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Book Review: 37th Edition of the Ball Blue Book

The Ball Blue Book is a staple in the kitchen for anyone who cans; newbies and experienced home canners alike.

Wow, it is hard to believe that the last new blog post I published on Daily Pea was last Halloween. Time sure does fly by when you have two little ones, a household, work, a garden and a yard to take care of! Life has been busy but I have missed blogging. I have had many things resting in the back of my brain that I can’t wait to write about. Here is my first post to get things rolling again.

I was happy when I was asked to review the 37th edition Ball Blue Book, since we are harvesting lots of organic goodies from the garden as we speak! The first edition of this book was called The Correct Method of Preserving Fruit and was published in 1909. The first edition called the Ball Blue Book was published in 1915. Over the years it has evolved into a beautiful, full-color, must-have canning guide and recipe book. The 2015 edition is 200 pages long and includes more than 500 recipes (75 brand new ones!)

The Ball Blue Book is a staple in the kitchen for anyone who cans; newbies and experienced home canners alike.

The Ball Blue Book is a staple in the kitchen for anyone who cans; newbies and experienced home canners alike. It’s a reference book in which you can quickly find scientific facts, tips, easy-to-follow instructions and recipe inspiration. From freezing to the boiling-water method to the pressure canner method, this valuable resource has you covered.

The Ball Blue Book is a staple in the kitchen for anyone who cans; newbies and experienced home canners alike.

The recipes in the Ball Blue Book are organized by style (whole fruit, jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) If you are ever wondering about new ways to use your preserved garden harvest, open these pages for inspiration! There are delicious meal recipes as well. I recently harvested lots of basil from my garden and used the pesto recipe from page 152.

The recipes in the Ball Blue Book are organized by style (whole fruit, jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) If you are ever wondering about new ways to use your preserved garden harvest, open these pages for inspiration!

Between my mother and I, we own a few editions of the Ball Blue Book. It’s especially meaningful for me because my grandmother canned for years and used the Ball Blue Book in her kitchen. Last summer I posted her recipe for Old Fashioned Bread & Butter Pickles.

If you don’t yet have the 37th edition of the Ball Blue Book, I would highly recommend picking it up ASAP! In my opinion, it is a canning essential.

If you don’t yet have the 37th edition Ball Blue Book, I would highly recommend picking it up ASAP! In my opinion, it is a canning essential.

Disclosure: Jarden Home Brands (parent company of Ball Canning) sent me a copy of the Ball Blue Book to review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

How to Can Diced or Crushed Tomatoes

These homemade diced or crushed tomatoes are extra-wonderful in chili, soups, pasta dishes, and pretty much any recipe that calls for them, really! Words can't describe how much better homemade canned tomatoes taste than store-bought ones.

We planted plenty of extra tomato plants this year with high hopes of having a bumper crop to can. We’re excited to have a pretty good harvest, even though we didn’t have quite as much luck as we did with cucumbers (we ended up with quite a few beautiful jars of bread and butter pickles and pickle relish!) Between our garden and our local farm who has so kindly given us extra canning tomatoes in our weekly CSA share, we’ve been canning enough jars of diced tomatoes to last through the winter.

CanningTomatoes

All it takes is about 12 pounds of tomatoes to make 6 pint jars of diced or crushed tomatoes. If you don’t have enough tomatoes in your garden to can, we would suggest checking with local farmers at your farmer’s market because often times they will sell bulk amounts of tomatoes at a discounted price. The best tomatoes for making canned diced or crushed tomatoes are very meaty and flavorful. A few examples to mention are Opalka, Classica and La Roma. As you can see, our organically grown tomatoes have imperfections on the skin. The tomatoes are perfectly fine, and when the skin comes off, you can’t tell that there were blemishes. It’s important, however, to remove any rotted darkened areas from the meat of the tomatoes before canning them.

Since tomatoes ripen all at once, canning needs to be done pretty quickly. I’m not going to sugarcoat…it’s a lot of work to do a large amount of jars, but it’s incredibly worth it to open up that summer goodness in the middle of the winter! Homemade canned tomatoes are so much healthier than store-bought because you can make sure they don’t contain any additives, and the glass jars are also safer than cans because they don’t leach chemicals. (Ball® Brand now makes BPA-free lids for their jars.)

This is the tried and true water bath method of canning diced or crushed tomatoes. The preparation takes a little bit of time, but grab a couple of friends and some good snacks and wine, and I promise you’ll have a blast canning your tomatoes and making memories!

This is the way my grandmother always used to can her tomatoes, and also the way my mom has taught me. There’s an extra ingredient to increase the richness of the diced tomatoes. These homemade diced or crushed tomatoes are extra-wonderful in chili, soups, pasta dishes, and pretty much any recipe that calls for them, really! Words can’t describe how much better homemade canned tomatoes taste than store-bought ones.

If you’re new to the water bath canning method, here’s a list of the canning supplies you’ll need:

Are you canning tomatoes this year? How many jars would you like to make for the winter?

How to Can Diced or Crushed Tomatoes

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 6 pint jars

How to Can Diced or Crushed Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 12 pounds of organic tomatoes, peeled
  • 6 tablespoons organic lemon juice
  • 2 cups organic tomato juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry 6 canning jars.
  2. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake in oven for at least 20 minutes to sterilize.
  3. Fill a small saucepan with water and add jar lids and rings. Place on the stovetop over low to medium heat and bring water to 180 degrees F. A candy thermometer works best to watch the temperature.
  4. To peel the tomatoes by blanching, first cut an "x" on the bottom of each tomato.
  5. Place tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 45 seconds. Promptly remove tomatoes from boiling water and add to a large bowl of ice water. Let stand in ice water for 3 minutes. Remove from water and place tomatoes on a clean surface.
  6. After blanching, the tomato skins will come right off when you peel them by hand.
  7. Dice the tomatoes into 1/2" to 1" pieces. Cut off any discolored/rotted spots. Add the pieces to a colander and squeeze some of the liquid out.
  8. Add tomatoes to a large stock pot and bring to a simmer. Add tomato juice if using. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. The longer the tomatoes simmer, the thicker the consistency. Note: For a more crushed tomato consistency, use a wooden spoon to gently crush the tomatoes while they are simmering.
  9. Remove jars from the oven and set on a towel. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each jar. Ladle the tomatoes into the jars, leaving a 1/2" space at the top.
  10. Slide a flat spatula around the edges of the filled jars to remove air bubbles.
  11. Using a damp washcloth, thoroughly wipe the tops of the jars clean (this helps the lids seal.)
  12. Using a magnetic lid lifter, lift lids and rings one by one out of the saucepan of water. Set lids on top of jars and finger-tighten rings (do not over-tighten or lids will not seal properly.)
  13. Add jars to the water bath rack and lower into the boiling water. There should be about 1" of water covering the jars. If there is too much, remove some with a ladle. Cover with lid.
  14. Process for 40 minutes, then lift jars out using tongs. Set them on a clean towel to cool. Lids will be slightly concave (curving down in the center) when they are sealed.
http://www.dailypea.com/can-diced-crushed-tomatoes

Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish

If it's been a good summer for cucumbers in your garden, you probably have way more than you can possibly eat at once. Here is a wonderful, classic homemade sweet pickle relish to help you preserve your harvest!

We’re still harvesting our bumper crop of cucumbers. Thank you, bees! If it’s been a good summer for cucumbers in your garden, you probably have way more than you can possibly eat at once. Here is a wonderful, classic homemade sweet pickle relish to help you preserve your harvest!

One of my most favorite and satisfying parts of gardening is canning the harvest to enjoy throughout the following year. Whenever I open a jar, I think of the seeds we started indoors and how my little girls and I had fun together planting them and watching them grow in the garden. Plus, there’s nothing like the tastes of summer during the middle of the winter.

Words can’t describe how much better this homemade sweet pickle relish tastes than any store-bought relish ever made! Not only that, but it’s so much healthier because it doesn’t contain anything artificial, like the scary chemicals that make the store-bought kind fluorescent green. When it comes to canning, our go-to recipes are the ones my grandma used for years. Just like the old fashioned bread and butter pickles that we make, this pickle relish recipe was adapted from her old Ball® brand recipe book. In our experience, the classic recipes work the best, while bringing out that wonderful feeling of nostalgia that canning often does.

Here is a list of canning supplies that you’ll need:

Any size or shape of pickling cucumbers work fine for this recipe. Since the best cucumbers for bread and butter pickles are around 1″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter, I needed to find a use for the bigger cucumbers that I didn’t pick in time. Perfect for relish! Also, this was a great way to use all the lemon-shaped cucumbers that I ended up with.

Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish

Prep Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 6 half pint jars

Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish

Ingredients

  • 6 cups organic pickling cucumbers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sweet onions (Vidalia,) finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sea salt (we use this)
  • 1 tablespoon organic yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon organic celery seed, or dill seed
  • 3 cups organic unbleached whole cane sugar
  • 2 cups organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry canning jars.
  2. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake in oven for at least 20 minutes to sterilize.
  3. Fill a small saucepan with water and add jar lids and rings. Place on the stovetop over low to medium heat and bring water to 180 degrees. A candy thermometer works best to watch the temperature.
  4. Wash and core peppers. Remove skin from onions. Add peppers and onions to a food processor and finely chop.
  5. Add chopped peppers and onions to a large mixing bowl.
  6. Wash cucumbers and remove ends. Slice in half, then use a spoon to scoop seeds out. Add cucumbers to a food processor and finely chop. (We found that it is easier to chop the peppers and onions separately from the cucumbers in the food processor.)
  7. Stir the chopped cucumbers into the peppers and onions in the large mixing bowl.
  8. Sprinkle salt on top of the veggie mixture.
  9. Cover the veggie mixture with cold water and add some ice cubes if the water isn't very cold. Allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
  10. Near the end of the 2 hours, fill the water bath pot and bring to a boil.
  11. Use a colander to drain the water out of the veggie mixture, then rinse thoroughly. Drain again, making sure to remove as much water as possible.
  12. In a stock pot, combine mustard seed, celery seed, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a light boil.
  13. Add drained veggie mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  14. Remove jars from the oven and set on a towel. Ladle the relish into the jars, leaving a 1/4" space at the top.
  15. Slide a knife or flat spatula around the edges of the filled jars to remove air bubbles.
  16. Using a damp washcloth, thoroughly wipe the tops of the jars clean (this helps the lids seal.)
  17. Using a magnetic lid lifter, lift lids and rings one by one out of the saucepan of water. Set lids on top of jars and finger-tighten rings (do not over-tighten or lids will not seal properly.)
  18. Add jars to the water bath rack and lower into the boiling water. There should be about 1" of water covering the jars. If there is too much, remove some with a ladle. Cover with lid.
  19. Process for 10 minutes, then lift jars out using tongs. Set them on a clean towel to cool. Lids will be slightly concave (curving down in the center) when they are sealed.

Notes

Unopened jars of pickles will last for 1 year, and opened jars will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

http://www.dailypea.com/homemade-sweet-pickle-relish

Old Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles

Just as cucumbers are easy to grow, pickles are easy to make. I love all types of pickles, but I think bread and butter are especially flavorful and taste best when they're homemade!

Cucumbers are really easy to grow, and as long as you have pollinators (bees) around, there’s a very good chance that you’ll have a bumper crop. We planted a mixture of organic National Pickling and Homemade Pickles seeds in one of our 4′ x 8′ raised beds. Other than amending the soil with vermicompost, I’ve done nothing except regularly water the plants. I often see ladybugs and tree frogs on the leaves, so I think they’re playing a large part in keeping pests like cucumber beetles and aphids away (here’s a helpful article about cucumber beetles.) Also, major pollination has been going on because we have 2 beehives within 20 feet of the cucumber bed. The bees sound like little airplanes in the garden bed every time I water it. I give the bees all the credit for my bumper crop of cucumbers!

Cucumbers are really easy to grow, and as long as you have pollinators (bees) around, there's a very good chance that you'll have a bumper crop.

Just as cucumbers are easy to grow, pickles are easy to make. I love all types of pickles, but I think bread and butter are especially flavorful and taste best when they’re homemade! No matter what kind of pickles you make, there’s a huge feeling of satisfaction when you make them from the cucumbers you grow in your garden. Even better, there’s really nothing like enjoying your harvest throughout the winter!

This bread and butter pickles recipe is the one my grandma used, which she adapted from her Ball® brand recipe book. If you’re new to the water bath canning method, don’t fear, this is a great recipe to get started with! Here are the canning supplies you’ll need:

When you’re picking cucumbers to make bread and butter pickles, the best cucumbers are around 1″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter. Pickling cucumbers normally grow to 5″ to 6″ long, but for bread and butter pickles, they need to be picked before they reach their full size. It’s okay if they’re larger, but they’ll probably have more seeds and they won’t fit through the feed tube on the food processor.

Just as cucumbers are easy to grow, pickles are easy to make. I love all types of pickles, but I think bread and butter are especially flavorful and taste best when they're homemade!

Old Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 pint (16 oz.) jars

Old Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 wide mouth 16 oz. (pint) canning jars with lids and rings
  • 4 to 6 pounds of organic pickling cucumbers, 1" to 1 1/2" diameter
  • 1 1/2 pounds of a mixture of white onions and sweet (vidalia) onions
  • 1/3 cup sea salt (we use this)
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons organic yellow mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons organic celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons organic turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 cups organic unbleached whole cane sugar
  • 3 cups organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry canning jars.
  2. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake in oven for at least 20 minutes to sterilize.
  3. Fill a small saucepan with water and add jar lids and rings. Place on the stovetop over low to medium heat and bring water to 180 degrees. A candy thermometer works best to watch the temperature.
  4. Wash cucumbers and slice into 1/4"-thick slices, using a food processor. Note that you may have to slice by hand if the cucumbers are curved or do not fit through the feed tube.
  5. Remove skin from onions and slice into 1/8"-thick slices.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, layer cucumber and onion slices, generously sprinkling each layer with salt.
  7. Cover layered mixture with ice cubes and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. In the meantime, fill the water bath pot and bring to a boil.
  9. Remove ice from the bowl of layered cucumbers and onions, then rinse under cold water and drain well.
  10. In a stock pot, combine mustard seed, celery seed, ginger, turmeric, pepper, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a light boil.
  11. Add cucumbers and onions and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Remove jars from the oven and set on a towel. Ladle the pickle mixture into the jars, leaving a 1/4" space at the top.
  13. Slide a knife or flat spatula around the edges of the filled jars to remove air bubbles.
  14. Using a damp washcloth, thoroughly wipe the tops of the jars clean (this helps the lids seal.)
  15. Using a magnetic lid lifter, lift lids and rings one by one out of the saucepan of water. Set lids on top of jars and finger-tighten rings (do not over-tighten or lids will not seal properly.)
  16. Add jars to the water bath rack and lower into the boiling water. There should be about 1" of water covering the jars. If there is too much, remove some with a ladle. Cover with lid.
  17. Process for 10 minutes, then lift jars out using tongs. Set them on a clean towel to cool. Lids will be slightly concave (curving down in the center) when they are sealed.
  18. For best flavor, store jars in a cool, dark spot for 4 to 6 weeks before opening.

Notes

Unopened jars of pickles will last for 1 year, and opened jars will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

http://www.dailypea.com/old-fashioned-bread-butter-pickles

Organic Blueberry Lime Jam Recipe

Organic Blueberry Lime Jam @ DailyPea.com

Did you know that the average homemade jam canning recipe calls for 5 cups of sugar? The store-bought kind also most often contains excess sugar and additives. Our recipe for organic blueberry lime jam will show you tips to reduce the sugar content while enhancing the natural flavor of the fruit. If you’re new to canning, this recipe is also a step-by-step tutorial to help you get started! Canning is making a huge comeback because it’s an economical way to stock our pantries with real food free of chemical additives, as well as to enjoy every bit of our garden harvest year-round. Community gardens, canning classes and groups are becoming more and more common. It’s easy to find inexpensive canning supplies at just about any store.

Here’s a list of basic supplies, which can be found at stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond or online at Amazon.com.

Basic Canning Supplies

  1. Water bath canner with rack
  2. Minimum of six 8-oz jelly jars for this recipe
  3. Tattler BPA-free reusable lids and rings
  4. Ladle and funnel for filling jars
  5. Jar tongs for lifting jars in and out of water bath
  6. Canning spatula for removing air bubbles from filled jars

Organic Blueberry Lime Jam Recipe @ DailyPea.com

Sugar is drastically reduced in this recipe by using Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The combination of pectin and sugar is what jells the jam. Pomona’s jells with less sweetener than other types of pectin, so the amount of sugar required is much less. You can taste the natural flavors of blueberries and lime as opposed to them being masked by tons of sugar. Pomona’s Universal Pectin is 100% natural and contains no sugar or preservatives.

Tip if you’re canning with really young kids: I found out the hard way that it’s helpful to have another adult nearby to help out. It’s tough to divide your attention between hot pots on the stove and little ones in the kitchen.

Organic Blueberry Lime Jam Recipe and Step-by-Step Canning

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 jars

Organic Blueberry Lime Jam Recipe and Step-by-Step Canning

Ingredients

  • 5 cups organic blueberries
  • 1/4 cup organic lime juice (it takes about 3 limes to make 1/4 cup of juice)
  • 1 tablespoon organic lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (calcium powder is included in the box of Pomona's Pectin)
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona's Universal Pectin

Instructions

  1. Wash blueberries thoroughly and remove stems.
  2. Wash and dry jars, then sterilize by placing on a clean cookie sheet in a 225-degree oven for a minimum of 20 minutes. Leave jars in the oven until you're ready to fill them.
  3. Prepare your water bath by filling it 3/4 full with water, then cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Heat jar lids and rings to 180 degrees in a saucepan. Keep at 180 degrees until you're ready to use.
  5. Make calcium water by mixing 1/2 cup water with 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder (found in your Pomona's box) and set aside. You'll only need 2 teaspoons, but the rest will keep for months in the refrigerator.
  6. Zest limes to make 1 tablespoon and set aside.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, stir well to combine sugar and pectin and set aside.
  8. Add blueberries to a large dutch oven over medium/high heat and lightly mash just to release juices. Stir in lime juice, zest and calcium water.
  9. Bring to a full rolling boil and stir in sugar/pectin mixture. Stir vigorously and constantly for two minutes, bringing back to a full rolling boil. Turn the heat off as soon as the jam reaches a full boil after the sugar/pectin is added.
  10. Using your jar tongs, remove one hot jar from the oven and set on the counter on top of a clean towel.
  11. With your ladle and funnel, fill jar to 1/4" from the top with jam.
  12. Repeat for the rest of the jars.
  13. Once all of your jars are filled, take a damp clean washcloth and wipe all jar rims clean. They won't seal if there is any jam residue on them.
  14. Take your spatula and run it along the inside edges of the jars to remove air bubbles.
  15. Remove lids from warm water and set them on tops of the jars. Tattler ring seals go underneath the white lids.
  16. Screw metal rings on each jar while holding lid on with one finger. The metal ring needs to be just tight enough to hold the lid on.
  17. Carefully set jars into the water bath rack using your jar tongs. Hold onto the handles of the rack and lower it into the water. Water should be about 1" above jars.
  18. Cover and boil for exactly 15 minutes.
  19. It's important to make sure the water doesn't boil over. Reduce heat if it boils too vigorously to avoid jars breaking.
  20. Remove each jar from water bath using jar tongs.
  21. Tighten metal rings.
  22. Each white lid will appear concave if it's sealed correctly. Jam jars that don't seal need to be refrigerated and eaten within 2 weeks.
  23. Cool jars for at least 24 hours before storing in a cool, dark place. They can be stored for 1 year.
http://www.dailypea.com/organic-blueberry-lime-jam-recipe-and-step-by-step-canning