Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jack Daniel's Chipotle Barbecue Sauce Canning Recipe! Yumm!

If you would like to try something different with your abundance of tomatoes, here is a great recipe!  It is sure to please the men in your life!  Hunting season is just around the corner...

Jack Daniel's Chipotle Barbecue Sauce


1/2 bushel tomatoes (about 25 lbs)
4 mild peppers
2 hot peppers
3 large onions
2 heads garlic
1 bunch celery
2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons salt
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
6 cans tomato paste
1 cup Jack Daniel's Whiskey


Roughly chop vegetables and put in baking pans. Do not skin tomatoes. Just separate cloves of garlic. No need to take off skin. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Allow to cool enough to touch. Vegetables should be floating in a clear juice.

Vegetables before cooking.

Drain vegetables in a colander (very important).

By straining, you do not have to spend hours cooking down your sauce to thicken.

In sections, blend vegetables in a blender.

Pour sauce into a fine mesh strainer over a deep pot.  Agitate (tapping strainer on pot below works well) to strain out skin and seeds. This sounds difficult but is really easy and fast. It produces a thick sauce.
After agitation, seeds and skins great for dehydrating and grinding for powder to add to sauces and soups.

Sauce after straining.
Once all sauce is in pot, add remaining ingredients except the whiskey.  You may need a stick blender to help incorporate the tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add whiskey and mix.  Simmer 10 more minutes.

Ladle into prepared jars. Water bath 30 minutes at a full boil.

Makes about 16-18 pints.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Brief Moment of Bragging...

Just had to share my Williamson County Fair winners! Six first place and four second, and "Best of Show" for Chow Chow which I almost didn't even submit!  It was made with the end of season green tomatoes from last fall's garden.  There were several foraging winners - first place for crab apple jelly and wild blackberries in syrup!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Autumn Olive Orange Jam Canning Recipe

If you have many bushes of Autumn Olives, this is a great recipe to use!  This is for a larger batch.  It took me about four hours to pick a large quantity and this recipe uses half of what I picked (6 quarts or 24 cups).  Considering that it is highly nutritious, tasty and free fruit, I would say that it was worth it!

Autumn Olive Orange Jam


6 quarts Autumn Olives (24 cups)
4 oranges, zest and juice (choose organic if you can as you will be using the skin)
~10 cups sugar (will depend on amount of liquid after straining)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons pectin (optional, depending on how firm you want your jam.  These berries have a lot of natural pectin already)


Rinse berries and add to a large pot.  Zest and juice your oranges.  Set aside zest and add juice to berries.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes with top until berries begin to release juice.

Blend berry mixture with an immersion blender (stick blender) until seeds can be seen floating.

Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer.  You will probably have to do this in sections.  This will reduce your volume significantly as the seed generally takes up to a third of the berry.  Discard seeds and skin (makes great compost).

Measure liquid.  For me, it produced 10 cups of liquid.  Add one cup of sugar to each cup of liquid.  Add zest, ground cloves and lemon juice.

Boil for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently.  Jam should begin to gel.  It will also become more firm as it cools.  If you want really firm jam, add 2 tablespoons of pectin.

Prepare jars and lids.  Ladle into the jars.  Water bath 20 minutes.

Makes about 7 pints.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Redneck Kudzu Pasta!

There are just some days that throwing together a pasta dinner is totally the best option for your family.  I wanted something easy today.  I have been visiting a sick family member all day and did not have the time to slave over the stove.  I suppose I could have purchased a bag of spinach at Publix for around $4, but I preferred to pick some Kudzu from the adjacent field for free (which is what I did).  Just so you know, Kudzu is super nutritious which I have explained in previous posts.  You can use it as a spinach substitute.  However, you should know that the leaves are sturdier and have a water resistant quality which while it helps to keep its shape in long boils, it also can make it chewier.  Thus, to use it, you have to either dehydrate and crumble it or cut it into small pieces.

I know some people balk at using cream of something soups, but it can be a life saver in some situations.  I would love to be all Pinteresty and make it from scratch, but that is not going to happen any time soon.  I am actually picking Kudzu so I give myself a break!

Kudzu Pasta


3 - 4 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey (great for leftovers)
12-15 Kudzu leaves chopped into small pieces
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 soup can of milk
1 pint of chicken or turkey broth (2 cups)
1 teaspoon of powdered ground ivy leaves or your favorite green seasoning
garlic salt to taste
1-2 boxes spaghetti (depending on size of family, one is too small and two makes leftovers for our family of 5)


Heat the meat and Kudzu leaves until leaves soften. 

Add soup, milk, broth and seasoning.  Simmer for 10-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package.

Serve sauce over noodles.  Add cheese over the top if you prefer.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Autumn Olive Ketchup - A Great Recipe!

Autumn Olive Ketchup
We love ketchup in our house, and I mean L-O-V-E! So being able to make ketchup out of a wild edible is a real treat.  It's hard to believe that a berry can taste like a tomato once cooked, but it does! Autumn Olives have 17 times the lycopene, an antioxidant, than tomatoes which I suspect adds to that tomato flavor. The berry is a disease fighting powerhouse.

You might wonder how the flavor compares to common ketchup? We (my thirteen year old son and I) did a taste test. Autumn Olive ketchup has more flavor, a little tarter, and a little sweeter.  However, it definitely tastes and looks like ketchup.  Autumn Olive Ketchup on the left and regular ketchup on the right:

Autumn Olive Ketchup


3 quarts Autumn Olives, rinsed but you do not have to take the little stem off
1/2 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1 head garlic, crushed


Add ingredients to a large pot.  Simmer for half an hour, berries should be releasing their juices.

Use an immersion blender and blend. Seeds will separate.

Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a smaller sauce pan to remove seeds and skin.  Straining will significantly reduce volume.

Return to stove and simmer for half an hour, stirring frequently.  Ketchup will darken and thicken.

Prepare three half pint jars and ladle ketchup into them, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Water bath 15 minutes.

Makes three half pints.

Elderberry Syrup Canning Recipe!

Elderberries are producing like crazy during the middle of August.  Now is the best time to pick some and make your jelly, syrup, and tincture.  Elderberries are a popular herbal antiviral ingredient and are very pricey if you buy them dehydrated on Amazon.  Amazingly, I collect my Elderberries in view of a very populated road in the Cool Springs area of Franklin, TN.  There is a field of them!  Many people pass this area daily and have no clue of the value.  Did I mention I love to forage?  It's like finding buried treasure in plain view. 

This is a great recipe because it does not use additional water so the Elderberry juice is concentrated.  It also only takes about three hours to accomplish rather than having to wait for it to boil down all day.  You can use it on ice cream, on pancakes or as a daily dose of anti-viral medicine during flu season.

Elderberry Syrup


3 quarts Elderberries, stems removed and rinsed (12 cups)
8 cups sugar
½ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ tablespoon ground cloves
½ tablespoon ground ginger


Mix first three ingredients in large pot. Cover and cook on medium low for 1 ½ hours (should just be a light simmer). Stir occasionally. Mixture should become soupy.

Remove top and turn up to medium for ½ hour. Using a stick blender, blend until seeds are floating at the top. Continue to simmer for another ½ hour.

Strain mixture to remove seeds/skin. Return syrup to clean pot. Add seasoning and bring to a boil.

Ladle into jars and water bath for 15 minutes at a full boil. 


Saturday, August 9, 2014

August Foraging in Tennessee!

Several of my favorite wild foods are coming into season this month!  Blackberries are nearly done which means Elderberries are nearly ready. The best time to hunt Elderberries is the second week in August.  They will be ripening over the next few weeks so if you pick this week you can go back next week for more.  Elderberries are really awful raw but wonderful made into jelly and syrup.  They are also a popular folk remedy for colds and flues due to their antiviral properties.

Another favorite beginning to ripen is the Autumn Olive. It is a small berry about the size of a pea. It's red with silver flicks on the skin.  The leaves are an olive green on one side and a silver green on the inside. When the wind blows you can see these trees from a distance because they are a different shade of green than surrounding vegetation.  It's a tree but usually ends up being a bush.  It's considered a noxious weed as it is not native and crowds out local vegetation.  However, I love it because the berries taste like sweet tarts and best of all they have the antioxidant Lycopene in them. It's the same antioxidant that's in tomatoes, only these berries have 17 times more! Tasty and super healthy!

Another great wild edible beginning to ripen now is the fruit from the Kousa Dogwood.  It is beginning to turn red with an orange flesh.  The skin is sour but the flesh tastes like a tropical drink!

The Passionflower fruit, the Maypop, is getting bigger but not ready yet. It needs to yellow and wrinkle before it is ripe.  However, you can pick the flowers and leaves now to dehydrate for a soothing tea. The leaves and flowers are some of the primary folk remedy ingredients in Europe for sleep aid.

As always, always be 100% sure of what you are eating from nature. Confirm from several sources.  Imagine a banana.  You know what it looks like.  You need to be that sure.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe

It's tomato season around here! The garden is producing which has me busy and not running about looking at wild plants. While this is not a wild edible recipe, it is a recipe that can be served with wild edibles in the future. It's also fantastic so I thought I would share!

I like a little spice so that is what this Enchilada Sauce has. If you go to Taco Bell and order the hot sauce for your burrito and not the mild sauce you will have about the equivalent spiciness. There is some tingle in the mouth but not an all out burn.

Enchilada Sauce


1/2 bushel of tomatoes (about 25 lbs., it's the size of a case of paper)
2 heads of garlic
2 large onions
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 T ground chipotle chili pepper
3 T chili powder (less for milder taste)
2 T cumin
2 T oregano
2 T salt
1 T cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


Wash and roughly cut up tomatoes and onions and place in four large baking pans (should fill up both racks in your oven).  Break up heads of garlic and add cloves to pan.  You do not need to take the skin off of the cloves. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until the tomatoes are all shriveled up and are floating in their own juices (will be clear).

Here is the important part and will keep you from having to wait all day while your sauce thickens! DRAIN your tomatoes in a colander.

You can either run your tomatoes through a food mill to extract the sauce and remove the skins and seeds or you can use the method I have which is actually very quick.  Take your tomatoes and blend in a blender. You will have to do this in sections. 


Pour sauce into a fine mesh strainer over a deep pot, agitate mixture (I also tap strainer on the top of the pot beneath) until the sauce falls below and the skins and seeds are left in the strainer. This really works. What you have left is a thick sauce ready for any final ingredients, and additional simmering to thicken further if you prefer.


Leftover tomato skin and seeds.  You can dehydrate this and grind to use as a thickener for soups and sauces or just add to compost!

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Simmer 10 minutes or longer if you prefer an even thicker sauce.  Prepare your jars.  You will need approximately a dozen pint jars (varies depending on type of tomato, etc.).

Ladle hot liquid into jars, wipe edges with a damp paper towel and seal with lid and ring.  Water bath for 30 minutes.