Adventures in Country Living

Posts tagged “Food Preservation

Pole Bean Bounty

A week ago I was concerned the pole beans wouldn’t produce anything. We walked through the garden the other day after a strong wind that produced the picture below. Bean flowers strewn everywhere, this sight prompted the second photo… some serious beans coming our way. I am no longer concerned, we will be freezing beans soon…


Canning Salsa at the BRB!

We’ve been collecting tomatoes on the island in our kitchen for a couple of weeks now and the desire to see no waste prompted Liz and I to deal with a bit of the red bounty. Canning salsa, a bit different from pickles, more prep work, longer water bath time, more tasting/eating during prep. It was an enjoyable experience and we were proud of the nine pints we were able to get out of ~10lbs of random varieties of tomatoes. Due to lack of experience and some time constraints we choose to use two kinds of pre-prepped salsa mix for this round of canning. One from Ball and another from Mrs Wages, with that said we don’t always like following rules.  The packets of seasoning mix called for 4 and 6lbs of tomatoes but no green peppers, lemon, garlic or onion. I know there are some of these in the packets but we felt it was going to need more. We cut and diced four green peppers and two large yellow onions, threw in an extra kick of garlic and just a couple hot peppers. We tested the two kinds as we prepped jars and lids (being careful to keep things sanitary, no double dipping) and both were quite good. I was kind of hoping they would be just “ok” which would force me to look up and try other recipes in the future but for now these salsa mix packets will work.

With tomatoes flying, water boiling and jars cooling the canning process began. It took longer than the pickles but was maybe a good primer for going at tomato sauce, pizza sauce and other items we will be canning in the not to distant future. One thing we know, we need more supplies…lids, rings, and jars…oh my. This is awesome, the majority of fruit is still on the vine in the garden and we are approaching capacity with the supplies we started with. Motivation to see more jars filled to the brim for use over the cold months. We bathed the sanitized and filled jars for 35min in our boiling water and within a couple of minutes of being removed from the bath the signature “ping” was heard which in turn prompted a couple smiles and a good swig of beer. This being the 1st time we’ve canned salsa and only the third time we’ve tried canning, the process perhaps took us longer than it should have but with some continued practice we ought to be able to get this down to a smooth science. Basically exhausted and really full, I mean I normally eat a good-sized dinner and last night Liz out ate me. I’ve got to remember that making the salsa for canning is to preserve it for later and not to eat it all now. We’ll let you know how it tastes come football season!

p.s. The picture of the dog (Lily), taken because she looked so pitifully bored while we worked hard in the kitchen. She’s awesome.

-justin


Canning Dill Pickles

Having a garden means alot of work, working the dirt, tending the plants and the harvest. What one does after the harvest can extend the reach of your garden far into the winter months. Liz and I have decided that much of what we grow will be canned for use over the colder months. Tending a garden, composting and now canning? The skill set out here is ever increasing. Canning, sweet. We watched a handful of video’s on youtube.com and discussed ideas with other canners we know and settled on the cold pack method for our first attempt at canning pickles. Timing here is clearly an important element, something we hope to improve on over the next few weeks as we work on more ambitious canning projects. For now these five quarts of pickles gave us a good idea of what canning is all about and the confidence to continue. One of these jars will end up with my sister as I’ve never met anyone else who enjoys a good pickle more than her.

-justin