Category Archives: Canning

Slow Cooker Pear Butter

Since my friend Tiffani brought me so many pears, I didn’t want to do them all with the one Pink Pears recipe.  Since pears are so similar to apples, I figured I’d do a pear butter, like the apple butter recipe I did a couple of years ago.

It worked out beautifully.  Not only is this a simple recipe, but it makes your house smell awesome and like Fall.  And when the temps are reaching 110, you like to have the delusion that Fall is right around the corner!

Crockpot Pear Butter
Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

Ingredients:
10 ripe pears
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used my sugar from Cora Texas sugar mill)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 TBSP vanilla

Method:

FYI:  This is really a 2-day process!  I started in the afternoon and had it timed so that I could set the crockpot timer for the second time right before bed, so it would be done in the morning.

Peel your pears.  Quarter them and remove the core.  Place in a crockpot sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Add vanilla, cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

When the 8 hours is up, mash with a fork (this is really easy, they’re so soft so it doesn’t take much at all!).  Stir in the sugars, cinnamon and cloves.  Cover again and cook once more on LOW for 6 hours.

If you want yours to be super smooth, you may use an immersion blender or something like it to puree.  But I thought the slightly chunky texture was nice.  You may store in the fridge or can it.  The Ball website has great information and tutorials on how to can, if you’ve never done this before.  You only need to process this in the water for 10 minutes.

Slow Cooker Pear Butter

Pink Pears

One of my best friends went to her grandma’s house the other day to pick pears.  Pick pears she did.  Tiffani called to tell me she had picked “a gazillion” pears and wanted to know did I some.  Sure!  This was my first time ever really doing anything with pears, but it was fun, I decided to do something a bit unusual.  I put Hot Tamales candy in them.  Keep reading.

When I found out I was getting the pears, I called my parents and asked if they had any recipes for canning pears.  They’ve done a lot of canning.  They hadn’t, but my mom had recently read an article in The Times-Picayune that had a lot of different pear recipes.  One was for pink pears and it sounded interesting, since it utilized the candy Red Hots as a flavoring agent.  There were no Red Hots at Kroger so I figured Hot Tamales would do the same basic thing.  The pears remind me in looks of pickled ginger that you get with sushi.  But it’s got a great cinnamon flavor, it’s really delicious!  And it’s more fun than just regular pear preserves.

Pink Pears
Recipe adapted from:  The Times-Picayune

Ingredients:
5.5 lbs. peeled, cored and sliced pears (the weight is of what is left after its peeled, cored and sliced!)
3 cups water
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup Hot Tamales candy

Method:
In a large pot, heat the water and sugar over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Add the candy and stir until the candy melts.  Add the pears, stirring and folding until they are well coated with the red sugar mixture.  Cook at a simmer until the pears are very tender, but still hold their shape.

To can, fill a large canning pot with water, bring to a boil.  Add the jars and allow them to sit in the boiling water to sterilize.  In a smaller pot of water over medium-low heat, add the flat lids.  Fill the sterilized jars with preserves, make sure the rim is wiped clean (a wide-mouth canning funnel helps keep it clean) and place one of the hot flat lids on top.  Place the ring on, tighten to just fingertip tight.  Place all filled jars in the boiling water, cover and allow to process for 20 minutes.  Remove from water (with canning tongs) and listen for them to “pop”, indicating that the processing was successful.  Store in the pantry until ready to eat.

Pink Pears

Tomatoes Coming Out of Your Ears?

It’s pretty remarkable that with the drought the South has been having, this is the first year we’ve actually had success with tomatoes!  We’ve had a consistent crop and were delighted when my husband’s grandmother brought us a box of tomatoes from a local farm.

He immediately said he wanted me to make tomato jam, but I wanted to do something else too.  I decided to make a tomato tart.  While it did taste good, I wasn’t super crazy about the crust so I haven’t decided if I’m going to post that recipe yet.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, here are some pictures to enjoy:

When life hands you tomatoes, you make...

 

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

 

Roasted Tomato and Cheese Tart

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

I recently had a BLT sandwich and instead of using sliced tomatoes, it had tomato jam.  What a great idea!  This way you can enjoy this sandwich year round and not have to use nasty supermarket tomatoes.  As I was making it, my mind started going to all the different things you could use this far, different sandwiches or even as a topping for goat cheese….yum!

Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato jam, turkey, Monterey Jack cheese, spring salad mix and avocado - Delicious!!

I did use canned tomatoes, since they are not currently in season.  This was very easy to make and I can’t wait to make a couple of big batches so I can jar them!

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam
Recipe adapted from:  The Perfect Pantry

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1 large can (1.5 lb) diced tomato (fire roasted would probably be great!)
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch ground cloves
1-2 tsp chopped pickled jalapeno peppers

Method:
In a nonstick pan, heat oil then add the garlic and ginger and saute’ until turning golden, about a minute.  Add the vinegar, allow it to sizzle for a minute or two then add the remaining ingredients.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 30-45 minutes, until thickened to a jam consistency.  Refrigerate until cold before serving.  Can store in the refrigerator up to three weeks.

Sweet & Spicy Tomato Jam

Caponada

Caponada is an Italian dip that my family has been making for years.  While I know it’s fantastic spread on crackers, I would think it would also be quite delicious as a topper to something….maybe a cheese stuffed chicken breast over some noodles?  Might have to try it out!  With the eggplant plentiful in everyone’s gardens right now (and grocery stores having awesome sales), it’s a great way to use them up!

This recipe is made in your microwave, except for the canning part.  You don’t have to put it in jars if you plan on just using it right away for a party or something.  We’ve always canned it and it really isn’t hard as long as you follow all of the steps.  If you do plan on canning, please do NOT stray from the recipe at all, as there are certain levels of acidity and such needed for proper canning.  You don’t want to get botulism!

Capanada
Recipe from Toute de Suite a la Microwave
This yielded 5 small jars with a little leftover in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:
3 cups onion, coarsely chopped (3 onions)
1/2 cup bell pepper, coarsely c hopped
1.5 cup celery, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggplant, peeled and diced into cubes. (Soak in salt water for 20 min.)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6 oz) can pitted black olives, whole then sliced
1/2 cup pitted green olives, whole then sliced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp oregano
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp pepper

Method:

In a 4-qt casserole, saute’ onion, bell pepper and celery in olive oil – cover with waxed paper and cook on high 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Stir in eggplant, cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes, stirring once.  Add tomato sauce and paste, cook on high for 10 minutes.

Stir in garlic, olives, vinegar, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook on high 5 minutes.  If you are not canning, chill before serving.

If you are canning, read on…

Keep eggplant mixture hot.  In a large canning pot filled with water, bring to a boil with your jars inside.  The water level needs to be a couple of inches above the jars.  In a small saucepan, add an inch or two of water and bring the lids to a simmer (not the rings, just the lids).  Note that the lids MUST be new, you cannot reuse these.  The jars and rings may be reused.

Once the jars have boiled for a few minutes, use your tongs from your canning kit and empty out the water.  Place on a cutting board, insert the funnel into the jar and fill with the hot caponada.  Leave 1/2 inch headspace.  With a CLEAN wet towel, wipe the rim of the jar to be sure it is completely clean.  Use your magnetic lifting tool to remove one lid from the simmering water and place carefully on the jar.  Screw on the ring on top just to fingertip tightness (don’t screw on all the way, just till you feel some resistance).  Place back in the pot of boiling water and continue till all jars are filled.   Boil, covered for thirty minutes.

Once thirty minutes are up, remove to the cutting board and listen for the jars to make a popping sound.  If they processed correctly, you should not be able to press in the lid.  If you can press in the lid, then they are not done correctly and need to be refrigerated.

Caponada

Caponada

Fig Preserves

Making fig preserves is something my parents have been doing for as long as I can remember.  They do a great job, they’re always super-tasty but unfortunately the tree they used to pick from was recently cut down.  They decided to come visit for the weekend and went to my husband’s grandfather’s house to pick some.  We then spent the day canning!  Boy did my house smell good!  This recipe has a lot of information, so I’m going to type it as my dad did so I don’t leave anything out.

Fig Preserves
Recipe from:  My dad, Gerry

Before starting, you will need the following:
1 jar canning pot with the rack and lid
1 jar funnel
1 magnetic lid wand
enough pint jars with new, unused lids (jars and rings can be re-used)
enough sugar per amount of figs
enough lemon slices per amount of figs
enough pots for figs to boil
1 small saucepan

Sugar and Jar Estimate:  (2 cups sugar = 1 lb)

Fresh Figs (in quarts)         Sugar (in cups)    Number of Jars Needed
             2                                                     1                                  2
             3                                                     2                                  3
             4                                                     3                                  4
             5                                                     4                                  5
             6                                                     5                                  6 or 7
             7                                                    6                                   8
             8                                                     7                                  9
             9                                                     8                                   10
            10                                                   9                                    11
            11                                                   10                                 14
            15                                                   13                                 20
            27                                                   22                                29  

How to make fig preserves

Pick figs.  Measure (in quarts) as you put them into a sink full of water.  Let soak 10-15 minutes, then carefully let the water out, re-plug the drain and refill with fresh water.  Let soak 10-15 minutes, drain and refill with fresh water.  Put enough water to float the figs, it makes it easier to remove them to the pot.  Let soak 10-15 more minutes, then scoop them out two-handed, letting the water drain off in your hands.  Put the figs into a measuring cup and then into a large stock or ‘gumbo” pot.  Add the required amount of sugar on top and one slice of lemon per projected jar of figs you will wind up with.  Turn the burner on medium/med-high.  As the figs begin to boil and the sugar melts to a syrup, you can turn the burner back until you have a gentle, steady boil.  Keep the pot uncovered and periodically pick the pot up and swirl it.  Do not use a spoon to stir them as that may bust the figs.  Let them cook a couple of hours until the figs are getting translucent and the syrup thickens and gets dark.  When the figs are nearing completion, place an empty jar (no lid) into the canning pot with enough water to cover the upright jar by an inch.  Remove the jar, put the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil.

While it’s boiling, place the jars (no lids) on the rack and lower them into a water.  A regular canning pot will hold 7 jars in its’ rack.  If you will need more, you will have to work in batches.  Put the lid on, bring back to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes (you can skip boiling the empty jars if you sterilize them and keep them hot in the dishwasher).  Meanwhile, take a small saucepan half full of water and let boil for 10 minutes.  Heat it to just before boiling and put in the number of lids (not rings) you will need.  When the jars are ready, carefully take them out of the pot using the jar grabber, empty the water from it into the canning pot and place on a cutting board near your fig pot.  Place the cover back on the canning pot and make it return to a fully rolling boil.

Put the jar funnel on top of the jar and start spooning figs and syrup into the jar (put just figs in first, then the syrup when the jar is full of figs)and making sure to get one slice of lemon in each jar.  Add figs to within 1/2 inch of the rim and syrup within 1/4 inch of the rim.  Carefully wipe the rim with a wet paper towel and using the magnetic lid wand, remove a lid from the saucepan, placing it on the jar.  Place a ring on and close but don’t tighten, just till you feel a slight resistance. 

Using the jar grabber, carefully lower each filled jar into the boiling water in the canning pot, insuring the water is at least an inch over the lids when you are through.  Cover and let boil for 15 minutes.  Take each jar out with the jar grabber and place on a wooden surface (cutting board) to start cooling.  As each jar cools, it will make a ‘pop’ sound as it creates a vacuum seal.  Listen and count the pops to insure each of your jars sealed correctly.  After the jars are cooled to the touch, you can also depress the center of the lid with your finger to test the seal.  If one depresses and pops back, you don’t have a good seal and you need to refrigerate that one. 

Some pictures…

Our Bounty

Figs

Figs in the pot with sugar

Figs after being cooked down for a few hours

Canned Fig Preserves

To give you some idea…

we used three large pots to cook the figs down in and it produced roughly 20 jars (plus half of one that we stuck in the fridge).

Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam

Last weekend, the hubs and I did a little shopping at Whole Foods while we were in Baton Rouge.  I love shopping there on the weekends, they have so many samples set up to taste!  One of the things we tried was roasted garlic and onion jam on top of goat cheese, it was sooo heavenly!  The price was reaching for the heavens as well!  $6.99 for a small jar.  Um, no thanks!

But Google is our friend.  I found a knockoff recipe for the same jam and it seemed pretty easy.  We bought some of the goat cheese they served it with (Capricho De Cabra – Plain) but really, any goat cheese or even maybe a cream cheese would work fine.    My knockoff version was fantastic, my husband and I are munching on it as I type this up!  It was easy to make and the ingredients were inexpensive, probably cost me $2-3 to make.  Much better than the ready-made price!  It’s great for a little something new for your next appetizer.

Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam
Source:  Chowhound

Ingredients:
3 large onions, peeled and diced
2 heads of garlic, roasted and removed from skins
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
dash of salt
water
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method:

Spray a large nonstick frying pan with cooking spray.  Saute’ onions until soft and translucent.  Add the sugars and cook until onions are browned and no liquid remains.  Add 1/4 cup water, combine well and cover, cooking (stirring occassionally) until water is absorbed.  Add the balsamic vinegar, roasted garlic and another 1/4 cup water.  Stir well and cook until thick and not liquid.  Place in food processor and pulse till no large chunks remain.

Serve over cheese of your choice, with crackers.

Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam over Goat Cheese

 

P.S.  You could probably jar this stuff if you made a few batches!

Hot Pepper Jelly

Since I love to cook, I also love to share my treats with those that I love.  For the holidays I normally make homemade goodies for my friends and neighbors.  It used to be just cookies or breads, but this year for my birthday my parents bought me a canning set.  So needless to say, it’s on like Donkey Kong!!  This is my third attempt at canning.  Tonight’s recipe is part of a recipe my dad gave to me combined with tips and trade-offs from the Ball canning website and from friend Amy’s blog

Hot Pepper Jelly

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup jalapenos, washed, seeded and diced very fine (wear gloves!)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup regular vinegar

6 1/2 cups sugar

1 pouch Certo

drop(s) of red food coloring

Method:

I will assume you know the basic fundamentals of canning how-to’s, but if you don’t the Ball canning website (mentioned above) has great instructions.  Therefore, I will not go into all the step by step details.

In a large nonstick pot, combine the vinegars, sugar and jalapeno and bring to a boil.  Boil for five minutes, then quickly add the pouch of certo and the food coloring.  Boil for one more minute and ladle into hot jars.  Make sure the rim of the jars is clean and place the heated lid on carefully.  Screw the rim on, but don’t tighten all the way.  Process for 10 minutes.  Remove and set aside on a clean towel.  Listen for the “pop”.  Don’t touch for 12-24 hours.

Yield:  6 jars plus a little left over!

When ready to serve, it’s great over cream cheese!

hot pepper jelly 005

Hot Pepper Jelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Verdict:  This was NOT an easy thing to do.  Ok really it wasn’t hard, exactly, it was just stressful.  It’s one of those things that you’re doing a lot of things at once.  So just make sure when you make this, you have someone sane there to help you.  My husband helped me and we went over our “game-plan” of who was going to do what beforehand and it went relatively smoothly.  It tastes delicious, he took a plate into the other room and is devouring it as I type this!  It did turn out a little redder than I would have liked – the food coloring came out too fast!  Overall, I’m very pleased with the results and will be making this every year, if my recipients enjoy it!

Crockpot Apple Butter

For the holidays, I really enjoy giving homemade gifts to family and friends.  I’m slowly expanding my horizons where canning is concerned, so I’ve been on the lookout for new recipes.  I came across this recipe for apple butter that is made in the crockpot on the crockpot lady’s blog and it sounded like a good one.  You know me, I love anything I can do in the crockpot!  It’s one of my best friends!  I’ve never actually HAD apple butter, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  Here is what happened…

Crockpot Apple Butter

Ingredients:

(Note that I modified a little for my 5 quart crockpot size)

10 ripe apples – I used 5 Red Delicious and 5 Jonagold

3/4 cup white granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar (I used my sugar from Cora Texas sugar mill)

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1 TBSP vanilla

Method:

FYI:  This is really a 2-day process!  I started in the afternoon and had it timed so that I could set the crockpot timer for the second time right before bed, so it would be done in the morning.

Peel your apples.  Yes, this sucks.  Be careful not to cut yourself like I did!  Quarter them and remove the core.  Place in a crockpot sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Add vanilla, cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

When the 8 hours is up, mash with a fork (this is really easy, they’re so soft so it doesn’t take much at all!).  Stir in the sugars, cinnamon and cloves.  Cover again and cook once more on LOW for 6 hours.

If you want yours to be super smooth, you may use an immersion blender or something like it to puree.  But I thought the slightly chunky texture was nice.  You may store in the fridge or can it.  The Ball website has great information and tutorials on how to can, if you’ve never done this before.  You only need to process this in the water for 10 minutes.

apple butter 002

This is what the finished product looks like in the crockpot (I realize not the prettiest picture, sorry!).

 

 

 

 

apple butter 003

Warm apple butter on a hot biscuit…perfect way to start off a fall morning!

 

 

 

 

 

The Verdict:  Holy deliciousness!  Like I said, I’ve never actually HAD apple butter before but I’m a fan now!  When word was out that I was making this, several people asked how does it turn into butter.  Well it doesn’t, it’s really just a fruit spread.  But it’s so good.  When it’s done and you open the crockpot, the smell of the holidays just envelopes you!  I processed it and it made four 8-ounce jars, with a little extra that I put in the fridge.  It probably would have made 5 jars had we not enjoyed it for breakfast first.  This was simple (other than the peeling) and I will definitely be making more in a couple of days to give as gifts for the holidays!  Try it!

Spicy Salsa

Now that we’ve got a larger kitchen, my parents decided to give me a canning set for my birthday. There are a couple of different things I plan on trying in the near future, but tonight’s first canning experience was making and processing salsa. My husband helped me and it came out pretty good, if I do say so myself!

Christen & James’ Spicy Salsa

Ingredients:

4 very large tomatoes; boiled, peeled, cored and broken into small pieces.
1-2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 red onion, chopped fine
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1-2 TBSP chopped garlic
1-2 serrano peppers, seeded and chopped fine
sliced hot jalapenos from a jar, chopped fine
1/2 can tomato paste
1 TBSP garlic salt
a dash of cumin
other seasonings to taste: we used salt, pepper, hot sauce, garlic powder and onion powder.

Method:

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped garlic, onion, bell pepper and serrano pepper. Saute’ till tender. Add tomatoes and jalapeno peppers, stir well. Add seasonings to taste. Chill before serving. Makes 32 ounces of salsa.

Excellent recipe for canning (four 8-ounce jars).


Sorry for the crummy picture, I’ll take one of the salsa in a bowl once we open a jar!

The Verdict: Well while we were tasting to get the seasonings right, it turned out fantastic! Of course we used every speck we made to go into the jars so until we open a jar, we won’t be able to feast on it. I’ll post more once we open a jar!