Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ta-Da!! 1st Round Complete!

Look at these beautiful jars of canned tomatoes! My first batch this year, and more to come.

I'm so proud of myself:-) I decided that it was now or never, and took my eyes and fingers to the internet to find some canning videos. The local and remote canners are wonderful for sharing their process and secrets on video and taking the time to post so others (like me) can learn.

The two sites that helped me the most were: http://canningusasupplystore.com/recipes/, and You Tube (Canning Tomatoes). I'm surprised that with all these cooking shows, no one has featured any canning techniques and saving opportunities.

I'm now going to take on other canning and freezing challenges this fall to see how far I can stretch a dollar and the bounty of this New England Fall harvest. It will be a canning frenzy in my kitchen:-0))

Believe in the goodness of your garden!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Good Intentions

So, I had every desire to can these tomatoes and save them for winter, but with a delay in the arrival of my canning jars, I decided to use the first batch to create a super fresh tomato sauce to meld with a nice, al dente linguini. It was awesome!! I probably should have captured a digital shot, but I didn't:-0))
Now, the jars are here and all the canning tools, so I do have to get to it. But, the sky is blue, the wind is light, the sun is warm and lulling me to a 'summer calm'. So, I'm taking advantage of the respite and will can on a cooler day when I can enjoy the warmth and scents of my summer crop:-)

Enjoy your day!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What to do with these tomatoes???

So, this is how it starts: too much of anything forces you to look at life a little differently. Forces you to look behind today and take advantage of knowledge shared years before to help make the present better.

I have too many tomatoes. My friend, Marie - God bless her soul - had a huge garden and used to spend a weekend prepping her tomatoes for canning. She canned tomatoes, made spaghetti sauce and canned the sauce, made salsa and canned the salsa, canned pickles and peppers and onions, etc. She always had a harvest that she was able to use through winter. Delicious and cost-effective.

So I thought of Marie this morning as I looked at the bucket of ripe tomatoes I had pulled from the vine, and decided that my time has come. Time to learn how to can vegetables and fruit. So, why does this make me nervous? My mother used to can peaches and pears. My Grandmother used to can fruit jellies. My friend, Mary cans relish. Where is this feeling coming from?

To quell this stupid feeling, I went to my old standby cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens, "New Cook Book" - which is actually quite old now - and looked in the index. Sure enough, 'canning tomatoes' was an entry! Big smiles for me:-) My husband walked in around this time and asked what I was doing. I told him, and he launched into a speech about canning, what you need to have, the importance of a sterilizing pot and tongs (which he could also use for sterilizing his beer-making tools and bottles), and storage facilities once the tomatoes are canned. Whew! As he caught his breath, I reminded him that this was just initial research on my part, not a process I was starting today;-) I love my husband, but I didn't need to solve a problem, just think about canning...

So, I started this blog as a diary about these adventures. They are adventures, you know. I'm sure the stories will emerge as I go through the process and learn things, hear stories, get tips, taste the results. And I'm sure that my husband will play a part in all of this. He's a great beer brewer, so will be able to share his own lessons-learned. This will be fun!

Please join in with your comments and stories. I'd love to make this a truly collaborative experience.

Happy Canning!