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Posts Tagged ‘canning’

We have been blessed to overflowing with cucumbers this year.  I don’t know if the wet/mild summer is the reason, or if the Good Lord just saw fit to teach me how to make pickles.  😀

I’ve made pickles 4 times so far – two batches of bread & butter, 2 batches of dill.  I can’t say which is my favorite yet.  I’ve eaten a jar of both almost by myself!

The dill pickles I’ve been making are fabulous.  I found the recipe on RecipeZaar:  Blue Ribbon Dill Pickles .

Changes I made to the recipe:  I put a healthy dash of pickling spice in each wide mouth jar along with minced garlic (from a jar), dried dill weed and dried dill seed.

I also kept the brine boiling and filled jars, then put them in the canner as I went.  I followed directions listed on the website the first time and the jars didn’t seal as well (I suspect because the brine had cooled off too much).  Keeping the brine boiling worked much better for me.

Now…where’s my jar of pickles?  🙂

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Guess what was on sale recently?  🙂    I pressure canned several pints of baby carrots and also quarts of chicken breast (it was $1/lb at our local grocery store).  I froze some of the chicken breast after cooking/chopping and separating into ziploc freezer bags.  It makes quick meals so much easier if the chicken is ready to go.  This will be used for chicken spaghetti, chicken & dumplings, mexican chicken, and lots of other dishes!

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I’m going to post the small batch recipe which will work for one meal, and also the large batch that I normally make.  I figure it takes just as much time to make the large batch as it does the small one, and it saves time later.   😛

The sauce cans and freezes beautifully, and I use it for spaghetti or any other pasta dish, as pizza sauce, a dipping sauce for breadsticks, etc.  I don’t add hamburger meat until I’m ready to serve.  If you decide to go ahead and add the meat and you’re making the large batch, just be sure to pressure can unless you freeze it.

This is so good, you won’t ever go back to Ragu.  😀

SMALL BATCH:

2 – 15oz cans tomato sauce
1 – 6oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon parsley
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
1/8 cup olive oil (I don’t measure – just use enough to saute the onions)
1/2 cup chopped onion (or more)
1 teaspoon salt (more or less – cook for a while and then adjust to your taste)
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 to 1 cup water (more or less – depends on the thickness you prefer)

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS:
2 – 16oz cans whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
mushrooms
2 pounds ground hamburger, cooked and drained

Simmer onions in olive oil until translucent, add other ingredients and let simmer until you’re ready to serve. (Simmer at least 2 to 4 hours – crockpot works great for this!)

Now – if you love pasta as much as I do, this next batch is for you:

LARGE BATCH:

You’ll need a BIG pot – I use my 6 quart stainless.

1 – large #10 can (105 oz) tomato sauce
4 – 6oz cans tomato paste
4 tablespoons parsley
4 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil (I don’t measure – just use enough to saute the onions)
2 cups chopped onion (or more)
1/2 to 1 tablespoon salt (more or less – cook for a while and then adjust to your taste)
4 1/2 teaspoons basil
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground oregano
3 cups water

3 to 6 tablespoons sugar – some cans of tomato sauce are a little sweeter and require less sugar – every batch is different (you can even leave the sugar out completely if you want – we like just a touch of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomato)

Simmer onions in olive oil until translucent, add other ingredients and let simmer until you’re ready to serve. (Simmer at least 2 to 4 hours.  If your crockpot is big enough, you might get all of this in there!)

Kiddo doesn’t like pieces of onion in anything, but loves the flavor, so I puree the onions after sauteing.

I also normally add a few dashes of Cavender’s Greek Seasoning and some garlic powder to this as well (we love garlic!).   It’s cheaper to make a big batch, and it tastes so much better than the commercial stuff!

Enjoy!  😀

Note: To feed 100 people, we multiply the large batch by 5 and use 15-20 pounds or so of spaghetti.  Course, that takes into consideration they’ll eat a salad and garlic bread along with it.  🙂

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My pressure canner just came in, and I have a stack of recipes to try.  I’ve been water-bath canning for several years now (jelly, spaghetti sauce, etc.), but wanted to try preserving some other things as well.  I need to make some grape jelly before I get too carried away, but I have pear honey on my “to do” list, and also cheese sauce.

I found the instructions for canning cheese at:  http://jordansfarm.wordpress.com/recipes/ – scroll down towards the bottom of the page.  She has tons of great information on her blog! I bought a #10 can of aged cheese sauce and am going to attempt to break it down into smaller quantities.

There is just something about seeing rows of filled canning jars on the shelf that makes me smile!  😀

I’ll try to get my spaghetti sauce recipe posted one day soon.  It’s a multi-tasker in my kitchen – I use it over pasta, on pizza, and also as a dipping sauce for breadsticks.

Have a wonderful day!

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