Of course I can

IMG_3119I love canning season! All those beautiful jars of jam, relishes, fruit and pickles. I tried a couple new recipes this year. One is for pickles, from Jeremie’s aunt. This was an old school recipe, not at all approved by the USDA, so hopefully we won’t all die of botulism. Her dill pickles were world-renown, and we hope mine live up to that reputation. Seedless blackberry jam. Hooray for gleaning from friend’s patches! Hooray for steam canners. This was practically effortless. IMG_3123We picked berries from a friend’s patch on a cool overcast day. After steaming the berries, the clear juice boiled into a beautiful, smooth jelly. Water-bath canned for 5 minutes and whew! Out of the kitchen. All this canning went down on a week when our air was out. So I fired up the propane stove and did the canning outside. But the inside kitchen was still steamy with jar lids simmering, jam boiling, steam canner steaming, oven-sterilizing the jars, dishwasher going. But the fruit and berries come ripe when they will, not according to my schedule. Next week the new air conditioning unit will be here, Lord willing, right in time for the bulk of the tomatoes!IMG_3120

Fall is for apples!

IMG_0066What’s better about fall than making applesauce with all those gorgeous fall apples??!!! My recipe is a little complicated, but oh! so worth it. Follow the recipe carefully for some of the most delicious applesauce you’ve ever eaten. IMG_0070I’ve been told it tastes like apple pie filling, but better! Wash, peel and slice your apples. Cook them over med high heat in a covered stock pot. When soft, add 2 tsp of cinnamon. Voila! That’s all. It truly is delicious applesauce. We like to leave it chunky, full of tasty bits of apple. IMG_0064Can it in a water bath canner for 20 (for quarts) and you’ll be able to enjoy this special treat all winter long. I also freeze some, to no ill effect, for a different option. I used all the cores and peelings to make apple juice. It was a breeze in my steam juicer!IMG_0176

You say Potato, I say Patatoh

Canning potatoes. Not something I’ve ever done before. But inspired by a good friend who got a great deal on organic potatoes from the local food buying club, I learned how! Washing, chopping, blanching, canning. It was a big day! IMG_9921We started right after breakfast and went til after midnight. One of the jars didn’t seal, so we got a chance to taste and see just what canned potatoes would be like. I fried them up in the cast iron skillet with butter and a few spices. They were done in 5 minutes and tasted nice and crisp! We like to have fried potatoes for breakfast with eggs, but it’s always a hassle waiting for the potatoes to cook. Now breakfast can be on the table in minutes!IMG_9925 The more I use the pressure canner, the easier it is. I still check and double check and triple check the times and gauge readings, but usually I am able to step away and do a few other tasks while the jars are being processed. IMG_9926

Work now, Feast later

Whew! Does everything come in from the garden at the same time?! My canner and propane cooker have sure gotten a workout these past few days. I’ve never canned green beans before, but I’ve eaten the bounty of others’ work before. Boy, are they delicious! So 100 jars of beans? Hope so!IMG_9027 Here’s my favorite method of canning tomatoes. The resulting sauce can be used for a delicious marinara sauce over pasta. For a savory pizza sauce. It’s very versatile. And I love knowing that everything in it comes from the garden. First, roast washed and halved tomatoes in the oven under high heat. We’re talking hot, like 450. For 40 minutes. Believe me it’s worth heating up the kitchen for this deep, smoky flavor. A lot of the juices will run out of the tomatoes so make sure to put them on a rack on top of the baking sheet. IMG_9025Then take those fire burned beauties and whiz them up in the blender. To 8 sheets of tomatoes I added 4 smallish red onions, 10 garlic cloves, a large handful of basil and a couple tablespoons of salt. I kept the sauce on low in a stockpot to keep it warm while the tomatoes all were getting roasted. Water bath can them for 35 minutes. To be on the safe side you can add 1T of lemon juice or 1/4 tsp of citric acid to each quart jar. The smell in the kitchen during this process was mouth-watering!

I’m feelin’ a little saucy!

I was just on the verge of ordering apples from our bulk co-op when a neighbor stopped by and offered to let us pick apples from her tree. Just a few doors down from us, we headed out later that day. The picking was easy, and the weather was balmy. “What will you do with all these apples?” she asked me. Hmmm…. applesauce, apple pie, dried apple rings, apple leather, baked apples, apple juice. They will all be put to good use!grape juice and apples (4)

putting it by…

Applesauce this time. We have frozen applesauce, dried apple rings, apple leather, and of course, lots of canned applesauce. I’ve been told our applesauce tastes like apple pie filling. We don’t add anything to the apples but a smidgen of cinnamon. We like it really chunky, so after cooking the apple slices for a while I just stir them around in the pot to incorporate the cinnamon. Easy peasy. applesauce11-13driedapples