18 November 2009

Can you handle more canning?

In my canning bonanza, I became obsessed with canning cookbooks as I have mentioned. I still want more- as a cookbook collector, there is always room for another cookbook or two- but I think I have found my bible. Seriously. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in canning, whether a novice or expert. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine is just that- the complete book for everything home preserving (slightly redundant, but it is so true!). I think many people suggest the Ball Blue Book as the sort of entry level resource for canning. And I cannot disagree, it was the first canning book I owned and it has taught me the basics. But for more or less the price of one hard-cover cookbook, you could own both the Ball Blue Book and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I think these two cookbooks would be one of the best investments you could ever make if you were really interested in canning.

(No, I am not employed by Ball. I just feel really strongly about their product. It is of the highest quality and explains both the science behind canning as well as the artistry. I feel comfortable with the knowledge I have gleaned from these books- as well as my Mom- that I won't make anyone sick with canning, which is a pretty reasonable fear for first-time-canners. The reason Ball is still around after a zillion years is that they do canning best! Check out their website for additional information on canning. I am sure you will become addicted to canning and home preserving like me.)

Okay, now that my sales pitch on canning is over, I must tell you about these pickles I made. They are vinegary and a touch spicy, very simple and perfect on top of a salad. I haven't made it beyond the salad because I like it so much. I am sure these would be lovely on a cheese platter as a sour component. I adore the cauliflower in this recipe. It is the highlight of the pickles, so of course I adjusted the amount of cauliflower to suit my tastes.

Spicy Pickle Mix
adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Makes about 6 pint jars

8 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups poblano peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1 cup sliced, peeled carrots
2/3 cup pickling or canning salt
8 1/2 cups water, divided
3 1/2 cups sliced hot pepper rings (I used serrano peppers)
1 clove garlic
8 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp prepared horseradish

1. In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the cauliflower, poblano peppers and carrots.
2. In another large glass or stainless steel bowl, dissolve pickling salt in 7 cups of the water. Pour over vegetables. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.
4. In a colander placed over a sink, drain vegetables. Rinse with cool running water and drain thoroughly. Add hot pepper rings and mix well.
5. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine garlic, remaining 1 1/2 cups water, vinegar, sugar and horseradish. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until liquid is infused with garlic flavor. Discard garlic clove.
6. Pack vegetables into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover vegetables, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot pickling liquid. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
7. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait for 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.


Cate said...

Wow, you've been busy! Somewhere I have that Ball cookbook too - must dig it out. Where do you buy pickling/canning salt? Is it a regular grocery store find?

HoneyB said...

I'm impressed! I haven't done much home canning since I stopped being a stay at home mom. Maybe now that my kids are grown and I'm finally starting to feel good again I can start to think about it!

Josie said...

Cate - it is a regular grocery store item for me, but I use kosher salt in a pinch if I don't have canning/pickling salt handy (I would probably increase it slightly if it is coarse since canning/pickling salt tends to be fine grain).

Shelby - I hope you decide to get back into it. It is so rewarding!