Monthly Archives: April 2013

Yet Another Plug for Kale Chips. Worth It!

kalechips

Check me out!  I made one of those fancy pictures-with-words button thingies!  It took way longer than it needed to, but I couldn’t decide on the font I wanted to use, and then I REALLY couldn’t decide on the COLOR of the font I wanted to use.  I’m still not super content with it, but eventually you just have to say to yourself, “Chelsea, it’s a picture.  Going on a blog.  You have children who want lunch.”

My new camera took this shot!  Cool, huh?  I'm still amazed by some of the stuff this thing can do all on it's own!

My new camera took this shot! Cool, huh? I’m still amazed by some of the stuff this thing can do all on it’s own!

Anyway, I know, I know.  KALE.  Sigh.  It’s all the rage.  Everyone is talking about it.  I’m supposed to rise above the commonplace recipes of the world and post about canning salmon and other interesting things that people aren’t going to find all over Pinterest.  But darn it, kale is good!  And this is totally relevant because I’m using my dehydrator instead of an oven like everyone else…  heh heh!

Actually, the first 10 times I made kale chips (which, by the way, is the only way I’ve ever eaten kale…) I used my oven.  I followed a few suggestions I found online at various degrees of temperature for various amounts of time.  The results were always the same:  One third of the chips were still soggy, one third were burned to a crisp, and the remaining third was edible and addicting.  So finally my husband actually suggested the dehydrator to me!

Folk, we have a winner!  THIS is the best way to make kale chips.  If you don’t have a dehydrator, it’s time to invest in one.  Go on craigslist and get a used one.  You’ll use it for lots of things, but for now you’ll be running it all week making kale chips!  These are just as good as everyone says they are – unlike the crunchy chickpea scam!  (Anyone else disillusioned by those?)

Dehydrated Kale Chips

What you will need:

There’s lots of variations to make these, but the best that I’ve found is salt & vinegar.  You can use regular vinegar, cider vinegar, or leftover sherry vinegar from your preserved garlic experiment!

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Vinegar
  • 1 tsp fine salt or 2 tsp coarse salt

Directions:

Tear leaves away from stems, wash and pat dry with paper towels.  In a gallon-sized resealable bag, add kale, oil , vinegar and half the salt.  Press air out of the bag, and massage the liquids into the leaves.  No need to be gentle!  These leaves are tough!

Tear leaves away from stems, wash and pat dry with paper towels. In a gallon-sized resealable bag, add kale, oil , vinegar and half the salt. Press air out of the bag, and massage the liquids into the leaves. No need to be gentle! These leaves are tough!

Spread the kale onto two trays, sprinkle with remaining salt.

Spread the kale onto two trays, sprinkle with remaining salt. Set dehydrator to Fruits/Vegetables (135*F), turn on.

After about an hour, they should be done!  They should be perfectly crispy, no sogginess at all.  Enjoy!

After about an hour, they should be done! They should be perfectly crispy, no sogginess at all. Enjoy!

And here's the top picture without the text mussing up our view.

And here’s the top picture without the text mussing up our view.

Advertisements
Categories: Dehydrating, Vegetables | Tags: , , , ,

Homemade Ketchup and an Update You Didn’t Ask For

Remember me?

It’s been awhile…  4 months, to be more specific.  I haven’t forgotten you!  Just got caught up in life!  I have a few new adventures – one being that my husband, after nearly 3 years of being unemployed, got a job!  He actually went into my family’s business and is LOVING it!  I’m so happy for him, because he’s spent most of his career being relatively unsatisfied.  Now he’s running a school catering business and putting his super annoy… incredible efficiency skills to good use!  Another bit of news is that I have a “job” too!  I started babysitting these two darling girls who are sisters, just 11 months and 20 months old.  (Crazy people!  My girls are three YEARS apart and I thought that was kinda fast!!)  It’s a really good fit, having four girls running around during the day, and it makes me chuckle a little to think that with cleaning my parent’s house every other week and babysitting full time during the week, I’m actually getting PAID to be a stay-at-home Mom!  Ha!

So, life is good!  I also invested in a new camera, and after my next two posts (which are already photographed by my old crappy camera)  you will start seeing some sharper pictures of the canning process.  I sure know how to keep you on pins and needles, eh Dear Reader?  🙂

A sneak peak of my new photographic capabilities!  This is my youngest daughter, Dagny.  Isn't she just the epitome of summer here?

A sneak peak of my new photographic capabilities! This is my youngest daughter, Dagny. Isn’t she just the epitome of summer memories here?

Anyway, I made some ketchup way back, even before Christmas.  I think I even alluded to it like a tease on my Facebook Page, but then never bothered to post it.  This ended up being a blessing in disguise though, because it gave my family time to actually consume the ketchup!  I still have a quart left, and I’ve learned a few valuable lessons:

1. Make this in small batches.  Unless you eat ketchup every single day with every single meal, you probably won’t consume an entire quart before it goes bad.

2. Do not store this in one of those cool retro red ketchup bottles or anything that doesn’t have a lid in the refrigerator, because if you do you will find yourself eating it and thinking it doesn’t taste quite right.  And then you will discover mold.  And then you will die of horror.

3. Do not put too much cayenne in the batch or your children will not eat it.  Wussies.

4. Whilst in the “reduction” phase of this recipe, a “low boil” is NOT the same as a “simmer”.  A low boil is more like reducing the heat from a high heat to a medium heat.  You want the sauce to boil down sometime while you’re still young, and if you turn the heat all the way down to simmer, you will die and be buried before it ever reaches the consistency you desire.  I’m actually writing from Heaven as we speak.  It’s amazing up here!  Say yes to Jesus!

5. Make this.  It’s really good and worth buying all the unfamiliar spices for!  The directions are all from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation, and they claim that the consistency will be thinner than commercial ketchup.  I think you can probably get pretty close to the right consistency depending on your patience in the reduction phase.  My batch turned out a little thinner than Heinz, but still held up nicely on a french fry.

Homemade Ketchup or Catsup for you weirdos out there 😉

Makes about 7 pint jars

What you will need:

  • 3 Tbsp celery seeds
  • 4 tsp whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (4 inches each), broken into pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole allspice
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 24 lbs tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup pickling or canning salt

Directions:

1. Tie celery seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice in a corner of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.

1. Tie celery seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice in a corner of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.

2. In a stainless steel saucepan, add vinegar and spice bag.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Remove from heat and let stand for 25 minutes.  Discard spice bag.

2. In a stainless steel saucepan, add vinegar and spice bag. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 25 minutes. Discard spice bag.

3. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine tomatoes, onions and cayenne.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 20 minutes.  Add infused vinegar and boil gently until vegetables are soft and mixture begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.  (I actually pureed and strained my tomatoes before adding the vinegar.  You can do it either way.)

3. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine tomatoes, onions and cayenne. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently for 20 minutes. Add infused vinegar and boil gently until vegetables are soft and mixture begins to thicken, about 30 minutes. (I actually pureed and strained my tomatoes before adding the vinegar. You can do it either way.)

Using a food mill or a food processor and working in batches, puree mixture.  Transfer mixture to a mesh colander placed over a glass or stainless steel bowl, shaking and  banging the colander on the side of the bowl to force the liquids through.  Discard solids.

4. Using a food mill or a food processor and working in batches, puree mixture. Transfer mixture to a mesh colander placed over a glass or stainless steel bowl, shaking and banging the colander on the side of the bowl to force the liquids through. Discard solids.

 

5. Return liquid to saucepan.  Add sugar and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by half and mixture is almost the consistency of commercial ketchup, about 45 minutes

6. Meanwhile, prepare jars and lids.  See Instructions for Boiling-Water Canning.

7. Ladle hot ketchup into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary, by adding hot ketchup.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistence is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

8. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

I chose to can this into quarts, which I would not recommend.  Pints or half-pints make much more sense since there are no preservatives!  (Am I wearing a muumuu in the reflection?  That was SO 4 months ago! Tsk!)

I chose to can this into quarts, which I would not recommend. Pints or half-pints make much more sense since there are no preservatives! (Am I wearing a muumuu in the reflection? That was SO 4 months ago! Tsk!)

Categories: Canning, High-Acid, Journal, Tomatoes | Tags: , , , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: