Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Been Busy, Busy, Busy

Winter is finally over and spring is here. It's that time of year to get the yard cleaned up and get my garden ready so for the past couple of weeks I have been spending a lot of time out side. After being cooped up in the house most of the winter it sure feels good to get out side and enjoy the fresh air and getting my hands into the nice moist earth. I have been pulling weeds, picking up branches that fall during the winter, trash that people throw out of their cars as they drive by, getting my garden and herb bed ready to plant and foraging for wild spring foods.

So far in the foraging department I have been picking purslane, wild onions and red bud flowers. I use the purslane in soups, stews and salads and I will be making red bud jelly with the red bud flowers. Will also be making lilac jelly in a few more days when the lilacs bloom. I am all for free food and learning to forage is helping me to feed my family better and cheaper. Plus if the time comes when the world as we know it ends and grocery stores are no longer around I will have other ways to provide for my family. :)

I have been doing some canning here and there in the last few weeks. One thing I made for the first time was Mango Chutney. I have never had any type of chutney before so I looked on line for a recipe I thought I might like. I found this one

I followed the recipe almost to a T but I used apple cider vinegar instead of white and I didn't have any golden raisins so I used plain raisins. It turned out so good that I will be making more of this soon. Doesn't it look pretty?

I got 5 half pints out of the recipe.

Valdilia onions were on sale up here about 3 weeks ago so I bought 16 pounds of them and made most of them into caramelized onions and canned them. I have already opened one jar of them, heated them up and served over New York Strip Steak. It was so good!

To make the caramelized onions I simply sliced all the onions and put them into two crock pots with a stick of butter in each. I turned the crock pot on low and let it cook for 24 hours. I then drained off the juice and reserved it. Fill the jars with the onions and topped off with enough of the juice to one inch level, wipe the rims of the jars with vinegar, applied the two piece caps and pressure canned for 40 minutes.

Warning: This is not a USDA approved recipe so if you try it you try it at your own risk.

Because my two crock pots would only hold half of the 16 pounds of onions it took me two days to get them all canned since each batch had to cook in the crock pots for 24 hours. So here is a picture of all the canning I got done in two days. Five of the jars are mango chutney and the rest are onions. Since I am the only one that likes caramelized onions in my family these should be enough to last me a year. :)

Next it will be the red bud jelly. This will be my first time making it so I will report back as soon and I get it done. :)

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