Monday, July 9, 2012

in the jars

This weekend I did little else but hang out in the kitchen with my canner.  I'm not sure what possessed me to come home with 35 lbs of scratch and dent tomatoes (they were cheap!), 5 lbs of green beans, and a half bushel of peaches all in the same weekend, but I clearly bit off more than I could chew.  (Did I mention that I knew it was a distinct possibility that I could be called out of town to stay with a friend whose family is going through a hard time?) The pressure was on! (No pun intended at the expense of my trusty friend, the pressure canner.)

About 25 lbs of the tomatoes simmered all day Saturday with onions, green peppers and spices to make about 9 quarts of spaghetti sauce. I strained the last 2 bowls of tomatoes after I peeled and chopped them and froze about 2 pints of juice, which I thought might save a bit of simmer time. I'll use the juice this winter to add to chili and soups where the extra juice is appreciated. The remaining 10 lbs of tomatoes I canned plain.  The green beans became dilly beans, using the recipe from Food in Jars.

The peaches just begged to be made into peach salsa after my friend, Jenni, brought us some that she canned last month.  I used the jalapenos from my own garden, and they were quite spicy for jalapenos!  I'm intrigued to see how hot the salsa is from those little guys!

I also canned about 20 lbs of peaches with some very light syrup to eat this winter.  I thought I might freeze some of the rest, but they aren't quite ripe enough for freezing, so they'll likely become snacks over the next few days.

In previous canning news, I made some bread and butter pickles and pickled beets before we went to Philadelphia that I didn't get the chance to share.  I used my grandmother's recipe for both of these pickles so I don't have links to share, but I know you can find many recipes for each through google.

I also stumbled on a huge bag of basil for $4 at the farmer's market a few weeks ago.  I've been freezing the occasional jar of pesto as we have extra basil on our own plants.  But it was nice to freeze a large batch at one time.  My friend, Jenni, saved some baby food jars for me, which is the perfect amount for covering a pizza or making a pesto pasta salad.

Last, when I swiped those antique mason jars from my parents' stash, I decided to use a few as soap dispensers in our bathrooms.  The lids with the soap pumps came from etsy, because I really wanted stainless steel lids instead of the repurposed zinc lids that these jars had originally.

Whew!  It makes me tired just looking back on all that work.  I know I've only been regularly back in this space for a few days, but I really don't know how often I'll get into this space over the next week as I'm headed out of town, with a couple of the kids, to stay with my friend for a few days.  I hope everyone has a lovely week full of ripe and delicious summer produce!


  1. Ok, I'll take 2 jars of spaghetti sauce and 4 jars of pesto please. :) Our tomato plant (which was less than fruitful this year anyhow) ended up being sacrificed to King Neptune in the freak storm. Not sure if we'll start again on the dock garden, but maybe some basil at least. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Wow - it all looks so good! I have 1 question.... do you have central air. The thought of cooking even for an hour indoors seems less than thrilling My husband says that our home grown tomatoes taste like sugar. I suppose at the rate he's eating them off the vine, I won't ever can any.


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