Tomato Powder

One of the most basic garden vegetables are tomatoes, cherry or normal size.  Its how many people get hooked on growing their own food.  One reason is because they are so prolific and easy to grow.  Note, Prolific!  Cherry, grape, salad tomatoes especially will create a ton of tomatoes during a season.  While in February as you long for the taste of a fresh, real, non-store bought tomato, by September you never want to eat one again.  Yet, they still continue to cover your plants!  What to do with all of them.

Unless you pickle the cherry tomatoes, you will have to find many friends to pawn them off on, they are too much trouble to can, in my opinion.  If you have larger tomatoes and don’t can, you will be in this same boat.  I don’t like to freeze tomatoes, they take up too much room and it is a messy processes.  What I like to do is dehydrate them and turn them into powder.  Yes, you read that right.

Powdered tomatoes are perfect for a vegetable thickener in sauce and pasta dishes as well as a base vegetable bullion for soups and stews.  The best thing is that 5 pounds of tomatoes can fit into a half-pint jar!  Space!  I really like this for my cherry tomatoes because the prep goes so fast, they add up fast and nothing is left to waste.

Here are the directions.

Tomato Powder

  1. Wash your tomatoes.
  2. Cut out any blemishes and stem area.
  3. Slice thin and place on your dehydrator rack (or on a cookie sheet with parchment paper if you are going to use your oven).
  4. Make sure they are not overlapping.  Tomatoes contain a lot of water.
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  6. I place my dehydrator on medium heat and this takes about 7 hours.  If you are using your oven, use the lowest heat and crack the door open to dry your slices.
  7. Dry until they are completely crispy with NO MOISTURE.
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  9. You can leave in this state if you want to vacuum seal at this stage and use like sun dried tomatoes as well.  I have one friend that will use vinegar and oil and put the in the refrigerator to use in salads.  I prefer not to utilize refrigerator space in that way.  This state also makes a wonderful sun dried tomato salad dressing.
  10. Place your ‘chips’ in a grinder and grind until a powder.
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  12. You can also add dehydrated garlic, onion, peppers, pretty much anything you want at this stage and grind all together to make sure its well mixed.  This would make a lovely stock base.
  13. Next transfer into an airtight container that is resistant to air and to moisture.  I prefer to vac-seal my jars with the exception of one that I will use often and that one will be put in my spice cabinet.
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This powder has so many uses.  My favorite way is to add a little tomato flavor and a thickener to dishes without all the water  content.  It works great as an alternative to a small amount of tomato paste as well.

Let me know how this turned out for you!

Enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Pickled Brussel Sprouts or Cauliflower

With the growing season coming to an end there seems to be an abundance of brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, squash.  The Autumn veggies.

Cabbage always gets put into fermentation crocks to become saurkraut, but what to do with brussel sprouts and cauliflower? Pickling.  This recipe will give you great treats to enjoy all winter as a side, salad or snack.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of brussel sprouts or Cauliflower (I don’t mix these two together in the same jars).
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 5 cups of water
  • 6 tbsp canning salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic spit
  • 1 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 5 sterluzed pint jars with canning lids/rings

Directions

  • Split your sprouts in half and remove the end ‘nubs’. Soak in water. About 5 min.
  • Split your cauliflower into small florets. Soak in water. About 5 minutes.
  • In a large pot bring your vinager, water, salt, sugar and pepper flakes to a rolling boil.
  • In each (hot) sterilized jar place one whole garlic clove split (2 halved).
  • Pack each jar with your brussel sprouts or Cauliflower leaving 1/2 inch head space.
  • Fill with hot vinager solution leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Use spacer tool to work out air bubbles.
  • Clean rims of jars.
  • Apply lids and rings.
  • Water bath can for 15 minutes after reaching canning temperature.
  • Cool.  Wait for the “pop”.  Make sure they seal.
  • Let set for 24 hours before moving to storage.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Mrs Kay L Rice

Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam

As you may or may not know, my husband and I make and sell jams and jellies.  You can check out what is available on the Store page here.   However,  I will share with you a very basic Jam recipe.  A favorite which is not complicated at all is Strawberry Jam.

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups of crushed strawberries (approx 4 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 7 cups of sugar
  • 1 Three ounce packet of liquid natural pectin

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • 6 half pint jam jars with sealing lids and rings
  • candy thermometer
  • Large pot for making the jam
  • Waterbath canner with frame insert (to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the canner and to lift in and out).
  • Canning funnel
  • Canning jar lifter
  • Long handled metal spoon
  • Ladle
  • A small bowl and spoon
  • towel and place to place your canned jars (Must stay in one place for approx 24 hours to ensure a great seal)

Now for the directions:

  1. Make sure you sterilize your jam jars.  Whether by the dishwasher, or boiling water in your canner and placing your empty jars in the canner.  Jars ALWAYS need sterilized, even strait out of the box ones.
  2. Place your small bowl and spoon in your freezer to get cold.
  3. I will use a food processor to crush my strawberries, you can also smash with a potato smasher by hand.
  4. Add your sugar in your large pot.
  5. Add in your lemon juice.
  6. Add in your strawberry “mash”.
  7. Add in your liquid pectin.
  8. Stir until the sugar is “dissolved” into your mash.
  9. Place your candy thermometer in your pot, attaching to the side, but not touching the bottom.
  10. Turn your stove on HIGH.  Yup you read that correctly, I use the setting of 9 on my stove.
  11. NEVER STOP STIRRING!!!!
  12. Watch your thermometer closely.
  13. I also use a silicone mitten to avoid splash burns on my hands while stirring.
  14. When your candy thermometer reaches 225 degrees F, set your timer for 6 minutes.
  15. KEEP STIRRING!
  16. When your timer goes off, remove your pan off the stove (onto a hot pad).
  17. Take your bowl and spoon out of the freezer and using your stirring spoon put a little in the bowl and set to the side for about 5 minutes.  Check the consistency.  With this time it should be perfect.  If its too running, put back on the heat for another two minutes and recheck.  You can also add a little sugar but NEVER add more pectin.  It doesn’t take much for your jam to become a brick.
  18. Once your consistency is where you like it, its time to fill your jars.
  19. Use your funnel & ladle and fill each jar to 1/4 inch from the top (or the bottom ring of the top).
  20. Wipe down the lip of all your jars.
  21. place your “lid” on each jar and tightly screw on the rings.
  22. Now using your canning jar lifter, place your jars in the water bath canner on the wire insert.
  23. Make sure you have enough water in your canner to cover your jars 1 inch.
  24. Put your lid on your canner and turn the stove on high.
  25. When the water in the canner comes to a full rolling boil, set your timer to 15 minutes.
  26. When your timer goes off, turn off your heat and leave on the eye until the rolling boil tones down.
  27. Take off the lid, and lift the wire insert up and one by one using your jar lifter place your jars on the towel in a safe place where they can stay and cool for at least 24 hours.
  28. Each jar should POP.  That’s the sound of a good seal.
  29. The jam can stay on the shelf for years, once opened you should put in the refrigerator.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Please let me know what you think.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Canning: Chicken/Turkey Veggie Soup

Chicken/Turkey Veggie Soup

Winter is my favorite time of year for soups!  With so many holiday turkey and chicken left overs it makes it even better!  What is even better, is the ability to can your soups for later use!

When it comes to canning soup, you ALWAYS MUST can in accordance with your highest canning specification ingredient!  That means if it has any meat or beans you MUST use the meat/bean specification.  You also MUST PRESSURE CAN!

With that said, here is the Rice Family Chicken/Turkey Soup Recipe.

Preserving Method: Pressure Canning

 

  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  2. COMBINE chicken stock, chicken, celery, carrots and onion in a large saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Add bouillon cubes, if desired. Cook until bouillon cubes are dissolved.
  3. LADLE hot chicken soup into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  4. PROCESS filled jars in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure 1 hour and 15 minutes for pints and 1 hour and 30 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude, according to your pressure canners directions. Turn off heat: cool canner to zero pressure. Let stand 5 more minutes before removing the lid. Cool jars in canner 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Enjoy the warmth!

 

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

Canning Beets

My husband and I absolutely love beets. These hearty root vegetables are full of vitamins and the color can perk up any meal or relish tray. 
Most people think of pickled beets when you mention them. While we do enjoy them pickled, especially the little ones, we enjoy them roasted, boiled, in soups and stews, as a slaw type salad with horseradish (let me know if you want that little gem of a recipe), all kinds of ways. 

With all that said I will also add that canning beats for winter is one of the most labor intensive vegetables I can. Next to squash and pumpkin. 

Here we go:

To make my life easier I wash them and rinse them whole (with their tops & bottoms intact) the night before. If you use your sink, please, bleach clean your sink and rinse well before putting in your beets to scrub. After scrubbing replace your dirty water with clean water and you can soak overnight if you wish. 

Beets MUST be pressure canned. So please familiarize yourself with your canner. Know how to properly operate, clean, maintenance, use and store. 

As with any canning process make sure you sterilize your jars. I use the boiling method. 

It is recommended that beets are preboiled or preroasted before canning. Raw packing is not recommended in most root vegetables. 

Do yourself a favor. Wear latex gloves when working with Beets. 

I sort my baby beets from my large beets. Cut off the tops leave the root to prevent maximum bleedout, and put in two separate pots. Add water to cover and a teaspoon of white vinegar to the water (also helps with bleeding). Cook them approximately 30 min. Less for the baby ones. Move to cold water and slip off the skins. Dump the boil water outside and not in your fresh cold water. Just saying.

Cool, cut off the root & peel off the skin and cut up. You cut up beets to improve and even out heat throughout. Baby beets are small enough that they  can be left whole. However, all needs the roots cut off & the skins removed. 

Now that you are totally exhausted, we begin the packing and processing process.

Pack your beets into sterilized jars. Cover with fresh boiling water leaving 1/2inch of headspace. Optional: add 1/2 tsp salt per pint / 1 tsp per quart; add 1 tablespoon vinegar per pint/ 2 tablespoons per quart. This does not create pickled beets. 

Prepare and vent your canner as instructed. Pints are pressure canned for 30 minutes quarts are pressure canned for 35 min. These times are started when your pressure meets the specifications for your location sea level. For me its at 11lbs. Yes area hieght makes a difference. 

Again do not remove your lid until the button naturally comes down and the pressure gauge show 0 zero pressure. 

Remove careful. Let set for 24 hours in a safe place & count your “POPs”. Anything unsealed after 24 hours refrigerate and use first. 

Enjoy!

Kay L Rice

(References if knowledge come from my Grandma, my mom & from “The Encyclopedia of Country Living)