I’ve been going a bit nuts on the home canning this Labor Day weekend. Why? Because last week I discovered that the Eat Real Festival, which is coming up in Oakland at the end of September, will be sponsoring a contest for home canners. With all the experimenting I’ve been doing with jams and jellies this year and all the funky combos I’ve been putting together, I figured I absolutely had to enter!
Two small problems. One, the deadline for entries is next week. Crap—why didn’t I discover this sooner?!? Two, I’ve been jarring most of my condiments in 4 oz. jars all summer so I could give small samples to friends and family and not force them to take a full half pint in case the jam sucks. For the contest, you have to enter two 8 oz. jars of each entry. Damn! Of course this meant spending the weekend in the kitchen (not that I mind!), prepping a few of the things I think I’ve been most successful with over the summer.
Of course I’m also overachieving and planning to enter multiple categories (more chance of winning, right?). Since you can only have two entries per category, I’m entering two jams, maybe two jellies, a chutney and, I think, a relish. I’m also winging it a bit—I’m going to enter the Fig Balsamic Jam with Carmelized Shallots and Rosemary that I made up the other day (even though it was my first time making it), and I think I’m going to wing a jelly (I’m thinking Rose Wine with Hibiscus) and a relish (Sweet Corn and Zucchini Relish), neither of which I’ve ever made! No worries, I’ll taste them first to make sure they’re worth submitting. Hopefully I won’t be offending any of the judges taste buds with my wacky combos!
Here’s what I’ve been going crazy with as entries:
– Green Zebra Tomato Jam with Lime and Basil
– Fig Balsamic Jam with Carmelized Shallot and Rosemary
– Chardonnay Lavender
– Rose Hibiscus
– Yellow Tomato and Apple Chutney
– Sweet Corn and Zucchini Relish
I even went to the Paper Source to look for some sort of card or tag that I can label each entry with. They have these printable table place cards that you can download a template for, so I went with that so that I can fold a card and include all the info they need for each entry, which includes not just your name and entry name, but canning date, processing info and an ingredient list for everything.
Here’s my Sweet Corn and Zucchini Relish concoction, based (once again) loosely on Sherri Brooks Vinton’s Picnic Relish recipe from Put ‘Em Up, but with my variations…
Sweet Corn and Zucchini Relish
5-6 ears corn, boiled and cut from cobs
½ large onion, diced
1 large zucchini, diced in ½ in. pieces
1 large red pepper, diced in 1/4 in. pieces
1 ½ c. cider vinegar
½ c. agave nectar
1 ½ tsp. yellow mustard seeds
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. salt
1 star anise
2-3 tbsp. ketchup
1) Combine liquids and spices together in stock pot and bring to boil.
2) Add veggies, bring back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
3) Can, adding ¼ in. of liquid on top of solids. Base processing time for this one is 15 minutes, so add time accordingly by altitude. Let stand in hot water for five minutes before removing from water. Or just refrigerate after canning and use within 3 weeks.
I’m hoping this one will turn out OK—it felt a little low on liquid and since this is my first relish, we’ll see. It tasted pretty decent though!
Wish me luck in the contest! Now it’s time to reward my labor with a Labor Day run!
All recipes and photos copyright of Foie Gras and Funnel Cakes unless otherwise noted.