Sunday, July 13, 2008
DID YOU PLANT TOO MUCH?
photo courtesy All Posters, Mark Miller.
we did! and, if you have a garden, chances are you overplanted the squash, cucumbers and tomatoes - you'll know if you're in this category when you cannot give it away fast enough.
in our family garden, we have planted out of the top row the first two on the left (zucchini, straightneck yellow) and the last two (yellow crookneck, summer). all that in addition to eggplant, several varieties of tomatoes, green onions, four differing types of peppers, three types of cucumbers, corn and a variety of gourds, including birdhouse. this list does not include all the flowers we've planted to attract birds and butterflies.
this will be a simple lesson in homecanning. first, purchase a case of widemouth pint jars with lids and put them separated into the dishwasher on a hot rinse and dry cycle and leave there until you're ready to fill them.
if you like "bread and butter" type pickles, you'll love this recipe as you can add to and improvise many things with the exception of the main ingredients.
SQUASH PICKLES (makes 12 pints with some leftover liquid)
clean and thinly slice the equivalent of a five gallon bucket full of any of the first three aforementioned squash, three thinly sliced onions of your choosing, and two thinly sliced bell-type peppers or as many hot peppers as you like - put 1/2 cup of salt on top of this mixture and cover with iced water and set aside for one hour.
you'll also want to begin getting your water boiling in a large stockpot for your processing - which i'll explain later.
sidenote: you may also use this recipe with cucumbers, green tomatoes or other squash.
while the above is being timed, in a very large covered pot bring to a boil, occasionally stirring, the following:
8 cups 5% white vinegar
8 cups granulated sugar
1/8 cup celery seed
1/8 cup mustard seed
when mixture comes to a boil, turn down low and cover until the time is up on the chilling of the vegies.
once they're cooled - DRAIN THOROUGHLY WITHOUT RINSING - add them to the brine and turn the heat up, stir constantly for SIX minutes - remove from heat and fill your jars to 1/2 to 3/4 inch from the top, wipe rim with a clean cloth, place cap atop and put ring on without tightening it all the way - that comes after processing.
if your water for processing has come to a boil, gently lower jars into the water, without covering, and process for five minutes (cucumbers and tomatoes take about ten minutes) - remove to a dry towel. you'll begin hearing the lids make a popping noise - this is your cue to tighten those lids down. cool and store. will store up to a year they say - frankly, they're so good, you'll probably give them away and eat them up before the year's over!
we've been busy for this weekend and two past canning everything in sight - pickles, salsa, hot squash relish, squash pickles, pickled green tomatoes, dilly beans and today i'm doing more dilly beans - they're 'licious! i experimented with adding a half pint of salsa to a half pint of the hot squash relish for having with tortilla chips and i cannot convey to you just how good this combo is - thinking about entering it in the county fair next month!
note on leftover liquid: if you do have some left, place in sterilized jars and process according to the squash and save it for next time!
hope i didn't leave out any of the processes.