Monday, September 30, 2013

Horseradish measures, weights and Substitutions

Horseradish measures, weights and substitutions

If you want to retain the spicy zing of horseradish in cooked dishes, add it at the end of the cooking process, after the dish has been removed from the heat.

1 Tablespoon grated fresh horseradish- 2 Tablespoon bottled prepared horseradish
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish= 1 Tablespoon dried + 1 Tablespoon vinegar + 1 Tablespoon water + salt to taste
10 Tablespoons prepared horseradish = 6 Tablespoons dried powdered
1 1/2 pounds fresh root = 2 3/4 cups peeled and grated
1 8 ounce bottle prepared horseradish = 1 cup

Heirloom Tomato Tart


Heirloom Tomato Tart

1 piecrust baked in a large tart pan (your choice homemade or store bought)
8 ounce soften cream cheese
1 Tablespoon dry powdered ranch dressing mix
3 ripe avocado
1 lime juiced
a mixture of greens, chopped (parsley, water-crest, basil, cilantro, baby spinach what ever you like) 
3 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 lbs assorted heirloom tomatoes sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Bake pie crust and cool.  Mix cream cheese, ranch powder mix and 1 avocado, with a squirt of lime juice until smooth. Put this mixture into the cooled pie crust. Mix greens with bacon crumbles and put on top of cream cheese mixture. Sliced 2 Avocado's and cover with remaining lime juice.  Place Avocados on greens and salt and pepper.  Cover with Heirloom tomato slices and serve. You can serve with a nice thick Balsamic.  

Tomato Soup Recipes people have been asking for

Fresh Tomato Soup With Basil
1/4 C. butter
1 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 
2 Quarts Homemade Tomatoes and or Tomato Juice (you can add some fresh chopped tomatoes in the last few minutes if you want to)
3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
Saltand pepper to taste
Sauté the onion and garlic in butter until soft.  Add tomatoes and continue cooking for another minute.  Pour in the chicken stock or broth.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.  Puree the mixture with immersion blender, then add basil.  Return to the heat until warmed.

Roasted Red Pepper-Tomato Soup
3 red bell peppers (1 1/2 lb total), rinsed, stemmed, seeded and halved
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon paprika
3 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Creme Fraiche or plain yogurt
Chopped parsley
Preheat the broiler.  Place the red pepper halves, cut side down, in a baking pan and broil until skins are black and blistered, place in a bowl covered with handy wrap to loosen skins.  when cooled pull off skin and reserve any and juices.
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, until soft and translucent.  Add the roasted peppers and tomatoes, along with their juices and the paprika.  Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. 
In a blender, food processor or using immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Return puree to the pan and stir in broth and lemon juice, stir over medium heat until hot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into cups or bowls and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche or plain yogurt and parsley.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Canning Tomatoes
Sort tomatoes and do not use any overripe tomatoes.  Wash to remove dirt.  Dip in boiling water long enough to crack skins (about 1 minute).  Dip in cold water, and remove peels.  
Raw Pack;
Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 Tablespoons bottled lemon juice (or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid), we use lemon juice, to each quart jar. Also place 3/4 to 1 cup Juice (recipe below) in the bottom of each jar. Pack, whole, peeled tomatoes, tightly into the jars,up to the shoulder of the jar, leaving 3/4-1 inch head space. Remove air bubbles, wipe tops of jars.  Put on hot lids and bands tightening until finger tight, when just meeting resistance. Place in water bath and process for 45 minutes. 

We like to add Tomato juice to our canned tomatoes.  

Tomato juice:
If using juice to add to tomatoes, start cooking this first: 
Remove top and cut in half clean Tomatoes, place cut side down and put in oven (on broil) until skins become charred, you can do this skin side up or down as you just want to bring out the caramelization, flavors of the tomato and you will be removing the skin with a food mill or sieve.  Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle pull skin off, don’t worry about getting all skins when you strain it they will be caught, and it give good flavor, (break up tomatoes with potato masher, before putting in pot helps break down for juice) and put in large pot to cook. after all tomatoes are cooked use an immersion blender or food mill (or food processor or blender) and puree tomatoes. Strain to remove seeds and skins if making juice.  Put back on to cook.  If you are only making juice cook down tomatoes for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until foam turns color and looks thick and smooth, like juice, so it won’t separate.   If using to put into whole tomatoes you don’t have to cook as long. After cooked down put into quart jars that have 1 tsp. salt and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice.  Leave 1/2 inch head space and process in water bath 15 minutes.

Salsa: (makes 6 to 8 pints)
process 15 minutes

4 Cups, (1#) onions
6 Cups, (1 1/2#) Fresh mixed mild peppers
1 Cup (1/2 #) Fresh mixed hot peppers
12 Cups (5#) Fresh tomatoes
1/4 Cup chopped Garlic
1 cup cilantro
1/3 cup pepper flakes
3 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Cup Vinegar

  1. Cut tomatoes in half and place on cookie sheet skin side up. Roast in the oven, when cool enough to handle just pull skins off, chop up a little and add to large pot.
2. Chop onions, garlic and peppers (roast in oven), add to tomatoes in pot.
3.  Add all the rest of the ingredients to the tomatoes and pepper mixture in the large pot and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  1. Put in jars, wipe tops of jars put on hot lids, screw on bands just until finger tight, meets resistance.  Put jars in water bath and process for 15 minutes


Making Fermented Products

Some products that can be fermented are:

Peppers                                        Cauliflower
Brussel Sprouts                           Artichokes
Green Tomatoes                           Turnips
Cabbage (Sauerkraut)                   Cucumbers

Some products that do not ferment well:
Asparagus                                     Snap Beans
Corn                                               Peas

The Stages of Fermentation

Stage One
  1. Pickles or product to be fermented are submerged in brine in a  proper container and proper weighted cover.
  2. Helpful bacteria that are found naturally on cucumbers or product  being fermented begin to multiply, changing the color.
  3. Takes 1=2 days

Stage Two
  1. Bubbly Fermentation.
  2. Breakdown of sugars producing lactic acid  (gives the good sour flavor), some acetic acid (Vinegar, if added-sharp flavor), and carbon dioxide (bubbles).
  3. Cloudiness in the brine is bacteria in suspension.
  4. This stage is over when bubbling stops and the PH is 4.2-4.6
  5. Lactic acid grows well in fairly strong acid conditions.
  6.   Takes 3-5 days.

Stage Three
  1. Quiet Fermentation.
  2.   More lactic acid is produced.  PH drops to 3.3-3.7
  3. Two ways to tell when this stage is over:
      a.  Use PH paper
      b.    Lets Pickles or product being fermented progress to stage 4 and produce    one batch of scum yeast (it appears as a opaque film on the brines surface), then carefully remove all scum yeast.
      c.  Chemically, scum yeast cannot produce in quantity until fermentation is over.
       d.   Don’t rush this step!  If the brine is not ready Botulinum bacteria may still be present.
  1. Takes 3-7 days.

Stage Four

  1. Curing.
  2.   Scum yeast begins to form at this stage, must be removed daily.
  3.   Length of curing time depends on temperature conditions. 
  4.   Pickles or product being fermented, the color and texture is stabilized and the flavor mellows.
  5.   Must refrigerate or process pickles at this time to keep scum yeast from taking over.
  6. Curing depends on variety and maturity of the cucumbers or product being fermented as well as the temperature they were processed at.
  7.   The fermentation process can overlap with the curing process and by the time fermentation is complete can take as little as 10 days.  Or the fermentation -plus-curing period can last up to 7 weeks.
  8.   Pickles that contain more pectin and are extra firm cure more slowly.
  9.   Smaller younger cucumbers cure more quickly than larger ones.
  10.   Takes 10 days to 7 weeks.

Processing Fermented Pickles
  1. Fermented products can be stored without heat processing.
  2. If stored in the crock, surface yeasts and molds must be regularly removed.  Store in cool place about 60 degrees F. or below.  The pickles must be kept submerged throughout this process.
  3. For longer, more stable storage, when fermentation is complete,the product can be packed in jars and processed:
  1. Waterbath method-use same brine to fill jars.
  2. Process 15 minutes at 170 degrees F.

Keeping Spoilage Down

It is important to maintain conditions that encourage growth of lactic acid bacteria and prevent growth of other organisms that may cause spoilage.

  1. Keeps air from pickles or product being fermented during all stages of processing.
  2. Keep temperature of vegetables and brine as close to 70-80 degrees F. as possible.  Too high may get hollow pickles.
  3.   Keep the correct salt concentration in the brine.  Do not alter salt in recipe.  Salt content must be high enough to inhibit growth of spoilage organisms but allow lactic acid to grow well.  Lactic acid grows well in fairly strong acid conditions.  Too much salt will cause shriveling, and will not allow lactic acid to grow.
  4. Add a small amount of vinegar to the brine for dill pickles.  Most undesirable bacteria cannot grow well in slightly acid conditions.

5.  Remove scum as it forms.
    Scum is the growth of spoilage organisms.  It forms if the container cannot be sealed and air is present.  If it is allowed to continue it will destroy the acid and provide conditions for the growth of additional spoilage organisms.
6.  How can you tell if a product can be spoiled?
         Lid releases                                Liquid spurts
         Gas bubbles                                Off color
         Cloudy                                         Sediment
         Soft                                            Slimy and Shriveled

 Notes on fermentation in general:
All fermented foods must have a source of sugar for  fermentation.  This sugar may come from the covering brine or from the food itself.
  1. Foods have a wide variety of microorganisms (mixed flora).  During fermentation, the competitions in this mixed flora will be between the spoilage organisms and the lactic acid producers.  Disease causing bacteria usually do not complete well in a mixed flora, and are present in small numbers compared to other microorganisms.  During fermentation, conditions are manipulated to favor growth of the lactic acid producing bacteria.  Illness caused from fermented foods is unlikely if processed properly.
  2. When food is cooked, the native flora is destroyed, including the lactic acid producing bacteria.  If a cooked food is fermented, harmful bacteria may be able to multiply rapidly due to lack of competition from other microorganisms.  Food should not be heated if it is to be fermented. 
  3. Never reduce the salt in tested and approved recipes.  Salt inhibits the growth of many spoilage organisms.  As bacteria produce lactic acid, the PH drops.  The low PH inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.  

Basic Formula for Old-Fashioned Brine Fermented Pickles

This is a basic formula.  I have used it for cucumbers, squash, garlic, carrots, green tomatoes and just about any other vegetable you can eat.  It works.  You can make any size batch you wish.  Using mason jars is common and I have fermented in quarts, half-gallons and gallon sizes with success.

Salt for brine
Seasonal garden vegetables
pickling spices
leaves for crispness

  1. Prepare a brine using the ratio of two tablespoons of salt to one quart of water.  If it is over 85 degrees in your kitchen, use one extra tablespoon of salt.  Stir well and set aside.
  2. Clean vegetables and if you are going to cut, chop, spear your pickles (vegetables) do it now
  3. Gather flavorings- garlic, onions, fresh herbs, or your favorite pickling spices.
  4. Add one of the following to keep your vegetables crisp: grape, horseradish, mesquite leaves. (This is optional, but makes for a pretty jar and, Tannin in the leaves helps keep veggies crisp).
  5. Put a leaf on the bottom of the jar and add, garlic, herbs, and spices you desire, to the top of your leaf in your jar. (quart, half-gallon, gallon or crock).
  6. Place pickles or veggies atop flavorings, leaving at least 2 inches of headspace from the rim of the jar.  Pour the brine over the vegetables so they are covered by at least one inch.  Two to four is even better, but hard to achieve in quart jars.
  7. Weight down your vegetables so they stay below the brine while fermenting.  I have used small plates that will fit into the jar opening, inverted plastic jars lids, a large leaf.  Any thing that will hold you veggie down under the brine.
  8. Cap the jar tightly and allow to sit at 65-85 degrees for around 10 days, or more, depending on your preference.  The longer they ferment at room temperature, the sourer they become.
  9.   During the earliest stages of fermentation carbon dioxide is released. Check    your jars once or twice a day to see if the lids are building up pressure.  If you cannot press down on the canning lid as you normally would, very quickly and carefully “burp” your jar by slightly unscrewing the lid, allowing a bit of gas to escape, and screwing it back on quickly.
  10. Once completed, move to cold storage-root cellar, a basement, a cool garage, anywhere below 65 degrees, or yes a refrigerator. ( you may waterbath can at this point too.)

Here is a simple Fermented Crock (Jar) Dill Pickle Recipe


3 pounds pickling cucumbers, 4 to 6 inches long
5 1/2 ounces pickling salt, approximately 1/2 cup
1 gallon filtered water
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon dill seed 
1 large bunch fresh dill 
3-4 Grape leaves (if using)
(Note: You can replace fresh dill  when making pickles, 1 Tablespoon of dill seed for each 3 heads of fresh dill called for in the recipe. However, the flavor will not be as pungent as when fresh dill is used.) I use both in this recipe.

Combine the salt and water in a pitcher and stir until the salt has dissolved.
Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly and snip off the blossom end stem.  Set aside.
Place the Grape Leaf, peppercorns, pepper flakes, garlic, dill seed and fresh dill into a 1 gallon crock, or jar, you may add grape leaves up the sides and one on top of cucumbers (make it look nice). Add the cucumbers to the crock on top of the aromatics.  Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers in order to completely cover.  Pour the remaining water into a 1 gallon ziplock bag and seal.  Place plate on top of the cucumbers then place the the bag on top of the plate to hold pickles under the brine.  Making sure all are completely submerged in the brine.  Set in a cool, dry place.
Check the crock after 3 days.  Fermentation has begun if you see bubbles rising to the top of the crock.  After this, check the crock daily and skim off any scum that forms.  If scum forms on the plate and/or plastic bag, rinse it off and return to the top of the crock.
The fermentation is complete when the pickles taste sour and the bubbles have stopped rising; this should take approximately 6 to 7 days.  Once this happens, cover the crock loosely and place in the refrigerator for 3 days, skimming daily or as needed.  Store for up to 2 months in the refrigerator, skimming as needed.  If the pickles should become soft or begin to take on an off odor, this is a sign of spoilage and they should be discarded.  

Quick Pickling

Basic Quick Dill Pickles: (About 6 pints)
(process 10 minutes)

4 pounds Cucumbers
2 Cups vinegar
2 Cups water
Place in the bottoms of each jar:
1 tsp. salt
1-2 cloves garlic per jar
1 tsp spice mixture (see spice page)
Fresh dill heads, 2-3 per jar (if desired)

  1. For whole cucumbers, small sizes up to 4 inches long are preferred.  Larger sizes may be packed whole provided they are processed for a longer time.
  2. Wash cucumbers thoroughly.
  3. Usually with larger cucumbers it is better to slice, quarter, or halve lengthwise before pickling.
  4. Combine vinegar and water and heat to simmer.
  5.   Place 1 tsp. salt, garlic and 1 tsp. spices in the bottom of each jar.
  6. Place cucumbers in next.
  7. Fill with hot vinegar-water solution to 1/2 inch of top.
  8. Remove air bubbles with tool or plastic knife.
  9. Wipe off tops of jars, making sure clean.  
  10.   Place hot lids on jars and place rings on, tighten just to finger tight (when you meet resistance is tight enough, don’t tighten to tight).
  11. Place in water bath and process in canner with water at 170’ to 180’ don’t go   over 180’ or you will get a mushy pickle
  12.   Process 10 minutes for pints and 15 for quarts.  If using larger whole cucumbers add 5 minutes processing time.
  13. When cool, remove rings, let set a few weeks to develop flavor, enjoy.

Basic Recipe for: (Makes 6-7 pints)
Dilly Beans, Pickled Asparagus, Okra and/or Jardiniere (mixed vegetables pickle)
(Process 20 minutes)

4 pounds of green beans (or any of the above veggies)
(basically use equal parts vinegar and water, then you can make any amount)
3 cups vinegar (I use white for these)
3 cups water
1 tsp. Spice Mixture per pint jar (see Spice page)
1 tsp. salt per pint jar.
1-2 cloves of Garlic per jar (or as much as you like)
Option if you don’t like the spicy, just use black peppercorns or cut down on the amount of pepper flakes, or any combination of spices you like, make it your own,  the spices have nothing to do with preserving it.  

  1. Combine water and vinegar.  Heat to the simmering point.
  2.   Place salt, garlic and spices in the bottom of each jar:
Cut and Add to jars:
Beans or which ever vegetable your using (I don’t cut Okra) to fit jar leaving 1/2     inch head space.  Raw pack all your veggies.
Process 20 minutes in simmering (170-180’ for any pickle product so they won’t get mushy) water bath.  Remove from water and enjoy the pop, pop of the sealing jars!
When cool, remove rings, let set a few weeks to develop flavor, enjoy.

Traditional Bread and Butter Pickles: (6-7 pints)
(process 10 minutes)

10 Cups sliced pickling cucumbers
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup salt
3 Cups white vinegar
2 Cups sugar
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds 1 tsp ground turmeric

  1. In a glass or stainless steel bowl, combine cucumbers, onions and salt.  Mix well, cover with ice water and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours (prepare brine while waiting).  Transfer to a colander placed over sink, and rinse with cool running water and drain thoroughly.
  2. To make Brine; In a stainless steel saucepan add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed,
     celery seeds and turmeric.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring                           to dissolve sugar.  
  1. After Cucumber/onions have set for 2 hours, add drained and rinsed cucumbers/onions to hot brine, heat to 170’-180’.
  2. Pack vegetables into hot jars.   Ladle any hot brine over vegetables to cover, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary.  Wipe rim, place lid on jar and screw band down until resistance is met.
  3. Place jars in canner, check temperature 170’-180’  and process for 10 minutes.
  4. When cool, remove rings, let set a few weeks to develop flavor, enjoy. 

Horseradish Bread and Butter Pickles:  Substitute 2 Tbsp Prepared horseradish for mustard and 2 Tbsp grated gingeroot for the turmeric.
Or use fresh grated horseradish, 2 to 4 tablespoons, and a few slices of Jalapeno for a variety.

Pickled Beets: (about 6 pints)
(process 30 minutes)

3 Tbsp pickling spice (store bought or home made)
2 1/2 Cups white vinegar
1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
10 Cups prepared beets (tip below)

  1. Tie pickling spice in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag, (or use a spice bag or tea ball)
  2. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar and spice bag.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until spices have infused the liquid.  Discard spice bag.  Add beets and return mixture to a simmer.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, ladle beets into hot jars.  Ladle hot liquid into jars to cover beets, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary by adding more of the liquid.  Wipe rim, place lid on jar, screw band down until resistance is met.
  4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Process same as pickles but for 30 minutes.  
  5. When cool, remove rings, let set a few weeks to develop flavor, enjoy.

This is a basic recipe, Different spices can be added (cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, Caraway seeds etc). This is the traditional blend you can adjust the flavors to suit your family’s taste.

To prepare beets for use in this recipe, leave 2 inches roots and 2 inches of stem intact to prevent bleeding. Scrub thoroughly and sort by size, placing larger beets on the bottom of the saucepan and smallest on top.  Add water to cover, bring to a boil and cook until tender, 20 to 40 minutes, depending upon the size of the beets.  Remove beets from saucepan as they are cooked and run under cool running water.  Drain. Slip off the skins and remove roots and stems. Leave baby beets whole and slice or quarter larger beets. 12 medium beets equals about 10 cups.

My Spice Mixture is:
1 1/2 cups dill seed to 1 cup pepper flakes and mixed well. Keep on hand to use in all your pickle products if you like it.

Pickling Spice (like the one you buy in the store)
6 cinnamon sticks (3 inches long each), coarsely crushed
3 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon each whole black peppercorns, cloves, dill seed, whole coriander, and whole allspice
1 tablespoon whole mace, coarsely crushed
A 1 1/2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1 dried hot red pepper, crumbled
Combine spices and store in an airtight jar.
Yield: About 2/3 cup.

Spice Possibilities:
Allspice                                   Coriander Seed
Bay leaf                                   Dill seed
Black pepper                            Ginger
Cardamom                                Mace
Cayenne                                   Mustard
Chili                                         Nutmeg
Cinnamon stick                         Hot red Pepper
Clove                                        Horseradish

Your combinations are endless, see which ones you like the best and go for it.

Ok I am adding a few of my recipes to go along with the videos, starting with the basic steps.

Using the Right Equipment: 

Containers for canning
Make sure all jars are free of cracks and chips. These defects will prevent airtight seals. Jars that are manufactured specifically for home canning are recommended. Glass mayonnaise jars and similar jars are not recommended for use in home canning because they are not manufactured for repeated heating and have a higher rate of breakage. Wash the jars in hot, soapy water and rinse them, or you can wash them in a dishwasher. Keep jars hot until you fill them to prevent breakage when filled with hot product.
Lids and rings
Select the correct size of lids to fit your jars. Always use new lids each time you do canning. Rings can be reused if they are in good condition. Wash and thoroughly dry the rings before you store them and they will remain in good condition for years. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for pretreating the canning lids. Metal lids have a sealing compound and usually need to be heated prior to use.
Filling jars
Do not overfill the jars. Pack the product to the shoulder of the jar, leaving room for the covering liquid and recommended headspace . After adding liquid to the recommended headspace, use a plastic knife or spatula to dislodge air bubbles trapped on the inner side of the jars.
Adjusting seals
With a clean, damp cloth or towel, carefully wipe the rim and threads of the jar. Place the clean, prepared lid on the rim of the jar and screw the ring band on finger tight. Do not overtighten. If tightened too much, the lids will not vent correctly, causing buckling of the lid, loss of the seal a day or two after processing, and possibly glass breakage during processing.
Using a boiling water bath canner
Any large covered kettle or pot may be used as a boiling water bath canner, if it
is deep enough to allow water to cover the tops of the jars by 1 to 2 inches
Fill the canner half full with water. Preheat the water to 170°F. Place jars on a rack in the canner any jars that come in direct contact with the bottom of the canner may break. Add enough boiling water to cover the tops of the jars by at least 1 inch. When water comes to a boil, begin to count the processing time indicated in the recipe. At the end of the recommended processing time, remove jars from canner and cool them, undisturbed, at room temperature. Avoid placing jars directly on cold surfaces like tile countertops as that may cause the jars to crack. Setting the jars on a towel over the countertop rather than directly on the counter- top can help protect jars from breaking. After the jars have cooled, check them for a tight seal. In a tight seal the metal lid will have snapped down and is curved slightly inwards. Press down on the center of the lid. If it springs back, there is no seal— either place this jar in the refrigerator and use within the next few days, freeze the jar, or reprocess the contents using a new jar and lid. Remove the rings of the sealed jars and wash the jars gently before storage to remove any syrup residues. Store in a dark, dry, cool place, without the rings on them.
Processing time depends on what your canning, check with charts or recipe your using. 
Head space 
For wide top opening pint jars you need 1/2 inch for narrow top opening pint jars 3/4 inch. 
For wide top opening quart jars you need 1 inch head space. For narrow top opening quart jars you need 1 1/2 inch head space.