Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Canning Extravaganza!

So every year I usually get tons of produce from my parents garden up in the wine country. We get everything from peaches, nectarines, strawberries, tomatoes, squash, cucumber and sooooo much more. I usually end up with boxes of stuff and if I don't get rid of it quickly, it will end up going bad in a matter of days. In order to make the most out of this yummy fresh produce, about five years ago my mom taught me how to can. It's so satisfying to open a jar of tomatoes in the middle of winter knowing that it was picked and processed by my own two little hands.

Since little Serafin has been born, it has been difficult for me to
find the time to can, but when one of my best friends took a canning class, it in
spired me to pull out my canner and get back to work! Plus it was a perfect blogging topic! Since I was a bit rusty, she and I decided to do it together, and thank goodness, because I learned that some of my ways were not so, um, well, shall we say, . . .
fit to protocol. Although to this date I still haven't contracted Salmonella poisoning (knock on wood), I do recommend getting a good book and being sure you know what you are doing (even if grandma insists that it's kosher). There are some essential steps needed in order to ensure yummy healthy food.

I'm not gonna give you a blow-by-blow of our evening, that would take forever, canning is a long process, but here's the outline of our evening!

The goods, . . . since the tomatoes were still green in the garden, I decided to get some from the farmer's market, they looked so nice and juicy, I couldn't resist.

Here's a picture of all our gear. Between the two of us we had three canners and about 30 jars.

Since I only have one of those halogen stove tops, we decided to do it at her place, she has a five burner gas stove, I highly recommend it, canners are big!

While jars sterilized, we blanched tomatoes, removed their skins, and cut them to get them ready for the jars. Four boxes of tomatoes is a lot. More than a lot. In fact, I WAY overestimated on the amount of tomatoes we would need. I kept looking over to see how much we had finished and the tomatoes just kept coming. We didn't even get to the last box. We did, however, have the perfect amount of jars for three boxes of tomatoes. We packed them in with lemon juice, the acid keeps bacteria from growing and preserves them for longer.
Wipe the rims, add the tops and you are ready to put them in the canner!

Canning away!

And the results, . . .

Dinner the following evening, . . . stuffed tomatoes and peppers, who would have thought?

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