With the seasonal abundance of cucumbers and tomatoes, here are a few good recipes to preserve the fresh taste of summer.
This is a tomato/pasta sauce recipe from the Ball Blue Book canning guide that does not require the cook to remove the tomato skins prior to cooking, a time saving step up front. These are pureed and strained out after the first simmer.
45 pounds tomatoes 1 TBS black pepper
6 cups chopped onions 1 a/2 TBS sugar
12 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup salt (optional)
½ cup olive oil 2 Tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 TBS oregano bottled lemon juice
6 bay leaves
Wash tomatoes; drain. Remove core and blossom ends. Cut into quarters; set aside. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepot. Add tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, black pepper and sugar. Stir in salt and crushed red pepper, if desired. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Puree tomatoes using a food processor or a food mill. Strain puree to remove peels and seeds. Cook the pulp in a large, uncovered saucepot over medium-high heat until sauce thickens, stirring to prevent sticking. Reduce volume by one-half. Add 1 TBS bottled lemon juice to each pint jar, 2 TBS bottled lemon juice to each quart jar. Ladle hot sauce into jars, leaving ½ inch headspace and wipe top of jar with a paper towel dipped in boiling water. Adjust and hand tighten two-piece caps with the lids sterilized. Process pints 35 minutes, quarts 40 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
And from Cooking Light’s August 2004 issue, here is a recipe for Marinara Magnifica that Harriet Kattenberg (Seedtime and Harvest) shared in her newsletter a few years back. I have made this and frozen it flat in heavy freezer bags to save space, or it may be canned. It is a versatile, full flavored sauce.
2 TBS olive oil 6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 cups chopped onion 6 pounds fresh tomatoes, skins removed
1 TBS sugar 1 tsp salt
½ tsp dried marjoram ½ dry red wine
½ tsp dried oregano ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp dried thyme two 6 oz cans of tomato paste
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion and sugar. Cook 30 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in wine, cook 1 minute. Add remaining gredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Yield: 9 cups
Bread and Butter Pickles
2 ½ lbs (8-10 medium) cucumbers (theses should be as fresh as possible from the market or garden)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup pickling salt (can use Kosher salt as a substitute, regular table salt has additives in it that will turn the pickles dark and muddy the color or the pickle juice).
1 ¼ cup white distilled vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 TBS mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¾ tsp celery seeds
1 inch cinnamon stick
6 allspice berries plus a pinch of ground allspice
6 whole cloves plus a pinch of ground cloves
½ tsp tumeric
Carefully rinse the cucumbers, scrubbing away any dirt that may have stuck to the ribs. Slice off 1/8 inch from the ends and discard (these can carry traceg amounts of bacteria)
Slice the cucumbers in ¼ inch thick slices and place in a large bowl. Add the sliced onions and pickling salt. Stir in so that the salt is well distributed among the cucumber and onion slices. Cover with a clean tea towel (thin towel, not terry cloth). Cover with a couple of inches of ice. Put in the refrigerator and let chill for 4 hours. Discard any un-melted ice, rinse and drain. Rinse and drain again.
In a 4 or 6 quart pot, place the vinegars, sugar, all of the spices and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved (only takes a minute) add the cucumber and onions. Bring back up to a boil and ladle the hot cucumber/onions slices into sterilized jars, then ladle in the hot liquid to within ½ of top. Remove air bubbles with non-reactive knife (plastic works well) and wipe top of jar with a paper towel dipped in boiling water. Adjust and hand-tighten two-piece caps with the lids sterilized. Process pints 20 minutes in hot water bath canner. Yield, about 7 pints.
Note: Any remaining pickle brine can also be canned or stored in the refrigerator. This is a good flavoring for dressings and salads, like tuna, chicken salad etc.