Homemade Organic Red Cranberry Sauce

Can you picture some of your favorite holiday meals? Perhaps a flavorful roast with mashed potatoes and/or candied sweet potatoes accompanied with corn, peas or green beans from the freezer. If the meat was poultry, there was likely stuffing (or dressing) and gravy on the menu. There were always hot rolls and homemade jam or jelly. When everyone was finished with the main course, the hostess likely brought out an array of tasty desserts. Sometimes a hostess would gain a reputation for always serving three desserts, including items such as home-canned peach halves. However, today’s meals are often lighter, with less starches and more salads on the menu.

This column has provided information on canning and freezing vegetables, making accompaniments such as pickles and relishes, and sweet spreads like jams, jellies and fruit butters. Now, the upcoming holiday meals can include some of this preserved bounty. Holidays are a good time to share some recipes that home cooks might like to try.

For instance, fresh cabbage is still available, and there may be some peppers and onions at produce stands. If not, they can be found in most grocery stores. Following is a relish recipe using these ingredients. Remember, relishes are a form of pickling in which vegetables are preserved in an acidic brine, allowing them to be processed in a boiling water bath or atmospheric steam canner. This colorful relish may be served as an accompaniment to meat or poultry or used as a topping for those turkey sandwiches made from the leftovers.

Dixie’s Relish

  • 2 cups chopped sweet red peppers (about 4 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped sweet green peppers (about 4 medium)
  • 1 quart chopped cabbage (about 1 small head)
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup canning salt
  • 2 quarts cold water, for soaking vegetables
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons celery seed
  • 1 quart vinegar (5%)

This recipe yields about 5 pint jars.

Wash and rinse canning jars; keep hot until ready to fill. Prepare lids and ring bands according to the manufacturer's directions. Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold water. Pour over chopped vegetables and let stand for 1 hour. Drain. Combine sugar, vinegar and spices; add vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes. Bring to boiling.

Pack boiling hot mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath or atmospheric steam canner. (20 minutes at altitudes of 1,001 to 6,000 feet; 25 minutes above 6,000 feet).

Source: So Easy to Preserve

Pear Apple Jam

Here is a fall harvest jam to accompany hot rolls for the holiday meal. Also, try it as a glaze on baked ham or sautéed pork chops.

  • 2 cups peeled, cored and finely chopped pears
  • 1 cup peeled, cored and finely chopped apples
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1 pouch liquid pectin (3 ounces)

This recipe yields 7 or 8 half-pint jars.

Sterilize canning jars.

Crush pears and apples in a large saucepan. Stir in cinnamon. Thoroughly mix sugar and lemon juice with fruits and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Immediately stir in pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam. Pour jam immediately into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath or atmospheric steam canner. Adjust processing times for higher altitudes.

If you have food preservation questions, a home economist is available to answer questions on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., by calling 717-394-6851 or writing Penn State Extension, Lancaster County, 1383 Arcadia Road, Room 140, Lancaster, PA 17601.

The Well Preserved news column is prepared by Penn State Extension.

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