Posts Tagged ‘vinegar’

Barbecue Sauce – Canning a Condiment

I had been looking for a good barbecue sauce recipe for a long time. This sauce is pretty good. I wanted a tomato-based sauce that I could make from my own garden and for the most part I found it. I did end up using one canned ingredient, because I had used up half the can two months ago and the rest was in my freezer…chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

I wanted my sauce to be very sweet and reasonably spicy. As I was cooking the recipe I found in the Ball Blue Book (1987 edition) I could taste that it wasn’t going to be NEARLY as sweet as I wanted, so in addition to the 1/2 cup brown sugar I added a heaping half cup of molasses as well. If I were going to make this again tomorrow I would jump right in with 3/4 or more.

Then again, I think if I really wanted this to be sweeter I would have to start with a sauce with less tomatoes in it. The last thing I wanted to do was to put in corn syrup. Yuck!

My biggest concern as I was cooking this was that it was going to be CRAZY spicy. There was a time while I was cooking it that I thought I had ruined it with the chipotles. After processing and opening a jar and having it on some ribs yesterday I was pleasantly surprised at how much the spiciness had settled down.

The usual disclaimer about canning at your own risk applies here. I am 100% sure that this modified recipe is a safe recipe, but I know that I have used acidic tomatoes and quality vinegar, and that all substitutions were done with like-quantities of similarly p.h.’ed items.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

  • My garden: tomatoes, bell peppers
  • Local: onions, molasses, garlic
  • The store: celery, brown sugar, dry mustard, paprika, salt, peppercorns, vinegar, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent: $6.00 for 100 loads

I made my own mix of dishwasher detergent last weekend after reading about it on quite a few web sites. We have been testing the mix on every load of dishes we have run (daily) since Saturday and are quite pleased with the results.

I bought a big box of Borax powder, a big box of Baking Soda, and a small box of Cascade powdered dish detergent.  I layered them together using ratios of approximately 25% Cascade, 40% Baking Soda and 40% Borax.  Yeah, that’s 105%, but I said approximately. I had an extra set of plastic dollar-store measuring spoons lying around in the aquarium stand, so I have dedicated a tablespoon to live in the container and meter out the mixture.

I completely filled a 4.5 quart tall tupperware-like container and did not completely empty the three ingredient boxes.  I could have made at least 5 quarts, maybe 5.5.  The cost of the ingredients was right at $6.00.  For that $6.00 I’ll get over 200 heaping tablespoons of my mixture, which will be enough to run the dishwasher 100 times.  6 cents per cycle.

But how does it do?  Honestly there is no difference from the more expensive options.

Why not leave out the Cascade and just use the other two ingredients?  Baby steps!  Maybe next time.  I was more comfortable with this as a first try at home-mixed product.

(Ok, technically this is a second step.  I’ve been using straight white vinegar in the “Jet Dry” reservoir for a couple months now and I love it!)

Chili-Pepper Vinegar

The next-to-the-last thing out of my garden for 2008 were the pepper plants.  Only the lettuce remains now.

I had quite a handful of chili peppers that didn’t turn red, so I thought I would try making some spicy vinegar like I have seen out on the tables at some restaurants.

I did no research until after the fact, so there are things I would do differently now.  I just washed and dropped all the peppers I had into an old clean soy sauce bottle. Then I threw in about a teaspoon of salt and filled it with hot vinegar.

It seems to have worked out fine, as just an hour or two after filling the bottle the vinegar was already spicy.

According to most sources I checked later, I should have completely filled the bottle with vegetables to avoid the peppers floating in there.  I would have done that if I’d had enough peppers, but I guess I could have also used fillers like onions and carrots.

Anyway, it has a great taste already and I can hardly wait to see how it is after a few weeks.

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