Canning Season 2018

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Another canning season is almost gone. I have been busy the past few months with preserving as much as I can, and canning as much as I can! My pantry is quite small and now it’s almost overflowing. I need to do some magical rearranging in order to fit in all this yummy preserved food! For a recap of the season, I’ve preserved ramps, figs, cherries, basil, peaches, plums, corn, blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. I will add some things later in the season, mostly fall fruits and veggies. I hope to find elderberries this week (I’m pretty sure I’m too late but I’m going hunting for them this week nonetheless. And I just read about using Queen Anne’s Lace for dyeing purposes so you better believer I’ll be hunting them up too).

But for the season so far and what I’ve preserved, here’s the latest total:

Grainy White Wine Mustard (with recipe to follow below):
5 half pints
5 jelly jars

Cherries: about 8 pounds
Cherry Ice Cream (I don’t recall how many batches, but I think it was 2)
3 half pints of Cherry Jam
3 half pints of Cherry Butter

Tomatoes: about 100 pounds
24 quarts

Peaches: about 8 pounds
12 half pints of peach chutney
4 jelly jars of spicy peach jam

Corn: about 24 ears

I discussed the ramps here. I discussed blueberries here and strawberries here. And figs, basil, and plums here. So I think overall it’s been a fairly successful foraging, preserving, and canning season. It does take a lot of time and planning in order to put up all these wonderful things but I am not complaining! So what’s the good, the bad, and the ugly about canning season so far? I think finding the time to preserve everything has been hardest even though I’m not terribly busy. I always find something to do and sometimes fitting in the foraging and/or getting the product is hard. And then finding the time to cook it into various things AND THEN canning it. That’s time consuming. But worth it. My garden hadn’t produced like I was hoping. I think my containers are too small. But I’m getting some produce, but not enough to put away. So there’s the added expense of buying stuff. But on the flip side, I am learning a lot more about when things are in season here. I need to keep better records of that. I think I’ll do a blog post in the future with all the details (that I can remember) so I’ll have a good record of it.

I also wish I had a preset label that I could just adjust the wording on and then print. It’s really time consuming to hand label everything. And I wouldn’t mind if I had better had writing. I think my ‘hurriedness’ over the past few years led to my handwriting declining. Once upon a time I had really nice handwriting. But then again, once upon a time I used to have more time (I have time now so I’m trying to slooow down and do better). Nice handwriting is important to me. But that’s a different blog post too!

So now for a recipe. I wanted to try some more ‘gourmet’ things this time around rather than just the standard recipes. I like the standard recipes but I also love more exotic flavors too. So I kept my copies of Ball Blue Book, Food in Jars, and Preserving by the Pint handy. I have some issues with each of these books but nothing major. For example, I think the Ball Blue Book can be very vague. When making the Peach Chutney it calls for ‘ginger’. What kind of ginger? Ground? Dried? Fresh? And the cooking instructions says to ‘cook until thick’. Could you give a little more detail please? But thankfully I’ve made chutney before so I was fine. And the Spicy Peach Jam from Preserving by the Pint? It called for 1/4 cup of sriracha for 2 pounds of peaches! Umm. Hello. You can’t taste anything but fire! But we decided that we would use it as a mixer for barbecue sauce or on chicken wings. So no biggie. Next time I make it I would cut the sriracha way back to maybe a tablespoon.

But now for the recipe for the Grainy White Wine Mustard. Again, this recipe is from Food in Jars but I did modify slightly to double the batch and also to omit ingredients I didn’t have on hand.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon zest

Combine both mustard seeds and the wine in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover the pot and allow seeds to sit 2-12 hours, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Prepare a boiling water bath and 3 half-pint jars according to this process. Place lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and simmer on very low heat.

Transfer the seeds and any remaining liquid to a blender or food processor. Add 1 cup water and blend or process until the seeds are fairly broken down, though the amount of blending you do is entirely up to the texture you prefer.

Transfer processed seeds back to the pot in which they were soaked. Add the cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and lemon zest and whisk to combine.

Bring the mustard to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens a bit, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the mustard into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

My Modifications:
I use 3/4 cup yellow mustard seeds. I omitted the onion powder. I don’t recall ever adding the water to the blender either. But I’ve made this recipe so many times that I’m on autopilot most of the time. I also doubled the seeds and liquids and then everything else to taste when I made my last batch. And you could eat the mustard straight away, but I think it gets much better when it’s had time to meld together. I don’t particularly care for this mustard until it’s aged a bit.

More information on the author of Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint can be found here.

What’s been your favorite thing you’ve preserved this year? Mine, hands down, is the basil ice cream! Happy canning y’all!

 

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