Antipasto Sunday (revisited)

23 Jan

I’ve been making antipasto with a group of friends for the last several years.  With a little advance preparation – and good notes from previous years – we’ve crafted a solid system that turns out nearly 100 delish jars in a Sunday afternoon.  It’s a busy, but enjoyable, day in the kitchen.  We start this serious kitchen session by securing just enough counter space for the prosecco and cheese plate.  As we start chopping, perfect piles of cracker-sized vegetables begin to cover every usable kitchen surface. By the time the stockpots are sputtering, we’ve discussed, laughed and solved all manner of first-world problems (all the while improving our knife technique).   Soon the processed jars are lifted out of the monolithic pressure canners and left to cool on the dining room table.  Antipasto is a delicious addition to a casual holiday spread, and makes for a fantastic gift (especially when paired with good tuna and crackers).

Here’s my advice on organizing, preparing and making your own antipasto.  Before grabbing the carrots out of your crisper, be sure to read the entire post as you’ll need to purchase and collect some of these items in advance.  I recommend doing some of the work a day or two a head of time.

ONE: Ingredients List

Antipasto calculator - Sheet1 (1)

TWO: Equipment List (Organized by station)

PREP STATION

  • Scale: to weigh ingredients
  • Can opener
  • Colander: to rinse vegetables
  • Vegetable peeler

CUTTING STATION

  • Cutting board
  • Favorite chopping knife
  • Several large bowls for chopped vegetables and compost

COOKING STATION

  • Large stock pot(s): for every batch you will need one
  • Large wooden/metal stirring spoon
  • Measuring cups

STERILIZATION STATION

  • Clean jars, new lids, screw bands
  • Baking sheets for heating mason jars in the oven

CANNING STATION

  • Canning funnel
  • Large spoon: for filling jars
  • Clean cloth: for wiping down filled jar rims
  • Water bath or pressure canner
  • Jar tongs
  • Timer
  • Cooling racks

THREE: Instructions

Shopping (2 hours, do in advance)

We divided the fresh vegetables from the grocery items and made two lists.  One for the market and the other for a big box retailer.  (I would have done all my shopping locally except the price difference was shocking; ketchup alone at my normal store would’ve cost nearly $50!) Price-checking is especially worthwhile when making a large batch.  This year we made ninety 250ml jars for $96.91: slightly more than a dollar each.  This doesn’t of course, include the mason jars themselves.

Cooking Day (3 person hours per batch)

Prep the rest of your vegetables.  Crack open all the tins/jars and drain.  Start pouring prosecco.

  1. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to boil in stockpot.

  2. Set oven to 240 degrees F and sterilize jars for at least 20 minutes. (Repeat as necessary)

  3. Add carrots and onions and bring back up to a boil.

  4. Add cauliflower and peppers and bring back to a boil.

  5. Stir in mushrooms and eggplant and bring to boil.

  6. Test for doneness with a skewer.  Remove from stove when barely tender.

  7. Drain well and return to stockpot.

  8. Add all of the remaining ingredients.

  9. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently and gently to prevent the vegetables from burning.

  10. Ladle mixture into hot sterilized jars.  Leave 1 inch headspace.

  11. Wipe the top of the jars with a cloth to ensure a clean seal with the lid.  Cover with heated lid and lightly tighten band.

  12. Process: 15 minutes from boil if using a water bath, 10 minutes @ 15psi if using a pressure canner.

  13. Carefully remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed.  The lids will pop to indicate they are sealed.  Reprocess or refrigerate any unsealed jars (there’s always a few…)

Store your antipasto in a cool, dark place for up to one year.  You can serve as it is, or by adding 1/2 of flaked tuna to each 250ml jar.  Serve with bread or crackers.  Revel in feelings of productivity.

Resources
Handy volume to weight calculator
Editable food labels from Lia Griffith
General water-bath method via Bernardin
All-American pressure canning manual

 

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