Canning While Remodeling

Our kitchen is in major disarray. No cabinets remain except the one that is holding up the sink. No cabinets mean no counters. The stove gets moved around on a daily basis, so it could be anywhere at any given time.

With the garden slow to produce this summer I have not had to figure out how to preserve and can food. That was a little blessing in disguise, but as I shared recently, we did all that we could to extend our season and the fruits of our bounty are now here and awaiting attention.

With the assistance of a couple carts on wheels from the basement I put together a nice area to can in.

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The long cart is actually longer than my previous counter so I had an added luxury here of space. After I set up everything, I was on a roll.

First came the whole tomatoes. This is just the first round of many to come and it felt so good to be canning after a long summer’s wait. I love the clickity clack of the canner as it comes and stays on a boil.

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I am not sure if it is the late harvest or what the cause, but the tomatoes peeled beautifully this year. Better than years past. Blanching and ice water is my typical process (sometimes I roast them), but the skins literally slid off for me making the process fast. Before I knew it I was done smashing whole tomatoes into jars and they were hanging out in the canner.

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Seven pints came out looking good.

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With that under my belt and my rolling carts working so well, I decided to tackle the tomatillos. We have already had several harvests of these. For those of you that grow these you know that quantity is never an issue! They are pretty prolific. Previously I roasted them with jalapenos and garlic, pureed with some cilantro and we ate it right away and then froze a bunch too. With the canner hot and ready I decided to can this round of them. I still roasted the jalapenos, but not the tomatillos.

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I simmered onions, jalenpenos, tomatillos, red peppers and lots of seasonings. And I mean lots– I thought the cumin said TBL when it actually said tsp in the recipe. Good thing we like it!

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It turned out beautifully- I got 8 1/2 pints and 1 full pint. It smelled so fantastic. I can’t wait to dump some on top of a burrito or quesadilla or eggs.

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I still had a little time left and the canner was still hot and available. I made some terrific chunky Italian tomato sauce and threw it in as well. That produced 7 jars as well I still have a ways to go on the preserving, but I made a good dent! I froze some peppers and put the basil in the dehydrator. All in all and great day! Since my pantry is a bit cluttered right now, I cooled my jars on my currently empty shelves in the dining room area.

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The day gave me hope that even with a kitchen torn up I could figure out how to do this. When our contractor came last night he asked me if it was ok to work. He said his mom did not like movement in the house on canning days. ūüôā

Do you like canning? Freezing? Just eating it fresh?

Happy Unleashing!
FGU

Roasted Tomato Sauce- Canning Recipe

San MarzanoI love, love, love tomatoes in the summertime and like I have said lately, I am still in summer. I have so many tomatoes to eat and preserve, I am in heaven. The apples and pumpkins are just going to have to wait on me to catch up!

I have canned a lot of tomatoes as of late and this week I decided to can tomato sauce instead. I have not canned sauce before so I was excited to give this a whirl.

I love roasted tomatoes and thought instead of blanching and peeling the tomatoes to prep them I would roast them.  I had read you can do this and I went about taking this for a run. I had a full Homer bucket of San Marzanos and thought they would make the perfect sauce. I washed them, halved them and popped them on large cookie sheets with the skin side up. No oil or seasonings; just red tomatoes.

I had 3 full size trays and 2 half trays in the oven. Let the roasting begin!

cookie sheet

In Oven

They roasted so beautifully.  I decided not to peel them but to simply remove them from the tray and get them in the Vitamix. The tomatoes right off the sheets were good enough to eat. I had to restrain myself!

Off the sheet

Roasted

Blend

After the Vitamix I had this…

after blender

The skins were taken care of by the Vitamix, but I had seeds.  I wanted to remove them for this sauce. That is optional, but I put this sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds and then brought it to a boil.

Sauch

I used my Ball book for processing instructions and started canning the sauce and ended up with the most lovely product ever. I am looking forward to opening these during the cold days of winter!

out of the canner

I am also going to make some more! Six jars will not last I can guarantee!

Are you still harvesting and preserving summer?

Happy Unleashing,

FGU

 

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.

Salsa

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!

FGU

Freezer Jam!

There is nothing so yummy and decedent as freshly made jam.  This recipe is so easy you can have strawberry jam in no time; freeze the extras Рif it survives that long.

If you have never made jam and think that it is too hard, think again! ¬†Easy and yummy…what could be better.

Here we go:

Start with fresh strawberries–make sure you know your source. ¬†You want organic or those that come from a farm you trust (or your own garden that you have kept free from pesticides). ¬†Remember these are on the list of “The Dirty Dozen” which means these little guys absorb whatever is put on them.

Rinse them well and cut them up:

 

Fresh Strawberries   Rinse  Cut

 

Then smash them up with a potato masher or something similar.  You still want it chunky.  Then measure out 1 2/3 c of strawberries, add one package of powdered fruit pectin and 2/3 c of sugar.  You can also look up other recipes on the web, but they are all pretty similar.

Alton Brown adds a dash of pepper.  YES! Pepper!  Add about 1/8 tsp.  Trust me on this one!

Sugar and Pectin  Pepper

Then stir for 3 minutes with a wooden spoon.

Now you are ready for the jars; make sure they are clean jars made for canning/freezing.  For this I like the small Ball Freezer containers.  Funnel in your jam to the fill line on the container.  This recipe will fill 2.

Fill  Rest

Let the jars sit for 30 minutes.  Then add the lid.  You can make more jam in the  30 minutes if you are hooked at this point.  I did!

Finished Strawberry Jam

You are now ready to freeze, fridge or EAT!  I choose the latter on fresh baked, whole wheat bread that my hubby baked.

Eat

 

Recipe amounts for 2 jars:

1 2/3 C Crushed Strawberries

2/3 C Sugar

1 package of Powdered Fruit Pectin

1/8 tsp Pepper

Try it and let me know what you think!  It is fun and easy and there is nothing like eating jam that you have just made or taking some out of the freezer in the winter when strawberry season is far away.

Unleash your inner farmgirl today!