family style antipasto

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm no longer a canning virgin.

Every fall, my mother-in-law and her sister-in-law (my aunt-in-law?) make an abnormally large amount of antipasto to have over the Christmas season and to give away as gifts. Who doesn't want a jar of homemade antipasto? If you don't, you're crazy.

This year I asked if I could tag along while they made it as a) I've never canned anything before b) I love antipasto c) making a quadruple batch sounds like the kind of crazy I want to be apart of.

On Saturday afternoon, after my weekly exercise class (back story: my MIL teaches Jazzercise, it's awesome you should try it) we went back to my MIL's house to meet the other party and we started to unload the goodies we needed to make the antipasto. Okay, I knew making a quadruple batch would make alot, but I did not expect the amount of stuff that was required.  10 lbs of cauliflower, 16 lbs of green and red peppers, 7 jars cocktail onions, 8 cans tuna, 5 jars black olives, 5 jars green olives, 7 cans green beans, 7 cans mushrooms, 3 litres ketchup, 2 litres olive get the point.

I kid you not, I was chopping cauliflower for 2 hours.

All that being said, I loved every single moment of it. Being with my family, carrying on a tradition that they've done for years, which they learned from their mothers and now I hope to do every year with them or on my own. Learning something such as canning is sort of a lost art. In present day, not alot of people in my generation do it. I know that there is a trend somewhat with the newer foodies to can and preserve all the summer goodness so that in the dead of winter, you can still enjoy those peaches that you diligently took the time to preserve back while they were in season.

Believe me, this is not the last time I will be posting about canning. I'm sure there will be jam, jelly and fruit preserving in the future.  My grandmas make a pretty mean marmalade and pickled garlic between the two of them.


[ from Auntie Doris & Colleen ]

We quadrupled this recipe and got 77 250ml jars.  It worked well for us because we split it between three people, but unless you want to eat antipasto once a week for the next year and a half, I'd stick with the single recipe.

2 lbs. cauliflower
2 lbs. small silver skin onions (bottled cocktail onions)
2 - 15 oz cans string beans
1  (15 oz.) can ripe olives (pitted
1 (15 oz.) can stuffed green olives
2 lbs. green peppers
1   lb. red peppers
2  (7-3/4 oz.) cans tuna
2    lbs. fresh mushrooms (or tinned)
2   (11 oz.) bottles of ketchup
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 qt. olive oil
6 oz. vinegar
salt to taste
garlic salt or powder or use fresh
Break cauliflower into flowerettes, peel onions, wash and cut beans in half.  Wash, quarter and cut peppers into strips or chunks.  Break tuna into chunks, cut large mushrooms in half.
Boil cauliflower, onions, beans (if raw), vinegar and olive oil for 5 minutes. Add other ingredients, bring back to boil and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally and carefully. Sauce should cover vegetables. Pour vegetables and enough sauce to cover in hot sterilized jars arranging attractively. Leave head space. To ensure a perfect seal, pint jars may be processed in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Makes about 12-15 pints.

(Chop vegetables to size of personal preference - some like it chunky - some finely chopped)
 Note: We use bottled cocktail size onions and canned beans and mushrooms.