Category Archives: Pickling

Preserving Pears

Pears are a sweet treat over the holidays, some being cultivated and grown specifically for their availability this time of year. So after you’ve eaten your share of fresh pears, what can you do to preserve that special flavor?

If your canner is still accessible (and you have room in your kitchen regardless of holiday cooking!), then you may want to can pear halves. Remember that Asian pears are not as acidic as other varieties and have their own canning procedure which requires that addition of bottled lemon juice.

Pickled Pears are also an option for canning, especially if you have Seckel pears or another firmer, crisper pickling variety.

Pear Relish is another pickled pear product you could try; it includes onion, peppers, celery, and allspice. If you can also get your hands on 2 or 3 chayote, then you could make Chayote and Pear Relish, with allspice and pumpkin pie spice.

A couple of delicious sweet spread choices are available that use pears as a primary ingredient: Pear Preserves is a traditional, no-pectin-added southern-style fruit preserves made with large chunks of pear and a thickened sugar syrup (in other words, not a jam-like spread!).  Pear-Apple Jam is a sweet, gelled spread made with liquid pectin (and a touch of cinnamon!).

Finally, if you are not up for getting the canner going, then you could simply make a sugar syrup and freeze pears.

Pickling Pecks of Peppers

P1010235In the famous tongue-twister Peter may have picked pickled peppers, but for the rest of us, we have to pick plain peppers then pickle them ourselves (or buy them). If you grow your own peppers then your harvest is likely slowing down as the summer draws to a close, so snatch up those last colorful peppers and preserve them for the months ahead.

Peppers are low-acid vegetables, so it is important to maintain the portions of ingredients as called for in tested, trusted canning recipes. The result is a safe, crispy, tangy snack, side, or ingredient for a dish.Pickled_Jalapeno_Slices

Here are a few recipes for pickled peppers to try, including relishes that go great on hotdogs, burgers, or in pasta salads and a spicy hot sauce that will add fiery flavor to sauces, chili, soup…anything you put it in!  Click the links below to view the complete recipes, procedures, and boiling water canning process times on the NCHFP website.

Cayenne_PepperSauce

New! Summer Squash Relish

IMG_2311We’re excited to now have a recipe for Summer Squash Relish on the National Center website. You may recall our post about Squash Pickles which are a take on a classic dilled pickle product, flavored with dill seed, garlic, and vinegar. In contrast, the Summer Squash Relish produces a more sweet and tangy flavor, highlighted by cider vinegar, sugar, and turmeric (as well as celery and mustard seed).

Once those yellow squash and zucchinis start to come in, they tend to be prolific, so it’s nice to have something to do with them in addition to crudité, stir-fry, and more zucchini bread than even your neighbor’s neighbors know what to do with. This relish goes great on hot dogs and hamburgers, or it may be used to add delicious interest to sautéed greens, potato salad, and other prepared dishes.

This Summer Squash Recipe can be made with yellow squash, zucchini, or a combination of both. We especially liked combining about ¾ yellow squash with ¼ zucchini. It is NOT for use with other types of squash such as winter squashes.

Directions say to shred the squash in a food processor, but this step may be done by hand instead.

Also, we used Vidalia onions in recipe development, but you could use any variety of onion per your own personal preference. Another subtle option that you may choose is to substitute celery salt in place of celery seed if you prefer that taste.

Totally Tomatillos

tomatillosHusk tomatoes, also known as tomatillos, can be very productive plants, producing 64 to 200 fruits per plant in a season. Tomatillos don’t like freezing, so should be planted after any danger of last frost. Planted as such, they will flower mid-June and ripen mid-July.

So then, what to do with too many tomatillos? A few options:

Tomatillos can be canned, whole. However, keep in mind that home-canned Tomatillos will be cooked until tender and softened, so if you like the firmer texture of tomatillos then you may prefer one of our other options.

Tomatillo Green Salsa is probably the most popular way to prepare, preserve, and serve husk tomatoes. You could also substitute green tomatoes in this recipe instead of tomatillos (but remember it is important not to make any changes to the proportion of tomatoes/tomatillos to lemon or lime juice, and that lemon or lime juice CANNOT be substituted for vinegar in this recipe). This recipe and directions are also available en Español: Salsa verde de tomatillo.

In contrast, Tangy Tomatillo Relish contains vinegar instead of lemon or lime juice, bell peppers instead of hot peppers and it also highlights the more unusual ingredient jicama. And that jicama provides a nice slightly crunchy texture to this relish compared to most others. The relish could be scooped like a salsa, spread on top of tacos, or mixed into prepared dishes.

For more about home-growing of tomatillos see Tomatillo by a Sonoma County Master Gardener with the University of California and for more about large-scale growing of tomatillos see the publication Tomatillo by University of Kentucky.