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Archive for September 23rd, 2010

12 lbs ripe tomatoes

1 lb onions

1/2 lb sweet red peppers

1/2 lb sweet green peppers

4.5 cups vinegar

4.5 cups sugar

1/8 cup canning salt (optional)

Into spice bag or cheesecloth add

1 tbsp dry mustard

1/2 tbsp ground red pepper

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tbsp whole cloves

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Select your tomatoes and put in water to boil.

2. Once skins are split, remove from hot water into ice bath and when cold, peel skins off “meat”.  (Save the skin for tomato powder).

3. Slice tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Place in strainer over catch bowl and let drain out extra waters.

4. Prepare peppers and onions.

5. Put tomatoes, peppers and onions in blender in batches to puree.

6. Place in canning kettle and heat to boiling. Simmer 1 hour.

7. Add vinegar, sugar, salt and spice bag.

8. Move contents to a crock pot and reduce over low heat until ketchup is reduced by half volume (this takes about 12 hours in a crockpot). Stir occasionally.

9. Once reduced, can and seal.

10. Hot water bath 15 minutes.

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I am not sure where it began, but I know it happened sometime in my childhood out in my Grandfather’s woods during one of our quiet walks picking huckleberries that the concept of “waste not-want not” began and grew.  It has over and over become a saying used in this house, from foods, hand me down clothing, or transitioning something into something completely different.  Nothing gets wasted if possible to salvage.  Fruit vinegars one of those examples.  Many of us would just discard the tops, peels and pits without thought.  But they hold so much potential, especially in fruit vinegars that can be sweetened and used with fruit or summer salads for that extra “pick-me-up”.  They are so simple yet so versatile  I bet you never look at those pieces ready to be discarded the same way again.

Fruit Vinegars

Strawberry tops, orange peels, plum or peach pits, apple rinds.

White vinegar (enough to cover the fruits)

Heat vinegar and fruit parts on stove until boiling, let boil 3 minutes and pour into sterilized jars (not canning) and let steep for 24 hours.  Strain to discard fruit and can the fruit vinegar by reheating and placing in sterilized canning jars.   You can also just leave in refrigerator if making small batches.

To use, add sugar or honey to taste and pour over salads for a sweet fruit vinegar dressing.

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