Tag Archives: homemade

Canned wild grapes

How to Preserve Wild Grape Juice

I’m not sure there is an easier recipe for canning grapes than this one. It’s a good thing since our entire East side of the yard is mile high with them. What you will end up with is a grape juice concentrate that can be diluted and sweetened to taste.  You get the full-bodied flavor of grapes because you are essentially canning whole grapes. This is a great first recipe for new Canners.

Canned Grape Juice

7 Quart Jars with lids and bands

14 cups wild grapes

Boiling water

Sugar if desired (you can certainly add it now or when you are ready to serve.)

Sterilize your jars

Fill with 2 cups of grapes

Pour boiling water over grapes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace

Cap immediately

Hot water bath can them for 10 minutes

Allow to cool before storing

Wait 2 weeks before using.

To Use

Open quart jar and pour through a strainer into a 2 quart container. Add 1 quart cold water and taste for sweetness. Add additional sugar or other sweetener as desired.

I find that the kids love this juice with little to no added sweetener. You may have to adjust for the variety of grapes you are using, so don’t worry if  you have to taste, sweeten, taste, repeat.

Happy Fall!!

wild grapes on the vine
Wild grapes on the vine

 

 

New Pressure Canning Book On The Way

Pressure Canning FoodsIf you have been reading for a while, you know that I love food preservation just as much as I love to cook. There is something about shopping in my own pantry and freezer that makes me slightly giddy with joy.  Over the years, I have written books on all sorts of food preservation: Canning and Preserving for Dummies, Canning and Preserving All in One, Fermenting for Dummies. Each one is filled with good ideas and recipes for creating homemade meals from the farm kitchen.

I never could understand why the art of pressure canning wasn’t as popular as it once was. I think it fell out of favor when people had access to frozen foods and that meant a lot less work. The rise of convenience foods meant the decline of doing things ourselves.

Pressure canning is an important part of my everyday life, and I am excited to be bringing you another book on the subject. I am working on a  book titled Modern Pressure Canning, and it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

It’s not just a traditional canning recipe book, and I will be sharing many of the fun and funky recipes that help me be creative cook throughout the year.  I’m excited to see what you think, and will be blogging my journey from recipe box to full color book. Stay tuned!

Do you pressure can anything? Share in the comments below!

Best Ever Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup Recipe

There are just some things that taste better when they are homemade. Chocolate syrup is one of those things. It’s richer, sweeter in a better way, thicker, and more chocolaty with no aftertaste than the ones sold in stores.

I like making it on a regular basis and finding ways to switch it up. The original recipe calls for vanilla, but I have added cayenne pepper or cinnamon or almond or even coconut flavors to the syrup. Really, this is just a decadent topping for anything you can think of: cakes, ice cream, pies, milk, cocoa, coffee. It’s so good and easy to make. I hope you find it useful!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

1 Cup cocoa

2 Cups Sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 Cup water

1 Tbsp vanilla

Add all ingredients except the vanilla and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes (stir it all the time!) and then remove from heat. Once it’s cooled enough not to burn you, stir in the vanilla. That’s it! As it cools, this becomes a luscious syrup consistency that is so much better than the squeeze bottle you buy at the store.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup

If I had to grab just one of my kitchen appliances with a minute’s notice, it would be my pressure cooker. I use it at least two or three times a week and helps me get dinner on the table in record time. Now that it’s winter and of course everyone is sick, we eat quite a bit of chicken soup, and the pressure cooker is the perfect way to make it. This soup takes 30 minutes to make and tastes as if I cooked all day. It’s perfect.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

Place frozen 2-3 pound chicken into the pressure cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release pressure and set aside chicken. To the broth, add:

1/2 cup raw brown rice

Your favorite vegetables; I used a handful of baby carrots, two handfuls of baby kale, 10 Brussels sprouts cut in half, 1 cup leftover sweet corn from last year’s garden

Separate chicken from bones and return to pot

Add enough water to cover, making sure you don’t overfill (my cooker has markers on the inside, which I filled to the 8 cup mark)

Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes

Release the pressure quickly and it’s ready. The broth is rich and flavorful, the vegetables are done perfectly, and the chicken still has plenty of taste. It’s truly an easy way to make a meal.

If you save your bones from previous chicken dinners and cook them for the first 15 minutes, the resulting broth is basically free and full of nutrition. It’s another way to stretch your budget and still eat well.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Nuts

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Nuts

These little gems are awesome! I never knew how easy it was to make glazed nuts, and wanted to use up the last of the nuts in the cupboard from our gluttony around the holidays. Now, we can eat these by the handful, or chop them up and top a cake or ice cream with something with a little bit of zing. I have had excellent luck getting my little chefs to eat salad with these added to the top. On to the recipe!!

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Nuts

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Stir after the first 10 minutes.
Pour baked nuts over parchment until cool.
Store in a glass jar, although they won’t last long.

Green Tomatoes Galore

Here is what happens when the season is not warm enough to ripen the tomatoes, but is plenty warm enough to grow them! What? That isn’t too many you say? Well, this is ONE box. We have FIVE and a 5 gallon bucket of them, in storage.

So, what do I do with all these tomatoes? Tonight, I am making fried green ones. Because we love to deep fry them, I make a slightly different recipe than many southerners would recognize. Trust me, they are still delicious!

The coating(based on a fish and chips coating):

1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/3 cup water

-Mix dry ingredients in one bowl
-Mix vinegar and water in another bowl
-Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk until smooth.

That’s all there is too it!

For the tomatoes, choose firm tomatoes of any size. Slice 1/4 inch thick(this will be slightly thinner than usual).

(EDIT: If slices are particularly juicy,  you may want to coat them with flour first, to allow the batter to stick).

Dip into batter and let excess run off for a few seconds before dropping in HOT lard.
Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Yes, this means you have permission to taste one. 🙂

This batter is slightly salty and adds a great flavor to the tomatoes. You can use the same batter for deep frying any vegetables. Let me know how you like it!