Six Steps to Home-Canned Applesauce!

How to Can Applesauce in 6 Easy Steps!

- posted by Jerica Parker

Fall is here! The leaves are falling, the wind is cooler, and it’s time to get ready for winter. One of my favorite ways is by storing all the delicious food we have enjoyed in the summer, so we can have it in the winter as well.

Vickie Maughan, our canning and housewares department manager, shared with us her great recipe for making canned applesauce at home. And we want to share it with you!

The perk of this recipe, is you can eat it right away, storing leftovers in the fridge – and you can also can the applesauce to enjoy in the winter. Her tips and tricks are right here in 6 easy steps:

How to Can Applesauce

  1. Start by washing your apples. Peel them, and then slice them. Vickie used a peeler machine to take off the peel and slice them. Get your own peeler here!IMG_2032
  2. Cook the apples in 3/4 cup of water on medium heat. When they reach a boil, lower the heat and steam them until the apples are tender.IMG_2036IMG_2039
  3. Then, using an immersion blender, blend up the apples until it reaches your desired consistency of applesauce.IMG_2042

If you want to enjoy it right away, finish up by sweetening and seasoning however you like it. If you would like to continue to can and store for food storage, continue with the next steps.

  1. When you have reached desired consistency, sweeten and season to how you like.
  2. Next, fill the jars. Using a funnel is so helpful for easy cleanup! Wipe clean to avoid problems with sealing the lids.IMG_0436.JPG
  3. Tighten lids and place jars in pot with water just above the level of the jars. Bring to a boil for 20 minutes. Careful! When you take out the jars, they will be very hot. Use a good jar lifter to protect your hands.IMG_0440.JPGIMG_0444.JPG

And voilà! Delicious applesauce to enjoy and share with your family and friends.

But you better hurry! You have just under 2 weeks left in apple season to get your apples for delicious applesauce. Stop at Pettingill’s and get your apples soon! They are closing for the season on Halloween, October 31.

Make sure to like Pettingill’s Fruit Farm on Facebook, and then take a peek at when we stopped in to Pettingill’s in August.

Explore Canning & Dehydrating supplies at Smith & Edwards!

Take your Kid's Halloween Costume to the Next Level

A Fun Way to Take Your Kids’ Halloween Costume to the Next Level

- posted by Jerica Parker

BANG! PEW PEW!! ARRGG!

Yep… it’s that time of year again. Kids running around dressed up, pretending they’re pirates or cowboys with their imaginary swords and guns. Well, let’s make their game of pretend a reality! No… not with REAL swords or guns… but here at Smith and Edwards we have Wooden Toy Swords and Rubber Band Guns that your kids will just love!

Some kids enjoying the rubber band shooting gallery at our Fall Kickoff

Kolt and Tynisha enjoying the rubber band shooting gallery at our Fall Kickoff

Kids dream of having their own gun or sword as a part of their Halloween get-up: from pirates to soldiers to their favorite comic book character. Yes – all the wooden guns feature the orange plastic safety tip!

The best part is that you can decorate these wooden toys however you like! It’s all part of the fun to let your kids paint, color, and design their own personalized swords or shields. And when you do, send us in photos of your creations! We would love to see them :)

Click this link to check out all our different models of Wooden Swords, Shields, and Rubber Band Guns.

Playing with wooden guns

The jeep in the surplus department has seen some serious fights!


So make your child’s Halloween costume complete this year with cute additions such as these wooden toys. Even if it’s not Halloween, these are great gifts for your child to play their heart out anytime.

Smith and Edwards employees Chris and Kevin show us that you are never too old for pretend.

Smith and Edwards employees Chris and Kevin show us that you are never too old for pretend

Looking for more creative ideas for this Halloween? Melissa and Ashley, part of the team here at Smith and Edwards, has awesome ideas on Halloween Mason Jar Decorations.

Click here to explore all our wooden toy swords and rubber band guns

Click here to explore all our wooden toy swords and rubber band guns!

How to Freeze Corn

How to Freeze Corn – Plus Easy Corn-Cutting Method!

- posted by Jerica Parker

What do you do with all that left-over corn you made for dinner? Throw it out? Stick it in the fridge, forget about it, and then throw it out? Not anymore!

With this easy video & guide, you don’t need to let the words “canning” or “food storage” intimidate you. Melissa in our Housewares department will walk you through the steps.

Easy Frozen Corn Storage: Watch How!

Now, this is something I have done with my family since I was a little girl. We have our own garden and we love corn. So when it is corn season, we all get together to freeze our own corn for storage. It’s so simple and the corn comes out with that same fresh-from-the-garden taste.

How To Freeze Corn in 6 Steps

Here are some quick and easy steps for freezing your corn:

    1. First, shuck the corn.
      Shucking means to take off the husk and the silk hairs. As Melissa shows in the video, one easy method is to hold the corn between your knees and pull the husk toward your body.
      Shucked corn
    2. Wash the ears of corn and remove any remaining silk.

Washing corn before boiling

    1. Blanch (or boil) the corn in boiling water for about 6 minutes.
      The reason behind blanching the corn, is to stop the enzymes that can make the corn taste bad later. Cooking it first helps preserve the flavor when you want to eat it later on.
    2. After blanching, take a pair of tongs and place the corn in ice water to slightly cool them off, just until they’re cool enough to handle.

Resting the corn in an ice bath

    1. Cut the corn off the cob. Now, this part is optional. If you like, you can freeze them whole, on-the-cob. After step 4, you would wrap them in plastic wrap and then put those in freezer bags to freeze.
      But if you like, you can take a knife and cut the kernels off the cob to freeze. In my family, we have always cut the corn off. It’s your choice!

TIP: To cut the corn off the cob, you can put them in the center of a Bundt pan. This will hold them as you cut off the corn and it will fall right into the pan.

Also, simply a board with nails pounded through (about 5″ apart) can hold the cob while you cut.

To make a nailboard, simply take an extra shelf or spare board. Paint it, then hammer a 4" nail through it. Then you can simply set each ear of corn on the nail, and safely cut the corn.

To make a nailboard, simply take an extra shelf or spare board. Paint it, then hammer a 4″ nail through it. Then you can simply set each ear of corn on the nail, and safely cut the corn.

  1. Now, simply scoop the kernels you just cut off into freezer bags.
    You can put 1 1/2 to 2 cups in a bag, depending on how big you want your portion sizes to be when you eat them. When the bags are flattened to about 1/2 – 1 inch thick, you can stack them nicely in your freezer to make the best use of freezer space.

More Tips on the Freezing Process

  • 11 1/2 dozen large ears of corn should give you about 58 cups of corn to freeze.
  • Vickie, Kitchen Dept. Manager at Smith and Edwards, says to lay the bag with corn flat as you zip it up. When you have about an inch left to zip, squeeze the air out. “If it has air in it in the freezer, it is more likely to get freezer burn,” she says.
  • Melissa has another idea on how to get the air out. She says when you have the full bag, you can slowly lower it into a lot of water, just until it reaches the zipper line. The water on the outside of the bag helps push the water out and you can seal it while still partly in the water.
  • Don’t put too many bags in the freezer at once! If you put a lot of warm things in the freezer, it may begin to thaw out your other frozen foods. But if you put in just a few at a time until they’re frozen, they will freeze faster and won’t thaw any of your other food.

Now you have corn to eat for the next few months! It’s a great and easy way to start up your own food storage without the complicated recipes or big pressure cookers.

Get a FREE Printable: How to Freeze Peaches

Get a free step-by-step on freezing peachesplus a printable version of the freeze-corn instructions! Just enter your email address and you’ll get the printable instantly.

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We would love to hear back from you! If this worked for you, or if you have any other tips or secrets to help others in starting their canning & food preserving, please leave a comment below.

Check out Canning and Cooking supplies online!

How to freeze corn in 6 easy steps!

If you liked this, you will LOVE our other frozen food storage tips! Make sure you check out How to Freeze Beets and How to Freeze Cherries.

How to use a Pickling Crock

How to use a Pickling Crock: the Art & Science

- posted by Rose Marion
Teresa with USU Extension service

Teresa with USU Extension service helped answer some common fermenting & pickling questions for us!

When people think of pickles, large quart jars of olive-colored pickles come to mind. But there’s another way to make pickles that takes a lot less heat, a lot more time, and some say, yields a lot tastier results:

Fermenting Pickles and Vegetables

When you make pickles in a traditional pickling crock, in some ways it’s much less work: simply prepare your pickles, load them in the crock according to the recipe, and give them a few weeks.

This yields crisp, crunchy, delicious pickles!

And you can make sauerkraut and more fermented dishes the same way.

Our favorite brand of stoneware pickling crocks are the Ohio Stoneware line (click to shop), which is make in the USA in Zanesville, Ohio. And when you order yours from Smith & Edwards, we guarantee they arrive in perfect condition!

We carry lids, weights and pickling crocks in a huge range of sizes, as well as the very-popular 3-gallon fermentation set.

What size Pickling Crock do I need?

The US Department of Agriculture recommends a 1 gallon container for each 5 pounds of fresh vegetables. So a 5-gallon stone crock is an ideal size for fermenting about 25 pounds of fresh cabbage or cucumbers, according to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.

Cucumbers and cabbage must be kept 1-2 inches under brine while fermenting, so weights can be instrumental.

Make sure to wash your crock, weights, and lid with hot soapy water, and rinse them well with very hot water, before adding your vegetables.

Ohio Stoneware crocks at Smith & Edwards

You can get a pickling crock for any size project – from one to five gallons – and the weights & lids to match.

Why & How to use a Pickling Crock

We were lucky to have Teresa Hunsaker from the USU Extension Service here at Smith & Edwards this summer to check pressure canner lids, as well as give tips on the fermenting process. Fermenting is only growing in popularity as people return to the traditional method, as well as gain interest in probiotics and the health benefits of fermented foods for the digestive system.

Read on for common fermenting mistakes, how to process your vegetables after fermenting them, and a fermented Dill Pickle Recipe!

Pickling Crock Common Mistakes

One of the common problems Teresa sees has to do with salt: especially people not using enough salt.

Salt is hugely important with shredded vegetables and pickles: otherwise, the brine goes scummy and your lovely batch of pickles or sauerkraut is lost. It’s so important to use the right salt ratio!

Use your standard pickling salt: you can use both iodized and noniodized table salt. Noncaking materials added to table salts may make your brine cloudy. USDA advises against flake salt because it varies in density. Reduced-sodium salts may be used in quick pickle recipes; this may give your pickles a slightly different taste than expected. But, reduced-sodium salt is not recommended for fermented pickles.

Layer your vegetables, then salt, then vegetables, then salt: this is especially important with cabbage.

Another mistake Teresa sees is not having your crock at the right temperature. Some people will store their pickles in the basement as they ferment, or in a room that gets too hot.

The temperature should be between 68-74 degrees. That’s because if it’s too hot, it will process too fast and produce scummy brine. Too cold, and the process will take too long.

The traditional way to make kimchi is actually to bury the fermentation pot in the ground, to keep the temperature constant!

Fermenting is both an art and a science!

How Long does Fermenting Take?

The length of time needed for your batch of pickles or sauerkraut depends on your recipe. It takes about 3 weeks for sauerkraut, and there’s a good recipe out there for 21-day pickles.

Follow your recipe exactly, including changing out the brine: with the 21-day pickles, you need to change the brine every few days.

OK, they’re done… Now what?

You can can your sauerkraut or pickles after they’re done: just process them. For sweet pickles, it just takes 15 minutes; for whole dills, about 25 minutes does the trick at this altitude.
Or, you can waterbath them – check your local recommendations and keep them under 185°.

But you don’t HAVE to can them at all. Your crock pickles can hold in the fridge for weeks!

Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock

This 3-gallon fermentation crock features a channel for the lid to rest in, and comes with matching weights.

What’s the difference between pickling crocks and fermentation crocks?

Either style works well.

The fermentation style is designed for keeping the vegetables down better, and it features vents. You do want some air circulation to temper the temperature.

Dill Pickles Recipe for Pickling Crocks

Use the following quantities for each gallon capacity of your container.

  • 4 lbs of 4-inch pickling cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp dill seed or 4 to 5 heads fresh or dry dill weed
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (5%)
  • 8 cups water and one of more of the following ingredients:
    • 2 cloves garlic (optional)
    • 2 dried red peppers (optional)
    • 2 tsp whole mixed pickling spices (optional)

Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16 inch slice off blossom end and discard. Leave 1/4-inch of stem attached. Place half of dill and spices on bottom of a clean, suitable container. Add cucumbers, remaining dill, and spices. Dissolve salt in vinegar and water and pour over cucumbers. Add suitable cover and weight. Store where temperature is between 70° and 75° F for about 3 to 4 weeks while fermenting. Temperatures of 55° to 65° F are acceptable, but the fermentation will take 5 to 6 weeks. Avoid temperatures above 80° F, or pickles will become too soft during fermentation. Fermenting pickles cure slowly. Check the container several times a week and promptly remove surface scum or mold. Caution: If the pickles become soft, slimy, or develop a disagreeable odor, discard them. Fully fermented pickles may be stored in the original container for about 4 to 6 months, provided they are refrigerated and surface scum and molds are removed regularly. Canning fully fermented pickles is a better way to store them. To can them, pour the brine into a pan, heat slowly to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes. Filter brine through paper coffee filters to reduce cloudiness, if desired. Fill hot jar with pickles and hot brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process as below, or use the low temperature pasteurization treatment.

– recipe from USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning, Guide 6: Fermented Foods and Pickled Vegetables

Want to learn how to make sauerkraut in a fermentation crock? Enter your email address to get access to a free printable Fermented Sauerkraut recipe!

Explore Pickling Crocks…

Smith & Edwards Pickling Crocks

Mason Jar Herb Shakers are a great way to use your dried herbs year-round!

Have Herbs? Dry & Preserve in Mason Jar Herb Shakers!

- posted by Rebecca Adams

The best part of having your own garden is harvesting your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Drying herbs is simple, and with your own herb garden you can have the comfort of fresh and organic herbs and spices at your fingertips.

When to get ready

The early summer months of May and June is the best time to head over to your local nursery, and you can find an abundant supply of different herbs and spices to choose from. Some popular choices that do really well in the ground as well as in raised beds, are cilantro, thyme, basil, and chives.
Thyme growing

How to Pick and Dry Herbs

The process is easy: harvest the herbs before they flower and the best time is early morning before the sun hits them. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to finish the process, because it’s best if you start to prep your herbs for drying when you first pick them.

Make sure you wash gently and drain excess water, then tie a rubber band around the bottom with the herbs leaves facing down. Then hang in a moisture free area. It’s that simple!
Bundle of thyme drying

If you prefer, place the herbs on a mesh screen in a food dehydrator and let it run. This is a great method for parsley and chives: Cut the herbs with kitchen scissors, then let dry on a screen tray.

Kitchen Scissors - Ball Herb 5 Blade Scissors
My favorite part is crushing the herbs with a mortar and pestle!
Thyme in mortar & pestle

Store your Herbs in Mason Jar Shakers

Ball brand Mason Jar herb shaker caps

I love these Ball Mason jar herb shaker caps – so useful and super-affordable!

I love these shaker lids for regular Mason jars that you can personalize and put your homegrown spices and herbs in! They work great for pretty jam & jelly jars as well as the pint & a half size Mason jars. You can even work on your biggest regular-mouth Mason jars.

They have nice big holes so you can shake out sprinkles and sugar spots as well as your favorite herbs and spices. Even mini chocolate chips! Mmm!

Add a label and you’re set!

See more Mason Jar lids & drinking mugs here. Click here to see Canning jars, too.

Thyme in a Mason Jar herb shaker

Put a label on your herb shaker and you’re set!

Help Us Grow! Share this tip on Pinterest!

Check out how to turn your summer herbs into cute shakers!

Over 120 Brand Name Smith and Edwards Spices!

- posted by Rebecca Adams

Smith and Edwards has everything you need, if we can find it. Why not have our own line of affordable spices, seasonings, rubs, herbs, and air dried vegetables?

From the freshest ingredients comes over 120 spices that are must haves for your kitchen.

A few of the Smith and Edwards line up. Oregano, nutmeg, and tomato flakes!

A few of the Smith and Edwards line up. Oregano, nutmeg, and tomato flakes!

 

You’ll find new ways to use these spices following our Pinterest board, For Your Kitchen. New recipes are added weekly!

 

Nutmeg Spice and Tomato Flakes

Nutmeg Spice and Tomato Flakes

 

You’ll find all the spices by clicking this link here. You’ll find more ideas for your kitchen by visiting our kitchen and housewares section on our website!

I love my raised garden! Click to find these vintage ammo boxes and make them your own too!

Use tissue paper to make fun faces on mason jars!

Fun Halloween Mason Jar Ideas!

- posted by Rose Marion

The people in our Housewares department are ALWAYS full of ideas! That’s why when I saw they are doing a weekly Mason jar idea I HAD to share it with you!

Halloween Mason Jar ideas: Jack O'Lantern Jars

Place tea lights or battery-operated candles in mason jars for fun decorations

Use tissue paper to make fun faces on mason jars!

Use tissue paper to create fun Jack o’Lantern faces like ghosts and Frankenstein, then use Mod Podge or glue to glue them to mason jars!

They used green Mason jars to create these fun decorations, and you can use clear ones, too!

You can use Mod Podge or glue to attach tissue paper to the glass jars – OR, you can even use a Sharpie marker to draw on the glass. They glow better when you use tissue paper, we found!

Everyone in Housewares contributed to this Halloween mason jars idea, and Ashley and Melissa put them together.

Nice going, Melissa and Ashley!

Want more Mason Jar ideas?

Mason Jar gift ideasThere are a million and a half fun things to do with Mason jars BESIDES canning… if you’re looking for inspiration, check out Amy’s 7 Super Simple Mason Jar Crafts that Make Great Gifts. Doesn’t she have great ideas? I think it’s something to do with the fact that Amy was in HOUSEWARES before she came to the Web department! Hm…. I think Vickie‘s on to something in her Housewares department, if only she could bottle it…. :)

Canning basics - and Utah fruit stand forecast!

Canning Tips and Fruit Stand Forecast

- posted by Rose Marion

Ah, the first of August! It’s that time of year: Time to turn the fragrant, tasty fruits of summer into beautiful bottled treats for the winter. That’s right, it’s canning season. And if you haven’t been up Highway 89 this summer, you’re really missing out!

Pettingill's Fruit Stand on Highway 89 in Willard, Utah

Take Exit 351 north off I-15 and head up Highway 89 to see the produce at Pettingill’s!

Jean Davis runs the southernmost fruit stand, Pettingill’s, with her family. Jean’s father built the farm back in 1947. Jean and her family have put together one of the finest fruit stands along the entire “Fruit Highway,” which is Highway 89 from the I-15 exit 351 north to Brigham City at the Eagle Mountain Golf Course in northern Utah.

There’s nothing better than local produce fresh from the farm: it’s excellent quality at good prices, and you’ll get to meet some great people at the fruit stand, too. They’re friendly and always happy to share uses & ideas for the produce that’s in-season… they may even tell you what’s coming around the corner!

I asked Jean what some of the best fruit and vegetables are best for a beginning canner. Apricots, she said. Apricots and Peaches. It’s a quick bottling process and easy to do.

And you don’t have to can all that produce to keep it for the winter. Sweet corn is excellent frozen. Peaches, nectarines, pears, tomatoes, apples, corn, and apricots are all wonderful dehydrated (more on dehydrating in a moment!)

Peaches at Pettingill's

Bushels of tasty peaches at Pettingill’s

So what’s in the fruit stands right now?

What to Can in August

It’s pretty tough to say which tasty fruits and veggies will be in the fruit stands week-to-week… your best bet is just to drop in and see what’s there! Please note that all dates are as of August 1st. Generally speaking, here’s what you can expect for the month of August in the Fruit Stands this year:

Just finishing, get ’em now: Cherries and Apricots. Summer apples have about 3 weeks left!
Just in: Tomatoes and Sweet corn just came in – this is a great time to get your salsa, bottled tomatoes, and sauces going! Freeze your sweet corn today (you can also dry it!)
Pears will be coming in to Pettingill’s in about 10 days.

Cantaloupe and Watermelon at Pettingill's

Cantaloupe and watermelon

Also in now: Watermelons, Anaheim peppers, Jalapenos, Yellow peppers, Cantaloupe, Raspberries, Zucchini, Beans, Beets, Peaches

Peppers, cucumber, and zucchini at Pettingill's

Peppers, cucumber, and zucchini

Coming soon: Fall apples will start at the end of August and continue to the first week of October. Plums will come in September.

Summer Gold Apples at Pettingill's

Summer Gold Apples at Pettingill’s – great for eating, baking, and making applesauce

Update August 9: Pickling cucumbers are in at Pettingills, and so are yummy Bartlett pears! Today was the first day for both!

Pears at PettingillsAll those yummy fruits and vegetables are in season now and ready for you to freeze, can, or dehydrate. You can get day-by-day updates on the Pettingill Facebook page!

We were so lucky this year to have an amazing cherry season in 2014. They’ve about wrapped up now… hope you got to make some delicious cherry cobbler, canned cherries, or crumbles with them!

[yop_poll id=”3″]

Best Peaches for Canning

One question both Jean and Smith & Edwards get is “What peaches are best for canning?” It’s a tough question because Jean’s farm has 50 different varieties of peaches alone!

Peaches at Pettingill's fruit stand

They all come on one after the other, and who could pick a favorite out of 50? So what Jean’s customers have said is the best canning peaches come on in August and September. The top 6 varieties of peaches for canning according to Pettingill’s customers are: Canadian Harmony, Rosa, Early Elberta, Angeles, Sun Princes, and Hales.

Besides fresh local fruit, Pettingill’s carries Utah and German chocolate, truffles, spicy cheese nuggets, syrups from every berry imaginable, vinaigrettes, local honey (in honey sticks, honey bears, and tubs), Farr West ice cream, and all sorts of sauces made from Pettingill’s produce. Plus they serve up shakes & hot dogs from 11-5:30pm. Just a mile north of Smith & Edwards, Pettingill’s fruit stand is a great local stop to visit all summer long!

Canning Tips from USU

Canning can be a lot of fun – well, at least it can be very rewarding! There’s nothing like digging in to your family’s favorite apple pie filling on a cold January Saturday morning. You can get better flavor through home processing, better nutritional content, and you can make food that fits your family’s special diet needs. Plus, once you’ve got a season under your belt – or friends, family, or church connections who can show you the ropes – you’ll have the canning process down pat.

Teresa Hunsaker from the USU Extension Office came to Smith & Edwards in July to teach a Food Preparedness seminar, part of our monthly preparedness series (see all events here). Afterward, she stayed at the store to test pressure canners, so you could be sure your pressure canner gauge is working properly!

Teresa Hunsaker educating people about canning and testing pressure canners at Smith and Edwards

Teresa Hunsaker educating people about canning and testing pressure canners at Smith and Edwards

Teresa had some great tips for us… here are a few:

  1. Use citric acid to preserve tomatoes. Really! You only need 1/2 teaspoon citric acid for quarts, which means you get more of the sunny tomato flavor. Using vinegar, you’d need a whopping 4 tablespoons, or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Try it this year and see!

    Tomatoes at Pettingill's

    Bushels of ripe tomatoes at Pettingill’s – for salsa, canning, & BLTs!

  2. Canning adjustments for our area: Weber County isn’t at the same elevation as most cooking & canning books are written for. For Ogden, Brigham City, Farr West, and other places in our area, we’re right around 4300 feet. At sea level water boils at 212°F, but at our altitude in Weber County, water boils at about 202°F. So it will take longer to get the necessary heat to the center of the jar to destroy molds and yeasts.
    But it’s easy. If you’re using a Water Bath Canner, just add 5 minutes for a process time less than 15 minutes; or, add 10 minutes for a process time 20 minutes or more. If you’re Pressure Canning, have your dial gauge at 13 pounds between 4,001-6,000ft altitude, or 15 pounds on a weighted gauge for 4,001-6,000ft altitude.
  3. Think all bottles have to be sterilized before using? Not anymore! If you’re pressure canning or water bath processing for at least 10 minutes, you don’t need to sterilize the jars. The jars should be filled with food. You do want to wash the jars before using, though!

Need to know how much headspace to leave? Here you go:

  • 1/4-inch headspace on Jams & Jellies
  • 1/2-inch headspace on Fruits and Tomatoes
  • 1 to 1-1/4 inches headspace on low acid foods

Canning Basics: Water Bath and Pressure Canning

Canning may take a day out of your weekend, but those yummy pickled beets, salsa, and applesauce are so worth it in the wintertime.

The Ball Blue Book of Canning

The Ball Blue Book of Canning is the definitive resource on canning.

Jean from Pettingill’s highly recommends the Ball Blue Book of Canning. It’s got everything you need to know about canning in it.

If you’re just starting out, Jean says, remember that you don’t have to go it alone! Ask your family, friends, neighbors, or friends from church or work if they want to come can with you. More people makes it more fun, you’ll learn from the wide experience they’ve had, and someone might bring a special ingredient or recipe that you’ll all wind up loving!

There are 2 good methods for canning and bottling: Pressure canning and Water Bath canning. Use a pressure canner for vegetables, to avoid botulism. The modern pressure canners aren’t your grandmother’s canner, where the lid blows off! Today’s pressure canners are safe and have gauges and weights that will depressurize if needed. Plus, we always have Teresa from USU Extension come test pressure canner gauges at least once a year, so you can be sure you’re canning safely.

All-American Pressure Canners

All-American pressure canners (click to see more)

Fruits, jams, jellies, and tomatoes can be done in a water bath canner. Steam canners are available to use, but USDA and USU don’t recommend them due to lack of testing – most canning recipes don’t have adjustments for steam canners.

There are a couple good brands of pressure canners out there, Presto and All-American among them. Both are good, come in different sizes, and they will both last you a lifetime. Presto has one tray. The All-American 21.5 Quart canner comes 2 trays for your convenience, so you can double-stack the pints! All-American canners have the advantage of having an all-metal seal, so you don’t have to replace the rubber gasket. They’re made in the USA and precision manufactured and inspected, so there’s a reason behind the investment.

Canning this year?

Whether it’s your first time or you’ve got seasons of canning under your belt, we’d love to see how your bottling turned out this year! Email your canning pictures to info@smithandedwards.com.

Vickie’s Canning Tip

Vickie Maughan, the Kitchen & Canning buyer for Smith & Edwards, has an amazing tip for canning.

In the summer, it’s already hot, and then you’re cranking up the heat in the kitchen and making your air conditioner work doubletime. Plus there’s the heat and the mess to deal with in the kitchen, and maybe you have a glass stove top which means you have to be careful about which canners to use on it.

Vickie’s solution? Use your Camp Chef and do all the canning outside. It’s easier on the AC, it’s less mess and cleanup, and you can use just about any canning equipment on it. Come in to the store and check out Camp Chef stoves, it’s a real nice way to get your canning done!

Cooking on a Camp Chef

Sure you can make chicken noodle soup on a Camp Chef – and you can can fruit on one, too!

Dehydrating Recommendations

Square Food Dehydrator at Smith and Edwards

Square food dehydrators are great for jerky!

When it comes to dehydrators, the higher the wattage, the faster it will dehydrate your food. You can get ones that heat from the top or the bottom. We’ve found the dehydrators that heat from the bottom work best for us – look for metal-bottom dehydrators for best results. Square dehydrators are best for jerky, because you can fit more on.

What can you dehydrate? Fruit of course, jerky, and herbs all are great to dehydrate. If you’re just starting, head over to a fruit stand and start simple with cherries and apricots. You can even try dehydrating zucchini – it’s fabulous with cheese sauce! You can even dehydrate beautiful flowers from your garden, like sunflowers, to keep as decorations.

Apple Peeler and Corer at Smith and Edwards

Apple peelers are a dream tool for dehydrating apples!

Try dehydrating your own jerky, either with a jerky gun which uses ground meat, or slice thin strips of meat yourself.

Here’s another tip: an apple corer makes dehydrating easy. You can peel, slice, and core all at once and then put the apple slices right on your dehydrator!

Once your food is dehydrated, keep it safe from moisture in a ziploc bag in the fridge, the freezer, or a cold, dark space.

A word about Food Storage

Teresa also had some great advice about Food Storage when she came, and it’s really practical advice to live by.

Freeze Dried Meals for Emergency Preparedness

Home-canned or preserved foods can supplement freeze-dried vegetables or meals like Mountain House #10 cans… or even eliminate the need for them!

Having food canned and set aside in storage isn’t just about preparing for a “disaster.” While some people may seriously be preparing for the apocalypse, having food your family will eat in a stressed situation is beyond value and worth considering.

What types of stressed situations are there? Well, true, natural disaster is one. But if you’re preparing for an earthquake, glass bottling may need some extra steps to make that a good plan. A truck can spill or a train can derail, meaning that it may be 72-96 hours until grocery stores are replenished.

Or, even situations such as job loss, sudden or long-term illness, surgery, or the off-season for seasonal jobs are great times to appreciate the food preparation you’ve done ahead of time.

Canning may or may not be a part of your Food Storage plan. Maybe your family devours everything you can by the time temperatures are back in the 80s. But if your family is the type to put up loads of beans and then forget them: Let your Food Storage be your “What’s for Dinner?” backup plan!

If you really want to be prepared to use your Food Storage, keep it fresh and have a plan of what recipes to use by drawing from it regularly. This means you’ll keep it rotating, and you’ll never be stuck with the power out, thinking “How am I going to make a meal with dehydrated veggies, canned tomatoes, and wheat?”

(By the way, a Cooking with Food Storage class is coming up this September!!)

By making your Food Storage something you’re familiar with and something you’re comfortable using, you’re going to be a lot more prepared than someone who has food storage older than their youngest child and have never tried to cook with it…. I guarantee it!

Your Turn

Have canning tips to share with other Smith & Edwards customers? Have questions for Jean from Pettingill’s, Teresa from USU Extension, or Vickie & the gals in our Canning Department? Leave your questions & tips in the comments below!

Check out Canning and Cooking supplies online!

Dutch oven cooking with Colleen Sloan

Dutch Oven Cooking with Colleen Sloan

- posted by Rose Marion

We were so lucky to have Colleen Sloan, the first lady of Dutch oven cooking, give us some excellent tips on Dutch oven (D.O.) cooking. And you’re lucky, too – keep scrolling to see her creations & get 2 complete Dutch oven recipes!

I got to catch up with Colleen as she was cooking up samples outside Smith & Edwards. You wouldn’t believe the number of ovens she had going with all different meals and treats inside.

Colleen had a pie going, pizzas, orange rolls, chicken noodle soup, taco bread, chili, garlic cheese rolls, apple crumble, and even more meals – there were Dutch ovens everywhere.

See Colleen Cook!

If there was a way to capture the heavenly smell of Colleen’s Dutch oven cooking, you wouldn’t need to see what she was doing. But these pictures tell the story of some of her dishes, and just think, every dish smelled – and tasted – just as scrumptious as you’d imagine looking at them.

Remember, Collen prewarms her D.O.s and sprays the inside with a coat of vegetable oil before each dish.

Chili

Dutch oven chili - cooking
Nothing better on a campfire than some chili steaming away. For this pot, we just opened some canned chili and added cheese (lots!) – but a Dutch oven will give your from-scratch chili an amazing flavor, too!
Dutch oven chili - serving up
Serving up the cheesey chili – mm mm mmmm!

Taco Bread

This is a happy recipe Colleen discovered – Taco cheese biscuits, or taco bread! In a warm D.O., the dough rose and baked for about 35 minutes, then it was ready. You can make this same meal with your own favorite spices – and lots of cheese :)

Dutch oven Taco bread - Cutting up dough
Audrey’s cutting up some frozen bread dough into morsels. You can keep your dough whole, or in medium chunks for rolls: cutting it this small made it easier to break into samples when it’s done, and also faster to cook.
Dutch oven Taco Bread - adding meat
Where’s the beef? Colleen’s adding some precooked ground beef cooked in taco seasonings.
Dutch oven taco bread - cheese
Audrey: How much cheese do I put in?
Colleen: Just put in the whole bag!

Dutch oven Taco Bread - Green Onions

Last peek before the lid goes on: some green onions on top. Yum!
Dutch oven taco bread - serving up
It’s half gone already! Look at that… and it breaks apart into perfect morsels because the bread was cut in pieces. Yumm!

 

Candied Yams

You’ll have to imagine how these turned out – I could have watched Colleen cook all day, but I had to go back inside before I saw how these candied yams turned out. I’m sure they were delicious… and so easy to make!

Dutch oven candied yams - Baked yam
To start, Colleen sprayed vegetable oil in the Dutch oven. Then she’s got some prebaked yams wrapped in foil, just like you can bring on your camping trip, and Skip’s going to peel and slice them.

Dutch oven candied yams - slicing yams

Dutch oven candied yams - brown sugar
Yams are very good for you! So go ahead and add in a couple handfuls of brown sugar…
Dutch oven candied yams - butter
…plus a sliced stick of butter for a delicious pot of vegetables!

Then pop the lid on, and let it go til you smell that delicious candied yam smell. Mm mm mmmm!

Pizza

This was another one I couldn’t snap the final product – it was out of the Dutch oven and scarfed down before I could take the picture! But here’s how Skip made his Dutch oven pizzas:

Dutch oven pizza - kneading dough
Skip’s kneading some Rhodes dough into pizza shapes
Dutch oven pizza - dough in pan
Skip can fit 2 pizzas in this 10″ Dutch oven – he could also cook them on a flat lid
Dutch oven pizza - toppings
Let’s see… Skip’s got pizza sauce, ground meat, pineapple (yum!) going… good so far, but we’re missing something…
Dutch oven pizza - cheese
That’s better! Can’t forget the cheese. Lid on, cook away, and devour!

 

Apple Crumble

Dutch oven apple cobbler - First the pie filling
First thing you need for a Dutch oven apple crumble is some apple pie filling
Dutch oven apple cobbler - add cake mix
Add a bag of cake mix over the filling
Dutch oven apple cobbler - stir
Give it a nice stir – keep the cake mix on top
Dutch oven apple cobbler - add cinnamon
Think it needs some cinnamon! It smells so good already (remember, the D.O. is prewarmed)
Dutch oven apple cobbler - add pop
Add a can of pop – you can use any you like, Colleen went with Sierra Mist
Dutch oven apple cobbler - bubbles
It’s bubbling now with the pop in there! Time to put the lid on and let it go.
Dutch oven apple cobbler - cooling off
Smells ready! We peeked, and it’s done. So we’ve tilted the lid to help it cool down.
Dutch oven apple cobbler - ready to serve up
Mmm! It’s ready – smells like cinnamon, rich apples, and good cooking.
Dutch oven apple cobbler - dishing up
It’s time to serve up! Colleen does the honors
Dutch oven apple cobbler - tasting time
Kelly gives this apple cobbler her seal of approval! Yum!

Beginning Dutch Oven Cooking Tips

The Dutch Oven Cooking Basics

If you’re cooking for just you or 1-2 more people, a 10-inch Dutch oven is a great size to start with. Get yourself a Dutch oven, a hot mitt and a lid lifter if you like, and a cookbook – Colleen’s Log Cabin Dutch Oven cookbook is a great place for beginners to start! Just start trying it out – you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Where do you Start?

Do you have a recipe you use at home? Just put it in a Dutch oven, put your Dutch oven in your electric oven set to 300°, and let it go.

You don’t need to go hotter than that, because the cast iron gathers and retains heat, so it’ll get even hotter than 300.

If your Dutch oven is a camp oven – that is, if it has legs – simply set your Dutch oven on a cookie sheet to avoid hassling with the racks. A cookie sheet makes it easier to slide the Dutch oven out, too.

Keep the Lid on It

Try not to peek, so all the flavors and nutrients stay inside the Dutch oven. Instead, when it smells like what it tastes like, your nose will let you know when it’s done!

The Dutch oven is the original slow cooker and pressure cooker – in fact, with the lid on, you can get between 1-3 pounds of pressure inside, which helps your food cook thoroughly for a rich flavor, without a long time waiting. So remember, don’t lift the lid because it’ll release all that pressure.

The best way to get started Dutch oven cooking is to try out your own recipes you already know. Then once you’ve got a feel for it, give one of Colleen’s great recipes a try!

Dutch Oven Recipes

I asked Colleen if I could share some recipes from her wonderful Log Cabin Dutch Oven Cookbook, and… she said YES!

So here are 2 very simple recipes that you can try tonight with just a Dutch oven in your oven at home. And as I learned today, you can add your own spices, sauces, and especially cheese to just about any Dutch oven recipe to make it even tastier! (We debated the finer points of cheese on apple pie – a cheese-stuffed crust was the way to go, we decided)!

Dutch Oven Bread

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Water (enough to make a dough)

Mix dry ingredients with 3 Tbsp water to start. Add more if necessary. Work as little as possible and bake in a greased Dutch Oven for 20 to 25 min. It can be baked as one large loaf, or several small loaves.

You’ll find dozens of hand-written notes in the Log Cabin Dutch Oven Cookbook from Colleen. She’s written “Um-Um-Good” next to this one! This is such a simple recipe, I can’t wait to try it. And here are some variations she recommends to mix it up:

  • Use milk instead of water
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbsp. Oil
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon or Nutmeg
  • Raisins, currants, drained blueberries, cheeses, garlic, onions, and more. All to make your bread taste swell.

Dutch Oven Pot Roast

You’ll need:

  • 1 large Pot Roast
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 medium Onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 8 to 10 Potatoes (peeled)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 10 to 12 Carrots (peeled & cut in half)
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 Tbsp. Cooking Oil (or bacon grease)

Put cooking oil in bottom of Dutch Oven and place the roast inside. Place onions on top. Add remaining ingredients and cover. Cook for about 90 minutes. Be sure to maintain the temperature. This one-dish meal is excellent for outdoors. Briquettes can be added 15 minutes before serving.

Recipes reprinted from Log Cabin Dutch Oven Cookbook by Colleen Sloan, with permission – thanks, Colleen!

More Dutch Oven Cooking Tips from Colleen

Colleen uses vegetable oil – Dutch ovens love it, and it’s easy to spray through a spray bottle. Just fill a spray bottle and pack it with your Dutch ovens for easy.

The other spray bottle Colleen keeps with her when cooking is a 4:1 mixture of 4 parts water, 1 part apple cider vinegar. She uses this to disinfect pots, Dutch ovens, and her hands while cooking. That’s a tip you can use camping, too!

Spraying Skip's hands with vinegar to clean them after peeling yams. Just make sure your bottle's labeled!

Spraying Skip’s hands with vinegar to clean them after peeling yams

Preheat your Dutch oven, so it’s got a head start and can cook your food faster. Especially if you’re out in cold weather! Don’t get it piping hot, just warm, and then oil it up and cook away.

Don’t forget you can cook on a lid! Pizza and fillets are great to cook on a lid, not to mention eggs and toast.

You have some choice in the shape of lids: some lids are fairly flat, and others are quite rounded, giving you better control of liquids and eggs.

Cast iron Dutch oven lid

Here’s an example of a rounded Dutch oven lid – this one is by Camp Chef.

Speaking of lids… while you’re preheating your Dutch oven, or D.O., make sure your lid’s preheating, too. And when you take the lid off, put it on a burner to help it stay warm!

Keeping a Dutch oven lid warm on the Camp Chef stove

Keeping a Dutch oven lid warm on the Camp Chef stove (right burner)

Cleaning Dutch Ovens

Cleaning a Dutch oven pan isn’t as hard as you think. Sure you can’t just stick it in the dishwasher (rust), but it’s not tough.

Colleen cleans a bit as she goes – as soon as an oven’s empty, she sprays it with her vinegar water bottle so the food doesn’t harden on the pan.

Then when you’re washing your dishes, put your Dutch oven in the sink with hot water, swish it around with a rag. Dump it out, rinse it again, then put it on the stove and warm it up to dry. You could also put it back in your stove’s oven if the oven’s still warm. This’ll make sure all the moisture disappears.

Then, when you get your Dutch oven out to cook next time, just oil it up, heat it up, and you’re ready to go.

Scraping a Dutch oven

About Colleen

A caterer by trade, Colleen Sloan had always been around Dutch oven cooking – her great-great grandparents came across the plains cooking in Dutch ovens all the way, so her great grandparents, grandparents, and parents have all helped refine her family’s recipes. Colleen compiled her grandmother’s recipes in the Log Cabin Cookbook.

And that’s not her only book… she’s written a total of 6 Dutch oven cookbooks, and you can find them all at Smith & Edwards – we even have her first book available online here.

Colleen Sloan and Vickie Maughn, our Housewares manager

Colleen Sloan and Vickie Maughn, our Housewares manager

Raised on a Utah farm by pioneer stock, and involved for 45 years in Scouting, Colleen loves sharing her knowledge and passion for Dutch oven cooking. Colleen loves just about everything out of a Dutch oven, but 2 of her favorites are bacon cheese biscuits, and fried chicken in a Dutch oven. And she’s sure you’re going to acquires some favorite Dutch oven dishes, too!

Nervous to try Dutch oven cooking? Colleen’s sure there’s no bad recipe. Just put together the food you have and your favorite seasoning, and it’ll turn out! Colleen says, “When it comes to seasoning, let your imagination do the walking through your Dutch oven recipes. Try some different things and see!”

Get your Dutch Oven Gear online at Smith & Edwards:

Camp Dutch oven Log Cabin Dutch Oven Cookbook by Colleen Sloan
Dutch Ovens Colleen’s Dutch Oven Cookbook

Thanks Colleen, Skip, and Audrey!

Colleen’s been coming out to Smith & Edwards for over 20 years to give us demos, samples, and great advice on Dutch oven cooking. We sure appreciate it.

We owe a big thank-you to Colleen and her crew! They braved the cold the morning of Black Friday 2013 to cook and serve up samples during the day – and they even served up hot chocolate and coffee for folks waiting in line before we opened the doors. It was sure appreciated by folks standing in 32-degree weather!Hot cocoa from a Camp Chef Hot Pot at Smith and Edwards

Who doesn't love the coffee and hot chocolate camp stove setup that they have?

Who doesn’t love the coffee and hot chocolate camp stove setup that they have?

Steaming-hot hot chocolate and coffee make even a brisk morning warm.

Steaming-hot hot chocolate and coffee make even a brisk morning warm.

Colleen, left, with her assistants Skip and Audrey - Dutch Oven caterers!

Colleen, left, with her assistants Skip and Audrey – Dutch Oven caterers!

Many thanks to Colleen and her friends Skip and Audrey of S & A Catering in Sandy, Utah. Skip & Audrey’s number is 801-973-8371.

Want to know more about Dutch oven cooking? Visit IDOS, the International Dutch Oven Society. Not only are they worldwide – IDOS members will also be sharing samples and recipes the first weekend of May at the Weber County Fairgrounds, so mark that on your calendar if you’re a Dutch oven fan or just looking to get started!

Smith & Edwards Toy Sale event tips

3 Tips for a Victory at Smith and Edwards’ Toy Sale

- posted by Rose Marion

Smith and Edwards’ Toy Sale is a great event for getting gifts for Christmas! You’ll be sure your kids and grandkids will have a fun-filled Christmas morning with toys from our Toy Sale.

About the Toy Sale

The Smith and Edwards Toy Sale happens every fall. Like us on Facebook to see all our events and when they are scheduled. Promotional toys are at a fixed low price leading up to December!

We’ll publish our list of Toys available on our Current Specials page!

What kind of toys can you get? Top brands like Disney, Mattel, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, Littlest Pet Shop, and much, much more.

3 Tips for VICTORY at the Smith and Edwards Toy Sale

What do we mean by “victory”? Well, the top toys sell out fast, and you want to be sure and get the toys your kids will love. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting the toys your children want at a great price! You’ll walk out the doors with amazing toys and a huge smile on your face because you did so well at the Toy Sale.

Vickie, our Toys & Housewares buyer, offered some advice she’d give for first-timers hoping to have a great time at a Toy Sale. Hardware buyer Blaine offered tips, too – together they’ve watched thousands of excited, savvy shoppers run down the aisles of our Toy Sales, and they know how to make it a great experience.

1. Prepare – and be early! Watch for our toy lists so you can go straight to the toys you’re shopping for.

While we have thousands of toys at each Toy Sale, the most popular ones disappear fast, so if you want a specific toy from the toy list, plan ahead so you can head straight for it Monday morning without distractions.

Our doors open at 9am, but we’ve seen people lined up much, much earlier than that. Plan to be here early. You can even bring a chair and meet some new friends in line before the Toy Sale starts!

Our lucky winner and her friends, first in line at Smith and Edwards' Toy Sale!

Nitasha got to skip to the front of the line October 14 at our second Toy Sale in 2013. Congrats!

2. Shop Ahead! It feels amazing to get your Christmas shopping done early! Sure, you might be getting great deals on toys for the holidays. But these aren’t Christmas-only toys – I bet you can get great deals on toys they’ll love the whole year, for birthdays and more.

This is a great way to get name-brand toys for every boy and girl on your list – especially if your children have lots of cousins and friends. You’ll be prepared for Christmas and beyond with a little help from us at Smith & Edwards :)

And by the way – if it looks like we’re out of a certain toy, feel free to ask us for help. Oftentimes shoppers will take toys to the register, but they’ll only keep some of them. We’ll be running more toys back to the Toy Sale tables all morning to help you get the toys you want!

3. Come with your friends! Arrange for someone to watch the kids while you bring your friends to go Toy Sale shopping with you. Leave the kids at home, because you don’t want to worry about a stroller or collecting the kids when you check out (or them seeing their presents!). So having a girls-day-out-shopping will make the sale a big adventure. Not only is there safety in numbers – it’s a lot more fun, too!

You can combine your friends’ shopping lists with yours, or you can divide and conquer – you’ll have a ton of fun together, and you’ll all have a great experience to talk about afterward.

So get ready for lots of fun! Plan on coming and enjoying a morning of scoring great toys your kids will love. It’s really spectacular – you’ve gotta be here!

And while you might have heard scary rumors… our Toy Sales are typically pretty tame. Promise! It can get crowded, but everyone’s here to have a good time and get great toys for our kids, so you don’t need to bring knee pads or elbow pads. Just plan on a nice morning of great deals and great savings!

Got questions? Give us a call at 801-731-1120, we’ll be happy to help you get everything you need for a great Christmas.