- Author: L. Watts
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.