Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

This is my version of the Olive Salad for the NOLA Cuisine classic sandwich, The Muffuletta! My friend Tom and I always make at least one stop at the Central Grocery on Decatur during a visit to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. You can grab a Muffuletta Sandwich at CG, a beer in a Go-Cup from the liquor store down the street, then sit up on the Riverwalk to watch the barges roll by on the Mississippi; or just flop out in the street like a common Hobo, depending on how hungry you are.
Back to the recipe, I would make this at a few days ahead, it improves with age. Use good quality olives, Hey, good quality everything, right! I’m fortunate enough to have a great Italian market, about a mile from my house called Ventimiglia’s. I also make my own Roasted Red Peppers, I find the jarred variety mushy, plus they’re super easy to make; recipe follows. This Olive Salad Recipe makes enough for one Muffuletta and a few Bruschetta (recipe follows):

Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe

1 1/2 Cups Green Olives, Pitted
1/2 Cup Calamatta Olives (or Black) Pitted
1 Cup Gardiniera (Pickled Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Pepperoncini)
1 Tbsp. Capers
3 each Fresh Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/8 Cup Celery, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano (When I have it in my garden) or 2 tsp. dried
1 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Roasted red peppers (Recipe follows)
1 Tbsp. Green Onions, thinly sliced
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground pepper To Taste (salt may not be necessary)

Crush each olive on a cutting board with your hand. Combine all ingredients. Cover with:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 1 – 1 1/2 Cups

Put into a bowl or jar, cover and let the flavors marry for about one week.

Roasted Red Peppers

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Place 2 Red bell Peppers (remove the blasted sticker!) on a baking sheet, place in the oven. In 15-20 minutes flip it over. Leave it in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, place in a container and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes, this makes the skin come off more easily. Uncover and remove all of the skin, stem and seeds, careful they’re hot! Refrigerate. Great in a number of dishes, Paella, Jambalaya, Sauteed Chorizo or Andouille, Olive salad, you name it.

Olive Salad Bruschetta

Slice a Baguette into 3/4 inch thick slices on the bias, Pop them under the Broiler until they’re golden brown. Break a Garlic clove in half and rub it onto the slices. Top with generous heaps of Olive Salad with plenty of oil & liquid. Serve immediately.

Related Posts:

Central Grocery Muffuletta
My Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
My Muffuletta Bread Recipe
Chargrilled Pizza with Olive Salad

Here is a pic of my Muffuletta:

From Nola Cuisine

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole and Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured here!

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Fil&#233 Powder

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If you’ve ever wondered how Fil&#233 (FEE-lay) Powder is made, or would like to make it yourself, check out THIS LINK! Fil&#233 powder is a NOLA Cuisine Staple, which is made from the ground, young and tender leaves of the Sassafras tree (Sassafras root is the original flavoring of root beer). The Choctaw Indians, native in Louisiana, introduced the use of Fil&#233 to thicken Gumbos and soups. Here is what the 1901 Picayune’s Creole Cookbook had to say on the subject:

First, it will be necessary to explain here, for the benefit of many, that “Fil&#233” is a powder manufactured by the remaining tribe of Choctaw Indians in Louisiana, from the young and tender leaves of the Sassafras. The Indian squaws gather the leaves and spread them out on a stone mortar to dry. When thoroughly dried, they pound the m into a fine powder, pass them through a hair sieve, and then bring the “Fil&#233” to New Orleans to sell, coming twice a week to the French Market, from the old reservation set aside for their home on Bayou Lacombe, near Mandeville, Louisiana. The Indians used Sassafras leaves and the Sassafras for many medicinal purposes, and still set bunches of the dried roots in the French Market for use in tea and tonics. The Creoles, quick to discover and apply, found the possibilities of the powdered Sassafras leaves or “Fil&#233,” and originated the well-known dish “Gumbo Fil&#233.”

One thing to remember about using Fil&#233 in a Gumbo is to never boil it. It becomes stringy and unpleasant. When I use Fil&#233 in a Gumbo, I always add it at the table to be stirred in by the guest. It has a wonderful woodsy, earthy type of flavor.

**Update – 3/26/2005** I recently found a good sized Sassafras tree in a park near my house which I harvested some leaves from. I will post soon (here is the post), with pics of my homemade Fil&#233 powder here in Michigan.

Thanks to Doug, here in Muskegon, Michigan for the email. He says his yard is loaded with Sassafras trees. I’m going to look into getting one for the yard for next spring.

Also, check out my friend Carolyn’s post Sassafras & Fil&#233 at 18thC Cuisine!

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Chicken & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

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Jambalaya is as synonymous with NOLA Cuisine as Gumbo! There are vicious debates about whether the dish is of French or Spanish origin. The word itself is from the French & Spanish word for Ham, Jambon. The a la is French, and the ya is said to be an African word for “Rice”. Personally, I can’t see how someone could dispute the dishes similarity to the Spanish Paella, but hey, my opinion is like everyone else’s: Worthless. Here is what we do know about Jambalaya: It’s delicious! So everyone quick arguing and get cooking! (Although I love that people in Louisiana argue about food!) Here is my recipe:

Chicken & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Andouille Sausage, Diced
1/2 Cup Onion, Diced
1/2 Cup Bell Pepper, Diced
1/2 Cup Celery, Diced
2 Tbsp. Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Tomatoes, Diced
1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
3/4 Cup Enriched Long grain Rice
1 3/4 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Hot Sauce
1 Cup Boneless Chicken Thigh, Diced
(Seasoning Mix: 1/2 tsp Cayenne, 3/4 tsp White Pepper, 1 tsp Kosher Salt, 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme, 1/2 tsp Rubbed Sage, 3 Bay Leaves)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter, saute the Andouille until slightly browned. Add 1/2 of the trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery) saute until tender. Add the Tomato and cook for about one minute, then add the Tomato Sauce, cook 1 minute more. Add the Rice, cook 1 minute. Add the Stock, Worcestershire, Hot Sauce, Garlic, Seasoning Mix, Bay Leaves, the other half of the Trinity, and Raw Chicken. Stir well and bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, but still has a little bite. Top with chopped Parsley, and sliced Green Onions. Put on some Zydeco and enjoy!

Yield: 2-3 servings

**NOTE** You could substitute shrimp or other seafood for the chicken, and seafood stock for the chicken stock. You could also substitute ham, tasso, kielbasa, chorizo, etc, etc… for the Andouille. This dish is great for using up leftovers, its origins are all about stretching ingredients. As long as you keep the liquid/rice ratio you can use whatever you choose.

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Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

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I just finished making a batch of Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream from my newly finished batch of Creole Cream Cheese; frozen heaven, no kidding. There is no better way to describe it than Cheescake reincarnated as Ice Cream, cold creamy decadence. I used the Commander’s Palace recipe with just a few changes. The only mistake I made in making this was making too small of a batch, this makes about 1 quart. Here it is:

Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
6 Large Egg Yolks
2/3 Cup Creole Cream Cheese
1/3 Cup good quality Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche

Combine the Cream, Milk, Sugar, and Vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the mixture just starts to boil, remove from the heat. Put the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl, then temper the yolks with a little of the milk mixture. Combine the two mixtures. then return them to the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, cook the custard until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, 2-4 minutes, DO NOT BOIL. Strain into a mixing bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least a few hours (you want it very cold before it enters the ice cream machine). Meanwhile, combine the Creole Cream Cheese and Sour Cream then put them through a fine mesh sieve, mashing them through with the back of a wooden spoon. When the custard is cold, fold in the Creole Cream Cheese and Sour Cream. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve as is or freeze overnight for a firmer ice cream.

Makes 1 Quart (You’ll wish you had doubled it! My Creole Cream Cheese Recipe makes enough for a double batch of Ice Cream.)

This ice cream would go great with a fruit sauce, just like cheesecake; strawberry, cherry, you name it. But I prefer it all by itself.

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Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

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Creole Cream Cheese used to be widely available in New Orleans, over time however it became harder to find, and never outside of Louisiana. It’s a soft cheese eaten as a breakfast treat, sprinkled with sugar, covered with cream or half & half, and usually fresh fruit. This is what The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook of 1901 had to say about the subject:

Cream Cheese is always made from clabbered milk. The ‘Cream Cheese Woman’ is still as common a sight on our New Orleans streets as the Cala Woman was in the days gone by. She carries a covered basket in which are a number of small perforated tins in which the Cheeses are. In her other hand she carries a can of fresh Cream. She sells her wares to her regular customers, for the old Creoles who do not make their own Cream Cheese are very particular as to whom they buy from, and when once a good careful, clean woman gets a ‘customer’ she keeps her during her period of business, coming every fast day and Friday with her Cheese and Cream, for this is a great fast-day breakfast and luncheon dish.

The “Cream Cheese Woman” has long ago gone the way of the “Cala Woman”, but fortunately for me, I enjoy making it myself. It’s a fairly long but very simple process; combined, about 10 minutes of actual work. Rennet is a coagulating enzyme which comes from a young animal’s stomach, but there are also vegetable varieties. It comes in liquid or tablet form, I use the liquid animal variety. Although I had a hard time finding it in my area, you may find it in tablet form in the baking aisle at your grocer. If not, do what I did and order it from Cheese Supply(dot)com. The shipping is a little steep for just a small item, so I ordered some Manchego, Cheesecloth, and a few other items to pad the bill. The recipe:

Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

2 Quarts Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
8 drops Liquid Rennet or 2 tablets
Cheesecloth

Combine the skim and buttermilk in a good sized saucepan. Over medium heat bring the mixture to 110 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Pour the heated mixture into a large, non-metal bowl. Add the rennet, stir and cover with cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. After a few hours there should be chunks (Curds) and liquid (Whey), try to keep Miss Muffet at bay. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, then spoon the curds into the colander, try to keep them intact. Let this drain for 1 hour or until it is one solid piece. Discard the Whey, or make Ricotta, which is made from cooked Whey. I haven’t tried it yet, but next time I will. Place gently into a bowl and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve with sugar, half & half, and fresh fruit.

*New* I have another recipe for Creole Cream Cheese that says you cannot use Homogenized milk. I’ll have to locate some to see if there is any difference in the finished product. The same recipe states you can substitute reconstituted dry skim milk. Another variation in this recipe is the use of Plain Yogurt as the culture, in place of the buttermilk. I will post when I try this.

There are some companies making this product:

Chef John Folse’s Bittersweet Plantation Dairy
Mauthe’s Creole Cream Cheese, although their website isn’t working.

Recipes using Creole Cream Cheese:

Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream

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A Variety Of Uses For Creole Sauce

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Now that I’ve given my basic recipe for Creole Sauce, here are some examples of its versatility within NOLA Cuisine. Keep in mind, my recipe for Creole Sauce is pretty small, 2-3 servings.

Catfish Courtbouillon (COO-B-yawn) Creole Sauce made with Dark Roux and Seafood stock. Simmer the sauce with 4-5 lemon slices, add Catfish cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. For my small recipe I would use about an 8-10 oz. Piece of Catfish. Serve over Creole Boiled Rice.

Grillades & Grits (GREE-yahds) Creole Sauce made with dark roux and beef, veal or pork stock. I use Round Steak 1 lb. cut into 2 inch squares about 1/2 inch thick. Dredge the Grillades in flour mixed with Creole seasoning. Heat about 3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil in a dutch oven until almost smoking, brown them very well (in batches if necessary). Cover the Grillades with Creole Sauce, add a little water or beef stock to make it slightly thin, the sauce will reduce while cooking. Simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Serve over Grits.

Sauce Piquant This is a Cajun sauce which can contain almost any varmint imaginable. Alligator, Turtle, Squirrel, Rabbit, Shrimp, Chicken, Crawfish, et cetera. This is basically Creole sauce which is very, very hot; which makes it a Cajun Sauce. I would add about 1/4 cup hot peppers (Jalapenos if they’re hot ones (they’re not as hot as they used to be), or Serranos) for my small Creole Sauce recipe. Make it with a comparable stock to the main ingredient. Make it similar to the Courtbouillon. I don’t usually use a thickening agent for this sauce, if I do its a Dark Roux. Serve this dish over rice.

Shrimp Creole Make your Creole Sauce with Shrimp stock. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to find heads on shrimp, do so. Simmer the shrimp (about a pound) in the sauce until just cooked through, serve immediately over rice with plenty of sauce.

Creole Choron Sauce This sauce goes great with seafood, particularly Soft Shell Crab. Equal parts Creole Sauce & Bearnaise Sauce mixed together.

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Creole Sauce Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)

Creole Sauce is extremely verstile in NOLA Cuisine and Louisiana cooking in general. It is the basis for so many dishes, when you come right down to it, with just slight variations for each, so I’m going to try to break this down as I see it, but first things first. My recipe for Creole Sauce. This is a loose recipe, keep in mind everyone has their own, whether they call it Red Gravy, Creole Tomato Sauce, Sauce Piquant (which isn’t exactly the same but darned similar), but they all contain the same basic ingredients:

Tomatoes, Holy Trinity (Onion, Celery, Bell Pepper), Garlic, Some kind of Stock (usually chicken, more on this later), Cayenne, Hot Sauce, Bay Leaf, Seasonings (Salt & pepper or maybe a Creole seasoning, almost always Thyme), Green Onions and Parsley.

These are what I consider the basics for a Creole Sauce. Here is how I make a small batch (it’s usually just my wife and I, so this makes enough for dinner and a little left over for use in another recipe) of basic Creole Sauce:

Creole Sauce Recipe

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Julienned
2 Stalks Celery, Julienned
1 small Bell Pepper, Julienned
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (14 1/2 oz.) or Same amount Fresh from the Garden
Stock to cover, about 2 cups
2 Fresh Bay leaves
Salt, Black Pepper, Thyme (dried), Cayenne, White Pepper all To Taste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce, To Taste (I use Crystal Hot Sauce)
2 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
3 Thinly sliced Green Onions
Corn Starch Slurry (2 Tbsp. Corn starch/2 Tbsp Water) or Dark Roux
depending on the dish.
**Note** If you don’t want to use a thickening agent, simply reduce the sauce until it is the correct consistency.

Heat the oil over medium heat, add the Trinity and saute until slightly wilted. Add the Garlic and Tomatoes and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Cover with the stock by 1/2 inch, add Bay Leaves and a small amount of seasoning, bring to a boil; lower to a simmer. If using Roux, add at this point. Not too much, maybe 1-2 Tablespoons. If it gets too thick, add a little more stock or water. It should be loose but not too watery. Simmer about 20 minutes. Add the seasonings and Hot sauce to taste. Add the Worcestershire Sauce, Parsley and Green Onions. If using the slurry, Bring to a boil then add the slurry, a little at a time until it is the right consistency. It should be tight, but not watery. Not too thick, not too thin. Remove the Bay leaves.

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First You Start with a Roux

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A lot of Acadian and Creole recipes start this way. Roux is the foundation for most dishes in NOLA Cuisine: Gumbo, Crawfish Pie, Courtbouillon (COO-be-yon), Grillades, etc… Making a good Roux is essential! This isn’t the French Roux, I’m talking about here! This is the Acadian Roux, that deep chocolate colored Roux that makes Gumbo what it is! I like cookbooks with some history in them, you know, where the dish came from, the evolution, that sort of thing. Cajun & Creole Cookbooks are great for this, the first recipe I read when I get a new one is ROUX. Usually Chapter One. It’s fascinating how something as simple as cooked flour and fat, can be so different in each cookbook. I don’t always cook my Roux the same, I like to experiment. One thing that I do differently than a lot of cookbooks is, not only do I cook the roux in advance, but I add it after the liquid. I find that I have more control over the consistency of the dish this way, especially if I’m making a huge batch of a Gumbo or Soup. Just remember, only add cold roux to hot liquid, or cold liquid to hot roux. Also, Roux doesn’t come to its full thickening power until it boils, and Dark Roux doesn’t have as much thickening power as a White Roux. If you do make your Roux ahead, it keeps well in the fridge for a long time. Anyway, here is the latest way that I made my roux:

1 Cup Homemade Rendered Lard (Hey, what can I say? Lard has the best flavor! You can use Vegetable Oil though.)
1 3/4 Cup A.P. Flour ( I always gradually add the flour, you may need more or less. It should be thick, but not clumpy)
1 or 2 Bottles of Good quality Beer, like Dixie or Abita (optional)

Heat you lard over Medium Heat until good and hot, while the oil is heating, open a beer. Gradually whisk in your flour until smooth. At this time, I generally switch to a wooden spoon, it gets into the crevices better; take a sip of beer. You want to stir constantly, but not too fast, this is a southern dish. Slow down, have some beer. Picture a streetcar lazily lumbering down St. Charles Avenue. I can remember my mentor Chef watching as I whisked my Roux as if it were a bowl of egg whites. He said, “What are you doing? Let it cook! If you stir too fast, it cools down. It needs to cook!” I always think of that when I make Roux. However, you do want to keep that Roux movin’. If it starts getting too brown as you stir, pull that baby of the burner for a minute, lower the heat a smidge, and For God’s sake, Don’t splash it on your skin, Chef Paul calls it Cajun Napalm, you’ll know what he means if it gets you. I gradually lower the heat as I cook Roux. Anyway, after about 10-12 minutes on the streetcar, the roux will start to look like wet sand, peanut butter colored. Drink some beer (I failed to mention, every shade of brown the roux turns, you should have a gulp of beer). Take it nice and slow, turning the heat down if necessary, opening another beer if necessary. In about 10-12 more minutes, Your Roux will look like milk chocolate. This is where I get off the streetcar, a lot of cooks take it further down the line, but this is my stop. I then let it cool at room temperature for awhile, then cover and chill.

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Creole Seasoning Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

Another staple in my kitchen is a good Creole Seasoning. A lot of folks use Tony Chachere’s, or Chef Paul’s, but I like to make my own, it’s easy if you have all the spices on hand, plus you have control over the heat and salinity. One of the many things I like about Paul Prudhomme’s Cookbooks, is that he gives a seasoning mix recipe for each dish. He always uses 3 peppers in every seasoning: Black, White, and Cayenne, because they all touch a different place on your tongue. What I like to do is make a base seasoning which I can add on to for each dish. For instance, if I want a Southwest seasoning, I add cumin, chipotle, and ancho chili powder. You can also omit the salt if you prefer. This is a my basic Creole Seasoning Recipe:

My Creole Seasoning Recipe

1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/3 Cup Paprika
1/4 Cup Granulated Garlic
4 Tbsp Onion Powder
1/3 Cup Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp White Pepper
2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Dried Thyme
2 Tbsp Dried Basil
1 Tbsp Dried Oregano

Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight jar or plastic container.

Makes about 10 oz.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Barbecue Rub Recipe
Homemade File Powder Recipe

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Worcestershire Sauce Recipe

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Whenever I make this homemade Worcestershire Sauce I let it age for at least 2 weeks before using. You can use it in place of Lea & Perrins or other any other commercial Worcestershire Sauce. It has a unique flavor that is sweeter, thicker, and spicier than the store bought variety. It’s wonderful in marinades! I adapted this recipe from the Commander’s Kitchen Cookbook. Tamarind (or Tamarindo) is a pod fruit native to tropical Africa and not so native to most grocery stores. I’ve found it jarred in paste form in Indian markets and fresh in one really great produce market. The paste is more convenient, but I like working with exotic fresh ingredients, so I’ve used both.

Homemade Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Medium Onions, Chopped
5 Serrano or Jalapeno Chilies, Chopped
10 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
2 oz. Anchovy Fillets
4 Cups Water
2 Quarts Distilled White Vinegar
2 Cups Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup
2 Cups Dark Corn Syrup
1 Cup Molasses
1 tsp. Whole Cloves
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Peeled and Chopped Lemons
3 Tbsp Tamarind Paste
1/2 lb Fresh Horseradish, Peeled & Grated

Combine the Oil, Onions, Chilies, and Garlic in a Heavy Dutch Oven (I pefer Cast Iron), saute until the Onions are slightly softened. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 3 hours. Strain. Refrigerate.

**If you like, put this in sterilized mason jars, screw on hot lids tightly, and place in a hot water bath, covering the jars by 1 inch. Boil for 15 minutes then remove and let cool. Check the seals, tighten the lids. Keep in a cool, dark place indefinitely. Refrigerate after opening.

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