Cranberry Mustard

Do you have a bunch of cranberries left over from your thanksgiving feast? This cranberry mustard would be a really simple and tasty way to use them up! I bought a few pounds of local cranberries last week at the final outdoor farmers market of the season, and made a bunch of homemade cranberry juice, but I also wanted to try something new with them. As usual, I popped open my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and found this cranberry mustard recipe that looked super intriguing. They also have a cranberry ketchup by the way, if you have the book. Look at how gorgeous it is! Ball recommends it on ham, so that’s my first plan for it.  I also brought it as a little gift to our hostess for thanksgiving (maybe a good idea for Christmas yes? )

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1 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 cup water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 3/4 cups cranberries
1/4 cup dry mustard
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or to taste)
2.5 tsp ground allspice

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Here’s how I made it:

The first thing you need to do is soak the mustard seeds in the vinegar. Bring the vinegar to a boil, remove from heat, add the mustard seeds, cover and let it sit until all the vinegar is absorbed – about an hour and a half.

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Prepare the canner, jars and lids. This yields about 7-8 4 oz jars, or 4 half pints. I ended up with 4 half pints a bit left over.

Dump the vinegar/mustard seed mixture into your food processor (I have this one) and add the water and Worcestershire sauce.

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Blend until the seeds are mostly crushed up but still retain a grainy texture. You can adjust the blended-ness to your preference.

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Then add the cranberries and blend again.

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Scoop the mixture into a pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and boil gently. Add the ground mustard, sugar, and allspice. If you’d like to do less or no sugar, taste it before adding it and see what you think. I actually thought it tasted great before I added the sugar and allspice. At this point Ball said to boil until the mixture is reduced by a third, but mine was already crazy thick so I boiled for about 5 minutes and called it good.

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Fill your hot jars with mustard, leaving a quarter inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and tighten finger tip tight. Place the jars in a boiling water bath canner covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Process for 10 minutes once the water is boiling.

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After the 10 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars to a hot pad or towel. Cool 12-24 hours, remove bands, wipe, label, and store.

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Sauerkraut is actually surprisingly easy to make, as it turns out. All you need is cabbage, pickling/canning salt, and a little bit of patience.

The first thing you need to do is prepare the cabbage. Wash it, remove the outer leaves, cut it in 4 and shred it. This can be done either by chopping it by hand, in a food processor, or with a mandolin.

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If you are doing it by hand it is a little harder to get nice even shreds, which is why I really liked using the mandolin for this purpose. Plus it gets to be a crazy cabbagey mess pretty fast.

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In clean and sterilized container, combine 5 pounds of cabbage with 3 tablespoons of salt. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the cabbage, and with clear hands mix it in well. Leave it until it starts to wilt, and release its juices. At the very least 15 minutes. Don’t reduce the salt in the recipe.

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Next you want to transfer it into the container you plan to ferment it in. In class, and when I made it at home later, we just used large mason jars. I think this is easier than a pickling crock, but it’s up to you. The crock is of course nice for a gigantic batch. Push the cabbage tightly into the jar or crock, getting it to release more liquids. It should release enough that you don’t need added brine, but if you do, top it off with a brine that is 4.5 teaspoons of salt for every 4 cups of water. Leave at least 4-5 inches of headspace in your pickling vessel.

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The thing that I liked about doing it in the jars was what we did next. We filled a plastic bag with the brine, and placed that in the top of the jar to hold the cabbage down. With the crock you need to weight it down with a plate or something, and it just seemed a little more difficult. The bag trick totally rocks. If you start to get a bit of scum, just remove the bag, wash it, clean out the scum, and put it back in. It seemed to me like you got a lot less though too with this bag method. Ball says you’ll have to skim it daily, and like this that is definitely not the case.


Now comes the patience part. Fermenting your cabbage will take a few weeks, so now we wait, and let the magic happen! OK, it’s not magic, it’s science! Bacteria will get to work on that cabbage, making the lactic acid that give sauerkraut its tart flavour. It can take up to 6 weeks, so be patient. Keep it at room temperatures, about 70-75F (21-23C).

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The way that you know your sauerkraut is ready is that it will be sour when you taste it. Do not can it until it tastes sour, or it is not acidic enough, and not safe to can. As you can see below, when it’s done it is a little lighter in colour, and loses a bit of the green colour.

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So now that it’s done what do you do? Well you have a few options. It keeps for a few months just fine in the fridge, so that’s a good option, especially if you only made a small batch as I did at home. I did 4 cabbages and filled 3.5 quart jars to give you an idea of how much it compacts. You can also can it though, if you so desire. It can be raw or hot packed. For both, prepare the canner, jars and lids. For the raw pack, you pack the kraut into hot jars, remove air bubbles, leave a half inch headspace, and process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. If you hot pack it, you bring it to a simmer with the brine over medium high (don’t boil), then fill the jars, again leaving a half inch head space and removing bubbles. For the hot pack though, you only need to process 10 minutes for pints and 15 for quarts, since you already warmed it up. For both of course process at a full rolling boil with the jars covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. After the processing time is done, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars. I have no pictures, however, because I plan to just keep it in the fridge. So, there you have it – you can choose from three ways to store it, and it’s super easy to make. Now get out there and kraut!

Salsa Verde

NOOOOOO TOMATO SEASON IS OVER! 😦 It is sad, but at least I have a pantry full of delicious goodies to get me through the winter. The first frost was a week or two ago, and it meant that upon seeing the warning I picked all my green tomatoes. Sadly it came a little early this year so I had a lot of green tomatoes still. However, the bright side is that I made this green tomato salsa! If you still have green tomatoes this is a great use for them.


5 cups chopped green tomatoes or tomatillos
1.5 cups seeded chopped long green chilies
1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup bottled lemon or lime juice
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin (or to taste)
3 tablespoons oregano (or to taste)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Here’s what I did:

I wanted the tomatoes, peppers and onions chopped pretty finely so I used my little food processor on all three.


Chop the tomatoes, peppers and onions.


Mix all the ingredients together in your stock pot and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. I would wait until it’s heated and mixed together before adding the spices. I went for the full amounts of cumin and oregano but I may recommend starting with less and adding to taste because it can become a little overpowering.


Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Meanwhile prepare the canner, jars and lids.


Fill the hot jars leaving a half inch head space. De-bubble the jars, wipe rims, apply lids and bands, tightening finger tip tight. Process at a full rolling boil for 15 minutes.


After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars to a hot pad or towel. After 12-24 hours remove bands, check seals, label and store! Recipe yields 5 pints.


Country Western Ketchup

It’s time for some more terrific tomatoes! For this adventure in deliciousness we turned to an OSU Extension Service publication. This is a delicious ketchup with a little more spice than a traditional ketchup, not hot spice, just really flavourful – I personally think it’s freaking fantastic.



24 pounds of tomatoes
5 chili peppers, sliced and seeded
1/4 cup salt
2 2/3 cups vinegar (5%)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
4 tsp paprika
4 tsp whole allspice
4 tsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp whole peppercorn
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp bay leaves

In my opinion, you don’t really want to cut this recipe down at all because cooking down to the consistency of ketchup only leaves you with 6-7 pints. Halving it would only get you 3 or so which would just be sad!

Here is what we did:

Our tomatoes aren’t coming in quite fast enough to have 24 ripe pounds at a time, so I have been chucking them in the freezer. This is the perfect thing to do if you don’t have enough yet, or don’t have time to deal with them. They make great sauce or ketchup still after freezing and it eliminates the need to blanch!


Thaw the frozen tomatoes either with patience, your mind power or by running them under hot water, and the skin comes off super nicely! If you didn’t use frozen like me just blanch and peel and put them in your biggest pot.


Keep yourself entertained while peeling like we do. Weee it’s a tomato super hero! I will post it to Instagram! Ahem, I mean bring the tomatoes to a boil over medium high heat.


Add in all the tomatoes and the chili peppers, mash them up a bit, and simmer uncovered for at least 20 minutes (note: I know what you are thinking, no this picture is not all the tomatoes).


Meanwhile prepare the spice bag. Put the spice bag into a pot with the vinegar and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat once it is boiling and let it steep in the vinegar at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the spice bag and pour the spiced vinegar in with the tomatoes. Cook at least another 30 minutes.


Strain time! Turn off the heat and let the ketchup cool a bit. Then put the mixture through a food mill or strainer. I ran it through the Victorio a couple times.

ASIDE: Make sure you carefully assemble your strainer if this is the type you are using and have the screw tightly attached because at this point we had a TOMATO EXPLOSION! The screw must not have been in tight and the metal grate piece popped off while we were cranking and we lost a few cups of juice to the floor. It was very sad but at least we lost only what was in the hopper and strainer part at the time.


Return the mixture to the pot, add the sugar and salt and boil gently until it reaches ketchup consistency. It takes a long time but it is worth the wait! Stir occasionally.


This is what ketchup consistency looks like. Sorry for the terrible quality pictures, too much steam! But anyways if it mounds nicely on your spoon and looks generally ketchup like it is ready to be canned. Prepare the canner, jars and lids a little bit before it is ready.


Ladle the hot ketchup into hot jars leaving 1/8 to 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and tighten the bands finger tip tight.


Process pints or half pints for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Cover by at least 1-2 inches of water and start timing when the water is at a full rolling boil.


After 15 minutes remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars. Let cool 12-24 hours then remove bands, label and store. Mmmm countrified deliciousness.


Salsa Perfection

OK so I probably shouldn’t have called my first salsa the “best ever” as this leaves no room for improvement. So since I don’t wanna be a bad canning mama and pick my favourite child I am calling this one “salsa perfection.” Best and perfect sound pretty equivalent to me, right? Phew, dodged that bullet. Anyways, I digress. This recipe is what we did with the other 30 pounds of tomatoes from the tomato extravaganza that was last night. This salsa has more peppers than the first recipe I posted, so if you like your salsa more peppery this is the one for you! This recipe comes from PNW 395, one of my favourite publications! It’s the Chile salsa, bottom of page 9.



10 cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
6 cups seeded, chopped chili peppers (use some hot and some mild, or sub in some green bell peppers and some jalapenos like we did – 6 cups total of all peppers you use though)
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dry cumin (optional)
1 tsp dry oregano (optional)

As above the recipe will yield 7-9 pints.

Here is what we did:

Core, blanch and peel, the tomatoes. I learned from last time to blanch them for just a short 30 seconds or so, that way they don’t get soggy/cooked. Core 6 or 8 and plop them in boiling water.


Then throw them straight into ice water and repeat. Only leave them in the boiling water for the short time it takes to quickly peel the 6 or 8 and then they don’t get soggy.


Look at all those beautiful naked tomatoes!


Dice the tomatoes. Do a fairly course dice because they will break down a bit when they are boiled. We had 48 cups from the 30 pounds, so we did 4.8x the recipe, multiplying through for the other ingredients. Chop up the onions and peppers. Try and cut the peppers and onions in similarly sized pieces. Wear gloves for the hot ones! Remove the seeds and veins from hot peppers or add just some of them, depending on how hot you like your salsa. I like to keep a bowl of the seeds set aside so I can make some batches hotter than others and label the lids accordingly.


We had to do this in multiple batches since my stock pot is 12 quarts and we had about 1.5x that. But if you are normal and not doing a mondo batch, mix all the ingredients in your stock pot. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend the mondo batch. It takes to long to boil so gets watery. Do one batch, get it in the canner, and repeat. I did it that way the next time I did a huge salsa batch and was much happier. Still make a ton of salsa though. Just do it in batches or multiple pots. Anyways, add all the tomatoes, peppers, onions, vinegar and spices. A fun fact about salsa is that if you don’t like the vinegar flavour you can sub lemon or lime juice in equal quantities if you prefer. Or a different vinegar like cider vinegar (we used white vinegar but both are tasty). Just make sure whatever vinegar you use is 5% acidity. You can also add more or less salt, or other dried spices. Just DO NOT alter the ratios of the veggies. And be careful if you do giant batches like this that you get all the ratios right, it is easy to screw up and make something unsafe if you aren’t careful and paying attention. Another good reason to do one batch, get it in the canner, and repeat.


Bring the salsa to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. While bringing it to the boil prepare the canner, jars and lids. I prefer the wide mouth pints for dipping! Once it’s been boiling for 10 minutes it is ready to be put it the hot jars!


Fill the jars leaving a half inch head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and tighten bands finger tip tight. Place in the canner covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars to a towel or hot pad. Count the pings as the jars seal! Below you can see we had both of our canners going with 8 jars a piece and still had almost a full pot left of salsa! What an excellent batch! Took 4 full canner loads plus 2.5 jars for the fridge – 34.5 delicious pints of salsa! If this pressure canner picture is confusing you, it’s just because I use my pressure canner as a water bath canner too, I didn’t pressure can this.


12-24 hours later check the seals, remove the rings, wipe down the jars and label and store. Lately I’ve been noting the page number or source of the recipe on the label too so maybe by next year I really can pick a favourite. 😉

My share of the bounty! mmmm mmmm good.


Zesty Zucchini Relish

If you have zucchinis growing in your garden, by mid summer you are probably desperate like me for new and exciting ways to use them up. This zucchini relish, modified from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a delicious way to do just that. I am not a huge fan of the sweet commercial relishes, so tried a small batch of this at first, but it is so good (not sweet, it has a nice ZESTY flavour). I had to make more! Awesome on hot dogs or sausages!


12 cups finely chopped zucchini
4 cups chopped onions
2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup of canning salt
2.5 cups granulated sugar
2.5 cups white vinegar
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 chili pepper, including seeds, chopped

The recipe also calls for 4 tbsp prepared horseradish, but I find horseradish’s flavour screams “Hi I am horseradish, I am ALL you can taste,” so I leave it out. If you like it though, it could be a nice addition to the recipe. Makes about 5 pints.

Here is what I did:

Finely chop the zucchini. 12 cups took me freaking forever though, so I might recommend trying to whip this up in a food processor. I just like the little cubes, but it was a lot of chopping.


Chop the green and red bell pepper, onion and mix them together with the zucchini and the salt.

Cover and leave in a cool place overnight (12 ish hours).


The next day, rinse the mixture off in a colander. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Get your hands in there and squeeze a handful at a time, and put it in a pot.


Add the vinegar, sugar, chili pepper, turmeric and nutmeg (and if you want horseradish) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.


Continue to boil the relish over medium heat. After about 45 minutes or so it should be a pretty good consistency.

While the mixture is boiling down, prepare the canner, jars and lids.


Fill the jars, leaving a half inch heat space. Debubble the jars, wipe the rims, place on the lids and tighten the bands finger tip tight. Processing time is 15 minutes for this recipe. Place the jars in the canner covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a full rolling boil. After the 15 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing the jars to a hot pad or towel. Listen to the delightful ping of the jars sealing!


Mmmmmm relish.


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Best Ever Salsa!

Tomato season is here at last, and that of course means salsa season! So yesterday I grabbed my good pal Kiki, picked all my red tomatoes and set out to make some salsa. I first made this salsa last year and it was so delicious it had to be the first thing I used tomatoes for this year. This recipe is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Warning, if you make this salsa you will never want to eat store bought salsa again!


The recipe as listed below makes around 5 pint jars of salsa.

7 cups peeled, chopped, cored tomatoes
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
8 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (5.5 oz) tomato paste
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Reminder: salsa is one of those foods that can be borderline acidic enough for hot water bath canning, so never alter the ratios in a recipe. It is not safe, for example, to add extra peppers because they reduce the overall acidity. Adding more vinegar for acidity can compensate, but never “guesstimate,” look for a trusted and tested recipe if you like a different ratio of ingredients in salsa.

How to make it:

Keeping true with my large batch style of canning, I picked every single red tomato in my garden for this canning session. I have an array of Roma varieties ready and had around 27 pounds when all was said and done. After peeling and chopping we had 33 cups of tomatoes! So we did about 4.7x the recipe as written, which it turns out is pretty much the capacity of my stock pot. To simmer the mixture I actually ended up spreading it out over a couple pots and mixing it all back together at the end.

The biggest task for this recipe is to peel and chop the tomatoes. This is exponentially easier if you first blanch them. If you want, cut a small x in the bottom of the tomato.


Toss them in boiling water for 30-60 seconds.


Then into ice water. The skins on these Roma’s came off so easily, which makes for a happy canning session.


Chop the tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic. Make sure to wear gloves to chop the jalapenos! A little bit of jalapeno seeds really go a long way in this recipe so I like to leave the seeds and veins aside and add them in to taste when I get all the ingredients together.


Mix all the ingredients in a large stock pot. I am actually not a huge cilantro fan, so I leave it out of this recipe or add a little parsley instead.


Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so to cook the veggies and thicken the mixture.



While the salsa is cooking, prepare the canner, jars and lids. I like to use wide mouth pints for this because then I can easily dip a chip right into the jar. When the salsa is done, fill the jars leaving a half inch head space. Wipe the rims, place the lids on, and tighten the bands finger tip tight.



Place the jars in the canner covered by at least 1-2 inches if water. Process jars for 20 minutes, beginning the timer when your hot water bath canner reaches a full rolling boil. After the 20 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes then remove your jars to a cloth or hot pad on the counter, leaving at least a couple inches between them. Listen to all the jars sealing!


For this giant batch of salsa, we ended up with 22 pints, plus a half pint left over for eats. This took 3 canner loads because only 8 wide mouth pints fit in my canner, so just keep the salsa simmering in between if you do more than one load.

Enjoy any little bit left over! Mmm. Although, I think if you leave it a couple weeks for the flavours to commingle it tastes even better. Deeeelish!


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