In the Demonstration Kitchen at located at: 777 E. Rialto Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92415-0730 (between Waterman and Tippecanoe, and Mill St. and 2nd in the San Bernardino County General Services building)
As the warm weather (or warmer weather!) comes upon us, so does canning season. Some people might like to say that a person can preserve and can all the year long, in all seasons. This is true, but for me the Ultimate Canning Season is the summertime and into the fall. The urge to preserve strikes me in force
There are California grown tree fruits: apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, apriums, pluots, almonds, and various citrus. The bounty of the world is available in other fruits and vegetables: squash (summer and winter), corn, green beans, melons of many varieties, mangoes, broccoli (if you are in a cool area) and other Cole crops, spinach, chard, kale, long beans, bok choy – all sorts of things.
I also like to pick up fruits from ethnic markets, farmers' markets, my garden and neighbors' trees. As the inspiration and taste hits me I can make jams, jellies, preserves, conserves, marmalades and pickles. The same goes for veggies, but these I like to put up in more pure form: corn, green beans, chard or spinach, summer squash, mixed veggies (frozen or canned!), anything that is fresh and reasonably priced or I grew. This summer should provide an abundance of tomatoes and peppers from our garden, so I am hoping to can lots of these.
One summer the canning urge was to learn how to make jam with no added pectin, and indeed, it was so easy that I wonder why I never tried it before. I found a recipe I liked and went at it, and all of my cherry jam was delicious, none was too soft and none set too firm. It was all good. A Question: Does anyone have a source for frozen SOUR cherries in a store in the greater Los Angeles/Southern California area? I would be willing to drive a while to buy them!
Last year was the year of making fruit butter from various fall fruits. There was apple butter from a good mix of apples from our local "destination" apple growing area of Oak Glen, and good fresh cider was used to boil the apples down. Cruising a local ethnic market, I found a tremendous deal on very nice Bartlett pears and they were boiled up and down into butter. The last fruit, quince, was an experiment, as I had never eaten it before, but it turned into a butter just fine and was very delicious to boot!--And what does a quince taste like? I cannot describe it other that it was perfumed and the taste was like a quince, and nothing else; try some, you will like it.
I will leave you with a good basic I just tried for the first time: Vegetable Stock, from The 2014 edition of The Ball Blue Book.
Upon first looking at the following recipe, there was some hesitation on my part; no browning, no spice, what seemed like a LOT of turnips. But upon following the recipe (YES! I did follow the recipe!), I had a quite flavorful, pretty product. After tasting it it think it will be good in a veg onion soup recipe or (of course) to thin out paste in my tomato pasta sauce; maybe I will use it to make some sort of Indian curried lentils or soup. After loading the pressure canner, I tasted the stock out of the kettle (with only the salt I added during cooking) and it was very nice. When I added a bit more salt in my tasting cup, I really liked it. This stock is a nice blend of vegetable flavors, and no one thing dominates, tasty indeed.
Note: Anything bold italicized in square or box brackets - [box] - is my comment about what I did or is exactly how much I used in the recipe by weight
Remember to adjust for your altitude!
Ball Blue Book, 2012
5-6 medium carrots (about 1 lb) [12 oz after trimming]
6 stalks celery [6 oz after trimming]
3 medium onions (about 1 lb)[16 oz, after peeling]
2 medium red bell peppers [8 oz, after trimming and seeding]
2 medium tomatoes, diced [7 oz after coring]
2 medium turnips, diced [one; 15oz after topping, tailing]
3 cloves garlic [½ ozm, peeled, smashed, and chopped]
3 bay leaves [purchase fresh; should be dried but green looking]
1 teaspoon crushed thyme [measured before crushing]
8 peppercorns [16 used]
7 quarts water
[2 tsp salt]
Prep: Wash carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, and turnips under cold running water; drain. Remove stem ends from carrots. Cut carrots into 1 inch pieces. Remove leafy tops nd root ends from celery. Cut celery into 1 inch pieces. Cut onions into quarters [large, cut into 6ths]. Remove stems and seeds from peppers. Cut peppers into 1 inch strips. Remove cores and seeds from tomatoes [forgot to remove seeds!]. Coarsely chop tomatoes. Remove stem ends from turnips. Coarsely chop turnips. [Peel and] Crush garlic.
Cook: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan [or stockpot]. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer (180º F); simmer, covered, for two hours. Uncover saucepan; continue simmering 2 hours. Strain stock through a fine sieve or several layers of cheesecloth. Discard vegetables and herbs [give them to chickens or place in compost pile].
Fill: Ladle hot stock into a hot jar, leaving 1 inch head space. Clean jar rim. Center lid on jar and adjust band to fingertip-tight. Place jar on the rack in the pressure canner containing 2 inches of simmering water (180º F). Repeat until all jars are filled.
Process; Place lid on canner and turn to locked position. Adjust heat to medium-high. Vent steam for 10 minutes. Put weighted gauge on vent; bring pressure to 10 lbs (psi). Process pint jars for 30 minutes or quart jars 35 minutes. Turn off heat; cool canner to zero pressure. After 5 minutes, remove lid. Let jars cool 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner; do not re-tighten bands if loose. Cool 12 hours. Check seals. Label and store jars.
Do you have a freezer? Have you checked it lately? You KNOW you are supposed to be keeping track of what goes in and out of it, right?
Oh, woe to those of us that have freezers but do not and have not taken care of them. Who knows what lies in yon chilly depths of my freezer. I have dug around in the baby freezer on our back patio and have discovered many things. Some are things I know about—the two smaller turkeys I purchased during last year's holiday. Some things I should have never placed in the freezer in the first place—like the family pack of rib steaks from unknown years ago, received after a freezer transfer. Other things I am using steadily: the chicken breasts that I got, boneless and skinless for an unbelievable price. More things I am not using steadily: Rhubarb cleaned, sliced, and frozen on a whim. Other stuff like organic strawberries (that I got at a really low price and have yet to use), hog jowl bacon (sounds weird, but is delicious!) and bones from dinners past. . .
The turkeys I will be cooking this summer. I like to smoke them slow on the barbeque and save the juices to make one mean, smoky gravy. And don't forget the sandwiches after! Gee, I could can up some smokey, cooked, turkey breast for sandwiches too.
The dogs will get a treat with the rib steaks. They are long gone to freezer burn, but, I betcha, cooked up in the pressure cooker they will make a dandy dog delicacy to be devoured by dancing, delighted doggies, no?(sorry, I am attracted and addicted to alliteration—Whoops, sorry again!)
We've been working on the chicken breasts. They are so huge that just one or two will serve several people; I put them in soup, sandwiches or grill them, slice them up and there's dinner. Found a recipe for chicken breast cooked like porchetta (Italian stuffed pork roast) I can try too.
Rhubarb. Strawberries. Hmmm, I'ma thinkin jam. Also thinking rhubarb sauce or maybe a rhubarb chutney. PIE—I forgot PIE!!! And Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie. Dang. . . Curse you, my appetite—I am on a diet. Maybe can jam and chutney for this winter, though pie is calling my name wistfully. . .
Hog jowl bacon. I love bacon. This stuff was found at our local WinCo store. My sister and I were impressed with it being half the price of regular belly bacon, so we had to try it—we love bacon. We did try and the verdict is: TASTY and recommended. It has a very meaty flavor and a firmer texture and lots of pork-a-licious goodness. I love bacon and like the hog jowl stuff because I have to slice it and, for some reason, the fact that I must slice keeps me in control while cooking it. Normally with regular sliced bacon, I buy ONLY the number of slices we will need to cook for a meal; I love bacon (did I mention this before?) and if I buy a whole pound, I will cook the whole pound and I will eat most of that pound. So hog jowl bacon is good! So, with the number of tomatoes I planted this year, it looks to be a summer of BLTs and BLATs (a BLAT is a BLT with avocado!).
Then we come to dem bones from din-dins past. Bones from raw chicken, from raw pork. Bones from pork roasts and whole chicken carcasses. Usually a bone or two from a ham; maybe a few from some quick roasted spareribs. Stock made from all of these bone types together makes wonderful home-canned meaty goodness in a jar. I use stock in red spaghetti sauce, gravy, hot and sour soup, all sorts of things. When it is in jars, it is handy and it doesn't require electricity. I can make it as strong or reduced as I like, I can add salt or not as I please.
This year, my first canning-from-the-freezer job will be to make stock so will have more room in my freezer. This won't be such a chore as long as I can time it for cooler weather. The next canning-from-freeze job should be making something from that rhubarb and those strawberries because I need more room for more stuff I like to cook and room for MORE bones for stock.
The following is from the National Center for Home Food Preservation: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/stock_broth.html
Meat Stock (Broth)
Beef: Saw or crack fresh trimmed beef bones (with meat removed) to enhance extraction of flavor. Rinse bones and place in a large stockpot, cover bones with water. Place cover on pot and simmer 3 to 4 hours. Remove bones and cool broth; skim off excess fat and discard. If desired, remove any tiny amount of meat tidbits still clinging to bones and add back to the broth. Reheat broth to boiling and fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.
Chicken or turkey: Place large carcass bones (with meat removed) in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover bones. Cover pot and simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until any remaining tidbits of meat on bones easily fall off. Remove bones, cool broth and discard excess fat. If desired, remove any tiny amount of meat trimmings still clinging to bones and add back to the broth. Reheat broth to boiling and fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.
|Table 2. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 1,000 ft||Above 1,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||20 min||10 lb||15 lb|
This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.
Reviewed July 2014. < http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/stock_broth.html >
There was a plan. The first part of the plan was to check out the freezer(s), to see what I could cook or make from the freezers. Then, the final part of the plan was to make a meat stock.
Visiting the local middle-east ethnic market, I casually strolled about the store taking in the fresh take-out food, meandering by the milk products, cruising the coffees and teas, pouring over the pasta and beans, and then! The meat and produce section!
What did I see? Good price on ten pounds of taters. Prime porterhouse steaks at one third the price elsewhere (I splurged and bought three. . . the freezer, you know?). Marvelous Manila Mangoes, two for a buck. Then, OM-Golly, the pineapples: 99 cents each! They were big pineapples, weighing in at between four and five pounds each. Whoo-boy – Meat stock disappeared from my consciousness.
Memories of pineapple pickles past came to the foremost in my thoughts. I first had those pickles several years ago. The taste I remember fondly: sweet-sour, redolent of cinnamon and just a little cloves, with delicious pineapple flavor. They hooked me right then. A year or so later, I got some pineapple at a good price and made pineapple pickles for the first time. For me now, cheap pineapple equals pickled pineapple. Great from the jar or seared on the grill. Great with some cottage cheese or skewered in a kabob with chicken or pork or veggies. Pineapple upside-down cake. Cue the Foreigner song. “They ta-aste like the first time, they ta-aste like the very first time . . . “ (seriously dating myself here)
Those pineapples were nice looking, maybe not as yellow as I might wish for fresh eating, but they had nice flavor after trimming and cutting, great for pickles. I bought 4, gave one to my sister. The next day I made pineapple pickles. All was good in my canning world.
The day after I made my pineapple pickles I visited the same market again. Beautiful pineapples were on sale: TWO pounds for a dollar!
I like canned pineapple. REALLY cheap pineapple equals – I guess I need to can some straight pineapple or, I know, pineapple jam for Christmas gifts!
The following recipe for Pineapple pickles is delicious; spiced, sweet-tart pineapple. Try them straight from the jar (after some jar time of a couple of weeks), grill them on the bar-b-cue, put them in kabobs, mash them up to put on ice cream, or you can make a pineapple upside-down cake. I am sure you can figure out some other ways to use them!
(Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Preserving, 2012)
Yields: About 4 pints
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3 sticks cinnamon, broken
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 fresh pineapples, peeled, cored and cut into spears (about 5 pounds each)
Combine brown sugar, vinegar and pineapple juice in a large saucepot. Tie spices in a spice bag; add to saucepot. Cover; simmer 20 minutes. Add pineapple to syrup; simmer until hot throughout. Remove pineapple from syrup; keep hot. Heat syrup just to a boil; remove spice bag. Pack hot pineapple into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over pineapple, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath canner.
(many apologies to the group "Foreigner"!)
- Author: Denise Turner
- Editor: Lauria Watts
Here is a very good article covering the basics of long-term food storage. This covers foods to store, water and containers as well as what NOT to store, among other things.
Great article by Denise Turner, a fellow Master Food Preserver. Thank you Denise!
By Denise Turner, MFP, San Bernardino County
Food preservation and food storage, has been done by every culture and at nearly every moment in time. Food begins to spoil the moment it's harvested. Food preservation allowed ancient man to live in one place and form a community. He no longer had to harvest or kill immediately, but could preserve a portion for later.
Some anthropologists believe that mankind settled down from nomadic wanderers into farmers to grow barley to make beer in roughly 10,000 BC. Beer was nutritious and the alcohol was divine. It was treated as a gift from the gods.
What is Long Term Food Storage?
Long-term food storage consists of emergency foods for one or more years. Long term food storage emphasizes a mixture of canned and dried goods that can safely be stored for years.
Foodborne illnesses can come from three sources: PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL and BIOLOGICAL.
Physical Hazards include stone, glass, insects, or any other non-edible debris.
Chemical Hazards include non-food containers, cleaners, and pesticides.
Biological Hazards include all of the micro-organisms and bacteria that cause food borne disease, including botulism.
Foods naturally deteriorate as they age. The science of food storage and preservation has evolved with our attempts to slow down our food's deterioration. When it comes to preserving the shelf-life quality of foods, the primary concern is preventing spoilage micro-organisms from growing.
Oxygen is the next factor. Oxygen catalyzes chemical reactions that lead to rancidity. In most cases removing oxygen will extend the food's shelf-life quality.
Moisture and temperature are the two critical factors in optimal food storage.
Moisture: The humidity in the storage area should be low. If dried foods pick up moisture from storage area, mold, yeast and bacteria can grow, which can lead to spoilage and food-borne illness. Moisture can also lead to the breakdown of some packaging materials (paper degradation and metal rusting).
Temperature: The optimal temperature is in the cool and moderate range, approximately 40-70 F. If storage area temperatures are higher, rotate products as needed to maintain quality.
Other Factors: Direct sunlight or heat from the sunlight speed up food's deterioration and packaging. Protect cooking oil and products stored in PETE plastic bottles from light and store foods off the floor to allow for air circulation. Flooring materials, especially raw concrete, can leak chemicals into stored food.
- Author: Denise Turner
- Editor: Lauria Watts
Dry cereal, instant cereal, instant rice, crackers, granola bars, canned spaghetti/ravioli, wheat, quinoa, brown rice, white, rice, lentils, barley.
Canned beans, canned meat, shelf-stable tofu, peanut butter, beef jerky, canned soup/chili/stew, canned nuts, dried Beans, dried eggs/cheese/butter.
Salsa, canned tomatoes, dehydrated vegetables, popcorn, pickles, canned vegetables, corn, pickles.
Canned fruit, applesauce packs, dried fruit, jam & jellies, canned juice, fruit leather.
Pet food, coffee/tea, bottled water, boxed juice, cocoa packets, dried milk, comfort foods, pudding cups, sugar, salt, spices.
Designate a space for your long-term food storage.
Buy foods that your family enjoys that are high in calories and nutrition.
Slowly buy extra food each week until you have the desired food storage amount.
Your utilities may be out during a disaster, making it difficult to cook. Have a camp stove, grill, cooking and eating utensils, paper plates, cups, towels, and a manual can opener.
Don't forget your pets. Make sure they have food and water.
To prevent sickness, have a supply of soap and hand sanitizer.
Have a refrigerator thermometer.
Invest in plastic PETE containers and food-grade buckets.
How much Water Will I Need?
Be prepared with at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day. However, water needs vary according to age, physical condition, activity, climate, and diet. Nursing mothers, children, and ill people may need more. If you have enough advance warning about a possible power outage, you can extend the storage time of food left in the freezer by filling empty spaces with water to freeze. Fill clean, food grade containers with water and freeze them. Your food will stay frozen longer and when the ice melts, you can drink the water.
There are many types of containers for storing water. For safety, the ideal ones are “food grade”, meaning they are designed to hold food or water.
There are many ways to purify water. Some of the most common ways are by boiling, or using chlorine bleach, purification tablets, and filters. Before purifying water, remove particles by filtering it through paper towels, a coffee filter, or a clean cloth.
Rapidly boiling water for 1 minute is the safest and most effective way to kill all bacteria, disease-causing organisms, and giardia parasites, which can cause infections. However, it will not remove salts, heavy metals, or other contaminants.
Household Chlorine Bleach
Add 16 drops of bleach into one gallon of water. The water should have a slight bleach smell. If not, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.
As a general rule, unopened home canned foods have a shelf life of 1 year and should be used before 2 years. Commercially canned foods typically retain their best quality until the expiration code on the can. High acid foods (tomatoes, jams, jellies, preserves, and pickles), usually have a shorter shelf life than low acid foods (meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables).
Rotate Food Storage
Always use FIFO (first-in, first out), meaning use your oldest cans first. Inspect cans before opening. Discard any badly dented, bulging, rusty, leaking cans or jars that have broken seals. Don't open it! Don't taste it! Discard it immediately!
If you open a can that looks fine from the outside, but the content smells or looks bad, dispose of as above. Some basic foods need more frequent rotation, such as vegetable oil (every 1-2 years).
Please go to next post: Long-term Food Storage Basics Pt. C