J is for Jars #AtoZChallenge

Canning jars decorated with fabric and jute. Mango rum chutney, pickled green tomato slices, green relishThese jars were Christmas presents for a few friends. I found the idea to decorate them online and was happy with the way they turned out.

Decorating and wrapping gifts are not my strong suits. I’m good at cooking, baking, and in this case, canning, but that final step before gifting usually gets overlooked.

This time I was happy to decorate. It was fun. I learned that the name of that kind of scraggly looking string is jute. (I would have guessed raffia.)

Ingredients for mango rum chutney in the pot
This delicious chutney is a treat to make.

The recipe for the  Hot Mango-Rum Chutney came from Better Homes and Gardens. It’s not actually hot, but the people I gave it to would consider it spicy so I labeled it to give them warning. The recipe can be made with papaya or mango.

The recipes for the Green Tomato Relish and Dilled Green Tomatoes don’t seem to be online, but if you have an older version of the Ball Blue Book, you’ll see them there. I did blog about making them in a post about relish a while back.

 

Chocolate Habanero

2016-10-21-12-34-31Why do they call you chocolate habanero? Is it because they want to watch me take a bite and laugh at my tears and burning tongue? I know it’s only a name because they look like chocolate, but I’m just dumb enough to want to taste one….

Spicy peppers at the farmers market, jalapeno, habanero, Serrano, Fresno, cayenne, poblano

I love the hot peppers on display at the farmer’s market.

They are too spicy for me, but I enjoy pickling them for my husband.

Chopped hot, spicy peppers on a cutting board

They are so pretty when chopped up and canned.

Hot spicy peppers slices and pickled in masn jars

Daily Prompt: Relish (Green Tomato & Beet)

Green Tomato relish and pickled

In addition to my fried green tomatoes, I also made green tomato relish. I had never tasted it before and am surprised at how much I like it. The green tomatoes make it tangy and the brown sugar balances that with some sweetness. There’s also onion, pepper, cabbage and mustard seeds.

Chopped green tomatoes, onion, cabbage, peppers are salted for several hours, rinsed and then turned into relish
Chopped green tomatoes, onion, cabbage, peppers are salted for several hours, rinsed, and then turned into relish. This is about 28 cups!

I also made some beet relish a few weeks ago. (Same day I made a batch of hot peppers, apparently.)

Beet relish canned and spicy peppers canned

It’s pretty heavy on the beet flavor, but still good. I had never tasted this either, but I had some beets and the recipe in the canning book seemed good.

Ingredients of the beet relish: chopped beets, cabbage, onion and peppers

I think the green tomato is my new favorite. I had to try some refrigerator pickled slices, too. These are flavored with dill.

Green Tomato slices, pickled with dill

I made 7 pints of the green tomato relish, 4 pints of the slices, 4 half-pints of beet relish, and one pint of refrigerator pickled slices. Looks like I’ll be…savoring this relish for a long time.

viaDaily Prompt: Relish

Things That Are Hot: Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge

Campfire for smores
For this week’s Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge, the theme is things that are hot. This campfire made some yummy smores last summer.

Canned spicy peppers
This is a mix of spicy peppers that I pickled and canned last fall. Jalapeños, Scotch Bonnets, and some others that a friend grew but couldn’t remember the name. They sure were hot when I was cutting them up!

Toasting a marshmallow
Another campfire for smores from last summer. I guess that’s all I do in the warm months.

Two mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows
Marshmallows again. I really didn’t think I ate them that often.

Blue flame
(You could totally toast a marshmallow here if you had to.)

Canning Roasted Pickled Peppers: 5 Photos, 5 Stories: Day 5

Roasted pickled peppers in a mason jar
Roasted pickled peppers

My last post in this challenge is about my fourth canning project from last fall.  I made three pints of roasted pickled bell peppers and they were fabulous.

Like the tomato sauce, this second-ever canning project of mine also took a lot of work: first the roasting until the peppers got slightly browned, then putting in a paper bag to cool (this is allegedly supposed to make them easier to peel the skin), then peeling the skin (which didn’t seem to be easy despite sitting in the paper bag), then the packing and boiling.

I used peppers from the farmer’s market, which came in varying shapes, colors, and sizes because they were organically grown. I understand that naturally grown foods do not grow into the standardized, uniform shapes that we see at the grocery store–and I love that….but when it comes to peeling roasted peppers, all that variation was kind of a pain.

While I was swearing my way through the peeling process, I said I wouldn’t make these again. How could they be worth all the trouble? Well, a few months later, after the flavors had mingled and set, I discovered that they are totally worth it. I began adding them to everything and I look forward to more later this summer.

Canning was a fun experience and I’m looking forward to doing more this year. I think I unknowingly chose harder things first and easier foods later: tomato sauce, pickled peppers, apple butter and pickled beets. Now at least I know what I’m in for when I bring home a 45-lbs box of tomatoes or decide to start roasting 7 lbs of bell peppers. It was a fun learning experience.

This post comes as part of the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge sent to me by Nonny Moose. I thought my theme for the next five days would be food, since I haven’t written much about that lately. A theme is not necessary, but for me this is motivation to get caught up on some posts I have been drafting in my mind.

The challenge rules are:

  1. Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
  2. Attach a story to the photo. It can be real, fiction, a poem, a quote or short paragraph – that is entirely up to you.
  3. At the end of each day, nominate one other blogger to take part.

Today I nominate Luke of LukeWymer. It’s a new blog and I hope Luke shows us some more beautiful Irish scenery. There’s no pressure, it’s just for fun 🙂

Canned Pickled Beets: 5 Photos, 5 Stories: Day 2

pickled beets in mason jar
In October, I canned some pickled beets. This was my fourth canning project after tomato sauce, roasted pickled peppers, and apple butter. The pickling liquid included allspice, clove and cinnamon, which gives the beets such a delicious and warm spicy flavor. I hadn’t tried canning before this past fall, so it was nice to finally achieve my goal. I’m planning to do more canning this year!

This post comes as part of the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge sent to me by Nonny Moose. I thought my theme for the next five days would be food, since I haven’t written much about that lately. A theme is not necessary, but for me this is motivation to get caught up on some posts I have been drafting in my mind.

The challenge rules are:

  1. Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
  2. Attach a story to the photo. It can be real, fiction, a poem, a quote or short paragraph – that is entirely up to you.
  3. At the end of each day, nominate one other blogger to take part.

Today I nominate lrod of lrod’s blog. lrod, are you up for the challenge? There’s no pressure, it’s just for fun 🙂