All you canners, whether you’re new to the process or veterans, the bible of all things canning, “The Ball Blue Book,” has released its 37th edition.
It’s the most extensive revision since the first book was published in 1909 and includes 75 new recipes (out of 500), pictorial step-by-step guides for beginners, a special section called “Meal Creations” (incorporating preserved goods from the book) and more. In addition to canning, the book also covers freezing and dehydrating.
It’s available for $11.95 at freshpreservingstore.com and also can be found at select grocery and hardware stores and mass retailers nationwide, as well as online. I would check Eckert’s Country Store in Belleville and most Walmarts and Rural Kings. (Thanks to food writer Nancy J. Stohs of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for the update.)
While I was going through my email last week, I came across some food tips that may or may not be as useful as they first appear. For instance:
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A quicker way to cool: Got surprise guests and no chilled soda in the fridge to offer? Just grab your favorite drink, wrap it with a wet paper towel and stick it in the freezer. 15 minutes later, voila, you have a chilled drink. (It doesn’t say whether this work for all sizes or containers.)
Slice it right: Next time you fancy a cheese platter at your dinner party, just use a vegetable peeler to slice the Cheddar instead of spending all that time cutting it neatly.
Perfect iced coffee: If you want your iced coffee perfectly iced, and not a watered down version, then all you need is a secret ingredient — iced coffee cubes. (Yes, this will work. But first you have to make coffee and freeze cubes.)
Sharpen knives with a ceramic mug: Give your dull knife a quick sharpening by rubbing the blade against the bottom of a ceramic mug. (I would suggest an old mug. I do know that many chefs use ceramic sharpeners, so this may be akin to that.)
Clean up your microwave: Take a bowl of vinegar and place it in the microwave and heat it for a few minutes. And before you know it, your microwave will be free of grease and grime from the inside. (This definitely works. Just leave the door open after you clean to air out the smell.)
Chilled wine on the go: Need a glass of cold wine immediately? Toss a few frozen grapes in the glass. Few minutes later, your chilled wine is ready to serve. (Grape idea, but who keeps them frozen?)
Freezing ice cream: You've been freezing your ice cream all wrong. Keep it in a zip-lock bag when you stuff the tub in the freezer and your ice cream will stay soft and not harden to the point where you'll have difficulty scooping it.
MAKING RIBS ON THE GRILL during the week takes time, so I think the best shortcut is the slow cooker. Put these on before you leave for work and dinner is almost ready when you get home. Do the last step while you’re fixing your sides to go with the meal. This recipes is from Betty Crocker.
Please note that this recipe is high in calories, fat and cholesterol. It’s the kind of summer meal best enjoyed just occasionally. Serve with a tossed salad and some sauteed zucchini and squash; ditch the bread or rolls.
Slow-Cooker Barbecued Ribs
3 1/2 pounds pork loin back ribs
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons liquid smoke
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup cola
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
1. Spray inside of 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Remove inner skin from ribs.
Mix brown sugar, salt, pepper, liquid smoke and garlic; rub mixture into ribs.
Cut ribs into 4-inch pieces. Layer ribs and onion in slow cooker. Pour cola over ribs.
3. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours, or until tender. Remove ribs from slow cooker. Drain and discard liquid.
4. Pour barbecue sauce into shallow bowl. Dip ribs into sauce. Place ribs in slow cooker. Pour any remaining sauce over ribs. Cover and cook on low heat setting 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Serves 4, each with 890 calories, 60 grams fat, 230 mg cholesterol, 1,540 mg sodium, 32 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 58 gram protein. Exchanges: 2 starch; 7 1/2 high-fat meat.
Note: This recipe was tested in slow cookers with heating elements in the side and bottom of the cooker, not in cookers that stand only on a heated base. For slow cookers with just a heated base, follow the manufacturer’s directions for layering ingredients and choosing a temperature.
Here’s how to reach me: 618-239-2664; firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @ BoyleSuzanne. Write to P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.