Tag Archives: Home Canning

Stewed Rhubarb For My Mother

In the past couple of years, I have discovered canning.

On a recent trip to visit with Mom, I took her to the local Farmer’s Market and she was searching high and low for fresh Rhubarb, to no avail.  So, the good daughter that I am, I found some at my green grocery and followed an easy Stewed Rhubarb recipe for canning.

Fresh Rhubarb

I bought a pound of fresh Rhubarb and gathered the rest of the ingredients:

½ Cup of Splenda, this is going to be Sugar-Free for Mom, but you can use granulated sugar to each quart of fruit.

That’s it.

Rhubarb needs to have the strings removed

I peeled away some of the tough, stringy bits …

steep the fruit in a sweetener

… chopped the fruit into about ¼ inch wide pieces and let it macerate in the Splenda for about an hour or so, till the juices started to flow.

gently bring the fruit mixture to a boil

Now we can gentle bring the mixture to a boil …

canned fresh Rhubarb

… and fill some jars a quarter of an inch from the rim.  I process the jars using the water bath method for 20 minutes.  I only got 3 half pint size jars out of this batch, but that will make Mom very happy when I take this to her on our next visit.

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Homemade Chunky Applesauce

Growing up, I spent a lot of my summers with my maternal Great Grandmother in a tiny town in Central California.  ‘Ma’ was the local school’s Head Cook or Lunch Lady if you will, and she made the best stuff.  The thing that I liked was her Chunky Applesauce, MMM.  I carry on her recipe and make it for my Mother, who likes to mix it with the Stewed Rhubarb that I also can for her.

this is all you need to make chunky apple sauce

Here’s what you need.

Use the varietal of Apple that your family likes best, we like Fuji Apples.  Wash them well; peel and core them, then slice them up chunky.  Have a big bowl of acidulated water to land those apples into so that they don’t turn brown on you.  Figure on about three pounds of fruit for each quart of Chunky Apple Sauce.

WOW! That's alot of Apple peels

… and the remains

 

Now, drain the fruit and place them into a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook the apples, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft, but not mushy, we do want chunky after all.  If the apples aren’t releasing much water, add just about a cup or so of water to help things along. With an immersion blender, break up just some of the apples. Taste.  Does it need any sweetener?  Probably not, but how about some ground Cinnamon.

Homemade Chunky Apple Sauce

Spoon immediately into canning jars and process using your favorite method.

Now, why should you buy pureed apples, full of who knows what, when you can make your own yumminess.

These jars will keep a dark cupboard for up to a year once canned.  It’s wonderful spooned in to plain yogurt, or in Oatmeal and even as a side dish to Chicken, Turkey or Pork.

ENJOY!

You Know It’s Spring Time When There’s Rhubarb!

Myself, I’ve never tried rhubarb, but my Mother loves it anyway she can get it.  So I’ve been keeping an eye peeled for fresh rhubarb to come to my favorite Green Grocer.  I’ve seen it growing in front of some homes in California and it looks sort of like a deep red celery.  I also know that it’s not cheap to buy; $2.99 per pound, which I understand is the standard price anywhere.

I got just shy of two pounds of rhubarb, washed, trimmed it and thought that I’d better peel it too.

it's easier to just put all of the ingredients in the pot

There are many recipes available on the Internet for “stewed rhubarb”, and it can’t be any easier.

Dice up the stalks to about ½ inch piece; add ½ cup of granulated sugar per quart of fruit.  Give it all a good stir and let it sit for about a half hour to macerate, you’ll see loads of juice in the pot.

gently bring to a boil

Bring to a boil over low heat, you don’t want to boil the heck out of the fruit or it’ll turn to mush, gently.

these are for Mom

Immediately spoon the fruit along with those juices into canning jars and process in your favorite manner.

Pretty, huh?  These three are for my Mom.

I asked Mom if she wanted me to make these into pie, “Oh no honey, I like to mix the stewed rhubarb with your homemade chunky applesauce.”

Oh wait, I didn’t tell you about that did I?  Tune in next time and I’ll share that will you.

 ENJOY!

Meyer Lemons Are Still Available!

I couldn’t believe it, but up until a couple of weeks ago, I could still find Meyer Lemons at my Green Grocer. Granted the price had gone up from $1.99 per pound, but for my Mother who is crazy for them, I think that it was worth it.

This time around I made for her …

 

Auntie Doni’s Sugarfree Meyer Lemon Jelly 

2 C. Meyer Lemon juice (that’s about a pound of fruit), strained of most pulp and seeds

84 packets of Splenda or 3 ½ C. Splenda Granulated Sweetener

½ package of Sure-Jell No-Sugar Pectin (it’s the pink box)

 

**Prepare 5 four ounce mason jars for canning (see below)

Mix together 2 tablespoons of the Splenda to the pectin with 6 tablespoons of water, set aside.

Bring the Juice to a hard boil (it needs to remain boiling as stirred) in a large pot; add the sweetener/pectin mixture while stirring, cook for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat; add the remaining Splenda, stir in well.

Immediately fill each jar leaving ¼ inch head room.

Wipe the rims and threads of each jar with a damp cloth; apply the lids with rings to finger tight.

***Process the jars in a rolling boil water bath for 10 minutes (we live over 3000 feet above Sea Level, so I boil them for 15 minutes; see below for more info).

Remove the jars carefully from the boiling water, set aside on a cutting board covered in kitchen towels. Do not disturb for 24 hours.

Wipe off the jars and label as desired. It’s best to put the jelly in the cupboard for two weeks prior to consuming; this gives the pectin time to do its job. This is not a tight jelly, it’s looser than you may like, so you might want to increase the amount of pectin by a couple of tablespoons.

Improvised Home Canning Kit

Cook’s Note: My chef-y-pal Joey asked me in the past how I ‘can’ different foods. Well, here you are. Nothing fancy here, I use what I have on hand. I think that this stockpot is a 12qt. size, but it does fine for the smaller Mason jars, what I mean is Pintsize and smaller, I don’t use quart sized jars for just the two of use.

In the past, I made my own Canning Rack by making tin foil snakes into a circle and placing that on the bottom of the pot. I finally broke down and bought one, along with a Jar Lifter. I was using a set of thongs wrapped with multiple rubber bands as a Jar Lifter the first few batches. You can buy home canning kits at many stores; even the hardware stores carry them. But if you are just starting out and are not sure if this for you, improvise.

**Prep You Jars For Home Canning

***Water Bath Home Canning

Meyer Lemon Curd, YUM!

Years back, I use to watch Martha Stewart’s television programs and then, well you know, things happened.  One particular episode, I recall her making Lemon Curd and I thought that someday I’d try that.

My darling husband goes nuts for Lemon Meringue Pie and don’t ya know, that’s what’s in the middle of it (shhh, please don’t tell him that, he claims to HATE curd, “that sounds gross”).

I found some more Meyer Lemons of all places, at Walmart, so here goes.

Auntie’s Meyer Lemon Pie Filling

12 Egg Yolks (freeze the whites in two separate containers for later use, like frosting for a cake)

2 C granulated Sugar

6 Meyer Lemons, juiced (approx. 1 C of juice, no seeds please)

2 sticks of Butter, diced

Zest from the Meyer Lemons

This recipe makes approximately 2 pints.

In a metal or glass bowl (heat-proof), whisk the egg yolks and sugar.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Pour in the juice and stir continually with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.  Make sure not to allow the mixture to boil.  Add the butter and stir until melted and well incorporated.  Whisk in the reserved zest.

Carefully pour the curd into sterilized jars, best to use half pints or smaller mason jars, leaving ½ inch of head space.  With a damp paper towel, wipe the rim of the jars and seal with the lids and rings.

If you would like to ‘put up’ your bounty for later consumption, process them in boiling water for 20 minutes, allow to cool overnight and store for up to one year (if they last that long).

Should you not feel so inclined to ‘can’ your curd, simply cool and then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

I gotta tell ya, the smell in the house was heavenly.  I got 4 half pint jars and then half of a 5th jar that I stashed in the `fridge for toast the next morning.  Not shown here was a huge dollop of Meyer Lemon Curd in my yogurt the following morning.

 

** Edit-2/2017- I was reading about dairy based canning recently; It is now recommended that instead of using the Water Bath method, Pressure Canning or Freezing is the preferred technique. **

Food As Gifts

When I was growing up, our family didn’t have alot of money, as many homes in Hawaii were and are today. My parents taught my sister and I the value of a dollar, and a fun thing that we would do was to make the gifts that we gave. It started out as most kids will do in school, clay pieces that we made, or our first collage from magazine clippings. Little by little, as we got older, the gift ideas changed. As we matured, so did what we made. I’ve made all kinds of things, of course my most favorite gift is something to do with food.

Last year I made up a wonderful spice rub and packaged it in an uber cute way.

spice rub

My Mother had given me 48 spice jars, I really only needed 12. So I put this aromatic blend into the extras, along with a small bottle of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar; our friends loved it.

COOKIES!!

Cookies or any baked good for that matter is most welcome at anytime. I make a point of giving something each year to our USPS delivery person as well as of UPS guys. They are all very kind to us here in the middle of the desert.

Gift Coupon Booklet

This past Christmas, I was trying to figure out a funny, loving and heartfelt gift for my DH as well as my Mother. Mom doesn’t drive any more, but doesn’t like to bother me by asking me to take her places. So I made her a coupon book; I called it ‘Hot Chicks Express Transport Service-redeemable only by calling xxx-xxx-xxxx’ (she likes to email to me rather than pick up the phone and call) and did a copy&paste of photos of 2 gals in a great cars. I added a fun paper punch that I found at the hobby store, so that each ticket gets a punch with each trip.

DH feels that I don’t make his favorite dishes as often as he would like. So in his stocking was a booklet of coupons, advance reservations are required. One for a batch of Chocolate Chip cookies, homemade Raviolis, Pizza, Apple Pie and scratch made Double Crust Pot Pie (his choice of meat).

Homemade Dilly Beans

Mom loves Dilly Beans, but we can’t find them in the Supermarket any longer. So I figured out how to can my own, but we’ll talk more about this later. Suffice to say she was over the moon with this one.

Home Canned Italian Peppers

My American-Italian husband has tried to get me to make ‘Peppers and Eggs’, what the heck is that? Well, after years of research I finally got it. I put up my own Peppers, just as his Nonna did. You should have heard him, where did you get these? He was very happy. I’ll elaborate farther with this recipe as well, later.