Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pickles and Crab Apple Jelly

I tried my hand at making pickles yesterday and jelly today. I thought the pickles would be a flop because I was using sub-prime cukes ( didn't get around to making them until yesterday and they'd been picked a while ago, plus I think they were all slicing cukes not pickling ones). But they are the best pickles I have ever eaten! Dill from the garden, cukes from ours and Bill and Judy's garden, and Judy's recipe. Mmm Mmm Mmm. Quite simple, as cooking goes, and such amazing results! I thought it would be harder and that they would be a flop. What a yummy surprise.
The Crab Apple Jelly, on the other hand, was fun to make but I think it will be called Crab Apple Syrup for our pancakes this winter. We have a crab apple tree out by the garden. I had heard that you could make jelly from them (they're pretty tart to just eat straight) but I had no idea how. Then the other day we ended up bring a Little House Cookbook home from the library that had recipes in it for all the foods that the Ingles and Wilder families make in Laura's books. Crab Apple Jelly was in there! So we had to try. Mitch and the girls picked the apples, and then I went to work this morning. They're so little you don't even try to core them and make jam or apple sauce/butter out of them. You just cut them in half and remove the stems. Here is Anna helping me squeeze the pulp out of the juice after cooking the apples down: Cooking the juice and sugar:Voila! Crab Apple Syrup:

After I did more research I found out that I did every single thing they say not to do or else your jelly might not jell. Oh well. It looks beautiful! This was my very first canning experience, too, and I must say, I had a good time! I definitely learned some things not to do next time. If I care I think I can open some of the jars and fix the 'jelly', cook it some more, maybe get it to jell, and re-can it. We'll see. I might just like the syrup.

We also made Sourdough biscuits from the Little House Cookbook. We were hoping to have some jelly to go on them, but oh well. They were good! Notice the two biscuits in the front, one is Anna's and one is Josie's, they had fun forming them. We cooked some of them in the skillet and baked some, both ways were delicious. I would say we've kept ourselves busy the last two days. Good busy! Maybe tomorrow we'll just relax and play in our pool all day. Yes, we have a new pool, Jack and Caroline! More on that to come. But for now, I'm going to bed.


Jeanette said...

I just made pickles with Ginya too! We made bread and butter pickles though-- they're Ginya's favorite. Fun to know that everyone is doing the same stuff everywhere-- you, us, Becky... Now is the season for canning-- we can barely keep up our pesto-making with the amount of basil we are getting currently.
-Jeanette (and Michael)

Sandy P. said...

We have a crab apple tree out back - a volunteer from our compost pile one year. We've made absolutely fantastic jelly from them for years. (But our first year produced syrup also! I had to learn to accommodate for our elevation!) I've given it as gifts, plus it's our kids' absolute favorite! I'm dazzled with your gardening and canning efforts! And you'll have delicious pancakes this winter!

Faith said...

We have been pickling like mad here at our house for the last 2 weeks. There are two awesome recipes on this show....( the carrot one and the cauliflower one. The other cuke ones are not that great, but then, we tend to stick strictly to dill when it comes to the cukes!
Happy Pickling my friend!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

I was about to leave a comment about my parents' crab apple tree and Mom's jelly...but Mom beat me to it!

Anyway, it sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun and being the best sort of busy. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

akamilby said...

Okay, I personally am completely shocked that this was your first canning experience. Really? I would have guessed you've been canning for years now. And is there something in the air? Because I'm about to post pictures of my first canning experience: blackberry jam. Yours looks yummy, and I can attest to the fact that ours is too! My only question is: how do you know you've done it right? I mean, I boiled for an extra ten minutes because of the altitude, and I opened one to have on bread this morning, and it tastes good, but how do I know that it will truly keep? I've never done it before, so I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, after two days the picture of you with your pickles finally loaded! Such a cute picture of the accomplished and proud canner. Good on you. Perhaps you should have less posts per page as I am having trouble viewing everything. I still have not seen that picture of the full bus that Bill is waiting for! Lovely job on the sourdough biscuits girls. Did they taste as yummy as they look? Katie, I can't believe you can can with 3 little ones around. What a good mom. How fun to try some things in the Little House cookbook. Sounds like you are homeschooling to me. :)
love you,
Oh, Holly, if the lid has a proper seal and does not move when you press on it, they will keep. Listen for the pop as they seal after taking them out of the boiling water bath.

katie said...

I did my canning research on the website, they have a lot of info about canning safely. Basically the mold/bacteria that can spoil the food (some, botulism, are very dangerous so you don't want to mess around with not doing this correctly) are even present in the air. You put what you are canning into your jars and place the new lid flats on and in the cooling process they will seal. The ring just holds them into place until they are sealed, then you can take that off if you want. Now you have a sealed environment, but not necessarily a sterile one. The hot water bath kills any mold/bacteria that could have gotten into the jar before it was sealed. If you did it the recommended amount for what you canned, then you should be safe. Like mom said, you'll know the jars are sealed if when you press on the center of the lid it doesn't move up and down, and it will be hard to pry off. A popping sound as they cool is also normal, but not necessary for a seal.
You are right, I surprise myself that this is my first time canning. I think I was a little nervous about it because I had heard too many horror stories about spoiled food from canning, so I wanted to learn from someone who knew what they were doing. I guess I just got brave and decided to do my own research and try it out. The abundant supply of crab apples getting wasted also helped and a recipe that I just happened across (I like things written down). Other years we have either moved before the year was out and had abundant produce to can, didn't have a garden (Valmont), ate all our produce as we produced it, or froze our excess. I'm hooked now, though.

akamilby said...

Thanks Kates, because mine made a popping sound as they sat on a cutting board next to the pan after I took them out. I was wondering if that was good or not. But there's still air in there, right? So could there still be problems? That was the part I didn't understand. But they definitely all sealed, and I boiled them extra long, so hopefully they're okay. Do you have special canning tongs? I remember mom had some when we were growing up, and when I was trying to remove hot jars with regular tongs I thought that would be a useful tool. Thanks for the canning tips! I might need that pickle recipe soon--that sounds like fun.

akamilby said...

Okay, I checked out the website you recommended, and I feel much better about my jam--thanks! It's well sealed, and the high sugar content will prevent botulism, so I'm good. Thanks!