. Continue on until seven jars are filled and placed in the canner. You may need to remove some of the water as the filled jars replace the empty ones. Be sure there is at least one inch of water over the top of the jars.
Cover the canner and bring the water to a boil. Process for 45 minutes at a steady but gentle boil. Pint jars need boil only 35 minutes. (The timing is different for folks above a thousand feet in elevation, so check with one of the resources above if this is your situation.)
Remove jars and stand them on a double thickness of dish towel to cool. You will hear small popping sounds as the vacuum seals each jar lid. Hopefully you will hear seven of these little pops.