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Recipes for pickles, chutney, jam and salsa make great hostess gifts

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Here are some recipes for some classic preserves to try from "Best of Bridge Home Preserving: 120 Recipes for Jams, Jellies, Marmalades, Pickles & More."

Bread and Butter Pickles

Co-author Yvonne Tremblay says these are one of the most popular types of pickles to make.

2.5 l (10 cups) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers

2 green bell peppers, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 large onions, thinly sliced

75 ml (1/3 cup) pickling or canning salt

3 l (12 cups) ice cubes

750 ml (3 cups) white vinegar

1 l (4 cups) granulated sugar

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) ground turmeric

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) celery seeds

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) mustard seeds

In a large pot or bowl, combine cucumbers, peppers, garlic and onions. Mix in salt and ice cubes. Cover and let stand in a cool place for at least 4 hours or for up to 12 hours. Drain and discard any leftover ice. Set vegetables aside.

In a large pot, combine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seeds and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in vegetables and return to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Remove from heat.

Using a slotted spoon, pack vegetables into sterilized jars to within 2.5 cm (1 inch) of rim. Pour in hot pickling liquid to within 1 cm (1/2 inch) of rim. Remove any air pockets and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding liquid; wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings just until fingertip-tight. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Turn off canner and remove lid. Let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until cooled. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks.

Makes ten 250-ml (8-oz) jars or five 500-ml (2-cup) jars.

———

Classic Peach Chutney

Capture fragrant, juicy peaches at the height of their season in this chutney, which is fruity with a touch of spice.

Use ripe and fragrant but firm peaches. You'll need about 20 medium, or about 2.25 kg (4 1/2 lb), to get 2 l (8 cups) chopped. Add the jalapeno if you like a touch of heat in your chutney; leave it out for a mild, fruity version. If you like more heat, add a whole jalapeno.

Serve this chutney with spicy Indian curries to help cool them off. Or spread on roast chicken or ham sandwiches.

2 l (8 cups) chopped peeled peaches, divided

1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)

500 ml (2 cups) finely chopped sweet onion

425 ml (1 3/4 cups) granulated sugar

5 ml (1 tsp) pickling or canning salt

5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon

0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) ground cloves

300 ml (1 1/4 cup) cider vinegar

Using an immersion blender in a tall cup or in a food processor or blender, puree 500 ml (2 cups) of the peaches until smooth. In a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine pureed and chopped peaches, jalapeno (if using), onion, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes or until onions are translucent and mixture is just thick enough to mound on a spoon.

Ladle into sterilized jars to within 1 cm (1/2 inch) of rim. Remove any air pockets and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot chutney; wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings just until fingertip-tight. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Turn off canner and remove lid. Let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until cooled. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks.

Makes about eight 250-ml (8-oz) jars.

———

Raspberry and Plum Jam

Plums add a delicious touch to this jam, which has half the seeds of regular raspberry jam. It can also be made with red or black plums, or with plumcots (a cross of plums and apricots). "What's nice is you don't have to peel the plums," says Tremblay.

500 ml (2 cups) raspberries

500 ml (2 cups) finely chopped yellow or red plums

50 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice

1.25 l (5 cups) granulated sugar

1 pouch (3 oz/85 ml) liquid pectin

In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot, combine raspberries, plums and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Immediately stir in pectin; return to a full boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Stir for 5 to 8 minutes to prevent floating fruit.

Ladle into sterilized jars to within 5 mm (1/4 inch) of rim; wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings just until fingertip-tight. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until set. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks.

Makes about six 250-ml (8-oz) jars.

———

Black Bean Tomato Salsa

When you're ready to venture beyond classic tomato salsa, this is great combination to try. Bring it out later in the fall for Grey Cup parties.

If using canned black beans, you'll need one 540-ml (19-oz) can. If you have smaller cans, you'll need two. Don't add the extra beans to the salsa — it will alter the acid balance. Add them to a salad, mash them with some salsa to make burritos or freeze them for later use.

If you use 250-ml (8-oz) jars, they may not all fit in your canner at once. Let extra jars cool, then refrigerate them and use them up first. To avoid this problem, pack some in 500-ml (pint or 2-cup) jars and some in 250-ml (8-oz) jars. That way, you also have different sizes and can open the size you'll use up within a few weeks.

10 ml (2 tsp) cumin seeds

3 l (12 cups) chopped peeled plum (Roma) tomatoes

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) chopped onions

250 ml (1 cup) chopped red bell pepper

250 ml (1 cup) chopped green bell pepper

50 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped seeded jalapeno peppers

30 ml (2 tbsp) minced garlic

50 ml (1/4 cup) granulated sugar

10 ml (2 tsp) pickling or canning salt

500 ml (2 cups) cider vinegar

500 ml (2 cups) drained rinsed canned or cooked black beans

50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped fresh cilantro or oregano

In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast cumin, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute or until fragrant and slightly darker but not yet popping. Immediately transfer to a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add tomatoes, onions, red and green peppers, jalapenos, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, for about 1 hour or until salsa is reduced by about half and is thick enough to mound on a spoon. Stir beans into salsa and boil gently, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until beans are very hot. Stir in cilantro.

Ladle into sterilized jars to within 1 cm (1/2 inch) of rim. Remove any air pockets and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot salsa; wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings just until fingertip-tight. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and remove canner lid. Let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until cooled. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks.

Makes about ten 250-ml (8-oz) or five 500-ml (pint of 2-cup) jars.

Source: "Best of Bridge Home Preserving: 120 Recipes for Jams, Jellies, Marmalades, Pickles & More" by Yvonne Tremblay, Jennifer MacKenzie, Sally Vaughan-Johnston and The Best of Bridge Publishing Ltd. (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2014).

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