Apple Butter

 

Peel, core, and chop as many apples as will fit in a crockpot.

Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to your taste preference (I use a tablespoon of each), and equal parts white and brown sugar to taste (I use 1/2 cup each).

Set the crockpot on low for ten hours. Stir occasionally. Leave as is if you like it a little chunky. Use a hand mixer if you like it smooth.

I prefer Granny Smith. I like the tartness, it keeps the apple flavor without being overpowered by the cinnamon.

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from Amanda, aka SweetTeaBandit

 

 

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Watermelon Pickle

All pink removed, parboiled for 45 minutes.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1/2 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, add rind, bring to a second boil, rest for 30 minutes, jar up.


Watermelon rind pickle isn’t a tradition in my family.  I’d heard of it but didn’t taste it until I was an adult.  To my surprise, they are very much like my Nanny’s sweet cucumber pickles. I have a friend who remembered them fondly from her childhood.  But they were made by her aunt’s friend and she never got to see how they were actually prepared.  We decided to see if we could figure it out.  She collected rind from friends so that we didn’t have to wait for me to get around to eating a watermelon and I started playing in the kitchen.

The internet was only slightly helpful.  Everybody does it differently.  I tried to determine common denominators (they are few) and went from there.  What you see above is what Diane and I decided is our preference.  I am putting the experiments here to share what I tried and know to be tasty or a really, really  bad idea.  Save yourself a couple of failures.

Each experimental batch used about 2 c of watermelon rind with the pink and the skin trimmed off (unless otherwise indicated). This gave me a pint and a half to taste.

1) Brined overnight, 1/4 c salt to 1L water.
Solution:
4 c. sugar
2 c. vinegar
1.5 Tbsp pickling spice

1 hour at medium heat/simmer.

Rind did not get clear and I got tired of waiting for that to happen.  Got incredibly sweet raisins. Threw the whole thing out. Water appears to be necessary.

2) Brined overnight, 1/4 c salt to 1L water.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1.5 Tbsp pickling spice
30 minutes on medium/simmer

These were good but not clear.

3) No brine. Parboiled. After an hour and a half, the strong white was gone and I was tired of messing with it.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, add rind, bring to a second boil, rest for 30 minutes, jar up.

4) Didn’t take off all the pink. Didn’t parboil. Didn’t brine. (This is the Alton Brown variation.)
Solution:
2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c vinegar
1 1/4 c water
2 Tbsp pickling spice

Bring soln to a boil, add rind, bring a second boil, let sit for 30 minutes, jar up.

This is spicier than the others and less sweet.  Diane doesn’t actually like watermelon, just the pickles and thought it was nasty because she could taste the watermelon.

5) All pink removed, parboiled for 45 minutes.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1/2 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, add rind, bring to a second boil, rest for 30 minutes, jar up.

After this, I was done.  To my great delight, this was it.  When Diane tasted this, her eyes lit up like a menorah on the 8th night.  We’re set.

Marcia’s Mango Butter

4.5 lbs ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 c. fresh lime juice
1 c. granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

Puree mangoes and lime juice. Strain into large cooking pot (to remove any stray bits of seed.) Add sugar and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a simmer over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and cook 60-75 minutes until very thick. (Holds shape when mounded on a spoon.) Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent scorching. Fill and cap jars. Process in canning kettle for 15 minutes.

My friend found this in Canning for Dummies.

The Great Torshe Experiment

My Iraqi friend brought some delicious, yellow, pickled mixed vegetables to share when we had a covered dish / potluck / pitch in, one day, at work.  They knocked my socks off and I asked if his wife could give me the recipe or if it was one of those everything-to-taste recipes. He said he would ask.

She tried. Bless her sweet heart. And I am incredibly grateful for her effort. But, it’s one of those recipes that is everything according to your taste. So, it isn’t going to be an easy thing for me to make. The first time.  And it requires an unfamiliar ingredient.  The pickling spice is not the same combination as American pickles use.

I had to find it in an Arabic grocery store.  And I ONLY speak American English.  This did NOT help.  But, the very nice people at the Mecca Market in Raleigh did their best to understand what the hell I was talking about. And I have a package of this.

DSC06797

And I have all the other ingredients for the recipe. So, I’m going to try it tomorrow.  In the mean time, here is what she sent me. I will add quantities as I figure them out.

Ingredients:
1. Cucumber (small size) pickle (She used dill pickles.)
2. Cabbage
3. Carrot
4. Green pepper
5. Garlic
6. Vinegar (apple cider)
7. Lemon juice
8. Citric acid
9. Salt
10. Olive oil
11. Parsley
12. Torshe spices (Iraqi spices, in Raleigh Arabic store)

Directions:
1. Chop each of parsley and garlic. Mix them together.
2. Wash cucumber pickles and slit it them up one side. Put them in a strainer.
3. Stuff the cucumbers with the garlic and parsley mixture and place in a clean, dry jar.
4. Mix vinegar, lemon juice, citric acid, garlic and salt together. *I usually lighten the vinegar with water (1 cup vinegar / 1 cup water) or 2 cups vinegar / 2 cups water. Put this part together as you like for more sour or salty.
5. Boil each of cabbage, carrots and green pepper separately and put them in the strainer until they cool.
6. Arrange the vegetables in the form of layers above the cucumbers.
7. Make another mixture, same ingredients. But, this time, you have to add Torshe spices.
8. Add mixture until it covers all the vegetables.
9. Add some olive oil on top to prevent mustiness.
10. Close the jar tightly and leave it at room temperature. After 2 or 3 days, the torshe will be ready to eat.

Further questioning gave me the information that you put hot solution on the stuffed pickles and cold solution with the torshe spice over the whole thing. And you cook the other vegetables until they are almost done but still have crunch and you stop the cooking so that they aren’t completely right allowing the solution to finish cooking them.

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First try:

1 quart with stuffed dill cucumber pickles, carrot, bell pepper, red cabbage chunks and slivers.

1 pint without cucumbers but with 50/50 parsley/garlic mixture on the top of the other vegetables.

3 half pints of Mexican sour gherkins with parsley/garlic mixture on top.

Pickling solution poured over all of them (boiling):
2 c. vinegar
2 c. water
2 Tbsp. torshe spice
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. citric acid

Sealed in canning jars.

Pearl Williams’s Dill Pickles

From my friend Nancy Williams.

3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
9 cups water
11 Tablespoons pickling salt (UNiodized)

Sterilize your jars, lids and rings. Combine the ingredients to make a brine. Bring to a boil and keep at a simmer on the stove while you pack your jars. Into each jar put:

1 clove garlic (more if you’d like)
1 teaspoon whole pepper corns
loads of fresh or dried dill
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional, for spicy pickles)
1/2 tsp mustard seed (optional)
All the cucumbers you can pack in

Pour boiling hot brine over the contents of each jar to within 1/2 inch of top. Wipe the jar tops with a clean, dry cloth. Put lids on, twist the rings down tight. You’ll have better luck with jars sealing if you do this step one jar at a time.

You may, if you’d like, process the jars for up to 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. It doesn’t hurt the texture and it helps the jars seal.

Dandelion Jelly

from Jil McIntosh

Pack a 1-litre canning jar with dandelion flowers – only the heads, no stems.

Pour boiling water over to fill, and let stand ten minutes, no longer.

 Strain.

 Measure 3 cups water.

 Add one 57-gram box of Certo crystals.

Bring to a boil.

Stir in 3-1/2 cups sugar, return to a boil, and boil hard 1 minute.

 Bottle and process 5 minutes.

Makes 4-1/2 cups