All Things Jalapeño

Tuesday while shopping in Mi Comisariato I found fresh green jalapeño peppers. That may not sound like a big deal to you but they are not often available so I picked up a big bag and yesterday I pickle some of those beauties as well as made my special Hot Pepper Jelly.

San Clemente 8.29.2013 002What I ended up with was two jars of pickled peppers, five jars of Hot Pepper Jelly (one has already been given to a friend) and one container of Jalapeño Pepper Sauce especially for Joe.  I have kept some seeds for planting and have some drying for hot pepper flake.

San Clemente 8.29.2013 003Hot Pepper Jelly

  • 6 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeños seeded
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper seeded
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I used 1 cup white vinegar & 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 t butter (this stops the foam from forming on the top of your jelly)
  • 1 box Sure-Jell (thanks to Susan & Jimmy for bringing this from the states for me) or 1 bottle of Certo
  • green or red food coloring (optional – the peppers turn an unappealing color when heated so this brightens it up)

Clean and sterilize your jars first. Set aside on a clean dish towel. Clean and seed your peppers and chop very fine (I use a food processor for this step), then add to a large pot with the sugar, vinegar and butter. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil for one minute, lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes.

If using Sure-Jell: In a small saucepan add 3/4 cup of water and the box of Sure-Jell using a whisk mix well and simmer gently until dissolved.

If using Certo: It is already a liquid, just add the bottle to the mixture.

Add to the pepper mixture along with several drops of food coloring.  Stir for a minute or two and turn off heat. Pour into sterilized jars, clean rim of jar of any drips, cap and allow to cool before refrigerating.

Serve with cream cheese on crackers.

San Clemente 8,29a.2013 005 Enjoy!

Canning Tomatoes and Making Pickles

My friend Eva told me that she has a vegetable guy who comes to her home on Fridays. Early afternoon and that he has the most wonderful small tomatoes. So she invited me over to sit and wait with her until he arrived. I purchased a bag full of these little buties and another bag of cucumbers. Guess what I am doing??

Well I was going to can tomatoes but after reading my Joy of Cooking cookbook on canning and doing more research on the internet it looks like I need to use a pressure canning process for tomatoes and because I do not have a big enough pressure pot or want  to blow up my pressure pot while attempting this for the first time all we will be doing is canning Fresh Garlic/Dill Pickle Spears today.

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First you need to get all your ingredients together. Sterilized canning jars and lids, cleaned cucumbers, Heinz vinegar, spices and herbs (mustard seed, celery seed, salt and fresh garlic and fresh dill).

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Cut the cucumbers length wise to the length that will fit in the jars, cutting away any seeds, place the cucumber spears into the jars alternating between the skin side showing on the outside and the flesh side showing, it just looks so much nicer when giving a jar as a gift. After all jars are filled to capacity, you really need to squeeze them in tight. Add your spices to the top of the jar and slivers of fresh garlic around the inside of the jar.  I use pickling seasonings like mustard seeds, celery seeds and fresh dill. Heat your vinegar and salt to a boil and pour the hot mixture to fill the jars. Wipe the edge of the jar with a clean towel and tighten the lid. The pickles are fresh and need to be refrigerated for a few days before use. The quantity of the spices and herbs is totally up to your taste and the amount of vinegar depends upon how many jars of pickles you are preparing.  Canning like this is not an exact science you will need to experiment to find what taste best to you. I always use Heinz vinegar because it is stronger than what you can buy locally.

Making Whole Grain Mustard

I received both yellow and brown mustard seeds from a blog friend and decided to make some beautiful fresh mustard.

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Whole Grain Mustard

  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar (I used regular Heinz vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or sal de mar
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar or honey (optional)
  • you may want to add one of the following: 1 t dry tarragon leaves, 1/4 t allspice, a cinnamon stick, 1/8 t red pepper flakes or 1/4 t caraway seeds for flavoring

Put mustard seeds, wine and wine vinegar in a small bowl. Cover and let soak at room temperature for two days

Add mustard seeds and liquid to a blender, hold back 2 tablespoons of the seeds. Add salt, sugar and other flavoring blend until mustard is a thick consistency. Add the whole mustards seeds and put in clean jars and allow to sit in the refrigerator for two days before use.

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San Clemente 3.27.2013 003Two beautiful jars of whole grain mustard. I took a taste – it won’t take much to add a great deal of zest to a sandwich or, better yet, sausage. One jar is already being given as a gift to our friends Eva and Fred. I know they will get a “kick” out of it.

Almost “Natural” Bathroom Tile Cleaner

It is not easy to find cleaning items here like we were able to find in the states. Lime-a-Way which cleans the hard water build up off your shower tile is not something that I have found on our supermarket shelves. Not sure what it would do to the delicate balance in our septic either, so if I did find it I am not sure that I would buy it. But the tiles just look so dull, I needed to find something that would bring them back to the original state.

We have hard water, this combined with soap, shampoo, cream rinse and shower gels make for a really ugly build up on our white shower tiles. So I went on-line to find what I could make to get my shower tiles looking sparkly clean again. Here is the recipe I made and used this morning:

  • 1 liter of white vinegar
  • 3 oz of liquid dish detergent lemon scented
  • 8 fresh squeezed lemons (strain before adding to spray bottle) approx 6 oz of juice

Mix well and put it into a spray bottle. (I used an empty foam spray bottle from a commercial product shown in the photo below). Spray on to cover the tiles and allow to sit for 5 minutes to 15 minutes depending upon the build up. Spray again if it starts to dry before you are ready to remove. Use a sponge to wipe the tiles and then rinse with clean water. I did not need to scrub as the combination of these items did a great job.

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First the fresh scent of the lemons makes the room smell wonderful, second it cleaned all the soap scum and hard water deposits off the tiles and they are shiny, just like new. I don’t think something this natural will harm my septic.  But just in case I will be adding brown sugar and yeast to my septic system this afternoon.

Hope it works for you as well as it cleaned our tiles.