Archive for the ‘Preserves’ Category

I haven’t done a how-to recipe in a while so I thought I’d start with canning beans.  My girlfriend that has moved to the middle of no where wants to start growing as much as she can for her family.  Canning beans is a good place to start since it’s so easy.  Please note:  you MUST USE a pressure canner for this recipe!!


What do I need?

pressure canner (bigger than a pressure cooker)

real Mason-type jars, lids, and rings -doesn’t matter which size, use the size that fits your family, I use pints

beans -I use green and yellow, today I had 3.85 lbs (I weighed them for you)

salt -mine’s fine sea salt but it doesn’t have to be



Step One:  wash and sterilize your jars, especially if they are full of cobwebs and spiders from spending the winter in the basement.  Put the jars in the canner and cover with hot water.  Put the lid on loosely (don’t seal,  we’re not looking for pressure now).  Bring the water to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  While the water is doing it’s thing, wash and snap/cut the beans to the size you prefer.

Step Two:  put the beans in your jars.  Add 1/2 tsp for pints and 1 tsp for quarts.  I put the salt at the top so that when you add the water it gets dissolved.  Fill the jars with water. leaving 1 inch at the top for head space (keep beans below this level too).

Step Three:  take as many lids as necessary and cover them with boiled water (not boiling).  Let them sit for 5 min.  Place on jars and screw on rings.  Just finger tip tight.

Step Four:  now here is where you need to read the instructions for YOUR pressure canner.  This is what I do with my Presto canner:  fill with 3 quarts of boiling water.  Place jars in canner.  Seal this time.  Heat over fairly high  heat until steam vents freely.  Keep up a steady stream of steam for 10 minutes to vent the air from the canner.  Then I put the pressure regulator on.  Now watch the dial until it reaches 10 lbs of pressure.        Adjust the temperature to hold at this pressure.  Process the beans at 10 lbs of pressure for 20 min for pints and 25 for quarts.

Now comes the important part, turn off the heat and let the pressure drop ALL BY ITSELF.  Once the pressure has dropped CAREFULLY take the lid off and remove the jars and let them cool.  Sit and listen for the glorious ‘ping’ to let you know the jars have sealed.  Sealed jars will have concave lids.  Any jars that don’t seal will have to be eaten right away.  Take the rings off before moving the jars to storage. This is very important.  Sometimes the seal on the lids fail in storage (very rarely) and you want it to be obvious before you feed it to your family.  I’ve only ever had this happen once.

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I don’t know if there is an official Farm Girl link-up this week, I think Deborah Jean is still on holidays.

Today is the old Anglo-Saxon holiday of Lammas.  It comes from the Anglo-Saxon ‘hlaf-mass’ or loaf mass and is a celebration of the start of the harvest season.  Traditionally a loaf of bread was made with the freshly harvested wheat and then brought to church for a blessing.  The Anglo-Saxons must have grown winter wheat because our spring wheat isn’t ready to harvest yet.

We’ll make a loaf of oat bread and have  a supper of pork chops, salad, beans and potatoes.  All from our gardens and farm.

The cucumbers are ready in the garden, so I thought I’d share a delicious recipe for bread and butter pickles (on the left).  This is my Grandma’s recipe.


12 med. cucumbers, sliced

5 onions, sliced

Sprinkle these with salt and let stand for 1 hour.  Rinse well and drain.  While they are sitting, combine the following:

1 tsp ginger                                   1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp celery seed                          1 Tbs turmeric

1 tsp mustard seed                      1 Tbs corn starch

1 cup white sugar                         2 cups white vinegar (regular not pickling)

Combine with the onions and cucumbers and cook for 10 minutes until soft.  Pack into sterilized jars.  Seal and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

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Beet Season

Contrary to what the stores think, canning season is in full swing.   We recently did up a batch of pickled beets.  I wouldn’t want to be without pickled beets in the house.  They are my favourite accompaniment for roasted meats.  And they are so easy.

Pick a whack of beets.  I like to grow the cylinder beets.  They last a long time before going woody and make nice, easy slices.  Wash most of the dirt off the beets and trim the leaves down.  Leave about an inch of stem to help control the beet bleeding.

Toss beets in pot and more or less cover with water.  Boil until beets are tender -usually an hour.  Test with fork.

Dump the beets into a colander in the sink.  If they are properly cooked, the skins will slip right off.  If not, cook them a little longer.  Slice the beets how you like and pack them into sterilized mason jars.  The pour the following syrup (boil brine to dissolve sugar) over the beets in the jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top:

1 cup vinegar

1 c white sugar

2 c water

  Put the lids on and hot pack for 30 minutes for pints/35 minutes for quarts.

The finished product, cooling without any drafts.  Pickled beets are one of the easiest pickles to make and they keep for years.

I shared this recipe over at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.  Go check out the other yummy recipes.

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We tried a new recipe this week.  It uses tube buns so it’s not something I’ll make often.  But it’s something easy to whip up on short notice.  It could be made with homemade biscuits too.

Pizza Pop-Ups

makes 10

1 tube of 10 flaky rolls (Pillsbury)

1/2 c tomato sauce

1 c chopped pepperoni



1 T onion                                                1 T Parmesan

1/2 c mozzarella

Mix everything (except rolls) together.  Split rolls in half and flatten a little bit.  Put into greased muffin pan.  Divide the mixture among the 10 shells.  Top with the remaining pieces of dough.  Try to press and seal.

Bake 350F for 15-20 minutes

The next recipe comes from our friend Bev.  She married Colin’s best friend from Centralia Keith.  They met online too.  It’s funny how similar Bev and I are, we even share a birthday.  This is one of Colin’s favourite meals, he’s even been known to request this one.

Chicken and Dumplings

2 1/2-3 lb chicken pieces, I tend to use thighs

1 c flour                                       2 t salt

1t paprika                                   1/8 t pepper

2 T oil                                           1 T butter

1 10oz can cream of chicken soup            1 1/2 c milk

Mix dry ingredients.  Coat chicken with seasoned flour.  Brown in oil/butter.  Drain skillet.  Stir in soup and milk.  Add chicken back to skillet.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

20 minutes before chicken is finished, mix together:

1 c flour                                                 3 t bk powder

1/2 t salt                                               1/2 t parsley

1/2 t sage                                              1 1/2 T oil

2/3 c milk

Drop batter by spoonful, making sure to place them on TOP of the chicken and not into the broth.  Cover and simmer for the remaining 15 minutes.  DO NOT LIFT LID UNTIL TIME IS DONE.

This next recipe is very special to me.  It’s one of the very few recipes I have that I know my Great Grandma used to make.  I have her old cook book but who knows which ones she used.  This Fruit Relish was made every year and my Grandma still makes it, and now I do too.   Not too many people make fruit relish at home, but up here is seems to be more popular.  Up here they tend to call it Chili Sauce, which I find confusing because I think chili sauce is more like ketchup in consistency (like Heinz Chili Sauce).  Where as my Fruit Relish still has all its parts visible.  Start this recipe early in the morning.  You don’t have to babysit it, but it takes a while.

Fruit Relish

recipe says 8 qts, but it seems to change every year

24 large tomatoes, you want tomatoes to be the majority of the ingredients

6 peaches                                            6 pears

6 apples                                                6 onions

2 red and green peppers               1/2 c pickling spice

2 T salt                                                  3 c white sugar

4 c vinegar

Peel and dice everything.  You want the pieces no larger than 1/2 inch.  Tie the pickling spice into a cheesecloth bag.  Mix ALL the ingredients into a large pan/pot.  Let stand for 3 hours.  Then simmer, uncovered, until thick.  My recipe says 2 hours, but I have never had it ready that quickly.  I simmer over a fairly low temperature that way I don’t have to worry about sticking and burning.  You want it thick but with plenty of liquid to fill the jars -hope that makes sense.

Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-1/4 inch headroom.  Seal and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.

How to Peel Fruits Easily:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Put in a few fruit you want to peel, sometimes it’s easier if you cut a X in the bottom.  Let sit in the water a few seconds then carefully lift out and set aside for a couple of minutes.  If you are not cooking the fruit, put it into a cold water bath to stop the cooking.  If you are using the fruit for something like fruit relish, the cold water is unnecessary.

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We’ve had a busy few days.  We’ve made garlic dills, spicy dills and old-fashioned garlic dill.  I made pickled beets a while ago.

I’m desperately trying to keep up the garden.  This pile of beans went with supper and was yummy.  We’ve actually got some peas that are getting too big.  I should have taken them to market on Friday, but Colin didn’t notice them till I was getting ready to leave.

This crock is full of a Fletcher favourite.  I call them Renfrew County pickles because I never saw them until marrying Colin.  Really they are icicle pickles.  They are a pain in the neck to make and take about a week and a half.   But I’m the only one of the family that is willing to make them and they are Colin’s favourite.

Peep and the babies are doing well.  The little ones are getting their wing feathers.  It’s a little cool today and so they are huddled up trying to keep warm.

Garlic Dill Pickles

In sterilized jars, put in a small bunch of dill, a clove or two of garlic and then pack jar with cucumbers (sliced or not).  On top of each jar, put 2 T sugar and 1/2 t salt.  Cover with hot vinegar.  Seal for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

For Spicy Dills, add 1 t pickling spice to jars.

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