Food in Jars blog

annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)July 27, 2014

Hi all,

I've been canning for a few years, and lurking on this forum (have learned a TON from you all - thank you!). I've mostly canned tomatoes, green beans,and pickles. I have the Ball Blue book (the one with peach pie on the cover), and made a few of the different cucumber pickle recipes. Now I'm looking for something new and different. I'm skeptical about online sites, mainly because of safety concerns. That said, has anyone ever made recipes from this blog? The two recipes I'm interested in trying (garlic dill pickles and cucumber pepper relish) seem to have enough vinegar to be safe. Do you think they look safe? Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks,
Anne

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

We have had previous discussions about that blog that the search will pull up. I don't really recall what the consensu was about it but like most personal blogs, any recipes have to be individually evaluated. Or you can always just stick with tested and approved recipes. For example, NCHFP has several similar recipes to the Cucumber Pepper Relish one.

I don't see anything wrong with the Cuke/Pepper Relish one although I don't see why the vinegar has to be divided and the solid ingredients drained. But it is still an undiluted vinegar brine so safety isn't an issue. Can only be done in 1/2 pint jars.

The pickles recipe is also available at NCHFP although with slightly different proportions. It meets the minimum requirement for acidification so would be considered safe as long as you understand it is the MINIMUM and that pH rises during shelf storage. I don't agree with the note that the same processing could be done if you use halves or spears rather than slices. But it can only be done in pints and whole, halfs, and spears would be hard to do in pints so I'd stick with slices.

Can I ask what it is that appeals to you about these particular recipes?

Dave

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:31AM
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malna

Marisa's recipes are, for the most part, safe. She is well versed in the NCHFP and USDA regs, etc. but I don't think she has any "official" credentials other than being a food writer.

I was one that participated (for part of the year anyway) in the Can Jam she references. I seem to recall one or two of her recipes pushed the edge of the safety envelope more than I would have thought.

My opinion (FWIW) - her recipes are 99% safe (a few you just have to evaluate as Dave said). I don't particularly care for her spice and flavoring ingredients/amounts. But that's just my taste buds talking - I'm not a fan of really spicy hot or overly laden with flavors like cinnamon or vanilla (for example). I love both cinnamon and vanilla, but some of hers are a bit strong (again, just for my taste).

I wouldn't hesitate to make either of the two you want to try from a safety standpoint.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:14AM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

Thanks to you both. I tried using the GW search engine and didn't find what I was looking for. I think I'll use Google next time. I'm glad to know that both recipes are safe.

To answer Dave's question, it is the combination of spices that appealed to me. I also have to admit that I like seeing a picture of something before I decide to make it. Maybe that's lame, but it's the truth. :). I think I will use recipes from the Ball book and just use different spice combinations. Do I need to add more vinegar if I add a couple of cloves of garlic to the hamburger dill recipe in the Blue Book book (pg. 50, the 2009 edition)? I can type out the ingredients if that would be helpful.

Thanks, malna, for the warning about the jam recipes.

One last question, I noticed that the Food in Jars blog uses apple cider vinegar a lot. I'm used to recipes calling for plain old white vinegar. Have either of you used apple cider vinegar for pickles, and how was it different?

Thanks again for your help,
Anne

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:15PM
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2ajsmama

This one has garlic in it (Ball website).

The cider vinegar is a bit more mellow than white distilled vinegar - I enjoy it, but it does make for a darker brine. You can mix the vinegars (try half cider half white to start) to see how you like it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ball online Hamburger Dill with Garlic recipe

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:31PM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 5:23PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Do I need to add more vinegar if I add a couple of cloves of garlic to the hamburger dill recipe in the Blue Book book (pg. 50, the 2009 edition)? I can type out the ingredients if that would be helpful.

That recipe is approved for less that 50:50 vinegar to water so no you can't add additional low acid ingredients to it.

When playing around with recipes it is very important to know which ingredients are low acid and which are not. You can usually add increased amounts of acidic ingredients but very seldom can you add low-acid ingredients. You'd have no way of knowing how much additional vinegar would be needed to compensate for the garlic.

So as I said above when one wants to add a specific flavor (garlic, hot peppers, etc.) it needs to be done with dry ingredients only as they don't change the pH like fresh ingredients do. You want more garlic flavor? Then use garlic powder.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:45PM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

That's very good to know. Thanks Dave!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:47PM
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malna

One thing I forgot to mention when making jams:

I start with a minimal amount of flavorings (like the cinnamon and vanilla I used as an example in my post above). It's perfectly fine to take the jam off the heat for a bit (just to cool it enough to get a taste off the spoon and prevent overcooking) and taste it. Add more flavoring until you're pleased with the overall balance of tastes.

It's easier to add more - it's really hard to take it out :-) Then you can put the jam, jelly, whatever back on the heat and continue cooking. Try to get the basic taste where you want it before you add pectin (if you're using it). Some spices become stronger with cooking and storage, some get more mellow. That just comes with experience. No hard and fast rules. Just keep notes so you know what you did - both good and bad! You should see my canning books - there's Post-It notes and scribbles all over the pages.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:00AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

malna makes a good point and I think it is applicable to whatever you make - adding more flavorings AFTER opening is easy. Adding too much before jarring often leads to inedible things when the jar is opened.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:28PM
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