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Making Holiday Gifts/Canning

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EMZ Dec 12, 2005 04:31 PM

In hopes of saving some $$$ this year, we're thinking of making gifts for family. I'd love to do something canned (like, with Mason Jars) and buy some cute labels from the site listed below. Does anyone have any good ideas for Canned gifts?? And, say I wanted to make something like tomato sauce - would I have to do anything special to the can (like boil it) or do I have to be careful with ingredients like garlic (I seem to recall some connection with the possibility of botulism)???

TIA!

Link: http://www.myownlabels.com/?source=ov...

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  1. k
    Katie Nell RE: EMZ Dec 12, 2005 04:52 PM

    I really don't know anything about canning... I've always wanted to learn, but heard it's a pain in the a**! However, there are three bbq sauce recipes in "Not Your Mother's Slowcooker Cookbook" and I had thought about doing a trio of those for everyone for Christmas. I decided not to do it, just because we are doing a gift exchange, but I still think it could be fun. The book says they keep for up to 6 weeks, so that's not bad. Just an idea!

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      Alan408 RE: EMZ Dec 12, 2005 04:57 PM

      I have made canned albacore for gifts.

      I used a neighbor's All American Pressure Cooker. IIRC, 20 minutes at 10 lbs. 18 to 19 pints at a time. I won't can fish inside the house again because of the smell. The cooker costs ~$200.

      FDA and UC Extension have canning guidelines available on the internet, the cooker has an instruction book.

      I think there are other (non pressure) canners that are not as expensive as the pressure canner.

      You could also give away frozen tomato sauce, I have given as gifts, "Sunday Sauce", frozen in plastic containers.

      1. 4
        4chowpups RE: EMZ Dec 12, 2005 05:09 PM

        I'm with prior poster, if making sauce just put in plastic container and have them freeze it. One year I made a huge pot of sauce and made up baskets (painted wooden clementine containers red and green), put in a pretty dish towel, container of sauce, macaroni and homemade biscotti and had my pups make decorative wooden spoons...I recall my grandmother canning a lot of things, namely jars of tomatoes and beans and pickling all sorts of stuff, I've never attempted it. Good luck!!

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          Amy G. RE: EMZ Dec 12, 2005 06:43 PM

          I don't want to discourage you, but the canning season is pretty much over for this year. It depends on what you have in mind,you could make a jam or a sauce from frozen fruit or a bbq sauce at this point, but finding jars at this time of year is difficult also. Best of luck, and try canning next summer and fall, it is work, but so satisfying too. Get the Ball Blue Book of canning, the instructions are all there.
          PS You could try a hot pepper jelly at this time of year if you can find the jars.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Amy G.
            l
            lotsanivanh RE: Amy G. Dec 12, 2005 10:40 PM

            sorry, no suggestions for gift ideas, but i believe fishes eddy carries the ball mason jars year round, so if you can't find any jars this'll be a good place to look. and if you're not in nyc, they do ship, but by ups so it might be expensive depending on how many jars you need. goodluck.

          2. c
            Candy RE: EMZ Dec 12, 2005 07:25 PM

            The botulism issue depends on what you are making, it requires an anaerobic and non-acid environment. It is a bit late anyway except for making some jams and jellies with winter or frozen fruit. Do get a copy of the Ball Blue Book, it is inexpensive, a large oversized thin paper book which will tell you all you need to know. One thing I used to make as Christmas gifts were hot dilly beans. In one case I had to give a husband and wife each their own jars becuase they got so territorrial about them. There is a recipe in the book. I always pack the jars with garlic slices which were cooked up in the brine to begin with, fresh dill and hot peppers.

            1. e
              eel RE: EMZ Dec 12, 2005 08:42 PM

              Here's a recipe for meyer lemon marmalade that I have made and given as gifts. I add some pink grapefruit (a la June Taylor) to great result.

              Making marmalade isn't particularly difficult (but it does help to have some experience). This marmalade lasts quite a while in the fridge, so you could get away without really canning it (i.e., using the water bath method). Just pour it into hot, sterilized jars, then immediately wipe the rim, place the lid, and tighten it. (Sometimes the jars will even self-vacume seal.) Allow jars to cool completely, then store in the fridge.

              I also recommend the Ball Blue Book of canning. That's my starting reference.

              Personally, I have no trouble finding canning supplies year round in my area (northern california). Try hardware stores such as Orchard Supply Hardware or ACE.

              Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

              1. n
                naomi RE: EMZ Dec 12, 2005 09:06 PM

                You can try those jars with layered ingredients that you friends can use to make cookies, cappuccino, soups etc... there are books with those ideas such as http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1563...

                It takes no experience, just some creativity, and if you're decent with your computer skils, you can buy some pretty blank labels from a stationary or office supply store, and personalize them yourself.

                1. c
                  Curmudgeon RE: EMZ Dec 12, 2005 11:51 PM

                  This recipe is delicious and can be served with meats, on a burger, sandwich, or on cottage cheese. And it looks festive, like confetti.

                  Canning is really easy and simple as long as there is plenty of vinegar or sugar in what you are canning. This has both. It's plain green beans that can get botulism and kill you--that's where you need to boil the food in the jars or better pressure can. I don't can that kind of stuff. Not even pickled green beans can hurt you. I usually do 50 pints of tomato sauce and about 50 1/2 pints of jam or relish every year.

                  If I recall this festive and beautiful recipe makes about 20 1/2 pint jars. You can halve the recipe or you can can make pints instead of 1/2 pints. I keep it simmering while I fill, wipe the rim of the jar with a paper towel, and seal the jars. You can boil your jars if you like but remember you are putting a liquid that is very hot in the jar. I wash them before I start and then put a little water in each one and then nuke the jars before using. They are very hot. Then I turn them upside down on a papertowel until I am ready to fill them.

                  Be sure to clean the rim before sealing, and any of the jars where the lids don't seal should be put in the refrigerator and used within a few months.

                  Sweet Red Pepper Hash

                  6 yellow peppers
                  6 red peppers
                  6 medium onions, peeled
                  1 or 2 hot peppers, optional
                  1 pint cider vinegar
                  2 cups sugar
                  1 teaspoon salt

                  1.De-stem, de-seed, and quarter the peppers. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute and drain thoroughly.
                  2. Grind or chop the peppers and onions.
                  3. Mix the peppers and onions together with the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
                  4. Prepare pint or half-pint jars. Transfer pepper hash with slotted spoon into hot sterilized jars. Add a little of the liquid, leaving ¼ inch head space. Seal according to manufacturer’s instructions, cleaning the jar rim and using a new lid. Turn the hot jars upside down for 5 minutes and then turn jars right side up and allow to cool completely.
                  5. You can use the pepper hash immediately, but it gets better after a few weeks.

                  Link: http://www.curmudgeon.com

                  1. h
                    hobokeg RE: EMZ Dec 13, 2005 04:16 AM

                    don't be discouraged. i discovered canning this year and it's been great, and really easy. i started with the spiced apple chutney in Nigella's domestic goddess book, and it is wonderful. last night i made her pink grapefruit marmalade, and it's so delicious and a gorgeous color too. and apples and grapefruits are abundant right now, at least here in the UK.

                    the trick is not to try to do too much. i'd loved the look of the recipes in the Joy of Cooking, but the yields are all massive. the idea of starting out with those amounts, when i wasn't even sure what i was doing, put me off. but the recipes in the Nigella book are completely manageable.

                    i used regular canning jars, not mason jars (though i did use masons for preserved lemons and quince brandy). washed them carefully, let dry in a hot oven, took them out to fill, then sealed and boiled in a deep pan. other than the jars themselves, i didn't need any equipment that i didn't already have (though i think one of those silicon oven mitts would be really helpful).

                    i'm much more comfortable with the whole process now, and have started experimenting a bit with the recipes. it's been really great, and i can't wait to give my jams and chutneys as gifts.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: hobokeg
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                      4chowpups RE: hobokeg Dec 13, 2005 10:05 AM

                      You're recipients are soooo lucky, red grapefruit marmalade sounds divine!!!(And beautiful to boot!) I recently bought a jar of regular grapefruit marmalade and loved it. Happy Holidays!

                      1. re: hobokeg
                        k
                        Katie Nell RE: hobokeg Dec 13, 2005 01:45 PM

                        Is there anyway you could paraphrase and post the recipe for the pink grapefruit marmalade? No big deal if you can't! Thanks!

                        1. re: Katie Nell
                          h
                          hobokeg RE: Katie Nell Dec 14, 2005 04:04 AM

                          Sure. It's so easy it's ridiculous...

                          * 2 pink grapefruits (you want about 800g total)
                          * 1kg preserving sugar (i think granulated would be fine, and i subbed light brown for about 1/3 of it)
                          * juice of 2 lemons

                          put a small plate or saucer into your freezer.

                          make sure the grapefruits are clean. put them in a big pot with enough water so that they float freely. boil them for about 2 hours, till they're very soft. you may need to add water; i didn't because i kept them covered most of the time.

                          drain the grapefruits, then slice in half. when they're cool enough to tolerate touching them, put them flat side down and slice very thinly. chop a bit, too, so the pieces aren't too big. this gets very messy, so you might want to have something under your cutting board to catch all the juice.

                          put all the juice and sliced fruit back into your pot. add the sugar and lemon juice. heat gently just to melt the sugar. then turn up the heat and let mixture boil for about 15 minutes, till set. you can test this by taking your plate out of the freezer and putting a small spoonful of the marmalade onto it. wait a few seconds, then push at it with your finger. if it wrinkles, it's ready.

                          spoon into hot sterilized jars.

                          Note: Nigella says you can do the same thing with the same weight of Seville oranges to make orange marmalade, and you can also add some ginger for a spicy flavor. i used some brown sugar in the marmalade, and also a touch of vanilla extract. i have nothing to compare it to, but it is absolutely delicious.

                          1. re: hobokeg
                            k
                            Katie Nell RE: hobokeg Dec 14, 2005 08:08 AM

                            Thank you... it sounds SO good! I think my New Year's resolutions is to try my hand at canning!

                      2. c
                        Caitlin McGrath RE: EMZ Dec 13, 2005 03:33 PM

                        Like others, I recommend getting the Ball Blue Book for basic canning instructions (buy through link below to help out Chowhound). Water bath canning is really fairly easy, and you don't really need special equipment; you probably already have a large pot and a rack that will fit in the bottom. A canning funnel and jar tongs aren't totally necessary, but are cheap and helpful.

                        While it is too late for canning many fruits, you can use many things like apples, pears, and citrus, and vegetables, to make butters, marmalades, chutneys, and pickles. Apple butter, chutneys, and pickles are a good place to start, because you don't need to worry about them jelling or setting up, like jams and marmalades.

                        Some recipes I like are

                        sweet and chunky apple butter (I like the spiced variation)
                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                        tomato chutney
                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                        spiced persimmon chutney
                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                        An alternative to canning would be to make som infused vinegars (with fruit and/or herbs) and dress them with pretty labels. There are lots of recipes out there.

                        Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0972...

                        1. j
                          JoAnn RE: EMZ Dec 13, 2005 08:49 PM

                          I attended a crafts show this weekend where the hot item was kahlua chocolate cakes that were cooked in jars. The baker bakes the cakes for 50 minutes in quart jars (prepared just as you would for jams and jellies) and then after they cool for five minutes adds the rings and lids and voila..they seal.

                          I looked up some recipes on the net for cakes in a jar. There is some discussion re: botulism, but there are also dozens of recipes. The baker at the crafts fair says they last sealed up to six months and she's never had any problems or complaints.

                          They look lovely wrapped with clear celophane and pretty riboons. I'm going to try some myself next week.

                          1. j
                            JoAnn RE: EMZ Dec 13, 2005 08:49 PM

                            I attended a crafts show this weekend where the hot item was kahlua chocolate cakes that were cooked in jars. The baker bakes the cakes for 50 minutes in quart jars (prepared just as you would for jams and jellies) and then after they cool for five minutes adds the rings and lids and voila..they seal.

                            I looked up some recipes on the net for cakes in a jar. There is some discussion re: botulism, but there are also dozens of recipes. The baker at the crafts fair says they last sealed up to six months and she's never had any problems or complaints.

                            They look lovely wrapped with clear celophane and pretty riboons. I'm going to try some myself next week.

                            1. j
                              JoAnn RE: EMZ Dec 13, 2005 08:49 PM

                              I attended a crafts show this weekend where the hot item was kahlua chocolate cakes that were cooked in jars. The baker bakes the cakes for 50 minutes in quart jars (prepared just as you would for jams and jellies) and then after they cool for five minutes adds the rings and lids and voila..they seal.

                              I looked up some recipes on the net for cakes in a jar. There is some discussion re: botulism, but there are also dozens of recipes. The baker at the crafts fair says they last sealed up to six months and she's never had any problems or complaints.

                              They look lovely wrapped with clear celophane and pretty riboons. I'm going to try some myself next week.

                              1. b
                                bethany RE: EMZ Dec 15, 2005 01:34 PM

                                I was a bit miffed at the people who said canning season is over. I beg to differ - It depends on what you are canning and how. Certainly, if you want to make jams\jellies from berries, than yes, canning season may be over (unless you are able to pay the premium for those berries out of season - possible but if you are canning to save money, not very probable OR if you live in Southern California. I remember several years where I was making strawberry jam in February and I had picked the berries myself). However, there are quite a few other options available in the winter for making jams and jellies. You can make grape jelly by using unsugared grape juice. I've also done a cranberry jam (in season now) for the holidays as well. Not very many people had even heard of cranberry jam but once they tried it, found it quite delightful. Another favorite of mine (especiall for the holidays) is making sparkling jelly out of champagne (I've used cheap champage from Wal-Mart at 1.99 a bottle - it sounds weird I know but it's quite good as a jelly) All recipes are included in the Blue Ball Book. For an added touch, I include one bag of "The Original Fisher Fair Scone Mix" in a basket with two or three jars of jelly\jam. As another reader posted, this type of canning is quite simple and does not require expensive equipment.

                                Additionally, if you are interested in canning meat or sauces or soups, canning season is most definately NOT over. In fact, for several people it is just getting going (especially if you are canning venison)... The Blue Ball Book is an excellent start for ideas and suggestions. Personally, I think home made chicken soup makes a wonderful homemade gift and stores well. I like to have a stash on hand for when the people I know get sick. It makes a nice gift basket with some OJ and\or Gatorade and saltines. This type of canning requires a pressure cooker which can be expensive but in the long run, is worth it. Additionally, pressure canners have come a long way from what some people may remember growing up.

                                Canning can be a lot of fun!

                                Link: http://www.fairscones.com/Qstore/Qsto...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bethany
                                  b
                                  bethany RE: bethany Dec 15, 2005 01:53 PM

                                  As a last note, I did a google search for another posting on lemon\lime curd and stumbled onto a pretty cool site for canning recipes if you are interested. A lot more than what I've seen in the Blue Ball book even.

                                  Link: http://www.recipegoldmine.com/canning...

                                2. i
                                  Inboundskier RE: EMZ Oct 21, 2009 04:39 PM

                                  My sisters cans all kinds of vegetables in her garden in Minot ND, and sells it at a local co-op. she has purchased labels from www.rippedsheets.com, and also has sent out holiday wristbands from www.wristbandfactory.com with orders.

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