There is a heritage of storing, saving and preserving the harvest of the land and sea that takes us back pre-historic times. Puttn’ up is a way to feed your clan and survive the less generous offering of the cold months – smoked salmon of the Pacific Northwest; de-hydrated potatoes of the Andes Mountains; sun-dried tomatoes in Southern Italy, and salt cod which gave the Europeans a daily stew. In the modern age this concept became easier, safer, and for better or worst, less vital.
Now, when we think canning and preserving it is jams and jellies in particular – perhaps to be offered as holiday gifts. I like to put up the aforementioned as well as more savory pleasures. Though I do not limited myself to canning –sometimes having a large pot of boiling water going all day during the “3-H’s” of August makes my walls sweat. So, I have become fond of pickling and freezing many items.
I will pickle cucumbers, beets, mixed vegetables, whole garlic and chilies.
You will find in my freezer: tomatoes stored whole, blanched peas, corn, Brussels sprouts, soybeans, blueberries, sliced peaches and apricots.
Visit the USDA.org website to read up on the procedures for canning….remember to be sterile with all the jars, lids and tools that you use. Always make sure the bottles you use are glass or ceramic for they are easier to sterilize and are not reactive in any way. I sterilize my bottles with beach and water, and then let the bottle air-dry for my pickles. Make sure you have a tight fitting top each bottle.
Then that night as you drift off to sleep you will be hearing the ping of sealing jars, and if you are like me, then dream of meals to come.
Pickled Green Tomatoes
1/2-cup kosher salt
2 cups water
3 cups distilled vinegar
3 1/2 pounds green tomatoes - washed
2 heads spring garlic – cut in quarters
5 ounces baby fennel bulb
1-teaspoon whole brown mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
1/4-teaspoon whole fenugreek
1/2-teaspoon whole caraway seed
In a 1-quart pan bring the salt and water to the boil to dissolve the salt. Pour in the vinegar and remove from the heat. In a clean gallon jar snuggly place the tomato, garlic and fennel bulb. Sprinkle the spices into the jar and pour over the vinegar solution. Make sure the tomatoes are completely covered by the vinegar solution. If not add a combination of water and vinegar. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar and screw on the lid. Place in the refrigerator for 8 weeks.
Pickled Habenro Chilies
3 garlic cloves – skinned peeled, and left whole
1/2 pound habanero chili – stems removed (you can substitute with any hot chili)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1-cup white vinegar or cider vinegar
In a clean glass one-quart jar place the garlic cloves, and fit the habaneros in snuggly gently pressing down. . Mix the salt, sugar and water together to dissolve. Pour the water mixture over the chilies along with about 3/4 cup of the vinegar. Put on a tight fitting lid, and refrigerate. After 24 hours pour the remaining 1/4 cup of vinegar over the habaneros to make sure they are fully submerged in the vinegar solution. Let the chilies pickled for 6 to 8 weeks in the refrigerator.
Peach Lavender Butter – yields approx. 7 quarts
15 pounds ripe peaches
2 cups raspberry puree – seeds discarded
1 tablespoon lavender – roughly ground
1/4 cup lemon juice
12 cups sugar
Wash the peaches and then cut in half to remove the pit. Puree the peaches, using some of the raspberry puree if necessary to get the peaches moving. Make sure the peach mixture is very smooth and the peach skin is well broken down. You should have approximately 20 cups of peach puree when finished.
In a 10 quart pot bring the peach, raspberry puree, lavender and lemon juice to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for an hour. Then mix in the sugar and continue to cook the mixture for another 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure the mixture is not scorching.
Fill sterilized jars and new lids, and seal tightly. Place the jars into boiling water, and process for 10 minutes. Carefully, remove from the water and allow the jars to cool. The lids should be sealed tight.