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Can it: Refrigerator dill pickles, tomato sauce, and blueberry compote

Aug 2nd, 2014 | Category: Cooking

by Susy Hymas

Enjoying a fresh peach in my yogurt this summer morning, I am reminded of my grandparent’s garden.  I was fortunate to spend summers wandering there among the fruit trees, berry bushes and flowers. Grandma would serve me fresh peaches with cream for breakfast.  The rest of the year my family ate her canned fruit, green beans, tomatoes and sweet pickles. I inherited her canning equipment and my girlfriends and I taught ourselves to can. Today I teach others and am pleased that so many are interested in preserving local food to enjoy all year long.

This recipe included for Refrigerator Dills keeps in the fridge for three months. It takes about two weeks for the full flavor to develop. PHOTO BY SUSY HYMAS

This recipe included for Refrigerator Dills keeps in the fridge for three months. It takes about two weeks for the full flavor to develop. PHOTO BY SUSY HYMAS

Tomato season is rapidly approaching and this warmer than usual summer should bring on a great crop. We love tomatoes in our house, whether in marinara, salsa or homemade soup.  Tomatoes need to be acidified with lemon juice, lime juice or powdered citric acid when canned. Technically a fruit, they are lower in acid than most fruits, but when acidified can be canned in a water bath canner. I also freeze roasted tomatoes, salsa and zucchini tomato sauce, a recipe from my husband’s grandmother.

Tomato salsa is fun to can or freeze. When you add onions, peppers, garlic and spices to tomatoes, close attention needs to be paid to the acidity of the product. Onions, peppers and garlic are low acid vegetables. A significant amount of lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar needs to be included in safe salsa recipes when canning. If you would rather use your favorite salsa recipe, you can always freeze the product. I like to can tomatoes, acidify by adding one tablespoon of lime juice per pint and two tablespoons per quart and then add the other ingredients when I open the jar.

We grow pickling cucumbers in our garden. You only get a few at a time, so I make small batches and  keep them in the refrigerator. This recipe included for Refrigerator Dills keeps in the fridge for three months. It takes about two weeks for the full flavor to develop. There are other ways to make pickles. Quick pickles can be made with a vinegar brine and then canned. Fermented pickles are brined with salt and result in a yummy product that enhances the development of healthy bacteria for the digestive system.

Sweet jams, jellies and preserves are fun to have on toast or pancakes throughout the year.  There are a multitude of recipes and fruit combinations to try.  Many recipes call for lots of sugar to assist with gelling the product.  You can make low sugar versions of preserves by using a low sugar pectin available where canning supplies are sold.  For a low sugar fruit sauce, you can make and can compote to use on waffles, pancakes or yogurt. Blueberry is one of our favorites.

Susy Hymas, Master Food Preserver and Nutrition Educator is the owner of Daylight Harvest Foods, which offers food preservation classes. Susy has turned her passion for healthy, delicious, local food into classes that can help others preserve foods to enjoy all year long. Contact her at daylight@fidalgo.net.

 

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

 

Ingredients 

2.5 pounds of sliced trimmed pickling cucumbers – about 8 ¼ cups

2 cups of white vinegar

2 cups of water

6 tablespoons pickling salt

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons pickling spice

7 ½ teaspoons dill (may use dill seed)

5 teaspoons mustard seed

1 ½ teaspoon black peppercorns

5 cloves of garlic – halved

 

Directions

Wash cucumbers thoroughly. They can also be speared by cutting lengthwise into quarters. 2.5 lbs is approximately 15 medium pickling cucumbers. Remember to select the freshest cucumbers and pickle as close to harvest as possible for the best results.

Place cucumber slices or spears in a large glass or stainless steel bowl and set aside.

In a medium stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar and pickling spice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Reduce the heat, cover and boil gently for 10 minutes.

Pour pickling liquid over cucumbers.  Cover with waxed paper and set aside until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

In each pint jar, place 1 ½ tsp of dill, 1 tsp mustard seed, ¼ tsp pepper corns and 2 garlic halves. Add cucumbers to within a generous ½ inch headspace of top of jar. Ladle pickling liquid into jars to cover – still leaving ½ inch headspace. Apply lids. For best results, allow cucumbers to marinate in refrigerator for at least two weeks and use within three months.

Makes close to 5 pints

 

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Sweet jams, jellies and preserves are fun to make and have. There are a multitude of recipes and fruit combinations to try. PHOTO BY SUSY HYMAS

Sweet jams, jellies and preserves are fun to make and have. There are a multitude of recipes and fruit combinations to try. PHOTO BY SUSY HYMAS

 

This recipe is a delicious way to use tomatoes. It is easy and freezes well.

 

Ingredients 

2 cups Roma tomatoes –  halved or

quartered*

4 cloves garlic chopped

1 tablespoon herbs of your choice (basil, oregano or a mix is good)

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

*Other varieties of tomatoes will work also. This is a good thing to do with extra cherry tomatoes.

 

Directions 

Oil a roasting pan with olive oil.  Put tomatoes in bowl and toss with olive oil, garlic, herbs and salt. Place in pan. Roast at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.  They should be soft and just starting to brown a little. Let cool and freeze whole or puree the whole works in a food processor. Of course you can also enjoy them right away.

 

Blueberry Compote

Blueberry picking. PHOTO BY SUSY HYMAS

Blueberry picking. PHOTO BY SUSY HYMAS

 

Ingredients 

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries**

2 teaspoons orange or lemon juice

1 tablespoons orange or lemon zest

2 teaspoons of maple syrup

½ teaspoons ground ginger

 

Directions

If using fresh blueberries, add 1/3 cup water. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook stirring occasionally for 3 – 4 minutes until mixture begins to thicken.

Wash and prepare jars and lids. Heat water for canner. Ladle compote into warm jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles, wipe rim of jar and place lid on jar. Place ring and finger-tighten. Transfer to water bath canner. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Turn off burner or remove from heat, remove canner lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Remove jars with jar lifter and place on towel for 12 – 24 hours. Remove rings and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

 

Makes 2 half pints

 

Published in the August 2014 issue of Grow Northwest

 

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