Tag Archives: canning

Pickled Mission Figs


We have several mission fig trees growing wild on the ranch. As a little kid, I spent a massive amount of time climbing and hanging out in the huge, cool fig tree canopies. I have lovely memories of my cousins coming over and playing with me as well, so figs always remind me of that. And pig enemas, but that is for a different post.img_5199

Around the first of August, when the main crop of missions ripen, I get to picking and canning. I’m not a fan of eating figs because of the pig thing I mentioned above, but I enjoy picking them because it reminds me of being a kid. Plus anything I can grow or glean needs to be canned or pickled, because it does.

Last summer I tried this recipe and everyone loved it. I was told these figs were great as a snack, with charcuterie, on salads, etc. I made them again this year just to compliment my charcuterie plates and so I could blog the recipe for you.

 Pickled Mission Figs *

  • 4 quarts firm, ripe figs
  • 5 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 quarts water
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 star anise (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
Figs soaking in their hot water bath.

Figs soaking in their hot water bath.

Boil water and pour over figs, let stand until cool. Combine 3 cups of sugar and 2 quarts of water and heat until the sugar dissolves. And the figs and gently cook for 30 minutes.  Add 2 cups sugar and vinegar. Tie spices (except for the vanilla bean just thrown that right in with the figs after you slice it open) in a spice bag and add to the figs. Simmer for about an hour.

Despite the hot vinegar, this does smell good.

Despite the hot vinegar, this does smell good.

Cover the figs and let stand in a cool place for 12-24 hours.  Bring back up to a simmer. Pack the figs into sterilized pint or quart jars. leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process 15 minutes in boiling-water canner.

Pickled figs

Pickled figs

 

You might also want to try:

Homemade Balsamic Figs

Pickled Figs 

Mrs. Little’s Pickled Figs

*based on the Ball Blue Canning Book recipe

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Pickled Blueberries

‘I can pickle that’ has become my mantra. I know I say that every year and every year I say this is the final year, but who am I kidding? I have a canning addiction. I’ve really gotten into pickling fruit because it compliments my charcuterie plates well. I love being able to make a whole plate of amazing cured fruit and meat, it’s a simple pleasure.

This is what a blueberry bush looks like.

This is what a blueberry bush looks like.

One of my friends recently told me she had pickled blueberries with a fancy meal she ate. Of course the ‘I can pickle’ that voice went off in my head and I had a new mission in life, pickled blueberries.

I finally made and ate some and I was not disappointed. They are tart, but sweet, with spiced warm undertones. I think they’d be delicious on ice cream! Or in a salad! Here is the recipe I used. Enjoy!

Pickled Blueberries

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 quarts fresh blueberries, washed and picked over
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
The start of pickles.

The start of pickles.

Place the first 3 ingredients into a cheesecloth square, to make a spice sachet. Put into a large saucepan with the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes.

Ready for their bath.

Ready for their bath.

Stir blueberries into the saucepan, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Gently shake the pot. Do not stir or you will break the berries. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

Strain berries from the liquid and remove the spice sachet. Place berries to hot, sterilized canning jars. Return vinegar to the saucepan and place over high heat. Stir in the white and brown sugars; bring to a boil. Boil until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Ladle hot syrup over berries, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. I like to give them a week to really pickle before I eat them. 

Yum.

Yum.

Also try:

Blueberry Meyer-Lemon Jam 

Spiced Blueberry Jammin’

Blueberry Jam Sugar Scrub 

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Pickled Garlic

Neighbor Pete brought me a big box of freshly harvested garlic a few weeks ago. I love garlic and use it in most meals when I can. One of my favorite things ever is to roast it in the oven or on the BBQ and eat it on good french bread. However, neighbor Pete brought me more garlic than I could use in a reasonable amount of time. So I had to get creative – I had to can it.

My huge ass box of delicious fresh garlic.

My huge ass box of delicious fresh garlic.

This is a super easy recipe! And so so so good! I could probably eat a jar of this myself without a problem.

Pickled Garlic 

6 cups peeled garlic cloves (do yourself a favor and buy the pre-peeled ones at Costco)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon canning salt
3 cups 5% vinegar
bay leaves

Peeled garlic. By hand. Such a pain. But so worth it in the end!

Peeled garlic. By hand. Such a pain. But so worth it in the end!

Peeling this much fresh garlic is not fun. I tried all the tricks, shaking it in the bowl, using that special garlic tube – nothing worked as well as peeling it by hand. After peeling 6 cups of garlic cloves by hand, I was not amused and my nails hurt!!! Just buy the pre-peeled stuff, trust me.

Yum.

Yum.

Mix the sugar, salt and vinegar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once you have your cloves peeled blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Pack your hot garlic into your sterilized, hot half pint jars with a bay leaf. Ladle the hot vinegar mixture over the garlic and leave ¼ inch headspace. Adjust your lids and process in a water canner for 10 minutes.

I almost ate this whole jar in one sitting. It's so mild and sweet! One of my favorite things!

I almost ate this whole jar in one sitting. It’s so mild and sweet! One of my favorite things!

Give it about two weeks to cure. And that is it! So easy and so good.

 

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Apricot Jalapeno Jam

My friend Aaron and I, this year! (We've been friends for like over a decade now!)

My friend Aaron and I, this year! (We’ve been friends for, like, over a decade now!)

Everyone needs a friend like Aaron. Aaron is my friend from college that everyone liked and everyone knew. For some reason, he stayed friends with me and pretty much fulfills my happy place when it comes to food. He works in production agriculture so he hooks this girl up with wonderful things like walnuts, oils, and apricots! I try and keep him elbow deep in jam and jelly – everyone seems happy so far.

Aaron apricots! I spent a good two weeks processing these, it was dreamy!

Aaron apricots! I spent a good two weeks processing these, it was dreamy!

Aaron got me something like 40 pounds of apricots this year. I love apricots, they are sweet little golden nuggets of warm delicious goodness. They made a fabulous jam. And jam I did! I made plain apricot, ginger, vanilla, but the best was apricot jalapeno! Something about sweet and spicy brings me joy. 

Apricot-Jalapeno Jam 

  • 3  cups finely chopped apricots (about 25 medium)
  • ½ cup minced jalapeno
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 3-oz pouch liquid pectin
  • 1/2 tsp butter (optional, it keeps the foam down)
  • 5-3/4 cups sugar

 

Instead of chopping the jalapenos and apricots, I just toss them in my trusty cuisinart.

Instead of chopping the jalapenos and apricots, I just toss them in my trusty cuisinart.

Mix apricots, jalapeno, lemon juice and sugar in large saucepan. Add butter. Bring to a rolling boil, one that cannot be stirred down. Add pectin and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and skim any foam. Place in jars, adjust lids and bands. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

The best jam I made all summer, hands down. It tastes like summer!

The best jam I made all summer, hands down. It tastes like summer! This makes about 7 half pints.

Serve this jam on cream cheese with wheat thins, or as a marinade on chicken or pork. It’s so good!

Adapted from here.

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Zucchini Pickles

http://www.fix.com/blog/national-zucchini-day/

In honor of “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” night, I thought this would be a good time to share with you my latest new favorite thing: zucchini pickles. I know, I know, at this point in the summer you are tired of squash. I was too, until I tried these!

Neighbor Pete told me his Mom used to make pickles out of zucchini and they were delicious. I was hesitant to say the least. But since he gave me several pounds of zucchini and a couple of onions from his garden, I decided to at least try!

Pete's garden zucchini

Pete’s garden zucchini

Guess what? They were amazing. I couldn’t even tell they were zucchini pickles, they tasted and had the texture of normal cucumber pickles! If you have a bunch of extra zucchini (who doesn’t, amirite?) I highly recommend you give these a go!

Lucas Family Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

  • 1 gallon sliced zucchini
  • 2 big onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
Soaking in salt ice is an important step, don't skip it.

Soaking in salt ice is an important step, don’t skip it.

Soak the zucchini, onions, and salt in an ice water bath for two and half hours. Rinse in cold water.

Invest in a cheap mandoline, it is worth it for the beautiful, uniform slices and not stitches!

Invest in a cheap mandoline, it is worth it for the beautiful, uniform slices and not stitches!

Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil. I let it boil about 5 minutes. Put about half of the rinsed zucchini and onions in the pickling mixture to scald. Then place in sterilized, hot jars. Do the same with the rest of the zucchini and onions, making sure to pack them tightly and to remove air bubbles.

Your pickling liquid.

Your pickling liquid.

 Adjust your lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Glorious, glorious bread and butter pickles!

Glorious, glorious bread and butter pickles!

Let them “pickle” for about two weeks to really get the full effect. Also if you are a fan of spice, add some peppers in there! I’ve been adding jalapenos into some jars and it makes the pickles even better!

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Giveaway: “Vintage” Poster

I love a good giveaway! Especially when it means I get something!

I had a nail in one of the tires on my truck, so while waiting for the nice people over at Les Schwab to fix it for me, I accidentally did some shopping.

I found the coolest posters! I had to buy them! Since I don’t have room in my house for all three, I’m doing a giveaway!!! Two of these are going to be adorable framed in my office, one is going to be adorable somewhere in your home!

This giveaway is for one of these posters! You pick!

 

Cows!

Cows!

OR

Canning!

Canning!

OR

Cameras!

Cameras!

 

I will select a winner next Tuesday, July 10, 2014, using random.org. Just leave me a comment below!!

Good luck!

 

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Kumquat Marmalade

Marmalade is good.

Marmalade is good.

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you will know that one of my many obsessions hobbies includes gardening. My gardening extends to tree growing as well, in fact, my yard’s fence is made out of dwarf citrus trees. All kinds! From naval orange to kumquats to citrons, I have a nice variety.

I was forced to pick all of my citrus this week because of the rare cold snap we’ve had here in Northern California. I’ve actually had to wear two pairs of yoga pants to do my chores in the morning. Anyway, I have a glut of citrus and I was scrabbling to find recipes to use all my citrus up. I made citrus curd. I made salted lemons – it was time for marmalade.

2 cups of chopped kumquat.

2 cups of chopped kumquat.

Since I am not a huge fan of eating plain ole kumquats, I thought the perfect application would be marmalade. Off the the Ball Blue Canning Book I went and found:

Kumquat Marmalade

2 cups thinly sliced kumquats

1 1/2 cups chopped orange pulp

1 1/2 cups sliced orange peel

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 quarts water

sugar

Use a sharp knife, it will make cutting these little suckers easier.

Use a sharp knife, it will make cutting these little suckers easier.

Combine everything except the sugar in a large saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and let stand overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, place your mixture back in a saucepan and cook rapidly until your peels are soft. Measure your mixture and add equal amount of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Bring to a boil, stirring often to the gelling point.

I used almost 8 cups of sugar for this recipe - be aware.

I used almost 8 cups of sugar for this recipe – be aware.

Remove from heat, skim foam and place in sterilized jars. Process in a water-bath canner for 10 minutes.

Cooking jam is so pretty.

Cooking jam is so pretty.

These looked amazing too:

Sunday Morning Kumquat Jam 

Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade 

Kumquat Marmalade 

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Pomegranate Jalapeno Jam

Pomegranate jalapeno jam. The best thing ever.

Pomegranate jalapeno jam. AKA the best thing ever.

I had a Facebook friend mention she made pomegranate jalapeno jam for Christmas gift. Since we have a few pomegranate trees and I grew a crapton of jalapenos, I felt the immediate need to make it. I scampered out to the garden and picked my special hot jalapenos and a bucket of pomegranates.

This is what a pomegranate tree looks like.

This is what a pomegranate tree looks like.

Juicing pomegranates is its own special kind of fun, the little pips will spit red juice at you and stain everything, the pith holds tight to the pips, it’s a lot of work. I have found if you put your pomegranate under water it makes it much easier to remove the pips.

Trust me, this prevents a lot of mess.

Trust me, this prevents a lot of mess.

My Mom has one of those industrial steam juicers, that makes it a whisper easier to juice them as well. If you don’t have access to pomegranates just go buy a bottle of Pom Wonderful juice and cheat, actually I highly recommend doing that, it will save you a lot of time.

Steam juicer. I love this thing.

Steam juicer. I love this thing.

3.5 cups pomegranate juice

1 cup jalapeno pulp (about 6 large)

6 Tbsp Classic Pectin (Or 1 box)

1/2 tsp butter

5 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

Puree your jalapenos with 1/2 cup pomegranate juice in your cuisinart, you  may use less or more jalapenos, just make sure you end up with 4.5 cups of liquid.

The pom/jalapeno mixture. This will singe your nose hair's, beware.

The pom/jalapeno mixture. This will singe your nose hair’s, beware.

Put the juice mixture in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Add up to 1/2 tsp butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to a full boil, stirring constantly.

Pips! Before juicing.

Pips! Before juicing.

Add the sugar and lemon juice, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.

Leave 1/4 inch headspace in your jars.  Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Serve over pork chops, or cream cheese, or off the spoon.
Pomegranates are pretty.

Pomegranates are pretty.

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Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam

My parameters for canning this year have been 1) I have to grow it 2) someone I knew grew it 3) I picked it. I’ve been highly successful with these parameters (plus it helps I live in California, the best place to grow awesome stuff all the time). The only snafu I have encountered is beating my piglet, Silly, to the garden spoils. She is sneaky. Oh so very sneaky.

I accidently on purpose planted a jungle of vines. There's gourd, cucumbers, watermelons, and cantaloupe all in there.

I accidently on purpose planted a jungle of vines. There’s gourd, squash, cucumbers, watermelons, and cantaloupe all in there.

I’ll put her in her outside pen to root and play in her pool. She waits until she thinks I think she is all settled in, then she will bust out and hit the melon patch like it is her job. I’ve lost several cantaloupe, a few spaghetti squashes and more watermelon than I will admit.

I saved them!!!! Success!!!!

I saved them!!!! Success!!!!

Anyway, I was lucky enough to save a few cantaloupe before she could get them. They were slightly green, so I thought the perfect use would be jam. I found a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Canning 2013 magazine. And jam I made…

Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped and peeled cantaloupe
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, the guts scraped out
  • the zest of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pouch liquid fruit pectin
Melon peel, I might have let Silly have one.

Melon peel, I might have let Silly have one.

Place the melon, sugar, and vanilla guts in saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture reaches 220 degrees.  Add the lemon zest, juice and pectin. Let vigorously boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

This smelled so good. I love vanilla and cantaloupe, it's a great blend.

This smelled so good. I love vanilla and cantaloupe, it’s a great blend.

Place jam in jars and process in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.

It was a small batch and I'm kinda not sure I'm going to share this one.

It was a small batch and I’m kinda not sure I’m going to share this one as gifts, I think it is private reserve.

Also try these recipes!

Cantaloupe jam (Ohio style)

Cantaloupe jam and jalapenos

Cantaloupe jam (Texas style)

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Fig Balsamic Jam

This is what a mission fig tree looks like.

This is what a mission fig tree looks like.

Fig trees, olive trees and pomegranates grow really well and almost wild here on the ranch. I haven’t been a fan of figs since I was a little kid and my Mom’s pot-bellied pig made himself sick on them and well, you really don’t want to know the rest of that story because you won’t like them either.

Figs!

Figs!

This was a great year for figs! Usually the birds and deer beat me to them, but for some reason I was able to pick lots and lots! And I still have some! I do love fig trees because they are a lot of fun to climb! I had the best fort in an old fig tree out here until the pig incident. After that, it got cut down, we never wanted to have the pig incident again (it really was that bad).

A fig in it's natural habitat.

A fig in it’s natural habitat.

I may not be a huge fan of figs but lots of my friends are. I decided to make some jam to use as gifts. After I tasted it I was surprised to find, I liked it! It was pretty good! I could see myself using it as a glaze for meat. Since it was good I decide to share my recipe (I used this as a base recipe), I give you:

Fig Balsamic Jam

  • 4 1/2 cups chopped figs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Lucero balsamic vinegar
  • 1 3-oz pouch liquid pectin
  • 1/2 tsp. butter
  • 6 cups sugar

Wash and de-stem your figs. Chop finely.

Chopped figs.

Chopped figs.

Add the figs, lemon juice, vinegar, water, sugar and butter in a large saucepan. The butter helps reduce foaming. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring often.

Anytime a recipe says add butter. I do. I love butter.

Anytime a recipe says add butter. I do. I love butter.

Once rolling boiling is achieved stir in liquid pectin. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Skim foam, and ladle into processed jars leave 1/4 inch headspace. Process for in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Fig balsamic jam. Yes.

Fig balsamic jam. Yes.

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