Sunday, July 19, 2015

Oh, Sweet Pea!

This year, my peas came to life! We had about six Sugarsnap Pea plants that produced wonderful sweet peas which we ate raw, sautéed, and in salads for about 2 weeks. Didn't save any for later - they were too tasty - yum! Next year I hope to plant double the amount as they have a relatively short growing season. Now, we're watching the string beans and tomatoes reach for the sky!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Basement Beginnings - Canning vs. Freezing - Pros and Cons

So, I'm stepping back in time for this blog post - I never finished my thoughts on canning vs. freezing (oops)...

Canning - I loved canning tomatoes and tomato sauce! The process of taking these beautiful tomatoes I had grown, and adding the other herb elements from my garden, gave me a true sense of accomplishment well into the Winter months. 

The sauce and tomatoes were also very tasty, and held their flavors very well into the Winter months. We could also open a jar, use a little as a chicken or beef flavoring, close the jar, and use the remainder at some point later in the week as a pasta sauce (refrigerating after opening, of course.).

We stored the canned tomatoes and sauce in one of our pantry cabinets which was not used previously. I made about 30 Mason Jars of sauce which easily fit in the cabinet.

*Lesson Learned*
If you don't have cabinet space available, find a closet - or any space that will not freeze - to store your sauce and/or tomatoes. Since I used 'Ball (Glass) Mason Canning Jars', I did not want to risk them freezing and breaking. 

Freezing - Freezing tomato sauce was very efficient. Rather than using Mason Jars, I used freezer bags, and added them to the freezer to be used during the Winter months. 

It's important to have a backup in the event of a power loss, but we were lucky last year with our power staying consistent through the Winter months. 

Also, freezer sauce does not stay as fresh as canned sauce - there's a shorter life span. You also can't use a little and refreeze. Canning does allow a bit of flexibility to use a small amount and refrigerate for later in the week.

*Lesson Learned*
Make sure you have space available in your freezer. If you freeze too much sauce, the sauce may block the circulation vents and generate a lot of ice.