Friday, July 29, 2011

Recipe for the Fiesta Zucchini relish

Hello everyone,

I am flattered as I received quite a few  emails about the Zucchini relish.  Gosh, it isn't fancy but tasty. Thank you for your inquiries. My grandmother would blush.

Now, I really don't follow recipes to the book, but just follow general guidelines. My grandmother did not follow recipes hardly at all, so I learned from her, working around her methods.   This is so very similar to pickle relish, you can use a pickle relish recipe you have  and just substitute shredded Zukes and adjust your spices and vinegar.

I got about 6 cups of Shredded zukes, and then I shredded a couple of sweet peppers I had left over from last summer's garden.  I also shredded a couple of Gypsy peppers, which have a a nice pepper punch to them, though they are not hot, and I shredded a couple of Garden Salsa peppers which have a tiny bit of heat to them but they are not hot either.  I also shredded a couple of carrots also for color, to make up for the pepper color.

The peppers you can use for this is unlimited, please use your imagination and your palate.  Adjust your seasonings to your family or tongue.  If you want a flaming relish, add a more hot pepper.  Please do not be afraid of what you can do with this.  If you are timid, just use sweet peppers and carrot and then next add a spicier pepper and adjust. Something that will add zing is a red onion, which is what I am going to do next batch. For this batch, I added a white onion. I used a medium onion and just diced the whole onion in this batch.

I took the shredded zukes, and put in an ice cream bucket about a 1/1/2 gallon size along with the peppers, onion and put cold water in and added salt, about 2-3 tablespoons, if you are a salt restricted diet, just use cold water and I soaked this mixture overnight in the frig.

The next morning, I drained the water from the zuke mixture in a large colander and then rinsed good, and then let drain in the sink for several hours.  While this is draining, I started my vinegar and spice mixtures in a large pot, if you have a stock pot or a maslan pan, use this, heat your vinegar mixture up, and adjust to your taste.  I started with about 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and added about a 3/4 cup of sugar, again adjust to your taste.  Then I added 1 tablespoon each of dill seed and celery seed, and mustard seed,  in the pot and let simmer, but I did not boil this, just heat up good.

Then I added my zuke mixture and stirred up to make sure all the relish mixture is covered well and then I let this simmer for about an hour, then I tasted the mixture and adjusted to my taste, if you need to add more vinegar, splash some in, I also added a couple of splashes of red wine vinegar to this and I liked the taste.  I did use vinegar for canning, which is 5% acidity, which is what you need for canning.  I had to add a little more sugar, a tablespoon at a time, till it was where I wanted it.  I also added a little more of celery, dill, and mustard.  If you wish, omit any of these spices to your taste if you do not like it,  again, experiment with the taste, and think pickle relish.

Then I canned this mixture.  General canning directions for this:  Wash your jars and then keep hot, keep your lids and bands hot, and I used a  mix of pint and half pint jars with a tiny 4 oz for the last bit I had left over.  Then I used my pressure canner as a water bath canner, not employing the pressure regulator, just letting the steam come out the spout, I found this so wonderful as it did not heat up my kitchen like my big water bath canner does.  So I am using this method to water bath can my relishes and pickles, and tomatoes.

I processed for 20 minutes, then turned off the heat, let the steam settle down for about 10 minutes and then took the lid off, please when you do this, please lift the lid away from your face,  as you will get a intense facial steaming if you don't and a nasty steam burn, please follow the rules when canning for safety.

Well, I hope that this helps, again, forgive me for not having an "exact recipe", but I find recipes sometimes restricting, please have fun with this, and play with your food, you have my permission.  If you aren't sure, email me or post a comment, and I help you along.

Have fun

Thursday, July 28, 2011

canning produce from the getto garden

A very short post and photos of what I am doing this weekend...Canning the first tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers from the getto bucket brigade garden.

I am going to do a fiesta salsa, which has some colored sweet peppers and then some mildly hot garden salsa peppers.  And then a few cucumbers for pickles.   This is just a very small start.  Everything in the garden is slow, but is doing well beside the fact we had terrible cold and wet weather throughout the spring here and then intense heat and humidity.  I got some of the larger Zukes done for relish yesterday.

I am planning to go to Farmer's Market Saturday and see if my vendor has colored sweet peppers.  I just need a few for my fiesta salsa, it brightens up the mix and makes a pretty and colorful gift.  The peppers around here are pretty late just like everything else. Oh well, best laid plans of mice and men.

Well, I need to get going and go see if I can find some Pickle Crisp and a few other things for canning over the weekend.
Please take care all and have a wonderful and productive weekend, in whatever you plan.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First processing of the season.

Not much to post about today, but I managed to process the first Zucchini of the season into a sweet/mildly hot relish.  I let it sit in the frig for about 24 hours, and then processed it this morning before it got too hot to do so.
I really do not have a recipe for the relish, its my grandmothers and I think that I used about 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and about a 3/4 c. of sugar and about 1 TLBSP each of mustard and celery seed, and a half of a large white onion.  There was about 6 cups of Zucchini shredded.  I used my electric food processor, but you can shred by hand with a cabbage shredder.  I am going to look into a hand shredder, a good one.

I still have small Zucchini and small crookneck squash and some gold Zucchini.  I would like to slice these lengthwise and process these with the pressure canner.  Anyone have a recipe for these?  Either pickled or pressure canned?

Mommy cat and babies are starting to simmer down some.  Still skittish and hissing but they don't run away as much when I go into the bathroom to check on them.  It will just take time.

Well that is about it for this uneventful day.  Have a great day all!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Busy in the kitchen, possum chasin' new kittens

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Well I hope that all are surviving the heat, or drought or both.  It is still very hot here and I'm busy in the kitchen at the present time, trying to keep up with the Zucchini and the start of the cucumbers.  I shredded some larger Zucchini one of my house neighbors gave me into a relish,  its a sweet/hot mixture.  I will see tomorrow if the spices and vinegar are ok and then process it.  I put a few sweet, and mildly hot peppers I had from last year in this batch, so I will see if its worth canning.  I am trying to round up my jars and lids.  I am tempted to try the Tattler reusable lids.  Hopefully, around the first, I will order some and try them.  Has anyone every used these lids? Let me know.
I also got some hamburger patties made and frozen.  I can hardly wait until I get my beef order and start making my ground beef fillings, and my stew meat.  Since I got my pressure canner, and I'm not afraid of it, it seems I have lost out on a lot of good food because I was a pussy about a pressure canner!

I am chasing a very large possum around the trailer park.  The other morning, around 4:30 am, I was up and the dog had to go out, and Belle, went around the corner where she usually goes and I heard some very intense "hissing", and it sure didn't sound like a cat, so I had my flashlight, and shined it where the sound was coming from, and lo and behold, a very large, ( I guessing about 25 lbs) possum  was by my north neighbor's back step.  It was not a happy camper, and I suspect its a male just by the size.  I brought the dog in as I don't want her torn up and by the time I went back out, it disappeared around the back.  So, I have my two traps set at night, but as of yet, nothing.  I will keep trying, as I don't want that around here at all.

The neighbor from hell clear to the north trailer left a mom cat and three kittens in the trailer, they have been in there with all of this heat, and one other trailer neighbor who lives next to this trailer, came over and told me he heard kittens crying.  So, Saturday night,  I snuck in a back window when it got dark and found them.  Mom has been around for a while, but I didn't know where she came from or what.  These babies are pretty wild, but I was able to corner them, and get them rounded up,  I de-fleaed them and mom, and for a few days, I had them on my porch, but it was getting just too hot, and I  finally brought them into my large bathroom in the big wire cage I use.  Mom is pretty easy to handle, but the babies will take a little time, they are 2 blacks and a black/tan tabby female, the blacks are a male and female.  I will try to get a photo of them, but usually they run and hide when I come in. Mom is a garden variety grey and very thin. But with a little food, she will be ok..  I was not expecting more cats,  and I am getting very tired of cleaning up other stupid people's messes.  I am not sure what to do with them at the moment, but right now, my goal is to just get the kittens tamed down and mom filled out, I will cross this bridge when I get there. 

Well, that is it for right now.  Just wait though, something can happen here in a New York minute.  I am going out a little later to water the garden and then come in and make supper.  I think boneless pork chops and fried potatoes with cucumber salad and tomatoes in on the menu tonight.
I will try to take photos of the garden.  The cherry tomatoes I have are over 6 feet tall now.
Take care all