Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reader's Questions: Corn & Crabapples

Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the stars and the mountains above. Let them look at the waters and the trees and flowers on Earth. Then they will begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education. ~David Polis

Today I have two great garden questions, and I also shared recipes in each one that I thought everyone might enjoy this time of year:)

When is the best time to pickle corn. My Grandmother used to "go by the signs". I am not sure what the signs are. Help! ~Janiece

Your grandmother probably just knew what she wanted to corn to look like on the cob to make it just right. It's suppose to be fully formed but still on the young and small side. That's when it's especially nice, and works well for pickling. I'm sure each cook and gardener has their special harvest time, but like your grandma you'll learn how you like it! Here is a recipe for pickled corn. There are many things you can do to vary it. Instead of pickling spice you can add fresh dill and a hot pepper, or toss in a clove of garlic. Some people don't use a pickling spice at all, preferring it with just the vinegar and sugar. But don't dilute the vinegar in canning recipes. It's okay to add more sugar or less sugar or spices, but the vinegar helps preserve it.

Pickled Corn

6 ears corn, cleaned and quartered
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pickling spice
2 bay leaves

Place in a large bowl with the salt and water to cover. Chill until needed. In a large stock pot, stir together the vinegar, sugar, bay leaves and pickling spice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Add the corn to the pot with the pickling mixture. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the corn with a slotted spoon, and fill 2 quart jars. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Cover the corn with the vinegar mixture to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth. Seal with lids and rings. Process the jars in a hot water bath. Usually 15-20 minutes> is required at 180 degrees F, but check with your local extension office to be sure.

There is a crabapple tree in my neighbor yard, how do we know when to pick them? Do you have any good recipes for them too. ~June

There are SO many varieties of crabapples that all ripen at different times from now til October. It's said they should have a reddish/pink blush on at least one side. The recipes were easier to find. Here are a couple of good ones:

Crabapple Butter

2 pounds crabapples
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger

Wash and core crabapples. Place them in a pan large enough to hold, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer until they are soft. Rub them through a sieve to remove skins and seeds. Place them back in the pan and add the sugar. Boil slowly, stirring frequently, until thick. You can do this last step in a crockpot cooking on low all day, but stir occasionally.

Spiced Crabapples

1 pound crabapples
1 cup granulated sugar
20 whole cloves
3-inch stick of cinnamon
salt to taste
2 cups water
Optional: 4-5 allspice berries

Wash the crabapples and place in large pot whole. Place in the other ingredients and simmer until the apples are tender when tested with a fork. Remove to bowls and top with some of the juice from the pot.

Learn how to harvest and use homegrown or purchased eggplant:


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