Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Last Batch (?)

This might be....I said MIGHT be...the last batch of canning recipes for the season. Then again, you never know. Every time I put my big canning pot away, I end up dragging it out and fillin' 'er back up again! I know I need a 12-step program, but I just can't help myself when I come across something wonderful at a farmers' market. Like when we went to Jean-Talon and I found these sweet little carrots about the size of your finger, I decided that they must be pickled at once. And now that the peppers are in their full glory, I decided to try another recipe that is much talked-about over at the Harvest Forum, a roasted red pepper spread from the Ball Blue Book that I feel should rightly be called Winter Bruschetta. And though Cyd may strangle me if I show up at home with one more tomato, how can I be expected to turn and walk away from all the big boxes of "canners" for five or, at most, seven dollars? So a few pints of good old-fashioned tomato sauce seemed in order, too. However, I am not going gung ho on tomato sauce until one day I can afford the Villaware tomato strainer (the metal, motorized one--not the cheap plastic thingy). After all, when 45 pounds only yields 7 quarts of sauce, you need some help processing those little suckers! Hey, do you think I could I use the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid? Does anyone know? I should try it, just for shiggles! (Oh dear...Cyd's gonna kill me when I come home with yet another box of Romas! Good thing I left the canner on the stove. Tee hee.) Here is a picture of the pickled carrots and the roasted red pepper spread. I forgot to take a photo of the tomato sauce, but then again, the jars just look...red. And as always, the recipes follow.

Pickled Baby Carrots
(Source: adapted from
Small Batch Preserving by Topp & Howard )

3 tablespoons dill seed
12 super chili peppers (whole)
12 cloves garlic, peeled
3 pounds peeled baby carrots (I didn't peel mine, just gave them a good scrub)
6 cups white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups water
4 teaspoons canning/pickling salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed

1. Remove hot jars from canner and add 1/2 tablespoon dill seed, 2 super chilis, and 2 garlic cloves to each jar, then fill each with carrots, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, sugar, water, salt, red pepper flakes, and mustard seed in saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Pour hot liquid over carrots to within 1/2 inch of rim. Wipe down the rims, fix the lids and caps on the jars, and process 15 minutes for pint jars according to standard BWB directions.

Makes 6 pints.

Roasted Red Pepper Spread (or Winter Bruschetta)
Ball Blue Book)

6 pounds, about 8 large red sweet peppers (um, try 12-15! and I swapped out a few of the sweet peppers for some hotter varieties)
1 pound Roma tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves (I used 12, I think!)
1 small white onion
2 tablespoons minced basil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt (I think I used more like a tablespoon!)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Roast peppers under broiler or on a grill at 425 degrees until skin wrinkles and chars in spots. Turn over and roast other side. Remove from heat. Place in a paper bag, secure opening, cool 15 minutes.

Roast tomatoes, onion, and garlic under broiler or grill 10-15 minutes. Place tomatoes in a paper bag. Peel onion and garlic. Finely mince onion and garlic. Measure 1/4 cup and set aside. Peel and seed tomatoes and peppers.

Puree in food processor or blender. Combine in a large pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stir to prevent sticking. Reduce heat, simmer until spread thickens.

Ladle hot spread into hot jars, leave 1/4 inch headspace. (I used half-pints and got six jars from the batch.)

Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Seasoned Tomato Sauce
(Source: another Ball Blue Book classic--of course, I made a quarter of this recipe, as that's all my stock pot will hold!)

45 pounds tomatoes
6 cups chopped onions
12 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons oregano
6 bay leaves
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
Bottled lemon juice or citric acid

Wash tomatoes; drain. Remove core and blossom ends. Cut into quarters; set aside. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a large sauce pot. Add tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, salt, black pepper and sugar. Stir in crushed red peppers, if desired. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Press mixture through a sieve or food mill; discard seeds and peels. (I used my fingers to remove the gel and seeds but did not bother with the skins. I just pureed it all in the food processor.) Cook pulp in a large, uncovered sauce pot over medium-high heat until sauce thickens, stirring to prevent sticking. Reduce volume by 1/2 for a thick sauce. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to each quart jar. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid to each pint jar. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. (I included a sprig of fresh basil in each jar as well.) Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 35 minutes, quarts 40 minutes, in a boiling-water canner.

Yields about 14 pints or 7 quarts (I got six pints from quartering this recipe...hmm, must be from leaving the peels on? Well, the fiber is good for you.)

OOH! This has nothing to do with canning, but I just remembered a great tip for my local readers. Then again, maybe this is a nation-wide sale? Anyway, if you need a new blender, RUN, DO NOT WALK, to your local Starbucks! They have the much-ballyhooed Waring Pro blender on sale for 60 bucks (that's half-price)! They're refurbs, but they come in a tasteful brushed chrome finish, unlike the crazy green color that I bought earlier this summer. AND you won't have to pay for shipping as I did! Seriously, you will thank me for this information. And while you're there, try their new Joya del Dia Blend coffee. It's SOOOO good, with undertones of cocoa. Crazy good! Why are you still sitting there? GO, GO, GO!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll vouch again for the Roasted Red Pepper spread...it is D-E-L-I-S-H! It's perfect with some fresh bread, some olive tepenade (sp?), and a bottle of white wine! Yum!

The only thing about it that's a pain is roasting and peeling all those blasted red peppers.