Sunday, August 23, 2020

Canning Marinara Sauce - a quick pasta sauce

 My 2020 garden is tomato bountiful!  Time to add variety to my tomato preservation agenda.  Today it is marinara sauce and tomorrow it will be passata.  Followed by corn relish with tomato, roasted tomatoes with eggplant.  By next weekend, I will have green tomato chow chow and probably back to roasted tomatoes... It will be a tasty winter!

I am always careful to follow today's canning rules for tomatoes- sauces need extra acid in the form of lemon juice to boost the acidity in the jar.  Everything is steam canned for 40 minutes or whatever time is listed in a tested recipe.  I know granny did it differently back in her day, but times have changed and so has the equipment, thankfully.  I have my workhorse Kitchenaid vegetable strainer attachment and a steam canner to make things easier and faster.

This marinara recipe is based on the one in Food in Jars by Marissa McLellan.  I trust her recipes as she is always mindful of safe canning guidelines.

MAKES 4 500ml jars

Roasted Red Pepper Relish

 This recipe is based on the one found in Kevin West's "Saving the Season"- one of my go to preserving books.

I am proud to announce that all the vegetables needed for this recipe came straight from my garden!  It doesn't get better than that!  I am looking forward to adding it to my charcuterie board in the coming weeks!

This recipe makes 4 250ml jars

Sweet Onion Relish

 Another relish made with vegetables straight from my garden!  This is my first year growing regular white and red onions and I don't know why I waited so long.  These babies were beautiful!  and this relish does them proud.  

This recipe is from Kevin West's "Saving the Season."

This recipe makes approximately three 500 ml jars.

Sweet and Sour Pickled Red Onions - from my garden!

These pickled onions will be perfect on your favourite burger, on a charcuterie board, with your favourite cheese, with your Sunday roast... delicious! 

Makes approximately four 500ml jars

Hot Pepper Relish

 My 2020 garden is a wonderful success!  All the vegetables I needed for this relish were grown in my backyard and there is more to come... My version of this recipe is more 60% sweet peppers and 40% hot peppers (jalapeños, poblanos, habaneros, etc,)  I used the Kitchenaid dicer attachment to quickly prep the peppers and wore my Covid mask over my nose and mouth to protect me from the hot pepper fumes (finally a great use for the mask :-) )

My best taste taster (my son Alex) confirms that its pretty hot.  I will let the jars sit for a few weeks before testing them again.

To make approximately six 500ml jars.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Tomato Preserving Versatility- Tomato Coulis or Sauce

 This recipe, adapted from a cookbook called Heirloom by Sarah Owens, caught my eye.  My garden overflows with tomatoes.  I prefer to canning over freezing - I would never have enough freezer space and how convenient it is to just open a jar of beautiful tomato sauce?

This recipes makes about 2 500ml jars. 

Moroccan Spiced Sweet and Hot Cherry Tomato Preserves

Great use for all my cherry tomato abundance in this year's garden!  This is great with cooked chicken or lamb, or drizzled on grilled eggplant. It's not crazy spicy, just redolent of classic warm Moroccan spices: cinnamon, cloves, cumin and a touch of lemon.

This recipe was adapted from one by Joyce Goldstein in her book Jam Session.

To make about five 250ml jars.

Indian Style Cucumber Relish

When I first started preserving, one of my favourite books was Put a Lid on It by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.  I've prepared dozens of their recipes over the years.  

My version is based on one of their recipes.  It's a mild relish to use as is over a hamburger or mixed with yogourt to make a raita, or to flavour tuna for a sandwich- very versatile.

This East Indian-style cucumber relish recipe uses cumin along with mustard seeds to give a different twist on the familiar. 

To make about five 250ml jars

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Cherry Tomato and Corn Salsa- Finally a Way to Preserve Cherry Tomatoes

 I've been gardening for decades, growing cherry tomatoes, and looking for a great way to preserve them.  This is it!  This salsa is bright, not too spicy, zippy and a joy to add to a taco, top off a soup or just eat by the spoonful from the jar.  So proud to include tomatoes, jalapeños and onions from my garden.

Adapted from the Ball Canning Book- because of the low ph of the corn and onions, you can't play with the quantities of the vegetables.  But, you can play with the herbs and spices.  This is the only tested recipe I could find.

To make 6 500ml jars

Friday, August 7, 2020

Corn Relish with Tomatoes

This isn't your mama's corn relish!  It's tart-sweet from the tomatoes- perfect as a taco topping, on a burger, garnishing a soup- so many possibilities.  Be sure to halve the tomatoes crosswise, and gently squeeze out the seeds and excess liquid before dicing the flesh.

To make about 4 500 ml jars

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

"Any Fruit" Shrub - for a refreshing summer drink.

I have been making shrubs for about one year now.  I read about them online and just had to try.  They are the most refreshing drink you could  have, especially in the summer,  when all the fresh fruit are in season.

So, what is a shrub anyway?  It's a fruit-based syrup, usually mixed with vinegar, to create a delicious, tangy flavouring for drinks.  I usually mix it with sparkling water but have seen some amazing cocktails using shrubs.

A little history on shrubs- in seventeenth-century Britain, the word referred to a fruit liqueur served with rum or brandy.  The version served in southern colonial America is closest to today's version, thanks to the addition of vinegar.

Shrubs are experiencing somewhat of a resurgence today, thanks to an increased interest in preservation and the swathes of mixologists looking to create unique and delicious cocktails in bars.

The recipe is pretty basic and can be used with most fruit.  I prefer the cold method of making shrubs and it is probably the most authentic.  Keep in mind that if you find the vinegar taste "too much", just let it mellow a few more days and it will balance itself.  Check out the website for more shrub ideas.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Classic Dijon Mustard

To make approximately 1 and 1/2 cups.
1 ½ cups        white wine (ideally a white Burgundy, or a crisp Chablis or sauvignon blanc)
½ cup             white wine vinegar**
1 medium       white onion, chopped   
2                      large cloves garlic, chopped
4 oz                 dry mustard powder (ground yellow mustard seed, about 1 cup + 2 tsp)
2 tbsp              honey
2 tsp                salt
Dash or two of Tabasco or cayenne pepper (optional)
Combine wine, vinegar, onion and garlic in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow aromatics to steep in the wine for 10 – 15 minutes

Strain vegetables from the infused wine, pressing on solids to release all the juice. Return wine to the saucepan and add salt, honey and Tabasco, if using. Over medium heat, whisk in the mustard powder; continue whisking and heating until the mustard comes to a boil. Stirring constantly, boil mustard until it reduces to your desired thickness, remembering that it will thicken further upon cooling (I cooked mine for about 10 minutes). Taste and adjust seasonings

Fill hot jars to a generous 1/4-inch headspace (more like 1/2-inch), tamping down the mustard into the jar. Thoroughly bubble by passing the handle of a wooden spoon along the edges and middle of the jar. Wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes in the hot water prior to removing from the canner.
Wanna play?
*I read somewhere that most traditional Dijon mustard is made with both red & white wines. Feel free to experiment with half red:half white wine, or maybe red wine vinegar with white wine.

Tequila Jalapeño Lime Mustard

Once you have made your own mustard, I guarantee you will never to back to store bought.  So far I have made four great tasting, artisanal mustards: Canadian Club Rye Whiskey and Maple mustard, Stout Beer and Honey Mustard, Grainy White Wine Mustard and Classic Dijon Mustard.  They've all been taste tested by family (my best critics) and friends.  Thumbs up!

These are all small batches you could double up.  This tequila and jalapeño mustard will be perfectly paired with Mexican BBQ and tacos.

This recipe makes about three cups of mustard.


6              jalapeño peppers, divided
1 cup       tequila
1/2 cup    brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup    yellow mustard seeds
1              cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup    yellow mustard powder
1/4 cup    honey
3 tbsp      lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1/2 tsp     sea salt


Slice 4 of the jalapeño peppers in half, retaining seeds. Add to a small saucepan with the tequila.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, press on the peppers with the back of a spoon to release juices, then allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Strain the tequila into a small bowl, pressing on the peppers to extract juices.  Add the mustard seeds to the infused tequila, cover, and let sit overnight (or until the seeds have absorbed most of the liquid; at least 4 hours).

Prepare canner, jars and lids.

Halve and seed the remaining  jalapeño peppers. Add the soaked mustard seeds, with any remaining liquid, the jalapeños, and the cider vinegar to a food processor.  Process until most  of the mustard seeds are chopped; leave some seeds for a grainy texture, or chop completely for a smooth mustard.
Transfer the pureed mustard seed mixture to a medium saucepan.  Add mustard powder, honey, lime juice and salt; whisk together over medium-low heat.  Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and reduce mustard to the desired consistency, remembering that it will thicken upon cooling (about 5 – 10 minutes for this).

Ladle hot mustard into hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace, remove air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and bands, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Bourbon Maple Mustard

Who knew that bourbon in Canada  is rye whiskey?  I learned something new... This mustard, made with maple syrup is delicious- great bourbon (really rye) flavour twinned with that greatest Canadian sweetener, maple syrup.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn't love this combination.

This is great as part of a cheese board, right beside the meats or as a topping for sandwiches, burgers  or sausages.  Be sure to age it about one or two months before opening the jar.  Your patience will be rewarded.

Yield: Approximately three cups (3 x 250ml jars)

1 cup      Canadian Club Rye*
1/2 cup   filtered water
1 cup      brown mustard seeds
1/2 cup   cider vinegar
6 tbsp     dry mustard powder (ground yellow mustard seed)
1/2 cup   maple syrup (or substitute honey or brown sugar)
1 tsp salt

Combine the rye, water and mustard seed in one litre canning jar (or a small bowl).  Mix to wet all seeds, and then allow to steep until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed, about four hours, or overnight.

Prepare the canner and the jars/lids.

Transfer the steeped seeds to the bowl of a blender (Vitamix is perfect for this job) or a food processor; process until smooth, or leave grainy, as you prefer. Add vinegar, mustard powder, maple syrup, and salt and process briefly to mix. Transfer to a medium saucepan.

Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring mustard to a boil; continue on a low boil until it reduces to your desired thickness, remembering that it will thicken further upon cooling (I cooked mine for about ten minutes). Taste and adjust seasonings (add additional water if you need to tinker with the flavor and the mustard is getting too thick).

Fill hot jars to a generous 1/4-inch headspace (more like 1/2-inch), tamping down the mustard into the jar. Thoroughly bubble by passing the handle of a wooden spoon along the edges and middle of the jar. Wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to rest for five minutes in the hot water prior to removing from the canner. Store in a cool, dark spot for up to one year.

* For a milder bourbon/rye flavour, you can substitute 1/2 cup of water for 1/2 cup of rye.
I suggest you let this set for about two months after processing to give the flavours time to develop.

Whole Grain Beer Mustard

Make sure you buy a good quality beer and be sure to let the mustard age a few weeks before opening!

To make about 3 cups

Grainy White Wine Mustard

It was difficult finding mustard recipes that could be processed and shelf stable.  This white wine mustard is wonderful- with everything.  Enjoy!

Makes 3 250ml jars


1/2 cup        yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup        brown mustard seeds
1 cup           dry white wine
1 cup           apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup        light brown sugar
1 tbsp          garlic powder
1 tsp            onion powder
1/2 tsp         freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp         sea salt
1 tsp            grated lemon zest


Combine both kinds of mustard seeds and wine in a medium pot and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat. Cover pot and allow the seeds to sit for 2-12 hours or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Prepare a boiling water bath and heat the jars. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water and simmer over very low heat.

Transfer seeds and any remaining liquid to a blender or food processor.

Add 1 cup (250ml) of water and blend until the seeds are fairly well broken down, the texture of the mustard is up to you. If you like it more smooth, blend it longer.

Transfer the seed mixture back into the pot which they were soaked in. Add the cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, sea salt and lemon zest and whisk until combined.

Bring the mustard to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens (approximately 10 minutes).

Ladle the mustard into the prepared jars being sure to leave 1/2" of headspace.

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Chocolate Babka- Memorable!

I have made this delicious bread many times, and shared it with the neighbours.  Because if I kept it in the house, I would eat it all, by myself, no sharing!

This is an easy project and sooooo good.

To make 2 loaves (9 x 5 inches)

Radish Relish

What to do with a major surplus of radishes?  A gift from my local farm market- or more like a challenge.  There aren't too many radish recipes out there :-)

Makes about 6 250ml jars

Honey pickled radish- who knew you could pickle radish?

I love my local farm!  Cléroux Farms is just fifteen minutes from home  (in Ottawa- Innes and Navan Roads) and offers up wonderful seasonal produce of all kinds.  When they asked if I could "do something" with a box of seriously overgrown radishes, I took up the challenge.

My Kitchenaid slicing attachment made quick work of the slicing which I chose to do instead of halving or quartering.

To make about 3 500ml jars.

Blueberry Ketchup - no tomatoes in this ketchup!

Ketchup can be so much more than tomatoes.  With so many blueberries available in July- why not?  This ketchup is spicy and smoky from the adobo, fresh with the ginger and the blueberries and the lime- so much goodness in a jar!  It is based on one published in Saveur magazine a few years ago.  It will keep in the refrigerator for about a month, or you can process it to keep it shelf stable for up to a year.

To make 3 250 ml jars

Pickled Eggplant with Mint and Garlic

My 2020 garden is filled with beautiful eggplants!  What to do to preserve them?  One of my favourite recipes is this one, based on the one found on the Serious Eats website.  I am looking forward to serving them on crostini topped with feta, pickled eggplant and drizzled with olive oil.

To make 2 500 ml jars

Pickled Fairy Tale Eggplant

One of my favourite preserving experts is Marissa MacLellan, the author of at least three preserving books and an informative and entertaining (to an avid canner :-) ) blogger - Food in Jars.

In 2020, I had the foresight to plant a few Fairy Tale eggplants and was delighted to find this quick, easy and tasty pickle.

This recipe makes 3 500 ml jars.

Giardiniera Sott'Aceto

Back in the day- when I had teachers on my Christmas gift list, the kids and I would make their teachers a giardiniera.  Hey, I was sure they had enough coffee mugs!

This pickle is a quick and delicious way to use up a variety of fresh garden produce and the quantities are flexible: cauliflower, cukes, carrots, beans, green tomatoes, sweet peppers.  A great addition to the charcuterie table.

This recipe was adapted from "Preserving the Italian Way" by Pietro DeMaio.

I made 3 750ml and 4 1litre jars.

Bread and Butter Pickles

Sweet, thin cucumber slices canned in a classic turmeric yellow, sweet syrup. Who didn't grow up with these pickles served along with your favourite sandwich?  In my home, it was usually a grilled cheese.

To make about 4 500ml jars.

Sweet Pickle Relish - using up the garden giants :-)

Confession: I "found" four huge, oversized pickling cucumbers in my garden.  They weighed in at four pounds.  What to do with these giants?  Well, they were perfect for making relish- a double recipe.

One of my favourite preserving books is written by Cathy Barrow - "Mrs Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry."  This recipe is adapted from Cathy's book.

This recipe makes about 3 250ml jars.