Monday, July 05, 2010

Banana Pepper Pickles

Here's my very first try at home canning/pickling.

The first little jar is banana pepper rings only.
The second and third jars are a combo of sweet banana peppers, garlic and Vidalia onion slices.
The fourth jar is like 2 and 3 but with red onion slices added. The red onion was HUGE, and much stronger than the mild Vidalia onion. I cried when I was slicing the red onion. :(

And that's NOT dirt or bugs in there, it's allspice berries, a peppercorn or two, and dill seed. In all my googling for recipes, most of the instructions mentioned that you shouldn't use powdered spices when canning, so that's why I added the whole berry and seed. Next time, I might make a little cloth bag and take all the spices out before I fill the jars. ;)

The first four jars have just a pinch of something called "Pickle Crisp" added, that's supposed to keep them crunchy.

The last jar, on the right, is mixed red and Vidalia onions with a slice or two of garlic clove, but no banana pepper. Instead of packing the veggies tightly in the jars raw, like I did the first four, I put all the onions I had left in the hot vinegar/salt/spice/sugar mix and brought it back up to a simmer, cooked them for a couple of minutes. Then I packed the hot rings in the jar. I poured in juice to almost fill the jar, and had enough left to fill the jar behind the small one, but it's pink from the red onion. This last jar didn't get any "Pickle Crisp" since I figured they'd be soft from cooking anyway. I was hoping also that the short cook time would make that red onion a little less strong.

I haven't tasted them yet - I'm going to wait a day before I try them, let the raw veggies soak up the vinegar and spices. It was less trouble than I thought it'd be, once I'd bought everything I needed, so I'll definitely do it again if they taste good.

These jars actually all sealed just from the boiling vinegar being poured over the veggies, all of the tops are locked down. I'm still going to play it safe and keep them in the fridge, though, because I didn't use a hot water bath on them.

Friday, July 02, 2010

July Garden Sow and Tell

Been picking a lot, but not posting much! Here's the state of the stuff on my kitchen counter a couple of days ago. I took about 6 of the bigger ones to Mom because they really enjoyed the ones I took over on Father's Day.

I have banana peppers and MORE banana peppers.

I guess two pepper plants are too much for me! I've bought some vinegar, kosher salt, and a little jar of something called 'Pickle Crisp' and I plan to pick some of these on July 4th and attempt a refrigerator pickle, with banana pepper rings plus some rings of the Vidalia onions I bought. I plan on making one jar with some red onion rings or wedges, just to see what happens. Think the red onions will turn the yellow pepper rings orange?

Charity Quilts

My guild just had a challenge to complete quilts for a hospice near us. I'm proud to say that we met and even exceeded the challenge, donating over 55 quilts to the hospice. Here's a few of them:

You'll see a nice mix in the pictures, everything from big block quilts to nickle square quilts, crumb quilts and heartstring quilts. We had a workshop on the quilt-as-you-go circle quilts you see there, they were a lot of fun to do. Here's more quilts:

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