Jalapeno Jelly held up to the light

Jalapeño Jelly

As most of you know (if you are a part of our facebook group Safe Home Canning ), we have been canning away and MAJORLY slacking on the posting side of things.

Before we dive into the jalapeno jelly, there are a few things that we wanted to cover about general Safe Home Canning.

    • As of 2017, there are no proven methods to safely can dairy products (milk, cheese, butter, etc.) no matter the method, pressure, amount of heat, time, and so on… However, it has been proven safe to add up to 1tbsp of butter in a jam or jelly to minimize/eliminate the amount of foam.
    • As of 2017, it has been determined that in order to safely can tomatoes, the skins must be removed. To read more about it visit the University of Minnesota Extension site here.
    • Lastly, as mentioned in the above article, it is also no longer safe to can in open-kettles or ovens. This change has been made quite some time ago but many still continue utilizing these practices.

Now, we are not here to lecture anyone if you do or do not practice any of the above, we are here to educate you on why they should/shouldn’t be done. As always, if you ever have a question or a doubt about a recipe of safe practice, we are more than happy to help you.

Now, moving on to the fun stuff – Canning! Fair warning – my camera man (aka S.O.) was out of town for work so we had to resort back to photo evidence only. If you have questions or want more clarifications on any steps, let us know and we may make a mini video just for you!

Jalapeno Jelly [yield: (6) Half-Pints] Continue reading

Finished mango & raspberry jam

Mango & Raspberry Jam

Harvest 7/18/2017This week long hiatus is due to life – those 50+ hour work weeks, and house keeping take far too much time. Why can’t it be the other way around – can all day and work when I want to. Even my poor garden is being neglected but that does mean that the harvests are much larger. At last count we were able to pull 30 tomatoes in one go in addition to the many (large) cucumbers, okra (plus one really funny curved one – see above), and various peppers. Now, the problem is trying to find time to put it all up as well as coming up with new ideas on how to preserve the fresh produce.

First major problem – my pantry had exploded (or is it imploded…hmm) and I could no longer store my canned goods on the shelves without stacking – (Before I get too far – yes, you may stack 2 jars high – per Ball – but should have cardboard in between jars. Although storing jars should seem like a no-brainer, there are actual safety measures that need to be taken into consideration.). I then took it upon myself to empty out my entire walk-in pantry, and reorganize. (Note to self – keep the pantry organized since that took entirely too long to clean!) But once that was done, the Dill Pickles were finally able to make their way into the pantry for storage along with their other home-canned friends 🙂

Next issue – the freezer. I have been (SLOWLY) working my way through all of the fruit stored away in my freezer by making delicious (if I do say so myself) jams 🙂 Last night’s battle was Mango & Raspberry Jam. In the process of cutting up the frozen mangoes I realized two things 1) I always forget how much I hate cutting up mangoes (I GLADLY accept any and all ideas on how to make this a million times easier) and 2) I actually much prefer mangoes frozen than fresh! Once we were able to cut off enough fruit from the pit for our recipe / it started becoming increasingly more difficult, we nibbled on the leftovers and boy was it delicious. Reminded me of a fresh home-made mango sorbet. YUM! Most importantly – you can see how simple canning jams/jellies really can be.

Mango & Raspberry Jam [yield: (7) Half-pints]

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Cucumbers

2-Day Dill Pickles

Yes, you read that right – 2 days! Granted, day 1 is easy but very time consuming, it does take 2 full days to finish the canning process (plus another 4-6 weeks to let it sit, but I digress).

Before we get going – I figured I would start off with a little garden update (I just can’t help myself!). Obviously our cucumbers are doing fantastic – although they are not a fan of these 100°+ days that we have been having here in the Midwest. Each okra plant has at least 1 pod to cut each day (which quickly adds up – yum!), the bush beans are being destroyed by the ever so persistent Japanese Beetles, I’m finally able to harvest bell peppers, jalapenos, and banana peppers, and the sugar snap peas are hanging on for dear life. Any day now I should have a few pounds of tomatos ready (all at once, of course) as long as the pesky tomato caterpillars don’t get to them first.

See if you can find him in the first picture! The answer is in the second 🙂

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Moving on to the deliciousness that is Dill Pickles…. Keep in mind, I had a triple batch (12 lbs of cucumbers) so quantities shown in pictures vary from the recipe below.

Dill Pickles [yield: (6) Wide-mouth Pints]

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Okra

Garden Update

I apologize for yesterday, life happened. It wasn’t until 9pm that I even made it out to my garden to check how things are progressing. [WARNING – Garden update] There is now 31 [green] tomatoes (that I could find), 3 jalapenos, 2 bell peppers, 5 half-eaten cabbage (thank you, worms…), and an abundance of cucumbers, bush beans, and sugar snap peas. The okra is starting to produce, and my corn is about half as tall as me (if not more).

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