Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Can Peaches {tutorial}

First off I have to apologize for this tutorial.  It is a NON PICTURE tutorial.  For those of you who have ever canned peaches before you know how sticky and messy it is.  For those of you who will soon can for the first time, you will see why there are no pictures in this tutorial. So let's get started.
Before you Begin
The best way to can peaches is with a friend.  Trust me it makes the process alot quicker and enjoyable. JBody and I had about 100-125lbs of peaches to can this year.  There is no way I could have done it without him.

1. Start by putting your jars and rings into a dishwasher on the sterilize setting. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can easily place your jars in your boiling water canner and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. I like to leave them in the dishwasher on heat dry until I am ready to use them. You can also place them in the oven at 250 to keep them hot.  Keeping your jars hot will prevent them from cracking when you add hot fruits and liquid into the jars.

2. Place the lids in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer, but don’t boil. You only need to do this for about 5 minutes.
3. Wash your peaches by rinsing in a colander. Use lukewarm water and be carefull not to bruise.

4. Place the peaches into a pot of boiling water and blanch for 30 to 60 seconds.

5. After blanching, place them into a ice water bath to keep them from cooking.

6. Then the skins should slip right off. You won't even need to use a knife. If they don’t slip off, you may need to put them back in the boiling water for 30 more seconds. If they still don’t slip, your peaches might not be ripe. Put a ripe banana in the box and check them the next day. The banana usually does the trick and the peaches ripen right up.

7. Cut your peaches.  We like cutting the peach into eight pieces.  You get more in a jar and it makes it easier for little ones to eat.  You can cut them in half, quarters, eights. If you are working with regular mouth jars you will want to at least quarter your peaches. 

8. This step you can choose to omit.  If you want to keep your fruit from turning brown you can use fruit fresh or lemon juice.  I did some with and then the second day I chose to skip that part. 

9. Pack your jars.  We cold or raw pack.  This means the fruit goes in cold or raw. If you want to hot pack, don't put into your jars quite yet.  When placing your peaches in jars, try to put them in pit side down.  This will allow you to get as much fruit into your jar as possible.  Pack tightly without squishing your fruit.  You will want to leave 1/2 inch headspace.

10. Prepare you syrup.  We like light syrup.  Kids get lots of sugar already and we don't think we need to pack alot of sugar into our fruit.  For our syrup we use 5 1/2 cups water to 2 1/2 cups sugar.  Put the sugar and the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling you add the hot liquid to your jars. *** Here is where you will start your hot pack if you choose to hot pack.  You will want to boil your peaches in your syrup for 5-7 mins and then place the fruit and liquid into jars.

11.  If cold packing add your liquid to your fruit jars.  Fill to 1/2 headspace and then run a butter knife to get any air bubbles.  This will let the bubble escape and the fruit settle a bit.  You will probably need to add more liquid.  Make sure you cover all your peaches. 

12.  Wipe the rim of your jars to make sure there are no juices or fruit on them. Put your lids and bands on your jars. Do not over tighten your bands.  Just finger tight them.  What does that mean? Only use your fingers to tighten them.  When you involved your wrist the go on way to tight.  You want to allow air to be released. 

13.  Place your jars into your hot water bath. You water should be hot and at or close to a boil. Make sure to place your jars in one by one and opposite sides of the canner rack.  This will minimize tipping.  A canner rack can hold 7 pint or quart sized jars.  Once all jars are in submerge them into the water.  When water comes to a boil start your time. We process our jars because we are at a low altitude.  You may have to alter your processing time depending on altitude. 

14.  After processing time is up, remove your jars.  Place them on the counter and try not to move them for 12-24 hours.  During cool down you may hear a popping sound.  This is good.  It means that your jars are sealing.  After 24 hours, jars that still pop when the lid is touched mean they were not sealed.  Just place in the refrigerate and eat!

There you have it.  It really is not all that bad.  It does make a giant mess.  JBody and I actually canned outside on our camping stoves.  All the mess was kept outside and we had lots of room to move around. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Purple Cows

Is there anyone out there (other than my family) who has ever heard of a Purple Cow?

We told the kids the other night that we were going to have a purple cow for dessert.  We got some pretty weird looks and a bunch of "GROSS"es.  Little did the kids know that purple cows are a yummy treat.

I forgot about this treat, until recently.  While visiting an uncle, JBody and I were introduced to the Purple Cow Deliciousness.  So what is, and how do you make a Purple Cow.  Let me tell you.

Purple                                Cow

mmm doesn't that look yummy?!

Razy approval. 
Forget the rootbeer and bring on the purple goodness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pickling Beets {Tutorial}

Step 1- Selecting the Beets
The best beets are fresh beets.  Select firm, crisp beets.

Step 2: Trim the Tops and Wash your beets.
Just take a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen scissors and trim off beet tops, leaving an inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color.

Step 3: Cook the Beets
Place beets in a large pot and cover with water.  Cook them until they are tender.  This depends on the size.  I did mine for around 20 mins. Drain and discard the liquid.

Step 4: Cool the Beets
Place the beets in a bowl of ice water.  This is to cool them off for handling.

Step 5: Cut Beets into smaller pieces
You can cut your beets into wedges, slices, or leave them whole.  You just want them small enough to place into your jars.

Step 6: Prepare your Pickling Solution

4 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
1½ teaspoons canning or pickling salt
2 cups sugar or Splenda
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves - about 1 tsp
12 allspice nuts (whole) - about 1 tsp

Place vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in a large pot.  Put spices into a cheesecloth and tie off.
***tip- baby food holders work great to hold your spices. 
Bring to a boil.
Step 7: Boil Beets in Pickling Solution
Add beets to solution and simmer for 5 mins. 

Step 8: Place Beets in Jars
(forgot picture sorry)
Add beets to clean, sterile, hot jars. I like to keep mine in the oven at 250 degrees until ready to use.  Fill your jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace at top.  Then add liquid leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Place lids and bands semi tightly on. 

Step 8: Water Bath
Place jars in an open water bath for 30 mins. 

Step 9: Let Jars Cool
Cool your jars for 24 hours before removing bands.  Any jars that didn't process right, place in the refridgerator or eat.

Raspberry Cheesecake

The other day the kids and I went raspberry picking. I didn't want to turn all the raspberries into jam because we just got done doing 18 pints of strawberry jam. Instead I decided to make a cheesecake. This was scary for me because I have never made cheesecake before. I am so glad I did because it turned out beautiful.

I found the recipe from a whisk, a spoon. Can I just say that her cheesecake is gorgeous. All credit for this recipe goes to her.

For the recipe visit a whisk, a spoon or you can find it on my cake blog, Peach of Cake.

Monday, August 8, 2011

More on Blanching: Green Beans and Broccoli

Today I decided to do a little more blanching.  We had some Green Beans and Broccoli that were ready.  For your information I am posting the how to on the blog.  I didn't take any pictures, but it is all pretty much self explanatory.

All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. 

Blanching Green Beans

A bowl of green beans -any amount.  I do about a handful per person as a serving. 

What you will need:

A pot of boiling water with a lid
A bowl of ice water
A collander
Freezer bags or Vacuum Seal

Step 1- Go get your beans. You want them as fresh as you can get them. The best is to pick your beans right before you prepare them for freezing. Morning is also the best time to pick your vegetables. Make sure your beans are ripe, but not too ripe. You don't want dried out, bruised, or too ripe beans. They won't taste very good later on.

Step 2- Wash and cut your beans.
To cut your beans, simply cut the ends off.  I also like to cut my beans to about an inch and a half.  This way they are easier for the kids to eat. If you want french cut beans cut them lengthwise.
Step 3- Blanch Beans.
Place your beans into boiling water for 3 minutes.

Step 4-Cool Beans (typing that just made me smile)
Immediately remove from boiling water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process. Keep in water until completely cooled. A general rule of thumb would be to keep in water as long as it was in the boiling water.
Step 5-Drain your peas.

Step 6- Seal and freeze.
Now you are ready to seal. I love my vacuum sealer. Things tend to stay fresher and don't get freezer burned. However, if you don't have one you can place your beans into freezer bags. Just make sure to get out as much air as you can before placing in the freezer.

How to Freeze Broccoli

fresh broccoli - any quantity. When freezing veggies I generally do about 1 handful per person as a serving.

1 Large pot of boiling water
2 large bowls, one filled with cold water and ice.
1 sharp knife
Vacuum food sealer (You can also use Ziploc baggies if you don't have a sealer.  Use the heavy duty baggies)
Step 1 - Harvest your broccoli. We didn't grow broccoli this year, but I did get some in my Bountiful Basket that I didn't want to go to waste. Make sure your broccoli is FRESH and CRISP.  Using limp, old broccoli doesn't taste good before freezing so it of course will taste nasty frozen.

Broccoli are of the best quality when they are tight, before the florets start to open or turn yellow.

Step 2 - Wash the broccoli!
You do know how to do this without me explaining how to right?

Step 3 -Split the broccoli
Split lengthwise so florets are no more than 1 1/2 inches across. Remove leaves and woody portions. Separate the heads into convenient-size sections.

Step 4 - Soak the florets in brine (salt water)
Brine= 4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon tap water
Soaking in a brine will help remove any creepy crawlies that may have found a home in your broccoli.  Soak for 30 minutes and then rinse under running water.
Step 5- Get the pots ready
Fill a pot 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil.  Fill another large bowl with ice and cold water.

Step 6 - Blanch the broccoli.
Blanching times for broccoli is 3 minutes
Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the broccoli in the boiling water. Cover the pot and boil at a high temperature for 3 minutes. You may use the same blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required height.

Step 7 - Cool the broccoli
Cool broccoli immediately in ice water.
After vegetables are blanched, cool them quickly to prevent overcooking. Plunge the broccoli into a large quantity of ice-cold water (I keep adding more ice to it). A good rule of thumb: Cool for the same amount of time as the blanch step. For instance, if you blanch sweet broccoli for 3 minutes, then cool in ice water for at least 3 minutes.

Drain thoroughly.

Step 8 - Bag the broccoli
I love my FoodSaver for this step.  However you can use Ziploc bags.  Make sure you use the heavy duty freezer bags and get all air out to prevent drying and freezer burn. 

Step 9 - Freeze and enjoy later!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oh What Do You Do In The Summertime?

I was looking back through posts that I have put up on the blog and realized that I really haven't put any pictures of the kids and the fun things we have done thus far this summer.  Actually I was noticing that I need to have my camera on me at all times, because I really don't have many pictures at all.  That is not like me. Enjoy the following pictures of some of the things we have done this summer. These may or may not be in order, but they are all from the past 2 months. 

3rd Annual Ward Campout
Every year the campouts get better and better.  This year we had so many people show up.  The annual lighting of the campfire went off without a hitch.  Pinatas, games, smores, friends, and fun. What else could you ask for?

Enchanted Village
 Every year we go as a big family to Enchanted Village.  This year was no different than any other.  We had a great time.

Lots of cousins all piled into a firetruck.

Brave Little Girl.  She really wanted to go on the pirate ship.  However, once it started she hated it.  Lil' E got on, but he was at the top.

She loved the scrambler.  I think she went on it at least 6 times in a row.

4th of July
Our annual family 4th of July was a blast.  The weather was so nice that we camped out.  The kids had lots of fun with cousins they haven't seen in a long time.  This was the first time in like 15 years that JBody had seen one of his brothers.  It was a great weekend.

Baby Lise Finally Has Arrived!
June 19th was the arrival our new baby cousin Lise.  What a whirlwind she put her mommy and daddy through.  We are so happy that in the end both she and her mommy were healthy.  We had to wait awhile till the kids could see her.  They didn't get to see her in the hospital because she was 4 weeks early.  But now that she is home, they love her.  Especially Razy.  She has become quite the baby hog when Lise is around. (Lise is her bloggy name)

The Game Farm With Mema
Mema is what the kids all call their Grandma.  Mema had all 8 grandkids visiting so she treated them all to the Game Farm.

The Elk were pretty scary.  Everytime you turned around another one had it's head in the window. 

Finally a Double Yoker
Lil' E has patiently waited for 2 years to get a double yoker.  He has to wait no longer. 

Daddy Fixed the Septic Pump with Grandpa
I thought I would just add this picture for giggles.  Our daddy is quite the character.  He was supposed to take a picture of the little box behind him and email it to grandpa.  He thought it would be funny to take the picture with him in it too.

Swimming in Mema's Pool
My mom has a pool (and it is heated ahh).  This summer the kids have gone over there about 4 times.  Lil' E has learned to swim (Yeah) and Razy and Doble are no longer afraid to be in the water.  The water is a nice 85 degrees so even when it is gloomy they can enjoy the pool.

Another Tooth Lost
Well this one was yanked out.  Doble and Lil' E were playing and Doble ripped a blanket out of Lil' E's mouth.  The blanket wasn't the only thing to come out of his mouth. 

Babysitting Baby Lise
My brother and my sister in law asked if we would watch Lise while they went to dinner.  OF COURSE!! Razy got Lise all to herself.  The boys were at Aunt Tay Tay's house so Razy got to cuddle with Lise the whole night.

She actually did start to fall asleep on the luv sac with Lise, but here she is just faking.

Camping At Zion's Camp
We enjoyed Zion's camp so mcuh during Memorial Day Weekend that we decided to go back.  It was the perfect weekend to do so.  It was so warm that the kids got in the lake and swam.  We were still in t-shirts and shorts that night when we finally decided to go to bed around 11:30.  It was so beautiful. 

This came as a huge shock to me.  I can't believe Doble actually went out on the lake.  This is the first year he has overcome his fear of being in the water.

Well there you have it.  That has been our summer thus far.  This week we are supposed to have some nice weather so we are actually hoping to visit Salt Creek and John Wayne Marina.  Pictures to come!