Dill Pickles: Home Canning | Boise Food Photographer

Alright…this is the last post for awhile about home canning.
One of my favorite foods is dill pickles.  I’ve been canning my own for about 10 years now.  It’s really easy and if you love pickles, like I do, you’ll find yourself making a batch year after year.
Over the years I’ve tried many different recipes and this year I finally combined a few recipes together.  Combining what I like from each.  I can’t wait, they should be yummy!


-9 pounds pickling cucumbers

-12 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
-12 cups water
-2 1/4 cups white cane sugar
-8 tablespoons pickling spice (in spice bag)
-3/8 cup pickling salt

-12 garlic cloves
-10 teaspoons mustard seed
-Fresh dill

-Canning jars ( I used quart jars for this batch)


Wash Cucumbers


Step 2:
Combine the following and place in a pot:
-pickling spice (in mesh bag or tea diffuser)
-pickling salt
Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.  Then increase to boiling


Step 3:
While bringing the vinegar mixture to a boil.  Sterilize jars.


Combining these two steps into one ensures the jars and the vinegar mixture are ready at the same time.
(pot on left contains vinegar mixture—-pot on right contains glass canning jars)


Once the vinegar mixture has come to a boil you’re ready to move onto the next step.


Step 4: 
Working with one or two jars at a time….place the following in the sterilized jars.
-teaspoon mustard seed
-1 head fresh dill
-1 garlic clove


Step 5:
Next, pack the jar with cucumbers.


Step 6:
-Ladle the hot vinegar mixture over cucumbers
-place lid and rim on jar (following proper canning procedures) and set aside.



Step 7:
Process jars in hot water bath.
I processed these jars for 15 minutes



You’ll end up with approximately 10 quarts of dill pickles





Cherry Jam: Home Canning | Boise Food Photographer

Last Christmas my father-in-law gave me a cook book called “The Blue Chair Jam cookbook”.  Honestly I don’t know if I love any cookbook more than this one.  The gal who wrote this is like the “America’s Test Kitchen” of Jam making.  I do love America’s Test Kitchen so this statement really speaks volumes.
This cookbook goes over all the scientific ins and outs of why things are done plus she divides the book’s recipes into seasons.  In my opinion this is the best thing about the book. Up until owning this book, I had never even attempted making jelly, jam or marmalade.  I certainly had never even imagined trying to make jam in January/February but this year I made 3 different batches of marmalade.
Another thing I find absolutely wonderful about this cookbook is that pectin is never incorporated in the recipe.  She goes over all the details on a fruit by fruit recipe on how to prepare the jam or marmalade so no commercial pectin needs to be added.  You use the natural pectins already found in the fruit… The fruit flavors shine!
My hope is that this post will inspire you to get out, find some fresh fruit and make some jam.


We are fortunate enough to have friends who just bought a house with a pie cherry tree in the backyard. The “Beer Guy” at the Boise Community Food Coop and my husband spend way too much time together.  🙂 They want to brew a “sour cherry beer”, but that isn’t happening this year. All of the cherries I used in my jam were picked from Matt and Arwen’s tree. Luv you guys!!
 So now…….what you’ve all been waiting for…..the recipe.  Straight from the cookbook.

3 pounds + 1 pound pitted tart cherries  (reserve pits)
1 3/4 pounds + 7 ounces white cane sugar
5 3/4 ounces strained, freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 to 4 tablespoons maraschino liqueur

(this photo shows far more than 4 pounds of cherries.  I had 8 pounds of cherries to work with on my first batch. It is easy to scale it up.)


Place 5 spoons in freezer before starting this process.  The reason why is explained later in the post.
Step 1:
Wash Cherries


Step 2:
Remove pits from cherries.
I placed the pitted cherries in the bowl with “Fruit Fresh” to keep the color bright.  I found this especially helpful on my second batch of cherry jam.  I pitted the cherries the night before to save myself some time the following day.
We now have 2 OXO cherry pitters.  8 pounds of little sour cherries was a bunch to pit.  My husband ran out and bought another just to help me. 


Step 3:
Remove the tiny almond like kernel from the center of the cherry pit.
So tedious, but so worth the effort!
My husband came to the rescue once again.  He got out a hammer and gently tapped the pits (between a towel) until they cracked open.  Gathering enough kernels for me to use. You should have about 3 tbsp of them. Eat one, they taste just like amaretto/marachino!


Step 4:
Squeeze lemons


Step 5:
In bowl combine the following:
3 pounds cherries
1 3/4 pounds sugar
5 3/4 ounces lemon juice
3 to 4 tablespoons maraschino liqueur
Mix together and set aside


Step 6:
In a non reactive pot place the following:
1 pound cherries
7 ounces sugar
2 ounces water
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly.  Gradually inching up the heat to medium, until the mixture boils. 



Then cook until the cherries have shriveled and the liquid has become thick and syrupy. 
The mixture should look similar to this when it is ready for the next step.


Step 7:
Once the cherries have shriveled.  Immediately pour the hot cherries into a metal strainer over a bowl.


Step 8:
Press down on cooked cherries.  Draining as much liquid as possible from the fruit.
Discard the cooked cherries and keep the liquid.



Step 9:
Combine the cherry mixture you had set aside earlier with the liquid you just gathered from above.    
Stir well to combine.
Place a tea infuser filled with the cherry kernels into the pot.



Step 10:
Place mixture on stove over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, gradually increasing the heat to high.
Boil rapidly, stirring every few minutes for 10 to 15 minutes.  Monitor the heat closely as you stir; if the jam begins to stick, decrease the heat slightly.
Between stirrings.  Use a stainless steel spoon to skim foam off of mixture. 
After 10 to 15 minutes of boiling….remove the mixture from the heat.  Let rest for a moment.  During this time, scrape off foam.
(Sorry no foam removal photos….my husband was off to friends by this time and I didn’t have an extra hand.)


Step 11:
While you are cooking the mixture from step 10….I suggest you start working on cleaning and sanitizing of jars.  I use the hot water bath method.  It can take awhile for the water to become hot enough to sterilize the glass.


Step 12:
Return the jam to the stove….after the moments rest.  Place over medium high heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently.  If necessary, gradually reduce the heat to prevent scorching.


Step 13:
After about 5 minutes you will want to test the jam for doneness.  To do so, remove the jam from heat.  Place a small amount of jam on a spoon you have just removed from the freezer.  Replace the spoon in the freezer for 3 to 4 minutes.  
Remove from freezer and do a “spoon test”.  To test, you need to tilt the spoon vertically to see whether the jam runs. The jam is finished when it is “reluctant to run and has thickened to a near-jelly consistency”.  If it runs right off the spoon you’ll need to return the jam to the stove and continue cooking.  Periodically retesting the mixture for doneness.
(Again no photo–sorry)


Step 14:
 When jam is done.  Place jam in sterilized canning jars.


Step 15:
Process jars in hot water bath according to the manufacturers directions.
Now you have YUMMY Jam to enjoy all year long. 
This particular batch was a little thick, but there are (no kidding) a pound of cherries in every jar!!



Pickles so easy….Even your husband can make them | Boise Food Photographer

The title is not a lie.  My husband truly did make this recipe, although I’ll admit not completely on his own.  He did need a little guidance from me on the technical aspects of home canning.
His joint interest in home food preservation, along with some reader complaints about my lack of food blogs in recent months, prompted me to get out the camera and document this recipe.  Since it is the season of plentiful gardens…..I have a few other canning recipes already in the works for my loyal readers.  Let’s just say I’ve been busy in the kitchen this past week.
These little pickles are called cornichons.  They are French and are great on a meat and cheese platter.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy!  And as always please browse the internet to find out more about the process of safe home canning methods.   This blog only glosses over the basics.  With a little looking,you’ll find a wealth of information at your finger tips.  Speaking of which … my husband found this particular recipe on the following website:  http://www.punkdomestics.com


2.5 pounds small pickling cucumbers
5 cups of good white wine vinegar (spring for the good stuff, it makes a difference)
7.5 cups of water
6 tbsp of kosher salt
peeled garlic
yellow AND brown mustard seeds
small dried chiles
fresh tarragon stems


Step:  1
Wash cucumbers


Step: 2
Bring Vinegar & salt to a boil 
Step 3:
Sanitize canning jars


Step: 4
Once the jars are properly cleaned and sanitized and your vinegear mixture has come to a boil…….
Remove jars from hot water bath.  Place 1tsp of both mustard seeds, one garlic clove, one chile, and a sprig of tarragon in jar.



Step: 5
Pack jar with cucumbers



Ladle boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers



Secure lids and rims to canning jars


Step:  8
Process in hot water bath
(we processed for 15 minutes)



The pickles will be ready to eat in 1 month.




Bridal Style Shoot / Boise Wedding Photographer {Spurwing Country Club}

A few weeks ago I received a call from Mitchell over at Pink.  She was going to be decorating for a wedding at Spurwing Country Club and asked me if I was willing to come over and take a few shots of her work and if I could incorporate a model. 
Mitchell, provided a dress and found a model for the shoot… on extremely short notice I might add,  and all I had to do was walk around the beautiful grounds of Spurwing and take photos.  
Ashley, my model was a great sport.  She was willing to do anything I asked and willingfully walked around the grounds on a extremely hot sunny day.    Thanks Ashley for being so patient and for volunteering at the last moment!

Adelmann Building Wedding | Tiffany + Richard | Boise Wedding Photographers

Tiffany and Richard have a long history which dates back to junior high.  At the time, they both attended the same school and were both voted in as best dressed in their 8th grade yearbook.  If you ask the two what they thought of the other person way back when….. both agree, they didn’t think much of the each other.
Both had mutual friends but these two did not keep in contact with each other over the 20 or so years since their high school graduation.  Life happened, Tiffany and Richard moved away…. began their careers….had families….and so on. Now… fast forward to the past few years.   Tiffany and Richard reconnected on Facebook as many of us now do as per the suggestion and urging of mutual friends.  They started corresponding, talking on the phone, sending each other messages…….. and traveling to spend time with each other when their schedules allowed.  After months of dating from afar they decided they wanted to be with each other all the time.  They got engaged, moved to Idaho and decided to make their two families into one.  The final big step of this plan was to have a wedding.  Invite all those old high school friends who helped them reconnect and of course have their parents and children on hand to help celebrate.
The wedding day itself was intimate and elegant.  The couple chose the Adelmann Event Center as their venue.  The chandeliers, leather furniture and wood floors had just the touch of elegance Tiffany was looking for in a wedding venue.  Their bridal party consisted of all of their children and they all made a vow to each other during the wedding ceremony.
Congratulations you two!  You make a cute couple and a gorgeous family.
Wedding Vendors:
Ceremony/Reception location:  Adelmann Building
Photographer:  Leap Photography
Decorations & Flowers:  Major Events (Andrea)
Mens Attire:  Sweetheart Manor
Makeup:  Christl Colven
Officiant:  Idaho ceremonies


“First Look”
bride and groom kissing
wedding portraits
outdoor wedding photographywedding shoeswedding rings and bridal bouquet
Tiffany and Richard’s ceremony included  a vow to the children.
wedding ceremony picturewedding ceremony photos
wedding ceremony photo
wedding cake and champagne glasses
urban wedding photo
“First Dance”
First Dance Wedding Photo
urban wedding photo