Citrus Salt

Citrus Salt one of the easiest projects you can do. Living in Southern California here there is citrus year around and plenty to spare. A few things to note if you are a regular preserver is the variety of things you can do with the citrus. It is endless. I will link you to other uses for the left over citrus at the end of this post.

The instructions for Citrus Salt are simple and so very easy. Here is a short list of what you need to make your Citrus Salt.

Cookie Sheet
Parchment Paper
Citrus Zester
Coarse Salt

Take your citrus and zest it so you will have a least a half cup of zest to this you will add a half cup of coarse salt. Mix the two items thoroughly. Spread the mixture onto your parchment covered cookie sheet. The rest is up to nature just let it dry. I place it in my oven with a LARGE note reminding it is in there so I do not cook it.

Oh yes i have done that and even worse left Habanero Seeds kin there and while warming and oven they started to cook I almost ended up in the hospital. Not funny but yes funny!

This Lemon Zest I chopped up so it is easier to sprinkle. I did freeze another container with just zest not chopped for jam's and cooking.

This citrus I chopped up then added the salt. I keep my salt in a mason jar. It is Sea Salt that I use.


When you first put your zest and salt on the sheet it will not be flat on the sheet but as the day's go by you will notice you can mix and it settles together really well. This drying will take probably a week or so.

Make sure the Citrus Salt is dry then transfer it to a air tight container.

I save small glass jar's.  Ok ok I save all glass jars and have 5 gazillion from preserving food for so long.

Alrighty that should do ya!
As promised I will give you links to other stuff you can do with all that Citrus.

Freezing Citrus is easy and there are so many ways to freeze it for so any purposes. Marmalade I am linking you to the Preserve Page there are so many Marmalade's to many to list.
A great link on How to Section Citrus. With the pulp and seeds you can Make your own Pectin for Jam. If you are so inclined you can make Preserved Lemons used in many dishes. And you can always when all else fails Dehydrate your Citrus

Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes


Quick Pickled Sugar Snap Pea's

Quick Pickles also known as Refrigerator Pickles this was the challenge for April I did two recipes and one was a disgusting flop. I got that recipe off the WWW and nearly choked on the first bite. But we do not shame link here and I am just letting it gooo.

But I did make some great Sugar Snap Pea's. This year my garden threw out so many we were eating them like potato chips. I even took them to Oaktown each week. So here is a delicious little fast Quick Pickle Snap Pea's in a Quart Jar.

So this April Challenge came as the last of the Snap Pea's were coming around and it was just in time as I do not like to waste anything. So grab you pickling hat and let us get started. 


A bunch of Snap Pea's (enough to fill a quart jar)
1/2 cup Rice vinegar
1/4 cup regular vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of red pepper seeds
pinch of citrus salt/a garlic clove

Wash your vegetables and I chopped the small amount of ends off.  I do this because many a time I have found the smallest of bug's/dirt in the tip top of the vegetable they hide really good!

Making Quick Pickles is so easy and for the gardener it is a great thing to be able to take just that last bit of vegetable or fruit and make a couple of jar's for the fridge.

Now take Your liquid and spices and warm them up in a small pot. It is always good to have your jar's warm when putting up. The vegetables can be room temperature that makes it better.  You just do not want cold to hot it can crack the jars.

Let your spices and liquid simmer on low for at least 10 minutes. Now you can get your jar ready with your ingredient's.

Put your Snap Pea's into the jar. A few things to keep in mind is that you really do not need to smash as many as possible just fill the jar and gently press to get them all in. 

Fill the jar with the liquids until they are covered. Clean the rim and cap. Place the jar in the refrigerator and let them sit for a week or so to let the flavor's co-exhist.

One week passed and I opened that jar and it was Quick Pickle Heaven ! It is surly endless the amount of vegetables you yourself can make into Quick Pickles. Do not be shy and be daring. Enjoy the process and as usual any questions please just comment!


What is Mother of Vinegar

So like promised I did my homework and have the Mother of Vinegar Story. What the heck it is! Ok stay with me it is very scientific. My information comes from a few sources. One is the Supreme Vinegar definition.  I get my Mother of Vinegar from that Compay. I will give you all the link's at the end of the post as well as the link's to any recipes I have gotten through. Good or Bad!

What is Mother of Vinegar ?

Well this is a colony of bacteria. Euu but they are good guy's called Acetobacter. These guy's perform the same work the as the yeast from the wine. Combined they make Vinegar. What happens is they form the mother on the surface since it requires oxygen to convert the wine to vinegar. The surface is where the air is at. The mother has yeast and acetic acid in it and that bacteria and that on the fermenting alcohol which makes the vinegar.

Now Wikipedia has a definition also it says and I quote

" Mother of Vinegar is a substance composed of a form of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria that develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids, which turns alcohol into acetic acid with the help of oxygen from the air. It is added to wine or other alcoholic liquids to produce vinegar."

Hey,  didn't I say that ??? 

Mother of Vinegar can also be found in store bought vinegar if there is some non-fermented sugar and /or alcohol contained in the vinegar. (A good example is Bragg's Organic the cloud one) This is more common in unpasteurized vinegar . It is in no way appetizing in appearance, mother of vinegar is completely harmless and the surrounding vinegar does have to be discarded. Simply use a coffee filter or a few layers of cheese cloth and separate it. You can then use the Mother of that Vinegar for making vinegar.

Now as far as the look well the red is gross. It look like a blood clot when you see it raw but the vinegar it produces is magic. I am doing some research on why the red is so much thicker than the clear Mother. Strange thing right you would think the consistency would be the same.

You can see the other of Vinegar I used for Champagne Vinegar is much lighter in color and the Mother much less gel-ish-ness

 So there you have it the Mother of a Story on Mother of Vinegar. Here is the recipe for Balsamic Vinegar and the link to the Mother I bought for that is in the post. Here is the recipe for the Champagne Vinegar the Mother that I bought for that is at the Amazon Site. I have a link to the Mother on this site go to the Home screen and look to the right for the Amazon link Easy!

There is more to the story and that will be in the next vinegar post. Did you ever think there was so much information to make vinegar.


Homemade Champagne Vinegar

Champagne Vinegar another easy DIY project. And the list of vinegar's that we can make at home seem endless. I will be doing a post on Mother of Vinegar itself. As simple as I make it sound the theory is complex. And we all know I love information.

So I purchased this Mother of Vinegar from Amazon.There are many sites I just prefer this site to other's.

Ingredients and Tool's

Small crock or large wide mouth mason jar
Cheese Cloth
String or rubber band to secure cheese cloth onto vessel
8 oz of Mother of Vinegar
24 ounces of Champagne

The ingredients are simple just follow along. I have made a simple 1:3 ratio. That is for a small batch you have 8 ounces of Vinegar Mother to 24 ounces of Champagne.

Clean your vessel and pour the 8 oz. of Vinegar Mother into the container.  Next you add your Champagne don't stir it you do not want to disturb your mother. Next you need to add your Champagne. It is not a lot of liquid it looked pretty puny to me but I like to start small before I make large batches.

No need to stir the liquid you do not want to break up the Mother.

Once all the liquids are combined cover the crock with a double thick cheese cloth. I use a rubber band it is easy and solid seal.

The cheese cloth will let the vinegar breath but will not let the fruit flies or any other flying object get in. The purpose of the cheese cloth is it let's the air flow through and no little flying pests get in. Check your crock weekly. You will loose a small amount to evaporation but not much.

Put the container in a dark cool place. I put mine in my pantry. 

Your vinegar will be ready in 6 weeks. Mark the calendar I have forgotten my mixture a few times and come back to dried out rings of red or just a dried out crock! Waaaa

Testing to make sure your vinegar is done is simple. Just take a small piece of bread and dunk it and taste. The bread cut's the acid and makes it easier to taste. I also dip a spoon to coat and taste to get the real taste. Once the time is up you can take the vinegar and strain it. I take the cheese cloth and put it around a small bowl using the same rubberband with just enough give that the vinegar goes right down. Do this slowly you want to keep the mother for your next batch of vinegar.

Ok back to the Champagne Vinegar . Now that it is strained and the Mother is safe. Put your vinegar into glass bottles. I save them from all sort of stuff and ask neighbor's to save there bottle's for me.

The Mother for this Vinegar is light unlike the Mother we use for the Balsamic Vinegar.

The Mother Vinegar I purchased for my balsamic is from Preserved in Oakland it is a lot more gelatin like. Here is the link if you would like to order from them they are the best and have everything for Preserving Food

Here is my finished product and the Champagne Vinegar is delightful. The taste is sweet yet pungent. I hope you enjoy this process it is pretty easy!

I am personally so pleased when I can make something at home and know what is in it!  It really is endless I find so many new thing in the groups I belong to on and off the Internet. I have found that it is not if a person is going to preserve food they all seem to want to know about the process and the results. Oh and that is true when you can give them a spoonful of that love!


Homemade Balsamic Vinegar

Homemade Vinegar what could be better.  I am not sure how I missed not making my own vinegar earlier. For a preserver of food it is a gift that will keep on giving. There are so many thing's we buy and just really never think of making. It seems like every time I go to a new store that honor's the old traditions of long ago I find something new.

I go up North so much and they opened this great store a while back. Preserved and as they so eloquently put it "They are the hardware store for developing your Pantry".

I have so many tools for my food preservation that it is ridiculous but do not take this wrong it is just enough. I do not indulge in new fangled shit and try to stick with the basic tools to get the job done. SO with that let us get started.

I have a small crock I use to fermented hot pepper's for Hot Sauce which from that you can make your own Cheyenne Powder it is endless. The point being I decided to use the same jug for this project. The pictures show you it but it is 6" x 7".  I happened to get it at a housewares store. I think it is used for holding large utensils on the counter. Well regardless it works. The tools you will need top get started are simple.

Tools and Ingredients

A crock to size
Vinegar Mother
Liquid Ethanol (Alcohol)
Cheese Cloth
Rubber Bands

Clean your crock well.   Pour the mother into the crock. On top of that pour your liquid being used to make the type of vinegar.

The recipe I am using is for a Balsamic Vinegar is easy it is a1 to 3 ratio . 1 part Mother and 3 parts Ethanol (Alcohol).
The portions are Universal 1 to 3 !

The Vinegar Mother is used for all your red based vinegar's. You can reuse it. I used a Red Wine Mother for my balsamic only so far because it was the first one I had ever purchased. But like I said prior you can use other's to get started.

I am waiting for my order of Apple Vinegar starter and White Wine starter.

So proportionally most vinegar's use identical portion's from one to another. So once you get started and get the results you want you can just copy your recipe with the appropriate Vinegar Mother and Alcohol (Ethanol).  I use a dark Merlot 2 buck Chuck from Trader Joe's to be exact.

Let us get started I started out with an 8 oz. jar of Red Wine Vinegar Mother. I put this into my vessel and added one bottle of Merlot wine. This filled up my little crick just fine. I gave it a little stir. I then cover it with a double layer of cheese cloth then secured it with a rubber band. Make sure you keep your vessel in a cool dark place.

A few tips here.

A dark area is because to much light can slow and even stop the process.
The cheese cloth keep the air flow and keep out any fruit flies that may want to find a home.

I keep most all of my homemade recipes as simple as possible I find to many tools just get in the way.
Alright-y you will let this sit for three weeks. Then bring it out and check if it is what you want. Take a small piece of white bread and put a few small drop on the bread and taste. The bread takes the harsh taste away letting you taste the flavor and avoid the acid or throat burn. It can happen if the acid is to high.

If it taste good then it is time to strain it. If you want a more pungent vinegar just put the cheese cloth back on and let it sit longer. Test it each week.

Once you have the taste you like it is time to strain. You can strain it using something as simple as a coffee filter, cheese cloth or paper towel. I have a strainer I use for my Pomegranate Jam as well as my Grape Jam.

I left my vinegar to drain for a few hours in a strainer it is a longer process. I do not mind this because of the purity of the strain no cloudy stuff. And just a note do not smooch it.

If you smooch it you will ruin your original mother and get cloudy. Nothing wrong with that but the mother is good forever when it comes to making more vinegar.

Once your vinegar has strained take the cheese cloth from the original jug and rubber band it back on the crock. Dump the mother and liquid onto that cheese cloth and then return it to the original jar with added liquid for your next vinegar.  You do not want to squeeze the mother.

I know looks disgusting but it is the mother and we must respect our mother's. I put my mother back into the original jar using a funnel add enough liquid from the batch I made to keep it happy. It is like a sourdough starter it is going to make you endless vinegar.

There is my beautiful Balsamic (red wine) Vinegar. I found that the Merlot makes the tastiest Balsamic Vinegar and it really brought my Strawberry Balsamic Jam up a notch. I also make a killer Cherry Balsamic Jam during the season of Cherry.

This is just one of the bottles I saved in my bottle collection.  I always save cork's for the purpose of bottles that do not have a top.

I sure hope this help if you have any question's just leave a comment or email me. The easiest way to figure out the vinegar ratio is it is 1 to 3 . One part Vinegar mother to 3 parts fresh (Alcohol) ethanol. 

I just ordered two new Vinegar Mother's to experiment with. I ordered a Cider Mother, Plain Vinegar Mother. I will be making the Champagne Vinegar and a Apple Cider Vinegar with those. I hope this has inspired you to take on another simple DIY project. Nice thing is this one you can make leave and go on with your business for a few weeks. Love that!

Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes.