Pickling and Preserving Tips

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How can I peel tomatoes easily?

Easy Tomato Peeling

To easily peel tomatoes before canning, place them in a strainer or colander, plunge into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, then immidiatley remove and submerge into ice cold water. The skins will now be loose and a cinch to remove!

   
Can I reduce the amount of pickling vinegar in my recipe?

Pickling Vinegar: Don't Reduce the Amount

Never reduce the amount of vinegar called for in a recipe. Pickles need a certain level of acidity for proper preservation.
If you find this makes your pickles too tart, add a little bit of sugar next time to sweeten them.

   
What water is best for pickling?

Don't use hard water

Make sure not to use hard water in your pickling solution. The iron and sulfur in the hard water will darken the pickles and can cause cloudiness.
For best results use soft or distilled water.

   
What do I do after taking the jars out of the canner?

Checking Jars and Seals

Make sure to cool your jars completely on cooling racks after they come out of the canner. Also check the seals to make sure the disc part of lid is concave.

   
How do I pickle hot peppers?

Pickled Peppers

Hot peppers are relatively easy to pickle.
Make a solution of half 5% vinegar, half water, and add whatever spices you prefer.
Put the peppers into cold canning jars, add enough pickling solution to cover the peppers, seal the jars, and then place them in a hot water canning bath. Process them at: 20 minutes for pint jars and 25 minutes for quart jars.

   
How can I prevent my pickles from softening?

Preventing Pickle Softening

You can prevent your pickles from softening during storage by trimming off 1/16 of an inch off the blossom end of each cucumber before pickling.

   
How can I make ketchup?

Making Ketchup

4 pounds of tomatoes - cored and
chopped, 2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup malt or apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt. Puree ingredients together. Place in saucepan and cook slowly over low heat - about 1 1/2 hours. Stir frequently. Pass hot liquid through a sieve to remove any remaining chunks. Add 1 crushed Vitamin C tablet to preserve color. Freeze or can for storage. Or - store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Spice it up: Added 1 tbs commercial hot Pepper sauce before
cooking, or try adding paprika and cayenne pepper to taste

   
How do I store my pickling cucumbers?

Don't store cukes in fridge....

If you don't have time to pickle your cucumbers the same day you pick them, keep them in a cool basement or root cellar until you're ready to start.
Do not store them in the fridge. Cucumbers begin to dereriorate at temperatures below 50 degrees.

   
Freeze tomatoes

Freezing Tomatoes For Stews

Freeze your tomatoes whole. Add frozen whole tomatoes to stews. The skins will break and can be removed.

   
condition of jars

Check Your Jars

Before starting to pickle, make sure all your canning jars are in good condition with no cracks or nicks.

   
Is it possible to overcook pickles?

Overcooking Pickles

When cooking pickles, never exceed the time called for in the recipe. Overprocessing will easily turn them mushy.

   
Softening the sealing compound on lid discs

boiling discs

Five minutes before filling jars with pickles or relish, immerse discs in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften the sealing compound. It is not necessary to boil the ring part of the lids.

   
How can I preserve peppers?

Freezer Peppers

Fresh peppers can be frozen for later use in stews and chilies but they will be too soft to use raw. To freeze, cut into halves, core and seed; Cut into 1/4-1/2-inch squares. Place in freezer bags, press out air,- will keep for about 6 months. Cook frozen.

   
How do I make my own ground pepper?

Pepper Flakes

Making your own pepper flakes is easy.
Pick your peppers, cut them open, remove the seeds, then lay the cut pieces on a screen in a dry airy location or dry them in a food dehydrater.
Once they are dry, simply grind them up and place in a jar.
Note: be sure to wear gloves when handling hot peppers.

   
Should I freeze my dried vegetables?

Freezing Dried Vegetables

Dried foods will keep longer if you you put them in the freezer after drying rather than in the kitchen cabinets.
And dried food take up much less space in the freezer than the same undried frozen foods.

   
Why should I use canning tongs?

Safety: Use Canning Tongs

Use canning tongs to remove jars from a boiling water bath canner. They hold jars securely and safely as you transfer them from the canner to cooling racks.

   
juice in fruits

Fruit Juices

When making fruit juices, remember that the amount of juice you'll get depends on how much fluid is in the fruit to begin with, and how you extract it.
For example, apples and berries, which contain high amounts of solids and pectins, will produce less juice than grapes. And the more powerful your juice extractor, the better job it will do of extracting every last bit of juice from your fruit.

   
How do I sterilize canning jars for pickling?

Sterilising Canning Jars

Jars processed in a boiling water bath less than 15 minutes need to be sterilized.
Here's how:
fill boiling water bath canner about two-thirds full of hot water; set jars on rack and lower into water, letting water fill jars. Add wide-mouthed metal funnel and 1/2 cup (125 mL) metal measure for filling jars. Cover and bring to boil; boil for 15 minutes, timing so jars are ready at same time as pickles.

   
How can I make home made fruit powder?

Fruit Powder

Dry the fruits for an extra long time, then grind them in a coffee mill or food proccessor to a flour like consistency. Then for every cup of flour called for in your recipe, add 1/2 cup of the fruit powder as well.
Just mix it in with the flour.
You may have to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra liquid to your recipe by doing this.

   
Canning with extra flavour with herbs and spices

Adding Extra Flavour

Here's a way to give your canned fruits or vegetables some extra flavour without adding any salt.
Tie a variety of herbs and spices up in a cheesecloth or spice bag and drop the bag in to cook along with whatever you're making. Before canning, simply remove the bag.

   
How do I prevent jar rims from getting splashed?

Filling Jars

When filling jars, use a sterilized metal measure for ladling and a sterilized funnel to prevent jar rims from getting splashed with food. If rims do get
sticky, wipe with damp paper towel.

   
How long do I boil the pickling vinegar?

Pickling Vinegar

Never boil a vinegar solution longer than the recipe calls for. Overboiling will evaporate the vinegar's acetic acid - reducing the vinegar's acidity.
Pickles need a certain level of this acidity to preserve well.

   
How do I dry green beans?

Dried Green Beans

To make dried green beans, string the beans on a heavy thread, blanch the strung beans as you would any vegetable, towel dry, arrange the beans on the string so they are not touching each other, and hang them in a warm dark well ventilated area.

   
How can I rehydrate vegetables faster?

Fast Rehydrating

Here's a tip to save time when preparing meals using your dried produce.
If you blanch your vegetables before you dry them, they will rehydrate quicker than if you hadn't.

   
How do I prevent mineral deposits on my canning jars?

Avoiding Mineral Deposits

To prevent your canning jars from developing mineral deposits, add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the water in the canner before processing.

   
How do I can asparagus?

Canning Asparagus

Wash and drain asparagus spears. Leave spears whole or cut into pieces. Boil 3 minutes. While hot, place into canning jars, leaving 1 inch head space. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pints, 1 teaspoon salt to quarts, if desired. Cover with boiling water. Adjust caps. Process in steam pressure canner 25 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts, at 10 pounds of pressure (240° F). Keep canned asparagus on a shelf, in as cool and dry a place as possible. Date jars as you prepare them and use the oldest jars first. Use within a year.

   
Freezing juices

Freezing Juices

To freeze juice, simply pour the juice into ice cube trays, freeze, and then put the cubes in plastic freezer bags.
Citrus juices store the best using this method.

   
Is there something other than ascorbic acid I can use in drying fruit?

Honey Lemon Dip For Drying

Rather than using ascorbic acid to prevent apples, apricots, and peaches from darkening as they dry, you can use a honey lemon dip. Mix together 1 cup of honey, 1 cup of water and the juice of 1 lemon.
Dip your fruits into it before drying.

   
pumpkin preserves

Frozen Pumpkin Preserves

Pumpkin preserves should be refrigerated or frozen.
They can not be safely canned in a water bath because of the low acid content of pumpkins. Also, the USDA advises against canning any pureed squash product in a pressure cooker because of poor heat transfer.

   
How can I make easy frozen treats?

Frozen Treat

Freeze some of your fruit sauces in ice cube trays for addtions to teas or punches.
Or place a popsicle stick into the cubes to make your own frozen fruit treats.

   
Which vegetables need blanching before drying?

Blanching

Most produce has to be blanched before drying.
However, you don't have to blanch garlic, leeks, onions, pepper and tomatoes before drying;they keep their qualites without it.

   
How can I sun dry tomatoes?

Sun Dried Vegetables

Dry some of your produce in the sun instead of using an oven or dryer for the job. Just put your produce in the sun on a a clean screen covered by cheesecloth.
The easiest herbs to dry this way are rosemary, sage, savory, tarrogon, and thyme.
Vegetables that are easy to dry this way include small hot peppers, black eyed peas, fava beans, and lima beans.
You can also dry apricots, dates and prunes the same way.

   
Should I puree my produce before canning?

Puree

When pureeing your produce, crush the food while you are heating it instead of before.
This will help prevent the food from separating after it's canned.

   
Should I use drying racks for my vegetables?

Drying Racks

Many people dry their vegetables on cookie sheets in an oven set at very low.
You can get much better quality if you put your produce on drying trays, racks, or other porous holders, instead of on baking sheets.
This causes warm air to circulate evenly around the produce for faster, more uniform drying.

   
How can I make home made tomato paste?

Oven Canned Tomato Paste

If you wish, you can use your oven instead of your stove to make tomato paste. This actually makes it easier because you don't have to stand over the stove while making it. You can actually leave the kitchen while the paste cooks.
Cook the tomatoes in a roasting pan at 350 degrees with the lid on, until the tomatoes break down. Then process into a puree and bake again, this time at 300 degrees with the lid off so that the water can evaporate and the puree can thicken.

   
How can I dry grapes?

Grapes

Grapes and other tough skinned fruits will dry faster if you nick the the skin with a knife. Use a sharp knife and carefully cut a slit through the skin, but try not to cut into the pulp.

   
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Joe Wallace
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