Chive Blossom Vinegar

Chives are the easiest home garden herb to grow and they come back every year without fail. They taste great and also bloom into lovely little purple blossoms. It is these lovely little Lorax style blossoms that we use to make this garlicky flavoured vinegar.


Snip just the blooms from the chives wash and thoroughly dry. I washed and then patted dry with a paper towel, then lay out on a dry paper towel for a few hours until totally dry.  Put cleaned blossoms in a clean dry mason jar.



Cover with vinegar of your choice. I used apple cider vinegar, that was all I had at the time, but I think white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar would be really nice too.

Press blossoms down with a spoon to submerge and make sure they get covered in vinegar.
Place the lid on the jar and store in a dark cupboard for about two weeks.


After two weeks you have this pinkish purple liquid, when you take the lid off it will smell like garlic chives. It does smell really good! Strain vinegar through a cheese cloth into a clean dry bottle or jar.

Use in favourite salad dressings, vinaigrette or any recipe where you would use vinegar.

Now go grow some chives!

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Pickled Jalapenos

We used to make these every year when we got lots of jalapeños from our garden.  Our garden does not give us many peppers anymore due to shade from a large building that went up next to us.  I mentioned this recipe to Mimi when she said that she had a lot of jalapenos to use up from her garden and promised the share the recipe with her.

We use these on nachos and in any recipe that calls for a can of chopped green chilis, such as enchiladas, mexican rice, nachos or just on sandwiches.

These are easy to make and you can make as many jars as you like, even one if that is all the japans you have enough for.  I bought 6 or 7 large jalapeños and got these two jam jars.  You can easily double or triple this recipe if you need more.

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Remember one of the most important rules of canning is CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN.  You can never be to safe when preserving food.  I also find it best to have everything prepped and ready to go in assembly line order.  Put the water canner on to boil while you are getting everything else ready as it takes quite awhile to get that boiling. I sterilize the jars in there for at least 10 minutes boiling before canning.  You can also sterile your jars in the oven, I have done that method as well.  Please, if you are new to canning please do your research and get to know the process I recommend these websites which I have used for basic safety information The National Centre for Home Food Preservation, Government of Canada, and the Company that makes Mason Jars.  There are other great resources too, but there is a lot of information on the internet that is not accurate so ensure that you are using a reputable website.

You will need:

1 cup vinegar

1cup water

1 bunch jalapeño peppers

for each jar: 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 bay leaf, 1clove garlic

Remove stem and seeds from the peppers then slice in rings.

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Combine water and vinegar in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Drop peppers in boiling liquid.  Cook for 5 minutes.

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While the peppers are boiling and once the jars have been sterilized, to each jar add 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 a small bay leaf, 1clove garlic

Pack peppers into sterilized jars and fill with hot liquid, leaving about 1.5 inch headspace.

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Add lids (which have been prepared as for any canning (by softening the rubber rings in simmering water bath for about 5 minutes) and rings (do not tighten the rings, (they should just be screwed on lightly, fingertip tight, air has to escape during boiling and for it to seal properly) process in a water canner for at least 10-15 minutes at a rolling boil with the lids covered in about 2 inches of water (please make sure you check proper processing time for preserving based on your altitude).  Remove from water and let sit on counter undisturbed for 24 hours.  The jars should seal as they cool, you will hear a little pop as they seal.  The lid of the jar should be sucked down flat and if you push on it it should not pop.

These will last for a year in the cupboard and once opened store in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Crabapple Jelly

We have a crabapple tree in our yard and there are a few others close to us. Evie really wanted to pick the apples, mainly to use her basket to carry them.

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We decided if they were being picked we had to use them. I have never used crabapples for anything before, the squirrels usually stashed ours away for the winter. We did a little research and came up with a plan.

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Photo bombing the  apples!

3lbs crabapples = 8cups cut up

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Add crabapples to 4 cup of water in a large pot and boil for 10 mins

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Mash and boil 5 mins longer. Look at that deep red colour.

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Then we placed a few layers of cheesecloth over a strainer over a large bowl. Pour the mash into the strainer and let it sit to strain the juice out for at least 2 hours. Then squeeze and stir to get as much juice out as possible. This gave us 4 cups of juice.

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At this point get your canning supplies ready. Put a canner or large pot of water on to boil, water will have to cover all of the jars. Put a small pot on to heat (just a light bubble) some water to place the lids in to soften the rubber seals (do not boil the seals). The rims are fine as they are, just make sure they are clean.

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We tasted a little drop of the juice on a spoon and it was like acid, extremely acidic and sour. That explained why all of the recipes we saw said to use almost as much sugar as you had juice. This just didn’t sound right to me. I decided to go with once website that said use about ¾ sugar per cup of juice. I measured out 3 cups but didn’t use all of it.

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Place the juice into a saucepan, make sure there is room for it to boil and to add the sugar.

Bring the juice to a light boil and and start adding the sugar. I added the sugar slowly stirring. After 2 cups it tasted like hot acid. We kept adding. Evie was getting nervous at this point, saying “stop mom that is too much” at 2 and 1/2 cups we tasted and she said it was enough, “good like that”. I sprinkled in a little more but left it at that and hoped for the best.

Bring this mixture to a rolling boil, skimming off the foam from the top, you don’t want that in your jelly.

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That is the foam that I skimmed off.

Boil until the temperature reached the gelling point, 220 degrees Farenheit on a Candy thermometer. This was the hardest part it seemed to take forever to get to that point.

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This was me checking the temperature just before I started skimming the foam.

After it boils and reached the gelling temperature I am left with this  deep red glistening bubbling mixture.

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Once you reach the gelling point pour into hot sterilized jars (mine had been in warming/sterilizing 225 degree Farenheit oven all the while I was preparing the juice mixture, at least 20 minutes).

Carefully pour the juice mixture into the hot jars. Take each lid out of the hot water and gently place on the top of the jar. Place a rim over the jar and screw on just until finger tip tight, just until you feel a slight resistance. The rims just hold the lid in place until it is sealed, once sealed you do not even need the rims. I leave them on anyway, but DO NOT tighten them.

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Very carefully place the jars into the canner/large pot of boiling water. Make sure there is enough water to completely submerse the jars.  I only had a few small jars so I used a big pot rather than a huge canner for such a small batch.

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Boil for 10 minutes (be sure to check processing time for the altitude where you are). Then very carefully remove the jars from the pot and place on a safe pot on the counter to cool to room temperature. The jars may already have sealed or as they cool you may hear a pop sound. That is a good thing, it means that the lids have sealed to create a vacuum.

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Let cool over night without moving the jars. Before placing in a cupboard make sure the jars have sealed. Push down on the middle of the lid to see if the lid makes a popping sound, if it does it is not sealed. Put it in the fridge and eat right away. If they are sealed you can store in the pantry for a year.

We opened a jar later in the night and it was good, better than I had expected. Sweet and tart. While the jelly was cooling we made some homemade peanut butter (post to follow) to make peanut butter and crabapple jelly sandwiches.

I think we will do this again next year!

 

Hello and welcome

Welcome to my blog.  This is my first post and it has been along time coming, three years to be exact, mainly because I have been busy and have chickened out a few times.  I have taken the leap and here we are.

Over the next year I hope this blog will get me back to cooking & baking more and inspire you to cook &/or bake and try something new.  I hope to try new recipes and let you know how they turn out, and prepare some old favourites to share with you as well.

Over the past year we have had a few cooking adventures.  This summer, we prepared the back portion of our garden into a vegetable plot and had a bigger garden than in the past.  Unfortunately, we had a very dry summer and it wasn’t as productive for our cucumbers or tomatoes.  Our celery and leeks grew very well, but our schedule took over and we didn’t harvest them in time to save much from the ice and snow.  Next summer we will be more diligent.  Hopefully it will be a great gardening summer and we will harvest and preserve what we grow.

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We did preserve some this summer:

A sparse amount of grape jelly

Yum Yum pickles, Evie loves these!

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pickled beet

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pickled veggies, plum sauce, tomato sauce, salsa and pizza sauce. Image

Other than preserving we have not been very adventurous this year.

I did make my first tourtiere for Christmas Eve supper, from a recipe given to me by a co-worker, and it was delicious!

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I have been trying out a few Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Moroccan recipes, delish. I am currently reading “Saha: A Chef’s Journey through Lebanon and Syria” by Greg and Lucy Malouf.   It really is a lovely book.  I love the writing and I can’t wait to try some of the recipes.

I have a little bit of a recipe obsession.

I especially love those old vintage recipe cards that have been in families for years and if you have those along with any frugal kitchen tips that have been passed on to you from your grandmother or anyone else, please share them with me and I will try them too.

I have been thinking of what to make and post as my first cooking adventure of the blog and thought something by Julia Child would be nice, as I watched her show on PBS when I was a kid, not sure if it was for the cooking back then or just to annoy my brother he really did not like listening to her.  I think it was actually a bit of both.

It turns out that my next post will not be a tribute to any great chef or celebrity, but a tribute to all of the cooks, grandmothers and mothers out there who simply have had to make do and use what they had to feed their family, as I had a fridge full of vegetables and a leftover baked ham.  It turned into a wonderfully delicious meal combined an icon of Canadian food, French Canadian Pea Soup with a Newfoundland twist… Mt. Scio Farm Savoury and Doughboys.

That will follow in my next post.