A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gifts of Good Taste

Not too early to start thinking of food gifts for birthdays, hostess gifts, teacher gifts and Christmas baskets.   Much appreciated food gifts in jars can include: jams, jellies, chutneys, butters, pickles or pickled food, relishes, soup mixes, salsas, sauces, mustards, and so many, many more!  Before you turn down that zuccini everybody always seems so eager to off-load, think about whether you might want to make small zuccini breads or a relish for gifts.  An excellent, colorfully-illustrated book with many creative, preserving gift ideas is  "Preserving" by Oded Schwartz.  Just paging through it dazzles your senses!

You can put together jars of pickled vegetables in any combination and process them easily for long-term storage; a year or more.  Below are instructions for  jars of pickled "any vegetable" or "any combination of vegetables".  Shown in the picture is my niece, Sally Jo Schmit, putting together gifts of pickled vegetables.  The recipe below it is one Sally adapted from the book Preserving book referenced above (on counter too).  I've tasted her pickled veggies--the recipe is a keeper!
Sally's friends & family are lucky recepients of  many different  food gifts.

Pickled Veggies
Pickling Liquid Recipe:  makes 5-6 quarts, 10-12 pints
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups cider vinegar
3 cups white wine
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped (2 TB dried)
3 TBlsp canning salt
--put all ingredients in non-aluminium pot on stove and bring to boil.  Let simmer until ready to pour into jars.
Assembly:  Fill waterbath canner half full of water and set to boil. (Any pot with a rack to keep jars off bottom of pot will do.)  The water does not need to be boiling when the jars are put in--just hot.  Heat jars and lids by putting in canner water, or laying in electric roaster or electric fry pan partially filled with water and turned to 200-250 degrees.  The jars do not need to be sterilized, only made hot so they don't crack when boiling liquid is added or they are put in the waterbath canner.
Wash veggies and assemble in jars, leaving 1" from top of jar.  Pour hot pickling liquid over veggies leaving 1/2" from top of jar.  Insert knife around inside edges of jar to remove any air bubbles, then, if necessary, add more liquid.  Place lids and screwbands on jar and screw down just until resistence is met--to fingertip tight.  Place jars in canner being sure they are covered by at least 1" of water.  Add more water if necessary.  Bring water to boil; place lid on canner and time 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove lid and let sit in water 5 more minutes.  Remove jars, cool and store.

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