Zucchini and Pepper Relish

So currently, I am making zucchini and pepper relish from out of my Food in Jars cookbook. I am munching on some guacamole (recipe later) as I wait for things to simmer.

I have grated six cups of zucchini, chopped six cups of peppers, and grated two and a half cups of onions. This has been cooked in two cups of apple cider vinegar, and it just spent 30 minutes reducing. First off, the biggest thing that jumped out was the change in color. I decided to add some color and threw in one red pepper with the green peppers- I think it definitely added some good color as the green peppers turned very pale after reducing.

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Now I randomly decided to film bits as I was trying this recipe. Unfortunately, since I am a cheap-sake and do not wish to spend $8 a year on the off chance I might upload a video every now and then, I am going to post it onto my youtube channel and then put the link here! It’s a kind of a spur of the moment thing and as long as I don’t get any wildly inappropriate remarks, I might do it again.

I simmered my relish mixture again with the required spices added in.

I am about to pack it into jars.

I have the jars in the canner, and once it reaches a rolling boil, it has to process for 10 minutes.

They seem very pretty and when I tried the smidgen of what I had left over, the relish was pretty good! It will get even better as it sits and has a chance to meld over the next few weeks.

I hope that the video helps a little bit as I know my writing can be a bit hard to follow sometime. Then again, my speaking is not much better.

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The finished product!

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Jammin!

So I decided to do the battle of the jams. I have been going through my new cookbook “Food in Jars” and I found a lovely peach jam that I really wanted to try. My mother just gave me a whole bunch of ripe peaches from her last excursion to the fruit stand, and I think I have enough to do both types of jams that I have recipes for.

1) Freezer Jam

My mothers grandmother got this freezer jam recipe from a neighbor in New Kensington, which is on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. Both my parents grew up there. We mostly use it to make strawberry jam. Many people have told me that her jam could be used as a currency in lieu of cash, and I’m pretty sure this jam is what got me on my in-laws good side the first time I went there for dinner. I brought a jar of the jam with me, and my now father-in-law sent it back to my now husband a week later with a note that said “Needs refilled.” I’ve also had friends who were shocked when their toddler licked the jam off his plate, but I also noticed his father do it later when he thought no one was looking! In any event, I am going to compare these two jams and see what happens!

I grew up with my mother’s freezer jam, and I had never canned jam before getting my new book.

Now- this recipe is very sweet. Most people don’t realize how much sugar goes into it. For the strawberries, this seems to work. However, I just tried it with peaches and I think that I need to increase the amount of fruit. My husband has also requested that I increase the amount of pectin so that it can be thicker.

Freezer Jam

5 cups sugar
3 cups fruit (peaches in this case, same amount for strawberries) cut and squished
1/3 cup Pectin (Dutch Gel)
7/8 Cup of water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Mix the fruit & sugar together and let sit for 20 minutes, stirring 3 times.

Meanwhile, in a small pot, bring water and lemon juice to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in Pectin. Pour Pectin mixture into fruit mixture and refrigerate overnight. Freeze! (We use peanut butter jars.)

I will post the results tomorrow!

2) Peach Jam!!

Food in Jars Blog Recipe

This is the recipe I followed when I canned my jam. I did alter it in one way, which was to add a pinch of the spice Mace while I was mixing up the peaches. While it tasted really awesome, it put me in mind more of peach pie filling with the spices. I was really hoping for a more simple, solid peach flavor for those dreary winter days. It had a great consistency compared to my freezer jam attempt.

1) For the freezer jam, next time I believe I am going to add more fruit, increase the lemon juice, and see how that affects the taste and consistency. The recipe seems fine for strawberries, but feels like it could use less sugar/more fruit for peaches.

2) For the canned jam recipe- I think I will try the authors suggestion of vanilla next, or maybe omit the spices entirely!

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