Sunday, September 29, 2013

I "Relish" the idea....

Every once in a while, we just enjoy good quality hot dogs.  This is especially true when they are cooked on the grill on a beautiful summer evening.  

The question then becomes, "What do you like on your hot dog?".  How about dill relish?  My family has seemed to shy away from the sweet pickle relish and only prefers the dill relish.  So, as I looked at the odds and ends left from the cucumber plants, I wondered whether I could make my own dill relish.  I was so very pleased to find out that there were several options!

I used the recipe from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving   Let me show you how easy this really was.

The recipe calls for "Finely chopped cucumbers".  I used my food processor and shredded them.  They were a little long, but as usual I was in a time crunch and was also excited to see if this could work.

The instructions state that you place the shredded cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and Turmeric with water.  I used a plate to cover and keep the cucumbers in the brine as they soaked for 2 hours.  

I diced my onions and placed them in my pot.

I drained and rinsed the cucumbers.  

I added the cumbers and sugar to the saucepot.  

I added the dill seed, and white wine vinegar to the saucepot.  I brought the mixture to a boil.  Then the heat was reduced and simmered for 10 minutes.

Just an FYI, I put these jars into my dishwasher to clean and sterilize while my cucumber mix was soaking for 2 hours.  Here I just removed the clean and hot jars and lined them up to receive the relish.  

After ladling in the hot relish and cleaning the rim, I placed the warmed lids on top.

I processed them for 15 minutes and then removed them.

What's the verdict?  Well, I couldn't get anyone to wait while I took a picture of a whole hot dog...both Rooster Senior and Rooster Junior began to devour everything!

When I asked what the 'verdict' was from these two guys, they both said....."It tastes like relish".  Just so you know, this is High Praise from these two.

It was easy and quick.  Another thing to know is that I had everything on hand that I needed.  I didn't have to go to the store and buy anything.  I think this is the best part of having your food storage in place.

I would do this again in a heartbeat.  It is a great thing to do with the last stragglers of your cucumber patch in the late summer. 

Try it!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A fun "hand out" to go along with the Visiting Teaching Message for September 2013

Have you seen the September 2013 Visiting Teaching Message?  It is all about Self-Reliance.  To find the entire message, go here.

I was excited to see it.....I think the subject is pretty important!

I decided to make a little 'gift' to go along with the message.  Here is what I did:

I made really small mylar bag packets.  To find out how I do this, please go here.  

I sealed the packets on 3 sides.

See the nice seal?

I put a tablespoon of different sprouting seeds in each packet.

Make sure that you label each packet.

I chose to seal the packets with my flat iron.

Cut a piece of screen cut to fit just inside the canning jar lid.  Place it inside.

Place the packets inside of the canning jar.

Insert the directions to sprout the seeds in the jar.

Here are the directions up close. Take the lid (with the screen) and screw it on the jar.

I made a bow out of Tulle and attached this wonderful handout from "My Happy Tribe".  (I re-sized it as the original is an 8 x 10).

It took all of 20 minutes to put this together.  It gives your sister something to try right away and is very applicable to this month's lesson.

Give it a try!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Canning Salsa....with Roma Tomatoes and a few new twists to a favorite recipe of mine!

I have written previously about canning Salsa using Clear Gel.  At the time of that post, I drained some of the liquid from the tomatoes I was using after putting them through the strainer.  I did this so that I didn't have to boil it away and take so much time at the stove.

This year, I planted Roma tomatoes and have had a bumper crop!

I slice them in half...

And put them through my strainer.  See how much thicker they are?  Romas do not have as much liquid in them.  I was sooooo excited to think that I could cut down the time to make this favorite of mine!

See how thick it is!

Here is an additional change I made to the process.  I used my little Veggiechop device.  I originally purchased it because it was powerless (go to this link to see how it operates).  It was a tool I thought we could use camping and if we lost power.  However....I have come to LOVE THIS!  I use it instead of my Food Processor or it I need to chop something quick.  It's awesome!

Look at what 10 pulls on the string did to 2 quartered onions.

JalapeƱos were quickly diced....again with about 10 pulls on the handle.  (You can still see some residual onion at the top of the container.  It doesn't matter because I used a rubber spatula to remove it after I took the blade of the chopper out).

Green Peppers before....

Green Peppers after...again about 10 pulls on the handle.

I mixed the Clear Gel in a salad dressing cruet that I could shake quickly and pour into the mixture.

This is the end product.  With these changes in the the tomatoes I used and the chopper, I think I saved about 30-60 minutes in this process.  

As we learn and use new skills, it is just as important to 'tweak' what our process is.  Can we do it faster, better, more efficiently?  Because we are such busy people, it is important to not get caught in a rut and think about what we do.

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