Posts Tagged With: banana peppers

Canning Classes and HOT Pickled Peppers!

That’s me in the salmon shirt at the stove. Isn’t my friend Sarah’s kitchen amazing? It really was the perfect gathering place for 20+ women.

Monday night I was honored to be asked to teach a canning class for my church’s Mom’s Group, MOMentum, at the home of a new friend.  I knew about this class several months ago, a fact that did not discourage me from my typical procrastinating style.  I started thinking about the class a week in advance, but it wasn’t until about a day before the actual class that I finally decided on WHAT to can!  I had to keep it simple since it was an introductory class, I also needed to keep it short since it was an evening class and well, everyone has lives outside of food preservation.

Some of the lovely ladies at the class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, my fabulous in-laws gifted me with an entire bowl of what we all thought were banana peppers.  I discovered this honest mistake at the expense of my poor one-year-old’s reaction to chomping down on a pepper ring.  I quickly tasted the offending ring and realized that this was no innocent banana pepper!  This baby was HOT!  And my baby was MAD!  I’m pretty sure she’s scarred for life over peppers, and there’s a good chance she’ll never trust me again.  Mama duped her, ain’t no two ways about it!

Another shot of this gorgeous stove, and me trying to look nonchalant. I really don’t think “nonchalant” is a word anyone would use to describe me, no matter how hard I try to achieve the appearance of such. (Yes, I’m aware of the oxymoron there)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, I digress.  So I settled on pickling these spicy peppers since I had them, and also because the recipe is simple, and they only needed to process for 10 minutes.  Perfect!  I washed and cut them all into rings before the class.  I brought samples of everything I have canned this year, which looked kinda cool on my friend’s counter, I have to admit.  I brought my pressure canner, mostly because I wanted to show it off, but also because I really have no desire to use my “borrowed” boiling-water canner anymore.  The pressure canner is taller, and I never have the concern that it will boil over like I did with the boiling-water canner.  Since I can use my pressure canner AS a boiling-water canner, why not?

Sarah, our host, teaching us about how to make delicious, healthy smoothies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The class went well!  I’m not a natural teacher, despite the fact that I used to be a musical theater actress in high school and college.  I get wildly nervous standing on the same floor as my peers, trying to get information from my brain out of my mouth in a coherent manner.  Being up on a stage with rehearsed lines… way different.  At any rate, we all had a lot of fun, and I think I was able to sputter out the basic steps of canning.

It did occur to me, however, that although the steps are usually included with my recipes in my posts, I really should have a specific page dedicated to them.

More harvest posts are coming as well, I have been canning nearly every day for about two weeks and have lots to share with you!  For now, here is the recipe for Hot Pickled Peppers!

Hot Pickled Peppers (Recipe adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

What you will need:

  • 2 lbs hot yellow peppers
  • 6 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Directions:

  1. Heat jars in boiling-water canner
  2. Place lids in small saucepan, simmer (not boil) until ready to use
  3. Wash peppers and slice into rings.  Consider wearing gloves while doing this step, otherwise avoid touching anything on your face for the rest of the day!
  4. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, water and garlic.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes, until garlic flavor has infused the liquid.  Discard garlic.
  5. Pack peppers into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch (1 cm) headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary.  Wipe rim, center lid on jar.  Fingertip-tighten rings.
  6. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are covered by water by at least 1 inch.  Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat, remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars to a towel on the counter, cool, label and store.

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

Garden Update and an Arugula Pecan Pesto Recipe!

It’s growing in nicely!

The right box, with cucumbers climbing up the trellis, three tomato plants, one snap pea plant, two green bean plants, three banana pepper plants, and a row of spinach.

So far I am completely sold on Square Foot Gardening.  It is 1000 times easier than row gardening, and truly, weeding is a pleasure!  Besides manipulating the tomato plants up their cages or the cukes up the trellis, pulling the occasional weed in my true SFG boxes is the ONLY maintenance I have had to do.

There are red and white potatoes growing here. I still want to get sweet potatoes going, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

If you are not familiar with Square Foot Gardening, Mel insists that a key component to SFG success is “Mel’s Mix”.  This is a soil mixture of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost.  Mel instructs us to not use our existing garden soil, but instead to create Mel’s Mix ourselves and fill the boxes with it.  My husband was extremely skeptical of purchasing soil components when we live surrounded by fields…using existing soil…growing wonderfully…  I didn’t blame him, but as the only one who does the weeding, I insisted in experimenting.  He agreed that I could fill some of the boxes with Mel’s Mix as long as I left our existing soil in the others.  Anyway, long story just to tell you that the potato box above used our existing soil.  It’s not a great photograph, but I can assure you the 40% of the green is weeds.  I went two days without checking on the garden once and when I walked out there the potato box was completely overrun with weeds!  It was a good reminder to me of last year’s garden – row style, that I lost to weeds.  I am happy to report that this year, however, that the rest of the boxes are 99% weed-free!

I lost two of my Roma tomato plants, but the other six are coming up nicely. On the far end is an abundance of Arugula, and in the middle are two Romaine heads. I planted Romaine in several spots, but those are the only two coming up.

In this picture the arugula has already been mostly harvested.  Besides basil, it’s the first thing I harvested from the garden!  I was totally shocked with how much arugula came up, and a little bummed by how little Romaine came up.  I plan on planting more soon though, although I’m not sure it will come up in the heat of summer.  Anyone know the answer to that for me?

Some leaf lettuce on the end, and two tiny watermelon plants slowly coming up! Hopefully by next month the watermelon vines will be taking over the fence!

You can see the larger watermelon plant to the upper right of the leaf lettuce.  That one was started from seed and is looking really healthy, albeit small.  In the upper left corner next to that white stick is the second watermelon plant.  This one I purchased as a seedling from a local greenhouse, and handed it to my 4-year-old Big Helper to take over to the garden for me.  The next thing I heard was “Oops, Mommy, I think you should have taken this out.”  She had pulled the seedling straight out of the carton, completely exposing the roots!  All I could do was chuckle, and try to salvage the plant.  It’s not doing too great, needless to say.

Cucumbers climbing the trellis

Tomatoes!

Pickle blossoms…Makes my mouth water just seeing these!

This is the 5th time I’ve tried to grow basil, and the FIRST time I’ve been successful! I have 4 healthy plants! Go, Mel’s Mix!

Only two beans plants came up, I think I will plant more though because green beans are my absolute favorite harvest, fresh out of the garden! I could eat these all day long!

I made a few mistakes planning my garden, but then I expected to make some mistakes my first time at SFG.  I spaced some of the plants a little unwisely, like putting the peppers next to the tomatoes and trying to grow snap peas in between two tomato plants.  Next year I think I will plant all my tomatoes along the fence, where they can grow as bushy as they want without stealing the sunlight from other plants.

My poor banana pepper plants aren’t getting enough sun, although they are still producing some flowers. I’m going to try to stake them away from the tomatoes, towards the spinach.

This sad little snap pea plant is completely overshadowed by two big bully tomato plants. I love snap peas passionately, but I’ve not had success with them yet. This is the third time I’ve tried to grow them…looks like I’ll have to try again next year!

Ok, enough about my garden!  Let’s get to the recipe!  Here’s the thing:  I’m not a huge fan of arugula raw.  Or at least I didn’t think I was, until I was faced with an overabundance of the stuff!  I happened to be surfing Pinterest for clever ways to serve pesto as an appetizer when I came across a recipe for arugula pesto.  So I whipped some up and it turns out that it is fantastic! I doubled this recipe mostly because I had so much arugula and also because I wanted to give some as gifts.  I also changed the recipe slightly.  The original recipe would call for a whole cup of oil to double the recipe, but as I was slowly adding the oil, it reached consistency at around 3/4 of a cup.

Arugula Pecan Pesto (This made enough for 2 half-pint jars)

What you will need:

  • 4 cups arugula, washed
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for toasting
  • salt and pepper if needed (I didn’t use any)
  • Food processor

Directions:

Warm a little oil in a saute pan on the stove and toast the garlic and pecans for about 2-3 minutes.

Add all ingredients, except salt and pepper, and half the oil to the food processor and pulse a few times.  Stop, scrape down the sides, then turn the food processor back on, adding the rest of the oil while the machine is running.

When the pesto has reached the consistency desired taste it and decide if it needs salt or pepper.  I think the arugula adds all the pepper it needs, and the cheese adds all the salt it needs, but you may decide it needs more.

After the pesto looks like this, it’s ready to be consumed!  You can mix it into pasta, spread it on toasted bread or pizza, or get creative!  I think it can be canned, but I haven’t tried that yet.  I’m going to whip up another batch soon though and try it, and then I’ll update this post.  I’m also pretty sure it will be fine frozen, I also haven’t tried that.

We’re having this on pizza for dinner tonight topped with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes!  Stay tuned for another arugula recipe coming soon!  (This post is already a wee bit long 😉 ) *Update* Here it is!  American Wedding Soup!

Does anyone have any other good uses for arugula for me?  I really do have a lot!  And if you live in the Toledo area, I’m happy to share!

Categories: Journal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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