Saturday, July 31, 2010
Of Pepper Jelly and Sauerkraut
My friend Anne stopped over yesterday afternoon with a basket of peppers from her garden. I added peppers from my CSA haul and we commenced to making Pepper Jelly.
If I do say so myself, "YUM"
Pepper Jelly: makes about 10 pints
Get your food processor out to make quick work of all the chopping.
Finely chop (mince)
1 1/2 cups red bell peppers
1 1/4 cups green bell peppers
1 1/4 cups hot peppers (I used Ancho, cherry bomb and jalapeno, seeded)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 (1.75 ounce) packaged powdered pectin (SureJell)
5 cups white sugar
Sterilize 8 to 10 (6 ounce) jelly jars and lids and bands.
Heat the water in your canner
Place all the peppers, vinegar and pectin in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture comes to a rolling boil, the kind that cannot be stirred down, add the sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil. Cook for exactly 2 minutes.
Ladle hot jelly into the sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth to insure a good seal. Put lids in place and screw on bands finger tight.
Place in canner, bring water to a boil and process for 5 minutes at boiling. Remove jars from canner and place on a clean kitchen towel to cool, listen for the pops to insure the jars have sealed properly*. Let cool 12 to 24 hours. Store in a cool, dark cupboard.
In this house we eat pepper jelly over cream cheese, then spread on crackers. My friend Anne said she topped grilled steaks with pepper jelly and received raves all around!
A Cook's Notes: If you want Hotter, Spicier pepper jelly do not remove the seeds from the hot peppers.
*If any of the jars failed to seal you can reprocess or place in refrigerator and eat within one week.
Since the food processor was already out we decided to try our hand at making homemade sauerkraut. All you need is cabbage, kosher salt and a large crock.
Two green cabbages (about 4 pounds total), shredded to no thicker than a nickel
4 tablespoons Kosher Salt (do not use table salt)
(you need 1 tablespoon of salt per pound of cabbage - so make as much or as little as your crock will hold. DO NOT use any aluminum utensils or pots)
Mix the salt with the cabbage, tossing with very clean hands until the salt is dissolved and the cabbage begins to dewater. Pack the cabbage and any juices very tightly into your crock (a plastic bucket will also work)
Keep packing the cabbage down, using your fists and some muscle power. When you get to within 4 inches of the top of your crock, stop. Press down on the cabbage, you should see brine coming up to the top. Great! If not (this happens with old cabbage) make a little brine using a cup of water and a teaspoon of salt.
Now fill a gallon ziploc bag with salted water. Place inside another ziploc bag and seal. Place the bag(s) on top of the cabbage, making sure the entire surface of your cabbage is covered. This will keep the cabbage weighted down. Cover tightly with plastic wrap - two layers. Now cover with a heavy kitchen towel and secure it with twine or rubber bands.
Put the crock in the basement or garage or somewhere where the temperature will stay below 75 degrees. Now just walk away. Mark your calendar for 3 weeks. Check for fermentation. If the cabbage is not sour enough for you, repack and wait another week.
You can freeze or can the sauerkraut once it reaches the desired tartness. Keep in mind canning it will reduce the tartness a bit so better to go with more tart than less.
A Cook's Notes: Absolute cleanliness is important if you are going to make a good, safe sauerkraut with no mold. Sterilize your bowl, utensils and crock. Wash your hands with soap and very hot water.
I'll check back with everyone in 4 weeks as to the status of the 'kraut'. Hot Dogs anyone?