Classic Pickles

I’ve learned many tricks for keeping classic cucumber pickles crisp—and to set aside extra cukes for relish. Get pickling recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Dill pickles fit the “classic” category on so many levels. They have a long history among home canners, and in my home in particular. While my mom boiled vinegar brine and tended the canning kettle, my sister and I were given the job of packing whole cucumbers into quart jars because we had small hands. Weeks later, I’d start pulling jars from the packed shelves to munch on the crisp, sour vegetables.

Since I first learned to can pickles, I’ve found many tricks for keeping cucumbers crisp throughout the heated processing that lets you store them on shelves at room temperature. My mom always added grape leaves from our homegrown vines, harnessing their tannins to help keep the cukes crisp; I found horseradish leaves have the same effect. I’ve also started pasteurizing the jars instead of dropping them into a boiling water bath. Pasteurizing takes a little more time at my altitude, but the lower temperature still gives a crunchier pickle. Set aside any cucumbers that are blemished or won’t squeeze into the jars for relish.
Learn to make Processed Cucumber Dill Pickles and Cucumber Relish

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Classic Jams

I’ve turned from my mom’s classic recipes to more fruit-forward jams. Get homemade jam recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
As a kid, jam making dominated the summer berry and fruit season. My dad grew much of the fruit: rows of strawberries ripened not long after school let out, and raspberries, boysenberries, and loganberries, which my dad started with cuttings from my grandfather’s vines, came on midsummer. Raspberries were always my favorite: I learned from my mom to fill small canning jars with fresh berries using a classic recipe straight out of the Ball Blue Book, with fruit, lemon juice, powdered pectin, and lots of sugar.

That last bit is the reason I’ve turned from my childhood recipes to updated versions using Pomona’s Universal Pectin whenever I want to can any jam with added pectin. It jells with little or no sweetener and is vegan (it’s extracted from citrus peel and activated by calcium). You can get about four batches instead of the usual one from each box of pectin, and although you risk a softer set, I’ve successfully cooked multiple batches at once. The first jam I ever made with it, more than 10 years ago and using a blend of berries, is still one of my favorites. I soon followed it with a version using my favorite sour cherries.
Learn to make Tart Berry Jam and Sour Cherry Jam

Canning Classics

I’m turning back the clock to classic canning recipes and my first steps in improving upon them. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
In looking back over the last 3 years of Twice as Tasty recipes, I realized there’s a gap in my story of home canning and other adventures in the kitchen. A lot of people have been asking for this story lately, usually phrased as “How did you get started making all of this?” I respond with my childhood food memories: gardening with my dad, canning with my mom, baking with my grandma, berry picking with my sister.

I’ve shared a few family recipes on the blog, but with canning in particular I’ve skipped over the recipes that got me hooked on home-canned food, jumping straight to those I love today. These newer recipes tend to be more complex in flavor and sometimes technique than the jars that filled my childhood and first adult canning cupboards. They’re worth every minute of extra effort. But this month I’ll turn back the clock to some classic flavors and my first steps in improving upon them.
Read more about classic canning recipes

One Prep, Two Meals: Couscous

Quick meals don’t get any easier than boiling water, pouring it over couscous, and adding fresh veg and canned beans. Get couscous recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Hopefully you’ve been inspired by all of this month’s recipes to look beyond leftovers and use the one prep–two meals formula. If couscous isn’t a staple in your pantry, this week’s post may surprise you as much as risotto did last week. But once you try these recipes, you’ll stock up on couscous for plenty of quick, easy meals. Just as fresh pasta outshines dried in any meal, instant couscous can’t compete with semolina grains steamed in stages in a couscoussière. But for quick meals at home, in the woods, or on the water, it doesn’t get any easier than boiling water and pouring it over the couscous. Add some fresh veg and canned beans, and you have lunch and dinner ready in a snap.

Speed and ease are just two of the beauties of the recipes you’ll find here. As I shared with more than a dozen sailors in a workshop this week, the two recipes here can spawn many days of meals cooked in a galley or over a camp stove and grill: I always travel with several heads of preroasted garlic to serve on grilled pizza, sandwiches, and other meals. The extra half-batch of chermoula can be used as a shrimp marinade. Bonus cans of chickpeas can be mashed into hummus. Extra veg can be grilled or sliced for dinner sides or between-meal snacks. And homemade feta disappears so quickly into hungry mouths you could never travel with too much.
Learn to make Vegetable Couscous with Chickpeas and Feta and Couscous Salad with Raw Vegetables