June 2010

Corn relish

Posted on June 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm in

What do you do when your local grocery store is charging 15 cents an ear of corn? Well, if you’re like me, you roast some and use the rest to make corn relish!

Yield: approximately 6 pint jars

  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 1.25 cups white sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 8 cups corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 4 cups diced seeded red & green bell peppers
  • 1.75 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 0.25 cup water
  • 2 tbsp ClearJel(R) (if you have it)

If you are working with fresh corn, blanch it for 5 minutes in boiling water then cool it in ice water. Shave the kernels off the ears about half way down the kernel, then use the back of the blade to scrape the rest of the kernel off. You will also release a lot of the corn “milk” which will add to the flavour of the relish.

  1. Prepare your hot water bath canner, jars, and lids.
  2. In a large stainless steel saucepan combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Slowly add the corn and veggies, stirring constantly while maintaining a boil. Stir in the celery seed, mustard, and turmeric. Mix the ClearJel(R) into a paste with the water and slowly stir into the veggie mix. Reduce the heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until thick enough to mound on the back of a spoon.
  3. Ladle hot relish into jars, leaving 0.5 inch/1cm head space. Remove air bubbles and top up if necessary. Wipe rim, centre lid on jar, screw lid down to finger tight.
  4. Place jars in hot water bath canner, making sure they are completely covered in water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove lid from canner and leave for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and cool overnight. Label, store, enjoy later!

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Fruity banana chutney

Posted on June 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm in

Ah, chutney. A loanword from the Hindi chatni, it means “spicy preparations to accompany a main dish”. It is also an awesome accompaniment to grilled foods, roasts, and cheeses. As an added bonus, chutney is a great way for parents to sneak extra fruit and veggies onto the plates of fussy eaters!

This recipe combines bananas and dates, two of the favourite foods of our own non-fussy eater, producing a wonderfully tangy, sweet and fruity condiment. Preparing chutney combines two skills you probably already have – making jam and making pickles.

Yield: between 5 and 8 jelly jars (8oz), depending on how thick you like it:
1.5 cups cider vinegar
1 cup chopped, cored, peeled apple
1.5 cups mashed bananas (approximately 3 medium sized bananas)
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup chopped putted prunes
1 cup chopped onion
0.5 cup chopped dried apricot
0.5 cup mixed candied peel (I omitted this when I made this recipe as I didn’t have any!)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1.5 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar
0.5 cup water
1.5 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fresh grated ginger

In a large stainless steel saucepan combine vinegar and apple. Add bananas, dates, prunes, onions, apricots, candied peel (if using) and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add brown sugar, water, coriander, cayenne, allspice, turmeric, and ginger, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil gently, stirring frequently, until it reaches your desired consistency – I like a thicker, more spreadable chutney but you may prefer a more liquid one.

While this is going on, have your jars in the hot water bath canner to sterilise. Clean and prepare the lids and rings.

Ladle the hot chutney into the hot, sterilised jars, leaving 0.5 inch headroom. Remove bubbles and adjust headroom by adding or removing hot chutney. Wipe rim, centre the lid on the rim, and screw down the ring until finger-tight (just tighten the screw ring until the jar starts spinning, don’t screw them down tight).

Process in your hot water bath canner for 10 minutes at a boil. After 10 minutes remove the canner from the heat, remove the lid from the canner, and let them sit for 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a cookie rack or a towel and leave for 24 hours to cool. Label, store, and eat 🙂

chutney with cheese and crackers

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Bread and Butter pickles

Posted on June 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm in

Supposedly so tasty all you need to have with them with is bread and butter, these are the perfect accompaniment to burgers, cold cuts, cheese, and so on. The pickles should be sweet, tangy, and crisp.

Bread and Butter pickles

  • 10 cups sliced trimmed stuff*
  • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup pickling or canning salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp celery seeds
  • 1tsp turmeric

In a non-reactive (stainless steel, glass, or plastic) bowl combine [stuff], onions, and salt. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours then transfer to a colander, rinse thoroughly with cool running water and drain.

Sterilise jars and prepare lids and rings.

In a large non-reactive (stainless steel) saucepan combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and turmeric. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in [stuff] and return to a boil.

Pack room temperature (or chilled) vegetables into hot jars within a generous ½ inch of the top of the jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into the jar to cover vegetables leaving ½ inch headspace.

Put into hot water bath canner, process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid, wait for 5 minutes, remove jars, cool, and store.

* Above I say “stuff”. What do I mean by “stuff”? Well… cucumber, zucchini (courgette), yellow squash… let your imagination, tastebuds, and seasonal produce be your guide! You can also tweak and customise the spices to match your personal tastes – I like to add 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seed to the pickling mix, and throw a dehydrated chilli pepper into the jar – this tweak will not affect the preservation, but will allow you to make something completely to your own tastes. Go on, have some fun!

Why do I say to use room temperature or chilled veggies, when that will reduce the lifespan of the pickles? If you are like me and really enjoy crunchy pickles, cold-packed cucumbers retain a lot of crunch. And if you like them like I do, you won’t notice the reduced shelf life as they will all have been eaten anyway!

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