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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Freezer Pickles, Plum Sauce and Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

Continuing on with preserving all the great produce I bought on my foodie road trip Sunday was a very busy morning to late evening processing day. The end result was a lot of great food put up. I actually started the canning day with the Black Cherry jams and ended with the freezer pickles so there was a lot of produce processed.

raspberries, cucumbers, plumsThe Goodies

Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits! I stop at the raspberry U-pick a couple of times a week while they are running. This raspberry U-pick has both early and late raspberries. I usually only get 4 pints at a time because they are quite delicate and won't keep in the refrigerator very long.

My garden was delayed getting planting this year as we are still in the massive rip out mode. I feel very lucky to have any kind of vegetable garden this year other than containers. So I had to buy pickling cucumbers this year. Still the price wasn't bad and they were quite lovely looking.

I don't have a plum tree but am considering planting one or more fruit trees as part of my big garden plans so I might possibly have a plum tree next year. For now I have to buy plums. Usually the price is quite good so I don't mind. These plums were smaller but quite tasty!

freezer pickles, plum sauce, chocolate raspberry saucePictured from left to right: freezer pickles, plum sauce and chocolate raspberry sauce. One of the nicest things about home food preservation is you can make various products you won't be able to find in the regular grocery stores. Two examples here are the freezer pickles and chocolate raspberry sauce.

Freezer pickles are about the easiest and tastiest pickles you can make. I use 2 of the 4 quarts of pickling cucumbers to make the pickles. After their brining period I ladled the pickles into mason jars leaving 1-inch headspace then filled with brine leaving 1-inch headspace. I then wiped the rims and capped with 2 piece lids. This is one instant where you can re-use lids because these pickles are not canned. Then I popped the filled jars on to the freezer shelves. Note: While the pickles are in mason jars they are not shelf stable and must be frozen for storage. Cost per 500 ml jar was 80¢ each with no electricity costs for prep and re-using lids.

Plums are not only great for snacking on they make a wonderful dipping sauce. I set aside a few of the plums for fresh eating then made a half sized batch of plum sauce. The yield was 4 - 250 ml (half pint) jars so I will have to pick up more plums to have enough plum sauce to last a year. The recipe called for 4 lb of plums so a half batch is 2 lb of plums. If you don't have a kitchen scale 4 quarts of plums is approximately 2 lb. Be warned that this sauce smells ever so yummy when it is simmering down! Cost per jar including lids and electricity was $1.22.

Plum Sauce
modified from: Alltrista Corporation, Ball Blue Book, 2001. Pp. 80.

2 lb plums
1 c brown sugar
½ c organic granulated sugar
½ medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp jalapeno pepper, chopped
pinch powdered ginger
½ tbsp sea salt
½ clove garlic, minced
½ c cider vinegar

Wash, stem and pit the plums. Cut into quarters then rough chop in food processor. Set aside. Combine the other ingredients in a large saucepan. Mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Stir in the plums. Cook until thick and syrupy while stirring often. Remove from heat. Ladle into prepared jars ¼ - inch headspace. Wipe rims. Adjust 2 piece lids. Process 20 minutes in BWB at altitudes below 1,000 ft above sea level. At higher altitudes refer to the processing times on the altitude adjustment chart.

I was browsing through one of my favourite blogs, Canning Jars Etc. when I spotted a recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Sauce. Her chocolate raspberry sauce recipe was modified from the Ball Complete Guide to Home Canning. Well I just had to make this sauce but I decided to modify the recipe as well to make it low sugar. Recipes are just starting points! A canning recipe can be modified providing you do not change it enough to go from high acid to low acid which would change the processing method. Any food with a pH higher than 4.6 is considered low acid so must be processed using a pressure canner. I used 3 of the 4 pints of raspberries. The resulting sauce was quite tasty and it did smelly quite yummy while cooking. I can't wait to try in on some homemade vanilla icecream! Cost per jar including electricity and lids was $2.40.

Low Sugar Chocolate Raspberry Sauce
source: my creation

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2½ c crushed raspberries
2 tbsp lemon juice
1½ tsp Pomona's pectin
1½ c organic granulated sugar
2½ tsp calcium water

Wash the raspberries. Place in large saucepan and crush. Stir in lemon juice and calcium water. Mix cocoa powder, pectin and sugar in separate bowl. Bring the berries to a boil. Stir in sugar mixture. Return to a boil. Remove from heat. Ladle into prepared jars ¼ - inch headspace. Wipe rims. Adjust 2 piece lids. Process 10 minutes in BWB at altitudes below 1,000 ft above sea level. At higher altitudes refer to the processing times on the altitude adjustment chart.

4 food lovers commented:

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for visiting! I'm glad you are enjoying reading my blog :)

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Sandra, thank-you for you lovely compliment. I stopped by your blog. You are off to a great start! I will visit again.

Sharon Anne Hill said...

Re: Plum sauce

1/2 (?) cider vinegar

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Sharon and thanks for visiting. I apologize for the omission. It should be c. I've corrected the recipe and thanks for letting me know.