Saturday, September 3, 2011

Relish the Relish

Hurricane Irene came and left a mess here. We lost power for several days, trees came down, basements flooded, fortunately not ours, and I have to say a bit of chaos ensued. We really are a spoiled lot. When the local radio station announced dry ice would be available at a nearby firehouse HUNDREDS of people showed up to sign up for the ice. The ice finally came at the end of the day but only 50 bags. Anarchy. Other towns and states had it much worse, I just heard from one of my chefs that she just got her power back on, 7 days later, and there are still pockets without so we were lucky at my house. No losses thanks to a generator, time to read because the computer was down and enough time to catch up after all was said and done. And what did I learn from all of this? I now know what the sound of civilization is…a flushing toilet.

The garden took a little hit with the wind and all so I collected everything and set to preserving. The two relishes I produced are from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.

Dill Relish for Hamburgers and Sweet Pickle Relish for Hot Dogs. This book was the one I started with 20 years ago and the one I still go to after looking at all the other “fancier” books on preserving and canning. The recipes and procedures are easy to follow and once you have your canning legs beneath you, you see where there is room for interpretation. A very inexpensive book to begin canning with which is good since the jars are so damned expensive!

A note on pickle crisp: Almost impossible to find –evidently Ball is retooling this ingredient although they mention it constantly in the book, it is virtually unavailable as of summer 2011- but I discovered that the Calcic I use in my molecular gastronomy is the same thing. Ask around for calcic is the takeaway.

I am notorious for not thoroughly reading the recipe’s directions carefully until I begin so let me hip you to this time saving fact in relish making. Cut up (food processor) your ingredients and let them sit 2 hours before you actually can! The vegetables need to be brined and to sit, and then you can get your jars ready and the water boiling.

I also put up pickled grape tomatoes as they took the worst of it. A nice thing to put on your holiday relish trays I think. Happy canning and GOOD NIGHT IRENE.

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