It’s probably time to can tomatoes.
Some are rotting on the vine in the greenhouse. Many are hollowed out by the resident chicks, and still, the tomatoes are cascading down the vines.
My favorite way to can cherry and grape tomatoes is to jam them all in a jar whole, and pack them with water with a bit of vinegar and salt (proper canning procedures, blah blah). They come out cool as refreshing as when they were picked, softened, with a hint of tang. I can eat a pint of them straight.
The peach bounty is here!
I know what I’ll be doing for the next while!
That’s from the label slipping off the lids in the canner. Yes, I reuse lids, pending inspection (for personal use anyway).
I think I’m finished with canning for the year. I think!
I have to make a habit of tracking my annual canning. I’m curious to know what the ideal #s are for two people for one year.
- 6 pts Plumsauce
- 24 pts “V8”, or, attempted tomato sauce that came out as juice, and after that much work, I canned it anyway. We drink a fair amount of V8, so that’s a few we won’t purchase
- 24 pts Tomato sauce (that did work)
- 21 pts Grape or Cherry tomatoes
- 6 pts Pickles
- 21 pts Pears
- 36 pts Applesauce
- 78 pts Peaches
- 6 halfpts pickled garlic
- 41 qts Tomato “soup” – just the tomato part of the soup, aka tomatoes between juice and sauce – they will make many good (tomato basil, cream of tomato, chili, did I mention tomato basil?) soups and stews.
- 46 more pts Applesauce
I hoped to do more “convenience foods”, like ready to eat soups. I also hoped to have most of a month to focus on preserving, but it turned out the opposite. It was a very busy Sep/Oct: I had to fit preserving in at the end of workdays and it was a weary, onerous task.
That’s a total of 309 jars; 42 canner batches (! – now I’m kind of impressing myself).
I canned no pumpkin this year, because somehow I have quite a bit left over from 2015, and I think I did far fewer apples, because it was an awful apple year. Edit-I purchased apples, and canned two more bushels.
Trash the rack!
This is the canning game-changer of the year – a silicone canning mat. Not only does it make everything quieter (no rattling), wayyyy less frustrating (those wire lifting racks are simply awful), but the water stays clear (no rusty lifting rack rusting into the water), AND nine pints fit in the canner with this mat, as opposed to seven!
Available at Lee Valley Tools
Since I thought I should make a habit of documenting how much I can every year, I looked back into 2015, which was Year One for canning serious quantities.
I found my list alright, but for the big ones – peaches and apples – the number is left blank! Argggh! So, I have to estimate, based on 2016. I canned two bushels of peaches each year, but I did more apples than I did peaches, sooo….
- 15 pts beets
- 2 pts plumsauce
- 3 pts blue plums
- 3 pts red plums
- 3L pickles
- 3 pts pickles
- 14 pts pears
- 5 pts pineapple (grocery store sale!)
- 5 pts cherry tomatoes (whole, with a Tbsp of vinegar and pinch of salt – SO good)
- 7L peaches
- 60 pts peaches (approx)
- 70 pts applesauce (approx)
- 7 pts pie-ready pumpkin
- 28 pts pumpkin
- 4 half pints peach honey (not really canned, just jarred)
- 18 half pints pesto (ditto, jarred, and frozen)
So that’s (approx) 30 canner loads, including 6 double loads in the pressure canner for the beets and pumpkin.
Blue plums are so pretty.
Oh, I may have invented this: I was displeased that my first batch of plum “preserves” separated in the jar- 1/3 liquid, 2/3 fruit mush. So I put the next batch through my jelly bag (but only quickly, not a full extraction), and the result was part 1, incredible glowing pink plum juice which I drank, and part 2, plum”sauce” the texture of applesauce, which I canned. It did not separate in the jars then.
I like that plum skins soften to indiscernability. Removing the skins from everything is not my favorite activity.
38 pints of peaches; longest day of my life.
They sure look pretty, though.
Every day, the first apple tree is dropping five gallons of apples. Dropping. That’s a fraction of how many are staying on the tree.
About half of them are split, and go to the pigs and hens. When I pick them up, wasps come tumbling out of the splits. I think they might get drunk on the spoiled apples. The wasps are luxuriating in the apple glut. Pretty soon, the pigs are gonna give me the Another apple? face too. The undamaged ones, I’m saucing, since this is a lovely sauce apple.
This is one of the dozen or so trees HW pruned in the spring, and this tree has responded exuberantly. Many of the apples are “store-sized” already (would expect a couple years pruning to come up to full size).
This is just the first tree to get ripe, of….63?
Haha. There are, at last count, 63 apple trees here, but only about a third of them look likely to bear apples, and most of them haven’t been pruned, so they have tight little stingy apples. If all goes well, we will have a fine amount of cider this year. Over time and annual pruning, more of these legacy apple trees will come back into production.
HW is refining his bread baking techniques, and the canner is going non-stop these days. Another massive batch of pumpkin processing to preserve the year’s pumpkins before they spoil (they were all touched with frost), and rosehip syrup on the go.
I canned this year’s batch of pumpkin. That’s 20 future pies, and as you can see, there’s another batch to do up.
Apparently you’re not supposed to can pumpkin in puree form because it’s too dense, and the bugs can hide in it and not get cooked out. You’re supposed to can it in cubes, and puree it later, when it’s pie time. I just learned that. Stuff would never get made into pies though if I had to do that. It takes forever to cook ’em all down, and it’s more convenient to only get the stove splattered up like that once.
I’ve been doing it for years and I’m going to keep doing so, but do not can pumpkin puree. It’s dain-ger-ous!