Indulging (and preserving) the Harvest Part 2

The harvest continues to come in. I am by no means an expert at canning. This is only my 3rd year doing this, but I do love it. Last weekend we canned 60 pounds of San Marzanos and Granderos (both Roma tomatoes). We also had some tomatillos that I used for salsa.

My kitchen corner was a busy place. It is a little crowded in that space for this task, but I made it work. I am excited about our kitchen remodel which will gain me about 80 inches of counter space! I will be in heaven.

Busy Kitchen

Tools of the trade:

Canning Tools

I was super excited to use the Weck Jars that Rachael gifted me at Christmas. They were the first to go in the water bath!

Four Jars

Making the salsa was delightful and colorful. Look at that.


I have not grown tomatillas before but we love them. I am really excited to be canning some Salsa Verde for future use!

Tomatillo Salsa

All in all for my first day canning of the season the takeaway was pretty and much larger than last year. Tomatoes, tomato jam, two kinds of salsa and dried tomatoes all await a winter day for opening and eating.

Jars of Tomatoes

The big news is that although this is the most I have ever canned before there is so much more waiting. I have been with my mom since 9/10 as she had surgery (she is recouping nicely) and hubby has been sending me pictures. Our green beans are so full and heavy that they totally took out the trellis from weight! He rebuilt it for the little guys. Our cucumbers I understand are waiting to be pickled and we have “1000’s of tomatoes” waiting for a canning jar. He told me that he went and bought several flats of ball jars that are waiting in the kitchen for me!

Can you say Christmas presents???

How’s your harvest and preserving coming along? Done or in the middle like me?

Happy Unleashing!


Drying My Cayenne Peppers

pickedpeppersAs a newbie at gardening some of my judgment calls were a little off when I decided on plants and how many of them were needed last spring.  Yellow pear tomatoes were one of those.  We had 10s of thousands of those.  They are super yummy, but even after I pulled the plants we were still harvesting from them. 🙂

Peppers were no exception—poblanos anchos, cayenne and habaneras were bountiful to say the least!  I charred the poblanos/anchos and froze them. They will be a welcome addition to many recipes in the next few months.  The habeneros had limited use actually for us.  I LOVE hot, but these are a little too hot and I cannot serve a dish in them for company!  They were awesome however in making pepper/garlic spray to keep the bugs away and the garden smelled like salsa every time I sprayed (no complaints there!).

The cayenne peppers are so pretty on the plant and I can use them in some of my dishes.  BUT these plants put out ALOT! So I decided to dry them and make my own crushed pepper to sprinkle no things instead of buying the stuff at the store.  Have you ever dried with a dehydrator? I did not have one so I compared many and this is what I got-Nesco FD80.  I have dried basil so I figured I would give it a try on the peppers.

I picked a bunch, rinsed them and then started slicing them in half.  Remove as many of the seeds as you can. WEAR GLOVES and don’t touch your face or eyes while you do this unless you really enjoy that burning feeling.

gloves  removeseeds

Then lay them flat in the dehydrator. They should not be touching.  They need the airflow to dry.


The length of time and the settings are based on your dehydrator.  It took my peppers about 48 hours to dry.  When they came out I gave them a whirl in my small food processor.


Oh my goodness, did I sneeze while this was chopping!  My hubby walked in the room and started at it also! 🙂  It was pretty funny!

Look how pretty they are?  I used a little glass jar that I had washed and saved.  I cannot wait to sprinkle this on some pasta or pizza or kale… or whatever!


Do you dry any of your food?

Happy Halloween and Happy Unleashing!