By Arritta Morris
The garden items are starting to make their way into the kitchens of Kentucky once again. Even after all that rainy season we have gone through, I am now finally getting some tomatoes.
I will share with you some of my easy and worthwhile canning recipes and techniques.
This is a recipe passed down through my family that is quite different.
CUCUMBER RAISIN PICKELS
4 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup salt
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
Soak cucumbers overnight in a salt solution made up of one cup salt to one gallon water. Drain. Combine vinegar, sugar, raisins, celery seed and mustard seed. Heat to boiling. Add cucumbers. Boil 10 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal at once. I always still like to place my jars in a boiling water bath just to be on the safe side for sealing correctly.
Speaking of canning, have you ever had just a really bad day with cans? I did last week.
I was in a hurry after going to the grocery store to get to the nail salon to get my toenails done. So I backed out of my driveway with the hatchback of my car up. You have to realize I had not completely unloaded my car. As I was going across the parking lot, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw what I thought was a water line I must have burst … wrong. Three cases of Dr. Pepper had fallen out of my car and were going off like rockets all over the place. Covering not only me but my car and the rest of the lot. Also a watermelon had fell out on top of this mess.
A kind lady came out of a store and saw this show and thought I had run over either a dog, a cat or a person. She starting yelling at me but finally realized I was bombing the parking lot with canned Dr. Peppers.
She was so kind to help me clean up this “road kill.” What a day I had, and I smelled like it too when I got to the salon. I think this was a sign for me to give up drinking pop.
GREEN TOMATO RELISH
12 green peppers
12 large onions
1 large head of cabbage
1 1/2 gallon green tomatoes
Grind all ingredients in a food chopper. Place in a crock like container if you have one or a large pan and cover with boiling water. Let cool and drain well.
Add the following: 2 qts of vinegar, 7 teaspoons salt, 6 cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons mustard seed, 2 tablespoons celery seed. Boil all and seal. Again I would do a water bath to be sure it all seals.
Did you know that you can contact the Madison County Home Extension Office and arrange to have your canner rubber seal checked for safety. Please do this as I have been where one of these canners blew up one time. Bonnie Webb had one blow up when we lived next door to her. It destroyed her stove and kitchen. I thought a bomb had hit our neighborhood that day on Boone Street.
I love to make salsa. One of the best recipes is to use is with Mrs. Wages Salsa mix. All one has to add is tomatoes, vinegar and water. You will find these packets in the canning sections of your local food markets.
Safety issues with home canning
1. Be sure and wash all canning items as well as the fruits and veggies you use. I love to wash all my jars in the dishwasher. This really does a good job of sterilizing the jars.
2. Make sure you use an approved canning jar. Canning in a mayonnaise jar, juice container, etc., is just not the thing you want to use. They are not approved for reheating for canning purposes. I know you are saying, “but my grandmother always did.” However, that was back in the days with canning jars were scare, and product jars had more glass in them.
3. Be sure the lid has sealed. Most of the time you can hear the verbal pop of the lid, but most of the time you have to make a physical check to see that the lid has sealed.
4. Store your canning items in a cool place. I did not do this one year, and I lost all my green beans.
Hope some of my ideas have helped. Until next week, happy canning.
Arritta Morris holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a master’s degree in counseling from Eastern Kentucky University. She is certified as a food service specialist by the School and Nutrition Association.