The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Can It, Lady!

Okay, okay.  I've been "canning it" all week!

This year, my garden is blossoming and growing into mid-October!  I've never picked vegetables beyond this point in my few past years of gardening.  God is good.

Saturday was spaghetti sauce day.  I had been using a 16-quart pot, without a canning insert, to can for the past few years.  Only two jars have ever broken, so I wasn't too concerned about not having a proper "canning pot."

So I prepared my tomatoes; here's how I do it:  I put an eight-quart pot of water on the stove to boil.  Meanwhile, I rinse then core the tomatoes and set them aside.  It's much easier than trying to core them after their "bath." 

Peeled tomatoes and steamer basket

Once the water is boiling, I lower my steamer basket filled with tomatoes into the pot.  See my steamer basket in the photo above?  I tie twisters to the handles so they stay upright!  The lid still fits on the pot, and I can quickly grab the handles and lift out the basket after one minute of boiling.  I transfer the tomatoes to a large pot, then hand-smush them.  (That's my technical cooking terminology.)

Hand-smushed tomatoes


Back to Saturday and the story.  I left the sauce simmering on the stove, and Fernando took me to the farmer's market and garage-sale-ing.  As we wound our way back through town, we spotted yet another "yard sale" sign.  There hadn't been much of interest so far, but this particular one was different.  They had a back porch stuffed with, well, stuff.  And among that stuff was a huge pot.  I lifted the lid, and saw a wire canning insert and canning tongs.  Wow.  I negotiated my way through the haggling process, and ended up purchasing the canning pot, insert, tongs, a bag of bands and seals, and about three dozen jars for $15.  Did I say God is good?  *big grin*

My "new" canning pot!

What perfect timing.  I took it home, cleaned it up, and started my adventure in canning spaghetti sauce.  I had asked Fernando to decide if I should can more salsa (I already have over two dozen jars in the basement), or spaghetti sauce.  Even though he's Mexican, he enjoys our weekly spaghetti dinners (or pasta of some sort), so he opted for the spaghetti sauce.  I'm half Italian--yum.

Spaghetti sauce

On Sunday, I went to work on the apples from Honey Hill Orchards.  With Jacob's help, I chunked those up and mixed them with an ultra-light syrup.  Two jars didn't seal, so we had a breakfast of Autumn Harvest Baked Oatmeal with apples poured over.  Seriously yummy.

Chunked apples in ultra-light syrup

On Monday, I decided to try my hand at applesauce.  It had been several years since I made it, and I've never canned it.  But with a few tips from Lori, I thought I'd try.  Double-serious in the yummy department.

Cinnamon applesauce

Danny kindly picked a whole bowl of green beans, and those ended up in the freezer.  I got four nice quart-sized bags full.

Danny's green beans
Green beans in the freezer

In hopes of making green-tomato salsa, I had also bought some cilantro at the farmer's market.  My gardening-guru friend Becki told me to hold off on picking those green tomatoes (I'm glad she did!), so I decided to chop it up and freeze it until it's time for green tomatoes.

Chopping the cilantro

On Tuesday, I went to my chiropractor.

I still have about three pecks of apples to process.  Jacob decided--for the entire family--that most of these would comprise chunked apples in syrup.  And I have decided to make some apple pie filling with whatever's left over!

Back to life,
Christine

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captured by Christine Anne