Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Small Batches: Cucumbers, Peaches, and Figs

There aren't a lot of new canning recipes being made around here this year.  Like most people, we have our favorites, and those are the ones we tend to spend more time making.  We are also doing more small batch canning this season as we are getting produce little by little in many cases.  So, I have a few reminders for you about recipes we enjoy, and I do have a new one for you from the Better Homes and Gardens Canning magazine I purchased last year.  

Quick Dill Pickles with Garlic and Chile (slices above and spears below)
If you are looking for a great dill pickle recipe to use with all the cucumbers coming in right now, these Quick Dill Pickles with Garlic and Chile are great.  Actually, they are our favorite quick pickle to make around here and the one we focused on this year.  I made 7 pints (it would have been 8, but one jar broke in the canner) of dill slices using this recipe.  I also made 3 quarts of these pickles sliced into spears because sometimes it is nice to have pickles cut into spears for serving alongside sandwiches.  

I usually make Seven Day Sweet Pickle Chips also, but this year decided not to go this route.  I may regret it come winter, but I wanted to try a traditional bread and butter pickle to use in potato and chicken salad and on sandwiches.  I only made a small batch just to see how they were, and they are tasty.  They are not as crunchy as the Seven Day pickles, but they have a sweet flavor.  One thing about them is that they have onions pickled in the same jar, and the onions are nice additions to many of the same dishes the pickles go into.  

Bread and Butter Pickles
As for peaches, after taking inventory this year, I realized we still had several bags of frozen peaches in the freezer.  They will still be okay for most desserts, so I didn't want to put up too many peaches this year.  I did purchase a half peck of peaches from a local orchard, but they were a variety best for canning or eating fresh (not freezing), so we ate what we wanted and canned the rest as peach halves for which I used the recipe/method on National Center for Home Food Preservation.  The ones we had left gave me 4 pint jars in light syrup.  If I get my hands on anymore freestone peaches, I may can a few more pints, but I am happy with this and what is left from last year.  

Peach halves in light syrup with fig preserves in background

We also put up 2 pints Old Fashioned Fig Preserves using figs from my mom's tree, and we'll put up more if we get more figs from her.  Along with the figs we put up 5 quarts frozen blueberries which is a little more than most years, so when the peaches run out, we will always have berries to fall back on.  

The cucumbers are still coming in the from the garden (several pounds every couple of days), so more pickles (maybe fermented) may be in the future.  In the meantime, I am enjoying relaxing during these last days of summer break and waiting, quite impatiently, for the chickens to lay their first eggs.  

Bread and Butter Pickles- makes approximately 7 pints

This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens Canning published in 2012.  They now have a entire book using some of the recipes from the magazine.  I only made about half the recipe. 

16 cups (approximately 6 pounds) pickling cucumbers, sliced
8 medium white onions, sliced
1/3 cup pickling or kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, halved
crushed ice
4 cups sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 1/2 tsp celery seeds

Prepare boiling water canner.  Prepare jars, lids, and rings.  

In a nonreactive pot, combine the cucumbers, onions, salt, and garlic.  Cover with about 2 inches of ice, and chill in refrigerator for 3 to 12 hours.  Remove any ice from pot.  Drain cucumber mixture and discard garlic.  

In the same pot, combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, tumeric, and celery seeds.  Bring to boiling and stir to dissolve sugar.  Add cucumber mixture.  Return to boiling and remove pot from the heat.  

Pack hot cucumber mixture and liquid into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Wipe jar rims and top with lids and rings.  Process jars in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.  Remove jars to a clean towel and let sit overnight before labeling and storing.  

Printable Version



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