I am a canning fool. My pantry is well-stocked already, and I can't stop dreaming of all the other goodies I want to make. I really want to try a version of the Dark Days challenge throughout this winter, and my inner pioneer woman couldn't be more delighted.
Before you start canning for yourself, please take time to read up on proper canning techniques. There are certain hard and fast rules you want to follow to ensure that all your time and effort produces delicious food that is safe to eat. There are many excellent resources that discuss each step in detail. Two I recommend and often use myself are Marisa McClellan's blog Food in Jars and a book I borrow from my local library, "Joy of Cooking: All about canning and preserving" from the Joy of Cooking empire.
1 lb jalepenos
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium white or yellow onions, sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 head cauliflower, seperated into medium florets
1 head garlic, cloves separated
3 cups white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp canning salt
2 Tbsp canning salt
1 Tbsp sugar
Sprigs of cilantro
Sprigs of cilantro
Bring your canning pot, with your jars and rings inside, to a boil, and leave to simmer while you do the rest.
Cut an x in the tip of each jalepeno.
Heat the oil in a large deep skillet (I used a big deep pot) and add all the veggies. Saute over medium-high heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
While that's cooking, combine the vinegars, salt, and sugar, and stir to dissolve.
After 10 or so minutes, add the vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer until the jalepenos are cooked through (they'll feel soft when you jab them with your spoon). I let this simmer with the lid on, since the veggies bob around and I wanted them to be evenly cooked. Pack your jars with the veggie mixture and pour brine over the top. Leave a 1/2" headspace. I used tongs to evenly distribute the veggies among all the jars. Add a sprig or two of cilantro to each jar. Use a chopstick to poke the veggies down (there's a lot, and if you can get them to stay under the brine, it's better) and run it around the jar to remove air bubbles.
Wipe the rims, put on the lids and screw down the rings, and put back into the hot water. Bring back to a boil and then let boil for ten minutes. (The time start from when the water RETURNS to a boil.) Remove from the water and let cool. Check the seal (lids should be concave and secure), remove rings and wipe down jars, and label and date.
Makes 4 1/2 pints.
As with any canning recipe, you can always just put your product into the fridge straight away (without water-bath processing) and keep it there.
Next time, I will do 5 or 6 carrots, and only 1 onion. The onion is good, there's just a lot of it. And I would probably add a teaspoon or so of cumin seeds to each jar. You could also add strips of red or yellow pepper for more color.
Kiwi Lime Jam
adapted from "Well Preserved" by Mary Anne Dragan (3rd ed.).
9 large ripe kiwis
Zest and juice of 3 limes
3 cups sugar
Peel the kiwis and either chop them finely or whir them up in a food processor. Dump all the ingredients into a deep wide pot, give it a good stir, and let it macerate for 30 minutes. (I did this while my veggies for the escabeche were cooking.) Prepare your jars.
Bring the fruit mixture to a boil and boil it rapidly until it reaches 220 degrees on a thermometer, or until it gels when you put some on a frozen saucer and freeze it again for two minutes. I have a nice instant read thermometer (that I actually won from Marisa) that I use for all my jam making. Once it reaches 220, it's okay if it boils for a little bit longer. Just be sure you stir this the whole time; you don't want scorched jam.
Remove from the heat. Pour into your jars, and de-bubble. Leave 1/4" headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes, remembering that the time starts when the water returns to a boil. Let cool, check the seal, remove rings and wipe down jars, and label and date.
Makes 3 8 oz jars.
I hope you consider making some food now, when we have so much local abundance, to see you through those winter days when the only locally grown thing you can find is worms. It's very easy to eat local when the fruit stands and farmers markets are full of lovely items, but with a little planning, this can be done all year round!