Monday, September 15, 2008

Apple Butter and Cucumber Relish

Yesterday my friend J came over to be my kitchen slave learn about canning.

Since I had a plethora of apples, we made a batch of apple butter. Never having made it, I wanted to start right away on it because I kept hearing about how long it takes to cook down. I don't know why, but by the time the apples were mushy, the sauce was so thick, I was afraid to cook it down any more. I'm not sure if these apples were loaded in pectin, or if they were not really juicy, or what. Anyway, it didn't take forever, rather about 20 minutes, and before I knew it, we had incredible, trying not to lick up the spills with my tongue in front of J, apple butter.

I had always suspected that canning was easier with two, and it was. We had quite the dance going with me filling the jars and getting the headspace right, and J getting out the bubbles, wiping the rims, putting on the lids, and then back to me to put the jar in the canner. Of course all the prep went faster, too. J peeled all the apples while I quartered and cored them, and dumped them into the pot.

While the apple butter was bubbling away, J and I started on relish with the four pounds of too-big-for-pickles cukes from the garden. Of course dopey me didn't read that the relish had to sit in salt for four hours. But J was here for all the hard work, which is paring the cukes, and chopping everything up. Note the perfectly uniform pieces of cucumber (J's work) and the sloppily chopped red and green peppers (courtesy of moi). I wound up canning the lot at 8pm, and my wonderful hubby did up all the dishes (thanks, honey)!

So now I need to get the jars of relish to J, although there's really no rush on them since they should probably "pickle" for about a month anyway. If the tastes I had yesterday were any indication, it should turn out great, too. Big thanks to J for coming over and slaving away on a Sunday afternoon!

1 comment:

dawn said...

Those look great. I did beet pickles with a friend a few years back and we experimented with different vinegars and flavours (sweetnsour with ginger). We made lots of them from beets stored in the root cellar. Then a few weeks later, my mom came over and we did the same thing. We did it in December and January, a good way to break the winter blahs. And it is so much more fun with a friend. Last year my neighbour and I made sauerkraut together, her first time and it was great. I blogged about it. I think we will be doing it again this year as they polished off their kraut already.