Canned!

I promise I have not accumulated yet another hobby. Canning isn’t so much a hobby as it is a life skill. I’ve wanted to can for quite some time and after falling headlong into farmers’ markets(now that could become a hobby!), and seeing such great deals on fresh produce, I decided it was time to try my hand at it.

What started out as this(sans peppers, they are for something else):

Almost ready...

Is now this:

Tomato-Basil Sauce

And this:

Pickles!

Let’s talk about what I’ve learned, shall we?

I’ve learned that only certain produce can be canned in a waterbath, and since I’m a chicken I won’t be getting a pressure canner for a while, so that means I’m limited to things like tomatoes, pickles, and certain fruits. But that didn’t stop me from jumping in ‘half-hog’.

The tomato sauce is orange because I didn’t remove the skins before pureeing them. Oops. I actually had read about blanching them and placing them in ice water to get the skins to just slide right off but I wound up following a different recipe which called for straining after pureeing. Which of course didn’t work, so there are bits of skin in there. No biggie. I was also advised to just keep letting it boil down for it to turn red, but then I probably would have been left with a spoonful, since I only started with 9 tomatoes which resulted in just the two jars. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to tasting it, but based on the overall consistency I might be better off calling it a soup rather than a sauce. Oh well, live and learn.

Now on to the pickles. Who doesn’t love pickles!? Well, other than Mr. BeanKnit.. ;) But I adore them. Once I got into trolling browsing the various local farmers’ markets, I realized what great deals there are to be had and decided I could save money by canning my own pickles. For a little less than the price of a commercially made jar(at least where I live), I could get 4 times as much! So I picked up 6 lbs of kirby cucumbers and got started. It was much simpler than the tomato soup/sauce and I even had a few extra spears to make refrigerator pickles. I knew I should have gotten that 5th jar! ;) I have to wait a few weeks for the flavors to really kick in, and that’s going to be the hardest part, perhaps.

I also learned there is some truth to the old adage, “A watched pot never boils.”. This is especially true when prepping a 21-qt canning pot. Between traveling to the markets and the canning process itself, I was able to get in some knitting. I put some serious rows on the toe-up socks I’ve been working on, but I’m almost done, so look for an FO shot in the next post, as well as a finished Eileen back.

TTFN!

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7 comments on “Canned!

  1. bezzie says:

    And yesterday was National Can It Forward Day–how fitting!

  2. Zonda says:

    I used to make pickles, have fun eating them. Something so good about homemade ones. No one else will eat them in my family so I stopped a long time ago. Jams/jelly’s are fun to can as well. Hoping the tomatoes taste good for you.

  3. ramblingdesigns says:

    I love the pictures! :) I usually can and pickle myself, but this year I am too lazy…Good for you to try your hand at it. You’ll see, they will be the most amazing pickles you ever had! I kid you not! You can now customise them to your personal liking instead of buying the ones off the shelf! I don’t pickle enough for us to never buy pickles in the shop, but every now and then to have some home made pickles is a great treat! :)

  4. So I’m your New Jersey counterpart. I have huge cukes and tomatoes and yellow squash. Also huge jalapeno peppers and wonderful collard greens. I blanched my tomatoes and removed the skin then diced them and stored them using my food saver. I don’t like hot stuff but I grow hot peppers so I’m going to make hot pepper sauce. Recipe calls for boiling vinegar and pouring it over peppers and storing in a dark cabinet for three weeks at least. Then I read another recipe and it says look out for mold. Really? Anyway I’m going to try it. Another recipe says add corn oil to help cut down on the probability of mold. I’ll let you know what happens

  5. Necia says:

    Check you out! I love it, and Im so impressed!

  6. patrice says:

    Will the pickles actually taste like store pickles when they are done?

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