How to Preserve, Pickle and Jar Food with Simple Truth®
By: Karen Ilhardt, Home Economist, Kroger Customer Connect
Ever take photos to capture a special moment? Most of us have. That way, when we look to those images, we can reflect on the joy that was preserved. I tend to take photos but not print them out. I know they’re available if I should want them. My husband, on the other hand, also takes photos but prints them almost immediately. He’s great about sharing them with the people featured and keeping them organized by dates. You probably have established a pattern about taking photos, printing them, sharing and organizing them. The basic intent of the whole photo capturing activity is to help us preserve the special moments in our lives.
Similarly, we can also preserve foods. There are many ways we can capture the fresh, wholesome goodness of foods in season. And, like printed photos, we can share those foods with others to pass along the great flavors and love. One of my mom’s most cherished gifts I ever gave her was a basket of my homemade jams and jellies. She knew I had chosen fresh fruits in their prime season, made the jam with love and tied a bow around each jar to match her kitchen.
Preserving foods grew out of necessity. Before there were lots of greenhouses and ways to transport fresh foods to all parts of the world, people relied on their gardens. When harvest came in, they canned, dried, salt cured, smoked or froze the items so they would be available to consume in the future months. We have the luxury of going to our nearby store and purchasing wonderful fresh (or preserved) foods on a regular basis. If you’re like me, you choose to make fresh jams, jellies and pickles for the richer flavor, absence of additives and personal satisfaction of creating a product you know is wholesome. It’s exciting to see the delight on the faces of people who receive my homemade goodies.
Simple Truth® products come as close to homemade as commercially possible. They keep it less complicated, less processed, more like the way we would choose to eat or preserve food. Especially for produce, Simple Truth® items come from organic sources if possible. They also try to feature foods harvested from local growers. The saying “fresh is best” remains true, but there is great pleasure in preserving that freshness for future months or for sharing with loved ones.
Making jams and jellies is slightly more complicated than boiling water. Simple Truth® offers wonderful assortments of frozen berries that work perfectly for this homemade treat. Many recipes are available on the inserts of the pectin packaging or online. Personally, I don’t find much taste difference between a regular jelly and a reduced-sugar jelly. I like the natural sweetness of the fruit to shine.
Pickling is another way to savor the goodness of foods. Vegetables and hard-boiled eggs lend themselves well to this process.
Quick Pickled Veggies:
Select fresh, good quality vegetables such as green beans, carrots, onions, cucumbers or asparagus. Clean and cut them into bite-sized pieces or spears. Pack into sealable glass jars. Fill jar (leaving ¼ inch headspace between the vegetables and the top rim of the jar) with a brine made from equal parts water and vinegar, plus desired spices such as Simple Truth™ Fresh Dill. Secure lids, then chill for one to two days. Keep refrigerated, and consume within one month.
Shelf-Stable Pickled Vegetables: (makes 12 pints)
- Select and prepare desired vegetables. Amounts of raw vegetables will vary according to type and desired size in finished product.
- Sterilize 12 pint canning jars and heat the sealable lids.
- In a saucepan, heat 5 cups water and 5 cups distilled white vinegar just to boiling point.
- Into each pint jar, put ½ clove of garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and a few Simple Truth™ Whole Peppercorns.
- Fill each jar with prepared vegetables. Be sure to leave ½ inch headspace between vegetables and top rim of jar.
- Pour brine (vinegar and water) over the vegetables, being careful to reduce/remove air pockets and leaving ½ inch headspace.
- Wipe top rim of jar so a good seal can be achieved. Place hot, sterilized lid on top. Firmly screw on the canning jar band.
- Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars and place in draft free area to cool completely (at least 24 hours). Check for vacuum seal. Full flavor will develop after 2 weeks.