How-to tips on food canning, preserving, and freezing
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Prepare fruit by crushing, one layer at a time, about 1 quart fully ripe strawberries. Measure sugar into large bowl or pan. Combine, mix well, and let stand 10 minutes. Mix water or lemon juice and commercial pectin in small bowl. Add and stir into fruit. Continue stirring 3 minutes. A few sugar crystals will remain.Skip to next paragraph
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Pour quickly into prepared containers. Cover at once with tight lids. Allow to set at room temperature -- up to 24 hours. Store in freezer. For use within 3 weeks, store in refrigerator.
If you're wondering what to do with too many tomatoes, home-canned tomato juice will use them up quickly and provide you with a flavorful drink. Use only juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes with plenty of ``fresh tomato bouquet,'' advises the author in ``Jean Anderson's Green Thumb Preserving Guide.'' Tomatoes that have been picked green and left to ripen indoors are pithy and flavorless by comparison. It is important, too, that the tomatoes be unblemished, for the smallest moldy spot can spoil an entire
batch of juice. Home-Canned Tomato Juice 20 large, ripe tomatoes 1 medium sweet green or red pepper, minced 2 large yellow onions, minced 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional) 2 celery stalks, diced 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 tablespoon salt
Simmer all ingredients, covered, in large heavy enamel or stainless steel kettle over moderate heat 35 to 40 minutes, stirring now and then, until tomatoes have cooked down to juice. Put through a food mill or fine sieve, forcing out as much juice and solids as possible.
Wash and rinse four 1-quart preserving jars and closures and keep immersed in separate kettles of simmering water until used.
Return strained tomato juice to kettle and bring to full boil. Pour into hot preserving jars, filling each to within 1 inch of top. Wipe jar rims and seal, then process 30 minutes at 10 pounds' pressure in a steam pressure canner.
Remove jars from canner, complete seals if necessary, and cool to room temperature. Check seals, then label jars and store in cool dark place.
In the following recipe, use white onions called silverskins for a strong, crisp relish. For a softer one use yellow or Spanish onions. Onion Relish 1 quart coarsely chopped onions, about 20 white, 8 to 10 medium-size yellows, or 2 to 3 large Spanish onions 1 pint sweet red peppers, diced 1 pint sweet green peppers, diced 1 cup sugar 1 cup white vinegar 4 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Wash and rinse 6 half-pint preserving jars and closures. Keep immersed in separate kettles of simmering water until ready to use.
Combine all ingredients in large heavy enamel or stainless steel kettle. Stir to mix. Bring slowly to boil, uncovered. Mixture should be quite juicy; if not, add 1/4 cup more vinegar.
With slotted spoon and wide-mouth funnel, pack hot relish into hot jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.
Run a spatula around inside of jar to free trapped air bubbles. Wipe rims and seal jars. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath at 212 degrees F.
Remove from water, complete seals, and cool thoroughly. Check seals, then label and store on a cool, dry shelf. Let relish mellow about 3 weeks before serving. Makes 6 half-pints. Sweet and Sour Spiced Crab Apples 3 pounds firm ripe crab apples 3 cups cider vinegar 3 cups water 2 1/4 cups sugar 3 dozen whole cloves 4 to 6 3-inch sticks of cinammon 1 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg or 6 short blades of mace
Wipe fuzz from apples but leave stems on. Wash well and prick with darning needle to keep from bursting.
Tie spices loosely in cheesecloth and place in large kettle with vinegar, water, and sugar. Boil 3 minutes. Add apples and simmer until tender, not mushy. Test after 15 minutes with darning needle.
Discard spice bag and pack apples immediately into hot pint jars and cover with hot syrup in which they were cooked, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process jars in a boiling water bath at 200 degrees F. (100 C.) for 10 minutes. Remove; complete seals if necessary. Makes about 5 pints.
Phyllis Hanes is the Monitor's food editor.