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Tips On Sterilizing Jars

Properly-handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.

Sterilizing Tips:
Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic, or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.

To sterilize jars, before filling with jams, pickles, or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Leave in a preheated 175 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Or, boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.

Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars, to move them from either boiling water or the oven. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.

As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.

After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.
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Apple Sauce

(Makes:4 Servings)

8-tart apples
-cinnamon stick
2-tbsp butter
A few gratings of nutmeg

Peel, core and cut the apples into large chunks
Put them into a pan and add a very small amount of water, about 2-tbsp of sugar, the cinnamon and cloves
Cover and cook slowly until tender, about 15 minutes
Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves
Stir in the butter
Add more sugar to taste

To Can This Recipe:
Put hot applesauce into hot sterilized jars
Process for 20 minutes in a hot water bath
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Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce

(Makes: About 6 Half-Pints)

20 pounds tomatoes
1 cup chopped onion
8 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil
Bottled lemon juice

Prepare Ball brand or Kerr brand jars and closures according to instructions found in Canning Basics.

Wash tomatoes; drain. Remove core and quarter tomatoes; set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent. Add tomatoes.Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Put tomato mixture through a food mill or strainer to remove seeds and peel. Combine tomato puree and basil in a large saucepot. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced by one-half, stirring to prevent sticking.

Add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each pint jar. Carefully ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Wipe jar rim clean. Place lid on jar with sealing compound next to glass. Screw band evenly and firmly just until a point of resistance is met-fingertip tight.

Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

For Altitude Adjustment Increase Processing As Indicated Below:
1,001-3,000 ft.....5 minutes
3,001-6,000 ft....10 minutes
6,001-8,000 ft....15 minutes
8,001-10,000 ft...20 minutes
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Brandied Cherries

(Makes: About 6 Pints)

6-lbs. dark, sweet cherries
1-cup sugar
1-cup water
1/4-cup lemon juice
1 1/4-cup brandy

Wash and pit cherries
Combine sugar, water & lemon juice in a large pot
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer
Add cherries & simmer until hot throughout
Remove from heat; stir in brandy
Pack hot cherries into hot jars, leaving 1/2" headspace
Ladle hot syrup over cherries, leaving 1/4" headspace
Remove air bubbles
Adjust two-piece caps
Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
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Brandied Peaches

(Makes: 4 qts)

9 lbs cling peaches
9 lbs sugar
1 qt water
2 sticks cinnamon
2 tablespoons whole cloves, heads removed
3 pints brandy

Peel fruit and keep WHOLE. Tie spices in a cloth bag. Using a large pot boil sugar and water with spice bag. When syrup is clear, add peaches and cook until tender, but not soft. Place on a platter to drain. Continue to boil syrup until thick. Remove syrup from heat and allow to cool. Add brandy, stir well and place peaches in sterile jars, cover with syrup and seal.

"These can be served with ham and biscuits"
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Bread & Butter Pickles

25 cucumber, thinly sliced
6 onions, thinly sliced
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup salt
3 cups cider vinegar
5 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1. In a large bowl, mix together cucumbers, onions, green bell peppers, garlic and salt. Allow to stand approximately 3 hours.

2. In a large saucepan, mix the cider vinegar, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, whole cloves and turmeric. Bring to a boil.

3. Drain liquid from the cucumber mixture. Stir the mixture into the boiling vinegar mixture. Remove from heat shortly before the combined mixtures return to boil.

4. Transfer to sterile containers. Seal and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

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Chili Sauce

(Makes: About 6 Pints)

2-cups sweet red peppers, chopped
2-cups chopped onions
24-large tomatoes (4 quarts peeled, cored, chopped)
1-tsp. ground allspice
1-tbsp salt
1 1/4-cup vinegar
1 1/2-cup sugar
1-tbsp celery seed
1-tsp ground ginger
1-tsp ground cinnamon
1-tsp ground cloves

Combine and add all ingredients to a heavy saucepan or cast iron skillet
Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 2 hours or till desired thickness has been reached
Stir often to prevent sticking
Pack hot jars with hot prepared tomato mixture leaving 1/2-inch headspace
Remove air bubbles
Wipe rim and screw threads and adjust lids and screw bands.

Processing Method:
Boiling Water Bath Canner
1/2 Pints 15 minutes
Pints 15 minutes

After processing, remove jars immediately, place on a rack to cool.
Test for Seal.
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Chow Chow

(Makes: 8 Pints)

2 -lbs green tomatoes, cut into small pieces
6-small cucumbers, cut into small pieces
2-sweet red or green peppers, cut into small pieces
1-small cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1-bunch celery, cut into small pieces
2-lbs small white onions, peeled
1-lb green beans, cut into 1” lengths
-cup salt
2-quarts cider vinegar
2 -cups sugar
2-tbsp celery seed
3-tbsp dry mustard
4-tbsp turmeric
1-tbsp whole allspice
1-tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1-tbsp ground cloves

Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, celery, onions, and green beans in a large pot
Cover with 3-quarts boiling water and the salt and let stand for 1 hour
Rinse well in cold water and drain again
Mix the remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil
Add the vegetables and cook until tender, stirring frequently
Spoon into hot sterilized jars, filling with the cooking liquid, leaving 1/8” headspace and seal
If needed, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes
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Corn Relish

(Makes: 6 Pints)

4-cups fresh corn kernels
5-cups chopped green peppers
2-cups chopped onion
2-cups cucumbers, sliced -- unpeeled
4-cups ripe tomatoes -- chopped
4-cups vinegar
2-cups sugar
1/4-cup salt
1-tbsp turmeric
1-tbsp mustard seed

Combine vegetables
Add vinegar, sugar, salt, turmeric, and mustard seed.
Heat to boiling, simmer 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Seal in hot, sterilized jars.
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Cranberry Vinegar

(Makes: About 3 1/3 Cups)

6 cups cranberries
2 strips orange rind
4 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar

In large saucepan, bring cranberries, orange rind, vinegar, and sugar to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes, stirring once.

Scoop into dampened jelly bag. Or scoop into dampened triple-thickness cheesecloth-lined colander; bring up sides and tie with string. Hang over large measuring cup or bowl. Let drip, without squeezing bag, for 2 hours.

In saucepan bring vinegar mixture to boil. Pour into prepared 1 cup canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Seal with prepared discs and bands. Process in boiling water canner for 5 minutes.

How To Use Cranberry Vinegar:
Whisk together 3 tablespoons each vegetable oil and Cranberry Vinegar,
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and pinch each salt and pepper.
Add 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or poppy seeds if desired.
Toss with 10 cups mixed salad greens.
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Deli-Style Kosher Dill Pickles

Ingredients Per Gallon Jar:
8-10 cucumbers for pickling (a medium size)
1-large handful fresh dill with flower heads (or add 1/4 teaspoon dill seed if flower heads are missing)
4-6 large cloves of garlic, flattened
1/2-cup coarse kosher salt or pickling salt
4 teaspoons pickling spice (Blue Ribbon, or other)
1-2 large bay leaves

Pack each gallon jar with cucumbers, sprinkling salt between each layer
Add pickling spice, salt, dill (dill heads) and bay leaves
Fill jar with water but leave two inches of room for brine to form
You may prepare this in large crocks (something non-reactive) and then transfer to glass jars when finished
Weigh cucumbers down to keep submerged and cover
After 2-3 days, remove scum (if any has formed)
Let ferment 3 more days and check for doneness by cutting off a slice of one cucumber
Once they are fermented to the right stage (to taste), transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate
Ferment longer (12-20 days) for pungent sour pickles

Real deli-style Kosher pickles have no vinegar added in the process unlike regular dills. They get their bite from fermentation. Just like when you go to the grocery store and see pickles in the refrigerated section, these pickles must be kept in the fridge. The fermenting will continue unabated if you don't stop it by putting them in the refrigerator. The cold greatly slows down the fermentation but won't stop it completely. It will continue to age but at a much slower rate. There is only one thing to do to stop the aging. EAT THEM ! Enjoy !
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Fruit Chili Sauce

15 ripe tomatoes
3-large onions
1-sweet red pepper
1-green pepper
2-cups cider vinegar
2-cups sugar
1/4-cup mixed pickling spice
Salt to taste

Peel and chop the peaches, pears, tomatoes, and onions
Remove seed and core from peppers and cut into strips
Place in a large enamel kettle
Tie spices loosely in merslin bag and add to mixture
Add vinegar and sugar
Simmer gently until thick, about 2 hours
Turn into hot sterilized jars and seal
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Green Barbecue Relish

(Makes: About 3 Pints)

12 small cucumbers, 4 - 6 inches, unpeeled
2 medium onions
1 medium green pepper
1 small red pepper
3 tablespoons coarse pickling spice
1 1/2 cups Heinz white vinegar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons mixed pickling spice (tied in cheesecloth bag)

Put vegetables through coarse blade of food chopper, or chop very finely (remove seeds from peppers first). Sprinkle with salt and let stand overnight. Drain and rinse in cold water. Combine vinegar, sugar and spice; bring to boil and simmer 10 minutes. Add vegetables and heat to boiling point. Pack into hot sterilized jars and seal.
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Homemade Horseradish

Horseradish roots
White vinegar

Scrape the outside of the horseradish roots until clean and drop root into cold water to prevent discoloration
Drain and chop in a food processor or in a blender with a little vinegar
Spoon into clean jars, filling to about 2/3 full
Add 1 tsp of salt to each jar, then fill with white vinegar
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Hot Dog Relish

(Makes: 8-1/2 Pints)

5-cups sugar
4-cups vinegar
2-tsp. turmeric
2-tsp. mustard seed
2-tsp. celery seed
6-lbs. cucumbers (peeled) (almost 6 qt. Basket)
1-doz. onions
6-sweet green peppers
1-red hot pepper
4-tsp. pickling salt

Put the cucumbers, onions, green peppers and red pepper through chopper.
Cover with pickling salt.
Let stand overnight.
Drain and add sugar, vinegar, turmeric, mustard seed and celery salt.
Cook 15-20 minutes.
Lastly add green colouring to suit.
Put in jars and add enough juice to keep moist.

While it's cooking, take off some of the juice or it will be too runny
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Pear Honey

Even if you're new to canning, try this, as the success will inspire you to do more! It's easy, tasty and a fantastic treat for those cold winter days when fresh fruit is just a dream.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 to 16 (1/2-Pint) Jars

1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple with syrup
16 cups (about 6 pounds) peeled, cored, and chopped pears
10 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Special Equipment:
12 to 16 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook until pears are tender and mixture thickens, approximately 30 minutes. Transfer to sterilized jars and seal while still hot.
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Pepper Jelly

This is a classic recipe and very simple to prepare. The combination of heat and sweet is perfect! It's also great poured over a block of cream cheese and served with crackers. And makes excellent gifts for the Christmas Holidays.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Makes: 6 (1/2-pint) Jars

3/4 cup chopped green or red bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped fresh hot green pepper, such as jalapeno or serrano
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
4 ounces or (1/2 cup) pectin (recommended: Certo)
4 drops green or red food coloring

Special Equipment:
6 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids

Process bell pepper and hot pepper in a food processor until finely minced. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

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Pickled Beets

7 pounds of 2 to 2 -inch diameter beets
4 cups white vinegar
cup pickling salt 2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
4 to 6 onions, sliced thin

Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color. Wash thoroughly. Sort size. Cover similar sized together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes). Drain and discard liquid. Do not use liquid. Cool beets. Trim off roots and stems and slop off skins. Slice into -inch slices. Peel and thinly slice onions. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and onions. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag. Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving -inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing -inch headspace. Adjust lids and process. Process in hot water bath for 35 minutes. Makes about 8 pints.
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Pickled Eggs

2-cups vinegar
2-tsp salt
1-clove garlic
12 hard cooked eggs
3-tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp pickling spice

Combine all ingredients except eggs
Boil 5 minutes
Pour over eggs & refrigerate 3-5 days
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Pickled Mushrooms

1/2 cups Lemon juice
1 quart Water
6 cups Mushrooms, small, button
1 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Vinegar, white distilled
1/2 teaspoon Oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon Basil, dried
2 Bay leaves, broken in half
2 Garlic, cloves
1 1/2 cup Oil, olive

Combine lemon juice and water in a large saucepan. Add mushrooms and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Drain and pour vinegar over. Cover and let stand 10-12 hours. Drain mushrooms and reserve vinegar Place mushrooms in sterilized half-pint jars. Divide herbs into 4 portions and add to jars. Cover with olive oil. Process in boiling water bath 20 minutes. Vinegar can be used one more time pickling mushrooms or use in salad dressings or cooking.
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Strawberry-Apricot Preserves

This recipe is so easy to prepare. If you cannot find apricots use peaches.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Makes: 8 (1/2-Pint) Jars

3 cups mashed ripe apricots
3 cups sugar
2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin mix

Special Equipment: 8 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids

Mix all ingredients together in saucepan and cook for 4 minutes at a rolling boil, stirring frequently. Skim the surface. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

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Watermelon Rind Preserves

This is an old recipe. Select melons with thick rinds.

(Makes: 4 Pints)

4 pounds chopped watermelon rind
1 gallon water
1/2 cup salt

9 cups white sugar
8 cups water
4 teaspoons crushed cinnamon stick
4 teaspoons ground cloves
4 lemons - rinsed, sliced and seeded
1 dash red food coloring (optional)

Peel off the green part of the watermelon rind, and slice into 2 inch pieces. Soak the rind in a solution of 1 gallon water and 1/2 cup salt overnight.

Remove rind from the salt water, and place in a stockpot with clean water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the rind is tender. Drain.

In a large pot, combine the sugar, 8 cups water, and sliced lemons. Tie the cinnamon and cloves into a cheesecloth bag, and place in the pot. Bring the syrup to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Add the rinds, and cook until transparent. Remove spice bag. Stir in red food coloring, if using. Ladle preserves into hot sterile jars, and process to seal.
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