Mastering hot-pack canning with Marisa from Food in Jars
This is the stuff of state fairs and homebodies. We transform produce from burgeoning gardens and markets into neatly stacked jars of condiments. We faithfully follow recipes handed down through generations or tweak them for our time: organic, heirloom, less sugar, dried or fresh slices of turmeric instead of stale powder that leaves pickling liquid murky. You get the picture.
For today, preserving condiments in wide-mouth one-cup (eight-ounce) jars means they can go right to the table, rustic picnic style, compared to the pints and quarts of our grandmothers’ pantries. Small batch canning is part of the transformation. It’s unusual for me to go into production unless I have a bushel of tomatoes. Here, I made back-to-back condiments since the ingredients – other than the star attractions of cucumbers and corn — were basically the same.Our CSA grows the most delicious organic yellow corn, perfect for an old time relish. I usually make curried corn relish but opted this time for something completely straightforward and traditional, but without the turmeric slurry. It is bright, tangy, clean tasting, and it preserves the deep flavor of heirloom yellow corn. I can’t wait to toss it into potato salad, or into farro or quinoa with grilled zucchini, where it will shine as ingredient and dressing all in one. I intended to make bread and butter pickles, stalwarts of the pickle tray at an annual picnic that’s coming up. The Kirby cukes at the farmers market were on the large side, so relish it was, duplicating the same ingredients as full-on pickles. This is super simple to make, and follows a technique that I learned from Food in Jars’ Marisa McClellan, writing for the Tigress Can Jam (where we “met”) and more recently on the blog Serious Eats.After grating or finely chopping cucumbers, onions, and green peppers, you cook them in vinegar until soft, and drain them. This allows the vegetables to cook and exude their liquid so that, when you add the eventual vinegar, sugar, salt and spices, you end up with an undiluted mix that is safe to can. I added a couple of ½-inch slices of dried turmeric to help improve the color and fished them out before processing the jars. Hot pepper flakes are optional but keep the relish from seeming overly sweet.
Corn Relish Adapted from Linda Ziedrich
4 c freshly cut corn kernels (4-5 ears)
1 c green pepper cut in ¼” dice
1 c red pepper cut in ¼” dice
1 c onion cut in ¼” dice
2 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tsp pickling or Kosher salt
1 tbsp yellow mustard seed
2 c apple cider vinegar
½ c non-chlorinated water
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
Prepare jars for water bath canning.
Place all ingredients in a large wide pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes, making sure all ingredients are cooked through.
Ladle into hot jars, cap them, and process for 15 minutes after the water comes to a boil. Turn off the heat, remove canner lid, and let sit for five minutes before transferring the jars to the counter to sit undisturbed until cool.
Makes 3 pints, or 6 eight-ounce jars.
Sweet-hot Pickle Relish Adapted from Marisa McClellan
Use a box grater or food processor to grate the vegetables. If the latter, be careful to chop them and not turn them into puree.
3 c grated Kirby cucumbers (about 6)
3 c grated green pepper (2-3)
1 c grated onion (1 medium)
Optional: 2-3 ½” pieces dried or fresh turmeric root
2 c apple cider vinegar, divided
1 c granulated sugar
1 tbsp pickling or Kosher salt
1 tbsp yellow mustard seed
½ tsp celery seed
Red pepper flakes to taste
Prepare jars for water bath canning while the vegetables are cooking.
Place the cucumbers, pepper and onion (and optional turmeric) in a large wide saucepan with 1c apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer, cooking the mixture slowly for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced. Drain thoroughly, discarding the liquid, and return the vegetables to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes to taste.
Ladle into hot jars, cap them, and process for 10 minutes after the water comes to a boil. Turn off the heat, remove canner lid, and let sit for five minutes before transferring the jars to the counter to sit undisturbed until cool.
Makes about 5 eight-ounce jars.