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Archive for the ‘Cooking/Recipes’ Category

Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning dried beans and spicy carrot pickle recipe

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Canning dried beans

I have a question about canning dried beans. I canned kidney beans for the first time. When I use a jar now they are packed tight and not much fluid. What did I do wrong? I soaked them overnight. I pressure canned them. Maybe I put too many in a jar? Did I fill the jar too much? If you can give me an idea of what to do to have looser beans in the jar and more fluid I would greatly appreciate that.

I used pinto beans for baked beans and they did the same thing. Is there a way to stop the bean from expanding further?

Wild Rose, Wisconsin

Fill your dry beans no more than ¾ full after soaking them overnight. If you’re having too many packed beans, just add ½ a jar full and try that. Be sure to allow a full 1 inch of headroom as all beans will expand during processing. — Jackie

Spicy carrot pickle

Is there any way to make the Spicy carrot pickle recipe for diabetics?


You could substitute Splenda or another low/no calorie artificial sweetener for the sugar but add the sweetener just before packing the jars to keep it “sweet.” Let the syrup return to boiling before packing. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning garlic with green beans and adding meat to pintos when canning

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Canning garlic with green beans and adding meat to pintos when canning

Question one. Would throwing a couple large cloves of garlic in a jar of green beans while canning, be safe (considering the various warnings against canning garlic)? Question two. Since most recipes for canning dried beans don’t mention using meat, would it be okay to add a small amount of side meat or bacon to pintos when canning them?

Rick Gibson
Floyd, Virginia

I would not add the garlic cloves to your green beans. Too dangerous. You could, however add a little garlic powder for flavoring if you wish. The reason for this is that the garlic cloves are more dense, where the powder is simply a spice and is not dense. You can add a LITTLE bacon or ham to your pintos when you can, as you would, adding a LITTLE ham or bacon to baked beans you’re canning. But this is for a bit of flavoring. If you add more than a little, you must process your pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes to be safe. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: spicy carrot pickle and pine nuts

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Spicy carrot pickle

I have your book Growing and Canning Your Own Food, and your other books, but can’t find a spicy carrot pickle recipe. Maybe you have one? Maybe something with onions and jalapenos? I absolutely love all your recipes and actually learned how to can from your book!

Draza and Regina
Miramonte, California

Here’s our favorite spiced carrot recipe, a carrot relish you can even eat as a side dish.

3 lbs carrots (12 medium)
5 medium green peppers
4 red jalapenos
6 medium onions
6 cups white vinegar
2 Tbsp. celery seed
¼ cup salt
6 cups sugar

Clean carrots and peel. Remove ribs and seeds from peppers, peel onions. Put all vegetables through a food chopper using a coarse blade. In a kettle, heat vinegar, spices, and sugar to boiling. Add ground vegetables. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pack while boiling into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch of head space. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. (This will make 8 half pints.) Hope you like this recipe. — Jackie

Pine nuts

First I would like to say I love reading your articles. I have used many of your recipes. My wife and I recently went up to the mountains and picked about a gallon of pine nuts. I read how good they are for you and noticed they are $20 a pound at our local health food store. I would like to know a little more about them and if you have any recipes.

Grand Junction, Colorado

Lucky you, Richard. I just love pinyon nuts. In New Mexico, we used to go up to the mountains and harvest them, making a picnic outing of it. You can shell and eat them raw but we liked to toast them. To toast them, you can either lay them in a single layer (shelled) on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven at low temperature, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or soak them in water, drain, then sprinkle with salt. Then roast them as above. Pinyons (or pinyon nuts) are excellent in salads and vital for pesto sauce. They are a traditional great with lamb, veal, pork, chicken, fish, duck, and game birds. Pinyon nuts are also popular in stuffings, sauces, vegetables, soups, pesto, stews, sweetmeats, cakes, and puddings. I really liked to add them to simple sugar cookies. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: thawed berries and cooking Hope Pale Grey squash

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Thawed berries

First, I absolutely adore you and have followed you for years. I feel like a distant but loving sister.

My freezer failed and some of the berries defrosted then refroze (we think a mouse nesting in the coils caused it to overheat). Can I still use them to make jam/preserves/jelly or are they a total loss?

Claudia Barnard
Oldtown, Idaho

Claudia, I’m thrilled to be your new sister! If the berries still look and smell okay, taste a couple. If they haven’t fermented or started to mold because they were too long thawed and warm, they should be just fine to use for jams, etc. But if they are pretty questionable, toss ’em out, just to make sure. — Jackie

Cooking Hopi Pale Grey squash

Well now that you have Hopi squash growing around the country, what are some of your favorite ways to cook it? I ended up with 30 huge ones. I fried some up with potatoes the other day. Very tasty. I love the flavor. Thank you so much for your seeds.

Joni Warren
Canyon City, Oregon

Every day I find new ways to use this very versatile and tasty squash. One great way is to seed and bake it until tender. Then fry up some Italian sausage, onions and bell peppers. Put this mix in the bottom of a casserole dish and layer mashed, baked squash over it. Top with grated cheese. Pretty darned good!

I’m so glad so many folks have gotten Hopi Pale Greys grown and harvested. It was so close to going extinct that it scared me. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: saving seeds from beans, canning mayonnaise, and saving Hopi Pale Grey seed

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Saving seeds from green beans

I know you can let green beans go to seed and save the seed. My question is: Are they as nutritious as say Pinto beans? Can they be made into baked beans and taste the same? I planted some pole beans that we didn’t like so I’ve been letting them dry. Now I’m not sure it’s worth the effort to shell and keep the seeds. And of course I can’t remember what I planted so I will not repeat my mistake.

Becky McKim
Ankeny, Iowa

Yes, any green beans or other beans used for snap or shell beans can be dried and used as dry beans like navy and pinto beans. Yes, you can use them as baked beans, refried beans or any other use. Some are better tasting than others but that goes with any crop and also has a lot to do with the cooking method. Almost all old-timers used to do this and so can you. — Jackie

Canning mayonnaise

Looks like a wonderful crop for you this year…congrats. I was buying BOGO mayonnaise a few weeks ago to have on hand. I began wondering if you could can homemade mayo? Could I re-can large containers purchased at Costco? Thanks for your countless nuggets of wisdom and advice. We are beginning to settle on our new acreage…so much to do!

Judith Almand
Lithia, Florida

Sorry but mayonnaise and salad dressing are two things that I can’t find any solid, reliable information on canning safely. I’m sure it’s possible as companies sure can it. But because of the ingredients, it would not be safe to can at home without specific, safe recommendations. Congratulations on your move to your new homestead! What an adventure. — Jackie

Saving Hopi Pale Grey seed

This is my first time growing the Grey Hopi Squash here in Maine, I had a wonderful crop with minimal bug damage … I want to save the seed but I planted cucumbers about 50 feet away … will that impact the seed in any way?

Liz Stone
Newport, Maine

I’m glad you got a good crop of Hopi Pale Grey squash. Great, aren’t they? Nope, the cucumbers won’t cross with the squash so you’re good to go. When you save your seeds, harvest the squash and let them mature in a warm, dry area for a month or so, then cut one open, pick out the seeds, dry them on a cookie sheet on the counter and eat your squash. Enjoy! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: spaghetti squash and canning lamb/beef bones

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Spaghetti squash

This is my first year of growing spaghetti squash, and I baked my first one today. The inside didn’t come out stringy like spaghetti. It looks more like regular winter squash with a rice like texture. Any ideas what could have caused this? It still tastes great!

Johanna Hill
Arcanum, Ohio

What I do is cut my spaghetti squash in half, pick out any mature seeds, then gently “fluff” up the strings. I pour homemade spaghetti sauce over it all in a baking dish and top with cheese. Bake in the oven until tender. — Jackie

Canning lamb/beef bones

Can a person can beef or lamb bones? I am killing several and want to can the bones so they make a broth while they are canning. Then the bones would also be preserved so we could dump out broth for us and then give bone to our dog.

Lisa Leffert
Bonney Lake, Washington

You can certainly can bones with stock, as you indicate, but giving cooked bones of any kind to dogs is pretty dangerous. Raw bones’ slivers can be digested by dogs but cooked bones often pass into the gut, undigested and can block the intestines and even puncture them. I’d make your broth and freeze some of the uncooked large bones for the dog. He’ll thank you for keeping him safe. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

I’m canning nearly every day now

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Our beans are in! And so are our peppers. This year I’m making batch after batch of Cowboy Candy, a candied jalapeño. Wow, are they ever good and really not all that hot. Especially when I mix Early Jalapeños with Fooled You, which aren’t hot at all. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try them:


3 lbs. jalapeño peppers
6 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. celery seed
3 tsp. granulated garlic

Slice jalapeños. If you don’t want so much heat, cut off top and cut out seeds and ribs before slicing ¼ inch thick. If you are sensitive or can’t keep from wiping your eyes (burns like crazy if you do!), wear plastic gloves.

Add all ingredients but peppers into a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add peppers. Bring to a boil and simmer 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove peppers and pack into half-pint jars. Bring syrup to a boil and boil hard for 6 minutes. This thickens the syrup somewhat. Ladle over sliced peppers, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Wipe rim of jar, add previously simmered lid, and screw down ring firmly tight. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

These are great on creamed cheese and crackers. Or about anything else! Yum.
Our bean crop is phenomenal this year. I only planted two short rows of Provider bush beans because I still have shelves full of canned beans. But those rows have given me four basketfuls of beans so far, and they’re still producing like mad. I canned plain beans and Mustard Bean pickles. Tomorrow it’s Dilly Beans. Guess why I love Providers? And they get pretty big but are meaty, with small seeds until they are pretty mature, so they last on the vine for quite a while before going seedy.
This year we tried a new pole bean, Neckargold, after our friend Dara raved about them last year. Our vines are covered with flat, long, tender gold beans. We ate one batch to try them, and they are tender with very good flavor. This is another keeper!
We are getting such a kick out of the batch of chicks that were hatched in our front yard. They run here and there, gobbling up bugs, grass, and seeds. We think they’re mobile yard ornaments! They’re so entertaining. Who needs TV? — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: overpressure plug on canner and lime water

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Overpressure plug on canner

How often should you realistically replace the overpressure plug on an All American canner? The manual suggests replacing it at least every 12 months. My canner is 3-4 years old and I’ve never replaced it. The rubber still seems to be in great shape. What do you do?
DK Phillips
Columbus, Ohio

Personally, I feel that if the plug rubber is soft and doesn’t leak excessive steam, it’s fine. Today with everyone so sue-happy, manufacturers have to cover their butts. I’ve never replaced mine after eleven years of use. If it wears out or becomes brittle, replace it. The worst that could happen is that the plug blows out and may ruin a batch of canning. It’s not like the canner would blow up. — Jackie

Lime water

I grow my own dent corn, and have been making corn flour for years, but I have never been able to find the ratio of wood ashes to water to make lime water. I would like to be able to make corn chips etc. from scratch. Have you had any experience with this process? I live in Massachusetts and burn mostly oak or maple for heat, would the type of wood ashes matter? Nobody in this area has any idea what I’m talking about when I ask about soaking corn or even slaked lime. Do you have any advice?

South Hadley, Massachusetts

You don’t use wood ashes to make lime water. Soaked wood ashes make lye, which also can be used to make hominy which is then dried to make masa harina from which such things as tortillas and tamales can be made. I prefer using lime water; it’s less dangerous and quick to find and use. Here’s how:

You need 2 lbs of field corn (removed from cob) and two tablespoons slaked lime (pickling lime). Clean the shelled corn by placing in a colander and rising with cold water.

Add two quarts of water into a four-quart non-corrosive pan (stainless steel, or enameled pot). Put the pan on high heat and stir in the slaked lime until it dissolves.

Bring the slaked lime water to a boil and add the corn stirring gently. Using a slotted spoon remove any kernels that float to the top. When the water is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and let the corn soak for about one hour.

Put the corn into a colander and rinse very well with cold water. Rub the corn between your hands to loosen any hulls still attached to the kernels. Continue this until the corn is all white (except the little tips). Allow the corn to drain.

The corn is now ready for your favorite pozole or hominy recipe. Or you can dry the hominy well, then grind it to make masa harina. — Jackie



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