"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Canning Party (Recipes)

lemon curd

mixing up Ukrainian refrigerator pickles

making dilly beans

Yesterday I invited a couple of girlfriends over to do some communal canning. It was a beautiful fall day and I enjoyed showing my friends around the homestead. After a few drinks and some snacks, we got down to business.

One of my friends was a total canning novice, and she chose dilly beans as a good place to start. I think that's a good choice - easy vinegar based pickle, delicious, pretty. I made lemon curd because I had a serious surplus of organic lemons from the Gleaner's Pantry. Lemon curd is not just yummy, but also very attractive and I'm thinking it will make a good addition to any Christmas packages I send out this year, should I get my shit together and send any.

My other friend is Ukrainian, and was making two of her mother's recipes. I was very excited about this; my mother's family also comes from Ukraine, but a few generations back, and as far as I know no family recipes have survived from that time. The three of us had a great time in the kitchen, and we decided to make it an annual event - the September canning get-together.

Nastia's Refrigerator Pickles

4 kg pickling cucumbers sliced in fourths lengthwise, and halved if long
4 Tbsn minced garlic
1 C. salad oil
1 C. sugar
2 Tbsn mustard powder
2 Tbsn yellow mustard seeds
2 tspn ground black pepper
1 C. 9% white vinegar (available in Russian grocery stores; or 2 C. regular white vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a large non-reactive kettle; let stand 3 hours at room temp. Then pack into large glass jars and refrigerate up to 2 months. 

These pickles are so delicious we couldn't stop eating them immediately, but now, a day later, I can say they are much better than they were even 24 hours ago. Unbelievable. I will be making these every year. 

Nastsia's Eggplant Preserve

3 Kg ripe eggplants (about 8), chopped in large (2") dice
1 Liter tomato juice
1 Tbsn salt
1 C. sugar
1 C. salad oil
1/2 C. 9% vinegar (available in Russian groceries; or 1 C. regular white vinegar)

Salt the eggplant well and leave to sit 1/2 hour in a colander; then rinse well and combine with all the other ingredients. Boil 20 minutes, then ladle into sterilized wide-mouth pint jars and process in a water bath 30 minutes. Cool and make sure jars have sealed. 
NOTE: this is Nastia's mother's recipe. The Blue Book Canning Guide states that eggplant, as a low acid vegetable, MUST be pressure canned. Some sources say that acidizing the eggplant with vinegar makes it safe; other sources DISAGREE. To be totally safe, process in a pressure canner.

Lemon Curd

Juice of 8 large or 12 small lemons; about 1 full cup
6 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
2 C. sugar or more to taste
3 sticks (3/4 lb) butter

in a large sauce pan, mix first three ingredients. Whisk until well blended. Over medium heat, whisk in butter in small pieces until incorporated; keep whisking occasionally until thickened; about 6 or 7 minutes. Ladle into sterilized 1 C. quilted jelly jars and place on sterilized lids. Process in a water bath just to seal; about 5 minutes. The high acid of this conserve makes it safe as long as the jar seals well. Will keep for many months.