Well, the height of summer is finally over and the farmer’s market is starting to swell up more each day with more and more produce. That means that we are starting to look into late summer and early fall canning items. Want to know what is in season and perfect for canning this month? Find out more, including canning recipes, after the jump!
What’s In Season (Northeast/New York):
– Winter and Summer Squash
– Cukes (end of season)
– Sweet and spicy peppers
– Blueberries (end of season)
(For non-canning purposes: potatoes, onions, chanterelles and greens are also in season.)
Surely you could find something to can with that list of delicious food items? I will be making a post soon about canning tomatoes, but I would recommend that you wait just a little bit until the tomatoes really start coming in. September and October are when the tomato crop really hits New York.
Recipe: Brandied Pears
All recipes adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.
Yield: 4 quarts
10 pounds pears
6 cups sugar
4 cups water
3 cups brandy
Wash, peel, halve and core pears. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook pears, one layer at a time, in the sugar/water mixture until tender (about 4 minutes). Set cooked pears aside. After all the pears are cooked, continue cooking syrup until it has thickened. Remove syrup from heat and add brandy. Pack pears into hot, clean jars (you can do this by washing the jars well and then simmering them in hot water for 10 minutes). Pour syrup over pears, leaving about 1/4-inch of headspace from the top of the jar. Remove air bubbles with a wooden spatula end and wipe rims with a clean paper towel, making sure not to use the soiled side of the towel twice. Simmer jar lids in hot water for just under two minutes to activate the glue. Attach lids and loosely put on bands. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. After processing time is up, remove lid from canner and turn off stove and let jars sit for 5 minutes. Leave jars untouched for at least 6 hours. Afterward, check lids, label and store.
(Optional: you can put a couple cloves or a stick of cinnamon in each jar, if you wish.)
These make a great dessert on a chilly autumn or fall day. Simply remove pears and serve with whipped cream or creme fraiche with a slight dusting of sugar. These also go great over yogurt or cut up and baked into a small tarte or pie. Try experimenting with these pears in meat dishes as well.
Recipe: Apple Butter
Yield: 3 pints
Ingredients: 4 pounds apples, about 16 medium (Any flavorful apple will do, like Empire, Gala or Fuji and feel free to mix up the apple varieties!)
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Juice of one lemon
To Prepare Pulp: Wash, peel, core and cut up apples into square chunks. Combine apples in 2 cups of water in a large, nonreactive saucepot. Simmer until apples soften while removing any foam that comes to the surface with a sieve or slotted spoon. Puree in a food mill or food processor but be careful not to liquefy. The consistency should be that of applesauce.
To Make Butter: Combine pulp, sugar, spices and lemon in a large saucepot. Cook slowly until thick enough to round up nicely on a spoon when you scoop it up. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot butter into hot, sterilized jars (see above on how to properly sterilize jars and lids) leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles with the wooden end of a spatula (no metal!) and wipe rims with a clean paper towel. Remember to only use clean towels on each jar, don’t use the same side of the towel for more than one jar. Put on lids and bands. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Let stand in cooling canner for 5 minutes after processing before removing. Leave untouched for at least 6 hours. Afterward, check lids, label and store.
(You can cut down on the sugar in this recipe by only using 2 cups of sugar and add 1/2 a gallon of good apple cider. Feel free to adjust the spices to your liking.)
Apple butter can be used a million different ways: on toast, with ricotta cheese and figs, on sandwiches. The opportunities are really endless.
Recipe: Okra Pickles
Yield: 4 pints
Ingredients: 3 1/2 pounds of small okra pods
1/3 cup canning salt
2 teaspoons dill seed
3 cups water
3 cups good vinegar
4 cloves garlic, lightly bruised with the edge of a knife.
2 small hot red peppers, cut in half (I like Santa Fe or Cayenne peppers, but any kind will do.)
Trim and clean okra being careful not to cut pods. Combine salt, dill seed, water and vinegar in a large saucepot and bring to a boil. Pack okra into hot jars (see above), leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Place one bruised garlic clove and one-half pepper in each jar. Pour liquid over okra, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles with a wooden spatula end (no metal!) and wipe rims with clean paper towels, making sure to always use a clean spot of the towel on each jar. Put on lids and loosely screw on bands. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Let sit in a cooling canner for 5 minutes before removing. Let sit undisturbed for at least 6 hours. Afterward, check the lids, label and store. Wait at least 2 or 3 days before eating the okra to enjoy the fully-seasoned goodness!
What can you use pickled okra for? You can eat it as a garnish or fresh out of the jar for a pickled snack or put it in a bloody mary. Some people also chop up pickled okra and throw it into tuna salads, so try experimenting!
More canning recipes and step-by-step canning guides (including one specifically for urban canners) coming soon!
(Picture via Ed Yourdon.)