This time of year always takes me back to childhood memories. The grain coming off, straw being baled and my grandmother in the kitchen, making jar upon jar of preserves. I come by this passion of mine honestly. My mom the eternal entertainer, my aunts preserving their gardens for the winter and the infamous pie competition that no one likes to talk about.
The preserves and food in our shop have many of the local flavours growing right now. We are enjoying peaches, tomatoes, peppers and corn. This year especially, preserving the bounty of the summer to ease the pocketbook for the winter is not a bad idea. Many of the recipes are designed for smaller batches, which will save product and time. Only choose recipes from reliable books and publications that you trust. Online recipes can be misleading as they may not have the right amount of vinegar, sugar or salt for the preserving to be safe.
Inspired yet? Unsure where to start? Choose a recipe based on your families eating habits. Aiden lives on peanut butter and jam and I love the ease of spaghetti night. This year we pickled more than 100 lbs of asparagus for our sandwich platters, although I prefer my asparagus in a Caesar!
Bell Pepper and
(makes a wonderful gift)
1 cup finely diced red peppers
1 cup finely diced green peppers
6 large cloves garlic
1-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
Dice red and green peppers finely, place in stainless steel pan. Add chopped garlic cloves, sugar and cider vinegar;
Over a high heat bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard one minute (I set the timer), remove from heat and stir in the 2 pouches of pectin;
Pour jelly into hot jars and try to ensure the diced pepper is dispersed evenly. Wipe rims with paper towel to ensure the stickiness is removed. Follow the directions on the jars to ensure the seals of the lids are used correctly. Most ask that you place the seals in hot water but not boiling water. Then place the seal on firmly but do not over tighten;
Place jars in a canner and boil for 12 minutes. This will seal the jars completely. After 4 hours check that the seals worked and the lids are curved downwards, if a seal did not take place in the fridge. The rest can be stored in a cool dark place.
Tomato Simmer Sauce
x 2 for 6-8 500ml jars
6 lbs ripe tomato, roma or field tomato will work
1-1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp black ground pepper
1 cup roughly chopped basil
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup total of roughly chopped parsley, oregano, thyme (combine to make half a cup total)
1/2 tsp crushed chili
Score an X on the bottom of your local tomato, place on pan and put in a preheated oven at 400F for approximately 5 minutes or until the skin starts to separate from the flesh. Remove from the oven and peel off the skins and discard. Dice 6 of the tomatoes into half-inch cubes and puree the rest. Place in stainless steel pot;
Place the brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, in pot with tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer until it reaches the desired consistency. Approximately 1 hour. Add the fresh herbs and stir in;
Pack tomato sauce in 500ml jars with 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Leave a quarter-inch head space in jar. Adjust prepared jar lid and tighten. Place prepared jars in canning pot of boiling water. Process for 35 minutes. Remove from boiling water and allow to cool. Check that jars are sealed and place in cool dry place.