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Summer's Bounty - a question & answer forum for all things pickled, canned, frozen, dried & whatnot.

Let this be a place to brag, share recipes, new tips & techniques or just ask a question about your latest method of putting fruit & veggies in a good place until the cold winds blow. Pictures are the best form of bragging...so shine the light just right a let us take a look!

I will start off by asking a couple of dumb questions...(no comments on that please)...

Split peas - how do they get split - mechanically or just grow that way?

Watermelons - how in the heck do you pick a good one? I have thumped, slapped, looked for yellow bellies & brown pig tails & still come up with a so so one. What am I doing wrong? Has anybody froze watermelon for later use?

Pint & a half canning jars - bought some & still trying to get used to their tall shape....what is your take on them? Are they working out for you?

Steam canners - is anybody using them?

Quick pickling - would like some basic methods or recipes for quick pickling fruits & veggies.

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  1. Sorry, no good answers to your question....And my watermelon selecting is hit or miss, but I do want to freeze some chunks as I have a watermelon margarita recipie I want to try!

    But great thread and timely as I was canning strawberry jam tonight and about to post a question. So in the desire to not waste, I kept all the foam skimmed from the berries, there was quite a bit and has now started to separate a bit as I probably got some jam in there as well....so, just wondering if anyone keeps / uses their foam and for what? It tasted interesting, kind of like strawberry fluff! Thinking I will stir it into my oatmeal or yogurt.

    Looking forward to reading more, thanks for starting!

    7 Replies
    1. re: geminigirl

      Strawberry fluff will be good on anything, vanilla ice cream, mixed in sparkling water, blended up with other fresh fruit, spooned over a slice of pound cake. In fact, I think it is a good idea to bake a couple of pound cakes & have them in the freezer for things just like your strawberry fluff. Just cut off a slice & put the rest of the cake back in the freezer.

      Well, we will just sit here & hope that someone will come along to enlighten us on all things watermelon....a watermelon margarita sure would help us be comfortable while we wait.

      1. re: geminigirl

        I use the "fluff" to make a strawberry syrup for cakes, drinks, pancakes, muffins, etc. I just skim it off and into a small pot and boil it down a bit more until it becomes syrup (sometimes I do end up adding a tad more sugar, depending on how sweet it is and how much I have--a bit more sugar keeps me from having to boil it as far down).

        There is no such thing as a ripe or even decent watermelon where I am, unfortunately, but I generally try to wait until I know it's really warm in the country they are imported from and then it's just hit or miss (usually the latter). A tiny bit of salt on even so so melon seems to bring out the flavor tho!

        1. re: Transplant_DK

          A bit of salt on waltermelon does bring out the flavor, have done that for years & then I saw someone sprinkle sugar on & I tried it too, works great too. I also sprinkle black pepper on cantaloupes.

          So sad about fruits & veggies now days....taste has really deteriorated, whether we are buying them in season or not.

          1. re: cstout

            This is what I was going to say, maybe one out of 20 watermelons is remarkable and I'm counting all the ones I get from the nearby farms. Which I assume they grow themselves, but I could be wrong. Seems like the best ones I've gotten were just dumb luck at the grocery store.

        2. re: geminigirl

          I recently added some of the foam from strawberry jam to a banana bread recipe. It added a subtle flavor, mellowing the banana flavor.

          I add the foam to meat glazes, bbq sauce, a little mixed into meatloaf or meatballs can be nice in a sweet and sour fashion. Add to baked beans. Whiz a little it into a vinaigrette!

          1. re: geminigirl

            I stand in the kitchen and eat all the foam before anyone else comes in the room that may want me to share.

            1. re: jmcarthur8

              Thanks for all the ideas. Thought I was going to be the only one to use the stuff!

          2. Concerning long-term storage of tomatoes, freeze them whole rather than canning them whole. Freezing preserves the fresh tomato flavor better than canning. Freezing has less of a negative effect on the fresh flavor than canning due to the high heat of the canning process.

            To freeze whole tomatoes simply core them, place them in a zip top freezer bag, squeeze all of the air out, seal and label the bag, and place it in the freezer.

            13 Replies
            1. re: 1POINT21GW

              Do you leave the skins on? Why do you have to core them? I am a dummy at freezing methods & would like to know more since it makes sense to leave fruits & veggies in their natural state if possible, that way later on you can have so many more options available as to what to do with them.

              How do you folks freeze corn?

              1. re: cstout

                Yes, you leave the skins on.

                Coring them before you freeze them is easier than coring them after they've been frozen and thawed since they will be much softer after thawing.

                1. re: 1POINT21GW

                  Thaw frozen whole tomatoes and the skins slip right off.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    We always threw them whole in the freezer. When you take them out, hold them under cold (or warm) running water and the skin will burst and you can just rub it off.
                    Lately, I actually cook down the tomatoes and freeze in plastic bags to use later on. Quite often I cook them down with onions so I'm halfway there for a pasta sauce

                    1. re: butzy

                      I do this too. I also throw in oranges, lemons and limes in the freezer whole. Zesting is easier when frozen -and when thawed, I think they give more juice.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        Freezing oranges, lemons & limes in the freezer - what a great idea. Right now I have a bag of those small limes that I was hoping would not ruin before they could be used up. Thanks so much for posting.

                2. re: cstout

                  I usually steam or boil my cobs of corn very briefly (maybe a minute) then let it cool before cutting the kernels off. I find that I have fewer kernels flying around the kitchen that way. I am curious about those gadgets for stripping cobs of their kernels.

                  1. re: cheesymama

                    I have one of those gadgets, and it works wonderfuly well! Be careful, though, it is very sharp!

                    1. re: sunflwrsdh

                      Someone here recommended sticking the cob in the middle hole of a bundt pan and cutting the kernals off into the pan itself. Not perfect but it was better,and I didn't have to buy a gadget.

                3. re: 1POINT21GW

                  I've just lobbed them into the freezer and put them in a plastic bag when frozen. When they thaw, the skin and core can be pulled out easily.

                  I've just unearthed my mother's squeezo gadget that separates tomatoes from their seeds, and I'm thinking that freezing some pint or quart blocks of tomato essence will be welcome. Has anyone tried this?

                  1. re: sr44

                    Frozen corn - a dear old lady told me she wraps each ear of corn in newspaper (shucks & all), & then stores in a brown paper sack in the freezer. I have not tried this, simply because I can never gather enough to try it, always want to eat them NOW. Wonder if anyone else does this.

                    1. re: sr44

                      I just discovered this last year: Just put the (entire) fresh tomatoes in the blender (or vitamix) and puree.... seeds, skin and all. Then freeze in mason jars. I made sauces and soups all through last winter, I still have a few jars left. It was fabulously easy. Of course, this is no good if you want a chunky type sauce, but I used it for marinara and tomato soups and sauce bases and it was wonderful.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        I don' like to freeze in Mason jars (too many broken ones in my experience), but the blender method does sound easy with a very useful result. Thanks.

                  2. Have done the watermelon margarita. Very fresh tasting if a bit watery. Sliced chunks, maybe 2" x 1" x .5", froze in chest freezer on cookie sheet, then blended with lime, tequila, triple sec. Probably wouldn't again but worth trying if you haven't. Make sure you use very rich red sweet melon.

                    I love fresh watermelon/tomato gazpacho: use desired quantities of both, squeeze a lime in, a small glug of white wine, tiny touch of salt, black pepper as desired; blend.

                    Quick pickles: I love love love June Meyer's Hungarian cucumber relish (I add dill):

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: DuchessNukem

                      DuchessNukem....what a wonderful name. Yes, those quick pickles sound great, but I must add some garlic, just am not happy until I can add garlic to everything. Love those small batch recipes.

                      1. re: cstout

                        Cstout, the cucumber relish is rather sweet; garlic wouldn't work for me in that recipe lol.

                        I do agree with sedimental and meatn3, lactofermented pickles are terrific. Yesterday I took some some garlic dills and hot okra pickles off the countertop and into the fridge.

                        Edited to add: And I'm going to try a small batch of your oil pickles AND some cucumber relish this evening since they start off with the same process. Handy! :)

                      2. re: DuchessNukem

                        My mother used to serve this as cucumber salad (with just a bit of sugar and vinegar)

                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                          I've made a watermelon martini that is similar, with Gran Marnier. Very refreshing.

                        2. Here is an unusual recipe I am going to try today, a friend passed it along to me.

                          Oil Pickles for the Freezer

                          I use part olive oil, part neutral vegetable oil, which makes a less sharp, and less expensive, pickle. You can use all mustard seed or, as I do, a variety. Like any other preserving recipe, proportions are approximate. Makes about 2 pints.

                          6 pickling cukes, about 1 ½” in diameter
                          8 small white boiling onions, about 1 ½” in diameter
                          ½ cup coarse salt
                          1 T black or yellow mustard seed
                          ½ T fennel seed
                          ½ T caraway seed
                          ¼ cup olive oil
                          ¼ cup neutral vegetable oil
                          1/8 tea cayenne
                          Cider vinegar (1 1/3 cups or more)

                          Slice the cukes and onions at least 1/8th inch thin. Mix in a bowl with the salt, then place in a colander in the sink to drain for about 8 hours, or overnight, tossing them around occasionally. Divide the cukes and onions between two pint jars. In a 2-cup glass measure, put the spices and the ½ cup of oil, then fill the measure to the 2-cup line with cider vinegar. This should be enough for both jars. If you need additional liquid to cover, add a little more vinegar to each. Screw on the lids and turn the jars over a few times to mix. Put one jar in the refrigerator—they will be ready in about a week—and freeze the other. If you plan to freeze, make sure you leave at least an inch of head space; if refrigerating, it doesn't matter. These wonderful pickles can be eaten almost directly from the freezer.

                          1. I don't know if you have ever lacto fermented produce, but that is my favorite way to preserve things. I love kimchee, turnips, lemons and limes, pickles, salsa, and all kinds of peppers done this way. It is so easy to customize and make your own combinations once you get the hang of the process!

                            Here is a great little bit of information on the process with some recipes:

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: sedimental

                              Lacto fermentation - thank you so much for that link. I have never heard of that process & am going to pursue the subject in depth. I think it is a wonderful method & hope I will able to make the whey.

                              Do you do a lot of lacto fermenting? Please tell us newbies about it & give us some pointers.

                              A whole new world has opened up for me, thanks to you!!!

                              1. re: cstout

                                Here is a great resource for lacto fermentation:


                                Nourished Kitchen often has recipes and offers online classes on the subject. I've been very tempted, but $ is tight at the moment:


                                I posted recently for feedback on the class but got no response...

                                1. re: cstout

                                  If you don't make whey- just use more salt. If you wwant to make whey: I make whey by straining yogurt in coffee filters (making thicker yogurt). It's easy. Just leave the natural (not yoplait!) yogurt out on the counter in a strainer with coffee filters in a bowl- for several hours and you will have lots of whey at the bottom of the dish. Save they whey in a glass container in the fridge until you are ready to use it. By using whey- you use less salt and that is tastier for many items.

                                  The thickened yogurt is used like any other thick yogurt....I use it for dips, spreads or like sour cream. Nothing is wasted.

                                  This is a time tested process and it is very safe and healthy. My favorite is lacto fermented salsa. It takes nothing special to do: http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/...

                                  .......but you need some glass jars and space in the fridge. It is very good for the gut (has natural probiotics that doctors are prescribing to everyone) and I try to eat a little bit as a condiment every day.

                                  1. re: sedimental

                                    sedimental, thanks so much for explaining how to make whey....darn it, I forgot to buy some yougurt today...am very anxious to make a batch of pickles, jalapenos & cauliflower. Don't know if I will combine them or just make small jars of each. Have been reading so much about lacto fermentation....lots of stuff out there. Want to try the salsa too.

                                    Yes, space is going to be my biggest problem in the fridge. Anyway, thanks again.

                                    Now must make some sweet stuff to offset all my lacto stuff......

                              2. Watermelons always seem to be a little hit/miss for me. Don't really have fridge space for the big/long ones, so usually go for what I call "cannonballs". Bought one last summer and when I cut it open it was YELLOW inside?!? It was supposed to be yellow and was out of this world. I will cut it ALL off rind in big chunks and into a large t-ware container... usually pull some out every time the fridge gets opened.

                                In a perfect world, I'd only freeze tomatoes... but space just isn't there. Most times, I'll just peel (30 secs in boiling water), chunk up and can. If I get ambitious, will cook down & run thru food mill... no need to peel before cooking. Have never been patient enough to full cook down to sauce??

                                Like bread & butter style pickles. I'll make up a brine (vinegar, sugar, sald, spices), pour over about anything and can. Cauliflower & little brussell sprouts make nice pickles... I usually give the brussells a little precook.

                                My Grandmother always had Concord grapes growing in her backyard. It was always the job of some of us grands to pick the grapes... late iin the summer and battling yellow jackets... some ouches involved. She made grape "jam"... don't think it could be called jelly... don't think she ever used pectin?? She'd just cook down, run thru handy dandy Foley food mill, add "enough" (lot) sugar and simmer down till it was "done".

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: kseiverd

                                  kseiverd, you sound like such a relaxed & casual canner, not like me. I am treading in a strange land when I can & I am fretting & fussing around & trying so hard to follow a recipe. Truth is, I am just not an experienced canner, but am learning something new all the time, thanks to you all out there.

                                  Just the other day I pickled some eggs & was rather disappointed since after several days they were very rubbery, although they did not feel overcooked before putting them in the pickling brine. Don't know what caused that, just another learning curve in this business of pickling.

                                2. So far, the strawberry jam is all that's been put up. Next is peach jam - the peaches are ripe here in Georgia now.
                                  And I'm looking for figs for jam, as well.
                                  The garden stuff, tomatoes, peppers, etc, aren't ready yet.

                                  27 Replies
                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                    Beautiful strawberry jam, jmcarthur! I made 9 jars a couple of weeks ago, and am hoping to get at least one more batch picked and made in the next week or so before the strawberries are gone, My next kind will be blueberry, wish I had fresh peaches to work with!

                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                      Now ain't that pretty!! I am seeing 5 pints there...such beautiful color...going to taste mighty good this winter...if you can wait that long!!

                                      Thanks for sharing....the picture should get us motivated off the chair & get some stuff to can. Pat yourself on the back for that batch. Let us see your peaches & figs & all the rest.

                                      1. re: cstout

                                        I think I have 18 jars of strawberry now, so that will be enough to last till next summer.
                                        If the cherries go down enough in price, I'll make a few jars of marachino style cherries. I've seen some at the supermarket at a better price lately. Georgia is not a cherry producer, so they are never cheap here.
                                        When I get the fig, peach and pear jams made, I will post pictures!

                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                          I got 10 jars of strawberry jam. It a little thin, so probably should have been 8 or 9 but it's still good mixed into yogurt and oatmeal. And IMHO runny homemade jam is better than store bought any day:). Sour cherries should be ready soon, but those I just usually freeze to eat plain or bake with in the winter. How do you do your marachinos? I've never had great luck with those.

                                          1. re: geminigirl

                                            Gem, I used sweet cherries, sugar, water and almond extract, but I will have to look for the recipe I used...I think it was in the Ball Blue Book, but I'm not sure.

                                          2. re: jmcarthur8

                                            Please post those lovely jars....nothing I like better than to see homemade jars of goodies...thanks so much for sharing.

                                            Got to tell you folks a little story...a local girl set up a stand to sell her jars of jam at the farmers market. A very old man drives up in a super old & expensive car & buys a jar of strawberry jam from her, opens it up & tastes it & says he will buy all she has, it tastes just like his mother's jam from many years ago. Says he just drove from town to town every year buying & tasting & looking for that special jar. He tells her he will be back every year & for her to make as many jars as she can. Sure enough he came every year to buy every jar plus giving her a very generous tip. He would not give his name or say where he came from. This went on for 6 years until last year he did not come. We suspect he passed away, since he was very old.

                                            Each time I see a jar of jam I think of the girl & the old man. This was like a miracle to her since she was a single mother struggling to raise 2 kids on her own. Funny how God can work to put people in the right place at the right time.

                                            1. re: cstout

                                              Thanks for sharing this story - I just love it.

                                              It must have been so wonderful for him when he finally found the elusive flavor of "home" after so many years of searching. And what a gift to be able to create something which can transport a person back to such a special place.

                                          3. re: cstout

                                            Here's the first batch of Georgia peach jam, darlin'.

                                            I was riffling through CH looking for ideas for something different to do with the peach jam this year, and when I asked my husband's opinion about that, he asked me, "How many people don't say your peach jam is delicious?" When I told him none, he said, " Then why mess with perfection? It's delicious just the way you make it. Why change it to something that may not be as good?"
                                            He's right, and it saves me stressing over whether the basil/thyme/peach or jalapeno/peach/cilantro/ whatever concoction will be as tasty as plain ol' peach jam.

                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                              jmcarthur8..I agree with your husband a hundred percent....your family is mighty lucky to share in that beautiful bounty!!! Lovey, to say the least. Would you mind sharing the recipe?? Thanks for the beautiful. If that doesn't get the rest of us motivated, nothing else will.

                                              1. re: cstout

                                                Cstout, it's just the peach jam recipe from the Ball Blue Book. Page 34 of the 2009 issue. I chopped the peaches this time a little bigger than usual, but I think I may like it better with smaller chunks.

                                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                  Blue Ball book peach jam....thank you very much.

                                                  1. re: cstout

                                                    If you don't have the book, I'll copy it here for you. Shall I?

                                                2. re: cstout

                                                  Here we go, now I'm at the PC, rather than using my phone:

                                                  Peach Jam yield about 8 half-pint jars

                                                  1 quart finely chopped, pitted, peeled peaches
                                                  7 1/2 cups sugar
                                                  1/4 cup lemon juice
                                                  1 pouch liquid pectin
                                                  Combine peaches, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in liquid pectin. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute,, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot, washed jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

                                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                    Peach jam, thanks for the recipe...hope mine turns out as good as yours!!!

                                            2. re: jmcarthur8

                                              Your strawberry looks lovely. If the peaches by you are good and you are looking for ideas, last year I made peach and prosecco jam ("bellini") from the Better Homes & Gardens special canning issue. It was absolutely delicious and very popular with my friends.

                                              1. re: LNG212

                                                LNG212, I must find that recipe....I like to make small batches of things, rather than making a bunch of one recipe..variety is the spice of life. Thanks.

                                                1. re: cstout

                                                  I'm not sure if it's against the rules to print the recipe here; so it might get removed. But I hope you see it first ...

                                                  Peach Bellini Jam (makes 8 half pints)

                                                  7 1/2 c. sugar
                                                  3 c. finely chopped,peeled ripe peaches (I think I used a bit more)
                                                  1 c. prosecco or other sparkling wine (I definitely used about 1/2 c. more since it tasted so good)
                                                  2 TBS lemon juice
                                                  1/2 of a 6-oz. package (1 foil pouch) liquid fruit pectin
                                                  --in a large pot, combine sugar, peaches, prosecco, and lemon juice. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Quickly stir in liquid pectin. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.
                                                  --ladle hot jam into prepared jars (sterilized/etc.). Leave 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids.
                                                  --process jars in BWB for 5 minutes (I did 10 because that's what I'm used to with jam). Remove jars and let cool. Allow to cool 20 minutes before gently turning/tilting jars to distribute fruit (I waited a full overnight before doing this).


                                                  1. re: LNG212

                                                    I think I would like this very much! If you've read my posts, you know I'm hesitant to change the recipe for the peach jam. But this would be so good with some brie. How do you serve this jam yourself?

                                                    Thanks for posting the recipe. As far as I know, it's okay to post as long as you include the source, which you have.

                                                    1. re: LNG212

                                                      LNG212, a belated thanks for your Peach Bellini jam...have never purchased prosecco before, is it a white wine?

                                                      I am going to try jmcarthur8's peach jam & yours & call it good for peaches this year.

                                                      Got to hurry & get some made...want to give 2 dear friends a jar each when I meet them for lunch next week. Would like to try something else that is quick. Maybe a loaf of no knead bread to go with it.

                                                      Thanks to everyone for posting, you all are so wonderful to share.

                                                      1. re: cstout

                                                        Prosecco is basically Italian champagne (different method of making it but similar sparkling qualities). In general I find a relatively inexpensive prosecco of decent quality to be easier to find than a relatively inexpensive (real french) champagne of decent quality. The prosecco I used for this receipe, for example, I think cost about $12 a bottle. I'm sure you could sub a sparkling white wine of your choice.

                                                        ETA: prosecco is the traditional wine used when making a Bellini (the drink), hence the name of the jam.

                                                        1. re: LNG212

                                                          I even saw a beautful bottle called Bellini...so peachy colored. There were so many prosecco brands, I had a hard time choosing, guess one is just as good as the other. Now back to canning. Thanks so much for your help.

                                                          1. re: cstout

                                                            Cool. I hope you like the jam when you make it.

                                                  2. re: LNG212

                                                    Does anyone know if Better Homes & Gardens 'Can It' Book is the same or similar to the special issue? I have a couple Ball books and a random book or two but am interested in 1 additional 'reference' canning book...

                                                    Here's the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Better-Homes-Ga...

                                                    I love this thread, and I'll share when/if I get my canner out this year!

                                                    1. re: corneygirl

                                                      That cover you linked to looks completely different than the thing I have. Mine says "Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications" across the tippy top and then Canning in big letters with the subtitle "from the editors of our best-selling cookbook" and "120 ways to savor the season year-round". It says 2011 display until August 9th and it is magazine style (not like a book). The price on the cover says 9.99.

                                                      Hope that helps you find it. Or maybe your "can it" book has some of the same recipes?

                                                    2. re: LNG212

                                                      LNG212, Thanks! As you can see upthread, I stuck with traditional peach jam this batch. I keep seeing references to the special canning issue, and I'd better start trying to track one down!

                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                        ps - I do recommend that special canning issue. It had some really unique ideas in it. I gave my sister the recipe for the pickled walla walla onions (she lives in WA) and she made those. They were really good. I also made the bourbon pickled blueberries from it last year and those were delicious.

                                                        1. re: LNG212

                                                          I could do the pickled walla wallas with Vidalias. We ate all 10 pounds of them before I got a chance to pickle any.

                                                  3. "Split peas - how do they get split - mechanically or just grow that way"

                                                    The peas are round. After they have been dried the skin is removed and the natural split has loosened so the pea is halved. The advantage is that the pea cooks faster since there is more surface area exposed.

                                                    I too hope someone chimes in about steam canners. My instructor at the extension office said their official stance was against them - they felt the heat didn't penetrate the contents of the jars sufficiently iirc. My SIL lived in a small city in Utah for several years and mentioned that many of her neighbors used this system. Perhaps a Utah based source may have information...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                      Split peas.....well, I can knock that off my list of things I have been pondering for years.Thank you.

                                                      Steam canners...yes, the knowledge about them is quite elusive...they just make a whole lot more sense to me....saves on tons of boiling water & steam can kill germs, so don't know why some folks are backing away. Would not think there would be any danger with fruits since they are already cooked. Don't know about any other thing though. Maybe some others will offer their experence with using them.

                                                    2. This season, aside from jams, I've made a quick pickle rhubarb which is very nice. Kind of a sweet/tart flavor with a little crunch. Also made a pickled fig which is wonderful. Both meet with high praise at my dinner party tonight.

                                                      I did make a fig tapenade following a description found on a past CH thread. It is said to freeze well. Sent my friends home with some to play with. We also tried to deconstruct a wonderful mustard fruit which I had purchased at a restaurant on a recent trip to Williamsburg. It was good getting a few other thoughts on the ingredients as I hope to eventually make something similar.

                                                      I also started playing with fruit shrubs (drinking vinegars). I made two different recipes of rhubarb shrub. I really like the one I've tried. The second will be "ready" next week. Made a fig balsamic vinegar too. Haven't had a chance to cook with it but it looks lovely.

                                                      Hoping to try more shrubs as other fruits come into season.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                        I said it freezes well, the fig tapenade, but it is better fresh made of course! I am also very into mostardos, and have been experimenting with medival recipes, which seem to be the norm. Not sure I've saved any, but pretty simple overall, someday I will find a winner.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          I'm glad you chimed in - I couldn't locate the thread to give you credit! I'm planning to use some of the tapenade to stuff a pork tenderloin tomorrow.

                                                          I would love any advise regarding mostardos! They are new to me and I am deeply infatuated. Once I'm finished with the second harvest of figs I'll have time to experiment a little.

                                                      2. The hubster had too many hidden cucumbers in the garden, and brought in a colander full yesterday. So.... what to do with them?, as we already had several chilling in the fridge. Plus,
                                                        my husband has several jars of refrigerator pickles taking up space in the fridge.

                                                        I put up four pints of sweet pickle relish from the Ball Blue Book. I'd never done relish before, but when I was trying to figure out what we use that has cucumbers in it, besides pickles, I realized that we do go through a fair amount of sweet pickle relish. It tasted great. I wanted it to just taste like the stuff from the store that you put on hot dogs or to make tartar sauce. This does.

                                                        1. Hubby put up a few jars of pickled banana peppers this morning. Again, from the Ball Blue Book.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                            Pickled banana peppers...I love hot stuff...your pantry is filling up quite nicely....take a picture of that too so we can see all those pretty jars. I saw a picture of an Amish pantry filled with over 300 canned items...prettiest thing I have ever seen!!!

                                                            Wonder what is the largest number of canned/frozen foods the chow folks have put up?????

                                                            Thanks for posting yet another batch of goodies.

                                                          2. I bought a case of the 1-1/2 pint jars about 20 years ago...I think I still have 8 of them that were never used.

                                                            I didn't like them for jam because the bigger size means fewer jars per batch. I give a lot of jam away as gifts so more jars are good for me. Though now that I have two little boys eating PB & Js, those larger jars might be a good thing.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: gimlis1mum

                                                              1 1/2 pint jars, I just had to have a set of them, but so far have not done anything with them...I like little jars so I have something to hand someone when I visit or when someone comes over.

                                                              Not quite sure what I will use those for, but I just feel good about having yet another size to add to the stash.

                                                              You can never have too many jars in my opinion.

                                                              1. re: cstout

                                                                To Jmcarthur: Are your pears the hard kind? I make a marmalade for which I grind 5 pounds of hard pears (already cored and peeled), one whole lemon, and about 1/2 cup candied ginger. Add 1-2 cups of crushed pineapple and 7 cups of sugar and simmer until it gels. Makes about 12 glasses.

                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                  Yes, they are crispy and juicy like an apple! I like this marmalade - the combination of fruits with the ginger sounds so earthy and warm.
                                                                  I do have a bowl of pears left.. and all the other stuff, too! Hubby likes the sound of it, too.

                                                            2. Update on the fruits and veggies:
                                                              Today's canning session totaled 9 half pint jars of Pear-Vanilla Bean Jam, plus 4 pint jars and two baby jam jars of Pear Jam (without the vanilla).
                                                              Froze some of the banana peppers from the garden to use in the winter for cooking. I still want to make another batch of sweet pickle relish from the last of the cukes, too. The last batch of sweet relish was delish - and we use a lot of it! That was a first for me, and a pleasant surprise at how tasty it turned out.
                                                              We put up some chunky tomatoes and tomato sauce last weekend, and need to do another batch in the next few days.
                                                              Oh, and I canned some Fig-Honey Jam yesterday because a friend gave me a bag of figs. The honey was a dark wildflower one from a bee place in North Georgia, and I thought that would be nice with the figs. I'm not in love with the flavor, though. It seems a little dark to me. If I get more figs, I'll stick with the regular piles and piles of white cane sugar instead.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                jmcarthur8, where do you live to be able to raise all those luscious fruits/veggies. I am so jealous...well not really, I just am so happy for you to be able to grow your own food like that. You are blessed. Thanks for sharing your bounty!

                                                                1. re: cstout

                                                                  We live in West Georgia, and we do raise the veggies. I picked the pears yesterday from a couple of trees at our county Ag Center, where I am a Master Gardener Extension Volunteer. The figs were grown by one of the extension agents at her home. I'm lucky to know some great gardeners, and wonderful Southern cooks!

                                                              2. MUSTARD PICKLES: Excellent. My mother made this during World War II and I have used the same recipe all my life. There is nothing like it on a baked ham sandwich.

                                                                5 quarts raw vegetables, your choice, including any combination of sliced cucumbers, baby pickling cucumbers whole, chopped green tomatoes, chunks of sweet red or green pepper, flowerets of raw cauliflower, sliced big onions, little tiny whole onions (I use frozen onions---Trader Joe sells them). Any combo is OK: use what you like.

                                                                Wash vegetables. Prepare brine of 1 quart cold water and 1/2 cup salt. Soak vegetables in this for 24 hours. Bring to boil in same solution. Drain. Add dressing. Heat. Can. Seal. Process in water bath.

                                                                Dressing: 3/8 cup dry mustard, 3/8 cup dry turmeric, 1 cup flour, 2 cups sugar, 2 quarts
                                                                vinegar. Cook until thick.

                                                                Yield: Depends on what you use. I use 2 cauliflowers, 2 bags of little frozen onions, 8 big onions sliced, 5 or 6 large cucumbers sliced, and 1 red and 1 green pepper--- my yield is 12 pints.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                  I love this recipe, Querencia! We have plenty of everything except the cauliflower, and this would be perfect.
                                                                  It kind of reminds me of the corn relish recipe in the Ball Blue Book. I've made that, and it's wonderful.
                                                                  This may be tomorrow's canning session.

                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                    Mustard Pickles, my German aunt made mustard pickles - so delicious, but as usual, the recipe was in her "head". I have tried throughout the years to recreate her recipe, but just did not come close. Thanks so much for sharing...cannot wait to try your recipe. Wish I had some now with piece of homemade German garlic sausage & big slice of homemade bread. Wonderful simple meals came from that lady's kitchen & heart. Sounds so simple, even a klutz like me should be able to make it.

                                                                  2. We picked 40 pounds of tomatoes today out in the garden, and turned 12 pounds of it into salsa. The rest will be tomato sauce, and maybe some stewed tomatoes. So we'll be busy for a few days.

                                                                    Plus I have about 10 pounds of pears still, to make into Querencia's marmalade. I'd better get crackin'!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                      jmcarthur8, you are definitely the winner here for the most produce "put up". You have also saved gobs of money in the process. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures in the garden & in the kitchen.

                                                                    2. On dried stuff! Was making a BIG batch of REAL lemonade for a trip to the shore and my frugal, Scottish bones started cringing about all the zest I was tossing... didn't need at the time. Then my mad scientist bones kicked in! Pulled out one of those apple peeler/corer thingies that SIL gave me after she stopped doing Pampered Chef demos. Was able to move the corer part out of the way and remove ALL off the est in LOONG ribbons. Let it sit for a while on paper plates... till "crispy"... then ground up in spice grinder (coffee grinder NOT used for coffee). Endede up with decent amount of pure lemon "powder" to make lemon pepper blend that was NOT mostly salt. Also pretty good to sprinkle over fish.

                                                                      Did something similar when I had a MESSA jalapenos... and NOT a major fan of heat?? I cut stems off, split length-wise and put in inexpensive dehydrator till crunchy. Then into food processor for a spin till powdered. WARNING: put a damp towel over FP and let it SETTLE before whipping off the lid... unless you enjoy coughing and sneezing. I use the j-powder in place of cayenne in rubs.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: kseiverd

                                                                        Using leftover lemon zest & drying jalapenos....thanks a bunch for sharing those ideas. You read my mind, I was just going to google how to make lemon pepper, celery salt, garlic salt & lemon pepper. I intend to use less sea salt & more "seasoning" ingredients in my batches too.

                                                                      2. I'm about to make tomato confit. Most recipes say they'll last a week in a jar in the fridge. Since I'd like to have them longer, could I freeze them?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: anm

                                                                          I've frozen this before and it was fine. I packed tightly into a plastic container and topped with oil. I think vacuum or ziplock would work well too.