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Bring Out Your Soups and Stews!

posted by: zabby17 on 09.22.2008 at 10:16 am in Harvest Forum

Fall is in the air---and on the calendar. It's the equinox, which means two things: my first wedding anniversary, and time to bring out the soup and stew recipes!

Inspired by jude's request for the recipes I used to fill my new-mom sister's freezer, I am starting a thread that asks for your fave soup & stew recipes. They don't have to be canning ones; any good recipe (they surely all use a harvest of some kind, so we're on topic!). It would help if you mentioned if they freeze well, if you know.

I LOVE to make a big batch of something hearty and tasty, filling the house with yummy smells, then freeze it in portions so as to be able to grab one for a supper some night I don't feel like cooking.

Here are the two jude asked for to start it off:


4 Tbsp butter or safflower oil
2 cups chopped leeks
4 Tbsp flour
4 cups water or stock
3 cups cubed raw potatoes
1 tsp salt
ground pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup corn
1/2 cup diced red pepper

Saute the leeks till soft. Sprinkle with flour. Cook a minute or two, then add water/stock, potatoes, salt, pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer (covered) for 15 minutes. Puree or mash (I use a blender; you can use a potato masher for a chunkier soup). Return to the pot. Add corn & peppers and cook 5 minutes more.

Add milk. Heat gently for a few minutes (DON'T return to boil).

**Freezes well. You can freeze it before adding the milk and it takes less room. A dollop of cream and a few chives added at serving time makes it ultra-special.

**I made it with just-dug new potatoes from the Halifax Farmers' Market, with thin, curling-off-themselves peels, so I didn't even peel them; the result is a great flavour but a somewhat beige soup; for fancy company I would peel and have a more attractive pale colour.

**This is a slight adaptation of from _Mrs. Restino's Country Kitchen_ by Susan Restino (Bolinas, CA: Shelter Publications, 1996), a lovely Nova Scotia cookbook. She gives a recipe for a basic Potato bisque (uses everything above but the corn & peppers, and calls for one cup of onion where I used two cups of leek). It can then be adapted into corn chowder, fish chowder, asparagus bisque, etc.


This is a fave of my husband's. I made it for him the first time he came to visit me, when we were living 1500 miles apart and were only a few months into a long-distance courtship. His plane arrived just before dinnertime and I served him this with freshly made rosemary foccaccia bread. After a few bites, he looked at me with his big, brown eyes and said, "I can't tell you how strong the temptation is to propose to you right this moment."

He didn't (it was only the second time we'd met in person!)---but he moved up to Toronto to be with me within the year. We always call it "Proposal Stew." Last year when we finally got organized enough to plan a wedding, I told him I wouldn't need to make the stew for him any more once I had a ring. He threatened to call off the marriage. ;-)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs beef stewing cubes
6 slices bacon, chopped [I find 2 or 3 is enough]
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 each sweet red and green pepper, chopped [I use all red]
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
[I often use the last dregs of a bottle of wine from a dinner party a few days before]
1 tsp hot pepper sauce (or to taste)

-- In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over high heat; brown beef in batches & transfer to plate.
-- Add bacon to pan; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until crisp. Drain off fat. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened.
-- Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock & water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return beef and any juices to pan; add tomato paste, thyme, salt and pepper.
-- Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
-- Add sweet potatoes and red and green peppers; cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. [Freezes well at this point; reheat to continue.]
-- Stir in vinegar and hot pepper sauce.

Makes about 16 cups (8 to 10 servings). About 300 calories and 10 g of fat per serving.

** from _Canadian Living_ Magazine


clipped on: 11.25.2012 at 08:16 am    last updated on: 11.25.2012 at 08:17 am

Annie's Salsa Recipe and Notes 2012

posted by: malna on 07.21.2012 at 02:36 pm in Harvest Forum

Since it's salsa season, I thought I would post some additional notes I've made since the 2009 thread.

As far as I can tell, the NCHFP hasn't done any additional testing, so I am "assuming" this is the most current recipe and acidity requirements.

Please feel free to add any other notes - I've tried to address most of the other commonly asked questions.

Annie's Salsa Recipe

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2-1/2 cups onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups green pepper, chopped
3 - 5 jalapenos, chopped
6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar
2 cups (16 oz.) tomato sauce
2 cups (16 oz.) tomato paste

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot pint jars, seal and process in a boiling water canning bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 6 pints.

Additional Notes for Ingredients and Processing:

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
*Any type or color of tomato may be used (paste, canning, beefsteak, a combination of different types, etc.) The paste types will be meatier, the canners such as Rutgers are somewhat juicier than paste types and the beefsteaks the juiciest of all.
*Some prefer, as Annie does, to remove the tomato seeds and gel sacks. Some don't remove the seeds - this is personal preference.
*Measure after peeling, chopping and draining.

2-1/2 cups onion, chopped
*Roughly a 1/4" chopped size (this is the size used in the NCHFP testing - a little larger won't matter, but try not to have the pieces larger than 1/2" maximum).

1-1/2 cups green pepper, chopped
*Roughly a 1/4" chopped size.

3 - 5 jalapenos, chopped

**Pepper Notes: Any combination of green, red, whatever color peppers is fine. 3-5 jalapenos equates to roughly 1/4 cup, so total peppers cannot exceed 1-3/4 cups. For a spicier salsa, you can decrease the sweet peppers and increase the hot peppers by the same amount. Or you can use hotter peppers (such as habaneros or serranos) but the TOTAL amount of peppers cannot exceed 1-3/4 cups.

6 cloves garlic, minced or finely diced
*Do not increase. Small differences in size of cloves should not matter.

2 teaspoons cumin
*For taste only. Can be reduced or left out entirely.

2 teaspoons ground black pepper
*For taste only. Can be reduced or left out entirely. Any dried ground pepper such as cayenne may be substituted for a portion of or all of the black pepper.

2 tablespoons (same measurement as 1/8 cup) canning salt
*For taste only. Can be reduced or left out entirely.

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
*Can be reduced or left out entirely. Do not increase. Dried cilantro or other dried herbs may be added, but not more fresh herbs (fresh herbs change the pH - dried herbs do not). Add additional fresh herbs only after you open the jar.

1/3 cup sugar
*For taste only. Can be reduced or left out entirely.

1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar
*Can use any flavor vinegar (white, cider, etc.) as long as acidity is at least 5%.
*However, you can substitute bottled lemon or lime juice in any proportions according to taste (for example, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup lime juice) as long as the total equals one cup.

2 cups (16 oz.) tomato sauce
*Can be reduced slightly. See "Density" notes below.

2 cups (16 oz.) tomato paste
*For texture only. Can be reduced or left out entirely.

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot pint jars leaving 1/2" headspace, seal and process in a boiling water canning bath for 15 minutes. Adjust for your altitude (see below).

Makes about 6-7 pints (I always seem to get 7 pints).

You may:
Process in pint jars (either regular or wide mouth) or smaller (12 oz., 8 oz. half pints, or 4 oz. quarter pints). Process all smaller sizes at the same processing time for pints.
You may NOT:
Process in larger jars (24 oz., 32 oz. quarts or 1/2 gallon jars). Testing was done only in pint jars.

The recipe for pressure canning originally specified 1/3 cup vinegar and copies of that recipe are still available on the Internet. Pressure canning salsa has not been tested, therefore it is not officially recommended.

If you wish to pressure can the salsa, you must include full 1 cup of vinegar. Processing time that is currently used by some is 10 lbs. pressure for 30 minutes. Adjust for your altitude (see below).

Because salsa is eaten out of the jar without heating and includes low acid vegetables such as garlic, onions and peppers, it is one of the riskier products to can at home due to two factors: the pH or acidity level (the normal cutoff point for boiling water bath vs. pressure canning is a pH of 4.6 and salsa can edge very close to that) and the density of the product.

The salsa should be thin enough for the liquid portion to thoroughly suspend the chopped vegetables so the very center of the jar heats up to the same temperature as the outer portion next to the glass during processing.

If you want it thicker, puree it AFTER you open the jar. DO NOT puree before processing - this would affect the density. Or add a thickener such as Clear Jel or cornstarch AFTER you open the jar.
DO NOT add other low acid vegetables before processing, such as corn or black beans. Only add them after you open the jar.


If you live above 1000' in elevation, you need to calculate your altitude adjustments for both boiling water bath (BWB) and pressure canning (PC). As your altitude goes above 1000 feet the atmospheric pressure is reduced. This causes water to boil at temperatures lower than 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

For safety in water bath canning, you must bring the contents of your jar to at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit. To compensate for the lower boiling temperature at altitude, you must increase processing time.

For this salsa recipe, BWB times at altitudes of (per the Ball Blue Book):

Up to 1000 ft. Processing time is 15 minutes.
1001 - 3000 ft. Increase processing time an extra 5 minutes to 20 minutes total.
3001 - 6000 ft. Increase processing time an extra 10 minutes to 25 minutes total.
6001 - 8000 ft. Increase processing time an extra 15 minutes to 30 minutes total.
8001 - 10,000 ft. Increase processing time an extra 20 minutes to 35 minutes total.

Adjustments for pressure canning can be found in the Ball Blue Book or on their website.

Do make sure you know the altitude where you do your canning. People that live in Denver know they are in the Mile High City and have to make adjustments, but portions of cities like Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Oklahoma City are all above 1000' and it may be something you're not aware of and need to be compensating for.


The pH scale runs from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline).

Each increment from 0 to 14 is 10 times more acidic/alkaline (remember the "magic" number of pH 4.6 for BWB vs. pressure canning). pH testing on fresh lemons ranged from 2.20 to 3.20, so one variety of lemon or even an individual lemon grown in a different orchard might be 10 times LESS acidic than another. Bottled lemon juice, which is processed to a standard acidity, is used for testing in recipes and is also pasteurized, therefore it also will not create any further enzyme reactions in your canned goods (per the folks at ReaLemon a couple of years ago).

Note: Bottled lemon or lime juices are only called for when canning borderline pH foods (tomatoes and salsa usually). If you are making jams and jellies with high acid fruits (any fruit excluding Asian pears, bananas, mangoes, figs and melons), feel free to use fresh lemon or lime juice.

Do I personally like using bottled lemon juice? Not particularly, but when a canning procedure SPECIFICALLY CALLS FOR IT, I use it without questioning it.

A very good explanation is in this publication from North Dakota State University - "Why add lemon juice to tomatoes and salsa before canning?"

Especially note the different pH values of individual varieties of tomatoes (and there are thousands more varieties).

and for the more science oriented, this 2004 paper from the NCHFP:

Studies on safe acidification of salsa for home boiling water canning

Hope this helps :-)


clipped on: 09.07.2012 at 01:27 pm    last updated on: 09.07.2012 at 01:28 pm

RE: Calcium Chloride and Pickles (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ksrogers on 05.22.2009 at 04:15 pm in Harvest Forum

Suggest that instead of creating new threads for the same subject, that you add your comments to the one you prevsiouly created here. Its much better for searches if the info is bundled together in a main topic, as opposed to posting more subjects about the same thing. The amount used is slightly higher compared to the Ball brand. Thats due to the slightly larger granule size. It doesn't fizz like vinegar and baking soda, but you will 'hear' a little fizzing sound. Cold packing in vinegar brine with no Boiling Water Bath, will require refrigeration at all times. Originally they said to measure the amount on top of the packed jars of cukes, but I don't add it then. Instead, I add it when packing each jar with the dill and cukes, just like I do when adding salt and citric acid to jars that are to be filled with tomato sauce. The original PC was 3/4 teaspoon per pint, and 1 1/2 teaspoon per quart. The storage time for pickles will also depend on how fresh they were to begin with, as well as the type of pickling cukes. By their nature, pickling cukes usually have thinner ligher green skins and are quite crisp compared to those old mushy dark green excuses for a salad cucumber. My pickles, including sweet mixed, and bread & butters are always going to stay crisp a few months longer than ones that have no CC added.


clipped on: 10.20.2010 at 09:12 pm    last updated on: 10.20.2010 at 09:12 pm

RE: hot peppers (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: ksrogers on 08.16.2009 at 02:38 pm in Harvest Forum

Because I use full strength 5% vinegar and pickling salt, with no added water, and vacuum processes these, they can be stored on the shelf, and keep well up to two years. I pierce each pepper and a batch of them is placed in the larger FS canister where the air is pulled out of each pepper and the vacuum that forms within, will pull in the vinegar brine. I will pull the vacuum about 3 times and adjust for the loss of liquid due to the peppers sucking it up. Once they are not showing any more bubbles under the pumping, I place them in quart and pint canning jars and 3/4 fill each with fresh vinegar brine, pull a vacuum again which will show a few more bubbles, then I add a bit more brine and do it again. After 3 pump downs in the jars and partial fillings, they get filled to a 1/2 inch of headspace and a lid is placed inside the attachment. Then the final pump down will actually pull a tiny amount of brine out of each jar and fall into the moisture trap attached to the pump so it doesn't get ito the pump. The final pump down is halted when I pull the vacuum fitting off the top of the FS attachment, which causes a small slug of air to force the lid onto the jar. I do this while the pump is still running. They get rinsed off as they do have a little brine on the outside of teh jars, and I do this task in a shallow pan so I don't flood my counter. After a water rinse, I screw on a band and leave it there, as I much prefer to leave them on at all times. The vacuum process I use is very similar to what they do for commercial canning of these tender peppers. Any heat method, even adding a boiling brine will quickly soften the peppers to mush.

I do use a higher powered vacuum pump as shown in the photo. For the whole garlic, it too gets full strength brine, but because garlic is much more dense they get a BWB type processing.


clipped on: 10.20.2010 at 07:54 pm    last updated on: 10.20.2010 at 07:54 pm

Linda Lou's Sweet Pickle Chunks Redux

posted by: malna on 09.02.2008 at 02:25 pm in Harvest Forum

Hello, all!
Long time lurker, first time poster. For the first time in three years, we have defeated the cucumber beetle monsters and actually have some pickles in progress.

I had copied the LLSPC recipe years ago - I finally got around to making them this year, and I did have a few questions. Searching here finally did reveal (in numerous threads) the answers. I took the liberty of re-writing the recipe (mainly so I would remember how to make it next year), borrowing heavily from comments made by Carol (readinglady), Linda Lou herself, and others too numerous to mention...could you guys take a look and make sure I got the number of days, etc. correct?

BTW, I've done one batch and they are fabulous. Even my DH, who does not care for sweet pickles, likes these.

Here goes:
Linda Lou's Famous Sweet Pickle Chunks

Day 1 - Prepare 24 pickling cucumbers. Wash cucumbers gently, in several changes of water if necessary. Check their condition and discard any that aren't firm and fresh. (Ideally you're using cucumbers within 24 hours of picking.) You want them clean, but you don't want to break the skin. Cut 1/16 inch off blossom end (you can cut off both ends if you wish-it's quicker and easier than taking the time to check which end is which if you are doing a large batch). Do not cut up the cucumbers. Place in sterile container (bowl, food grade plastic tub, large pot, crock, etc.) and pour enough boiling water over them to cover. Weight cucumbers so they're covered. Otherwise some cucumbers derive the benefit of the soak and others don't. A heavy bowl or plate that fits the container works well. Leave cucumbers at a cool room temperature (probably not above 75 degrees F).
If, at any point, you begin to notice scum forming, don't worry. Just rinse the cucumbers well and wash and rinse the container as well.
If you see mold forming or the cucumbers develop a nasty smell, ditch the batch.
Day 2 - Drain water off cucumbers and rinse well. Pour enough fresh boiling water over them to cover. Weight cucumbers so they're covered (rinse the bowl or plate that you're using for a weight as well).
Day 3 - Drain water off cucumbers and rinse well. Pour enough fresh boiling water over them to cover. Weight cucumbers so they're covered (rinse the bowl or plate that you're using for a weight as well).
Day 4 - Drain water off cucumbers and rinse well. Pour enough fresh boiling water over them to cover. Weight cucumbers so they're covered (rinse the bowl or plate that you're using for a weight as well).
Day 5 - Drain water off cucumbers and rinse well. Cut the cucumbers into chunks (or spears). Make a syrup by combining:

8 cups sugar
4 cups cider vinegar 5% acidity
3 1/2 tsp. pickling and canning salt
2 Tbsp. pickling spices, tied in a bag.

Heat syrup to boiling, stirring often to dissolve sugar. Pour over cucumber chunks and weight so they're covered.
Day 6 - Drain syrup and reheat drained syrup to boiling. Pour over cucumber chunks and weight so they're covered.
Day 7 - Drain syrup and reheat drained syrup to boiling. Pour over cucumber chunks and weight so they're covered. (Note: I add 1 teaspoon celery seed and 1 tablespoon mustard seed to syrup at this point, just because DH requested them. I also added an additional 1/4 cup cider vinegar, because we happen to like them a bit more "vinegary". I assume adding MORE vinegar is fine).
Day 8 - Drain syrup and reheat drained syrup to boiling. Pour over cucumber chunks and weight so they're covered.
Day 9 - Prepare pint canning jars. Drain syrup, remove pickling spice bag and reheat to boiling. Pack chunks into jars and cover with hot syrup, leaving 1/2" headspace. Put on 2-piece lids and process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.


clipped on: 09.15.2009 at 11:04 pm    last updated on: 09.15.2009 at 11:04 pm

RE: Canning Project: Heirloom Tomato Salsa (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: billbird2111 on 09.25.2008 at 02:30 pm in Harvest Forum

Hello Gang,

Salsa canning success!!! The wife and I married Annie's Salsa recipe to our own -- and the results are LIP SMACKING fabulous.

We canned 13-pints of the Roasted Garlic and Heirloom Tomato salsa last Saturday night -- and friends and neighbors have already pried three jars out of our hands!

Melissa -- I'm more than happy to share this recipe -- and I'd LOVE to post some photos up on this thread -- but can't find the "post photo" link!

Oh well -- I have posted photos on the blog -- WITH the recipe -- below. And I've also included the recipe below.

I followed most of Annie's recipe to the letter -- including the part about lemon juice. I did not mess with the acid measurements. However, I did decrease a few things, omitted the sugar, plus bumped a few other ingredients up.

I will also have at least one jar tested by the Master Food Preserving program at UC Davis -- just to make SURE. I'm not going to mess around with botulism.

Preparation is key for this salsa I've found. The actual canning process was a SNAP!!!

Click the link below for photos and a writeup!

And now.....without further delay....

Roasted Garlic and Heirloom Tomato Salsa

8 cups processed heirloom tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped peppers (green, red, yellow, anything from the garden works) (half roasted, half fresh)
3 5 chopped Habanero peppers or jalapenos
2 heads garlic
3 tsp cumin
3 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/8 cup canning salt
cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup lemon juice (for BWB or 1/3 cup vinegar for PC)
16 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz tomato paste

Cut tops off heads of garlic revealing tops of garlic inside. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for one hour. Remove cover after roasting and allow garlic to cool, as you will need to handle it.

Roast 10-12 green, red or yellow peppers on grill until skins are browned on each side. You may use a combination of peppers from the garden -- whatever you have or like. Place roasted peppers in paper shopping bag after roasting and close tightly. Allow peppers to cool for 30 minutes. This will result in 3/4 cup of peppers.

Boil tomatoes to remove skin or process tomatoes to remove skins and seed. Process well in a food processor -- add tomatoes to cooking pot.

Squeeze garlic into cooking pot, peel seed and process roasted peppers and add to pot -- add remain fresh and hot peppers and all other ingredients. Bring to a boil -- boil for ten minutes.

Process jars in a Boiling Water Bath (BWB) for ten minutes -- drain. Pour salsa into hot jars and process at 10 lbs of pressure for 30 minutes for pints. Or BWB 15 minutes. Makes 6 1/2 pints.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sacramento Vegetable Gardening


clipped on: 09.13.2009 at 09:19 am    last updated on: 09.13.2009 at 09:19 am

RE: Late-Summer Roasted Veggie Stuff Scores a Big Hit (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: readinglady on 08.28.2008 at 01:29 pm in Harvest Forum

Here you go:

Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, Corn and Capers

Categories: Canning & Preserving Vegetables

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 pounds tomatoes -- peeled if desired
3 1/2 pounds sweet peppers -- (red, orange and yellow), cut into 1-inch chunks - about 12 large
1 1/3 pounds Banana peppers -- (about 5 cut into 1-inch chunks)
2 pounds Sweet Onions -- (Walla Walla - about 3 large)halved and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 2/3 pounds corn kernels -- (about 6 large ears fresh corn)
36 kalamata olives -- pitted and coarsely chopped - (3/4 cup or 4.6 oz.)
1 cup Italian parsley -- chopped (.6 oz.)
3/4 ounce basil leaves -- minced
1 head garlic -- chopped
4 tablespoons capers -- rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 to 450 degrees (the hotter the oven, the shorter the roasting time).

If using cherry tomatoes, simply remove the stems and halve each one. Halve or quarter other varieties.

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the bottom of a large roasting pan, jellyroll pan or any baking sheet with sides. Add the tomatoes, peppers, onion, corn, olives, parsley, basil, garlic and capers. You can crowd the vegetables together, but don't go beyond a single layer. Drizzle on the rest of the olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast until the tomatoes' skins turn golden (if unpeeled). Depending on your oven temperature, this will take anywhere from 20 minutes to about 11/2 hours. When done, the tomatoes and peppers will have collapsed and darkened beautifully. Alternatively, you can roast the vegetables over indirect heat on a medium to medium-hot grill (see note), with the lid on.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven or grill and let the vegetables cool. With a metal spatula or wide, flat-sided wooden spatula, stir and scrape the cooled mixture to dissolve all of the cooked-on bits of food.

To freeze, ladle the sauce into freezer containers, leaving about 1-inch head space. Let cool completely, then attach lids and freeze.

Note: To peel tomatoes (don't peel cherry variety), cut a shallow X in the bottom of each tomato. Plunge them into boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove immediately and plunge into cold water. Skins should slip off easily.

Note: To check grill temperature, count the seconds you can hold your hand, palm side down, 2 to 3 inches above the rack, until it feels uncomfortable: 4 seconds for medium; 3 seconds for medium-hot.

"-- From Jan Roberts-Dominguez (My Variation)"



clipped on: 08.29.2008 at 10:48 am    last updated on: 08.29.2008 at 10:48 am