What A Summer!

All In A Jar’s summer was packed with fun, planting the garden, watering the garden, harvesting a lot of food ( be careful for what you wish for, LOL ) and preserving. When I say preserving I mean Canning, Fermenting, Dehydrating, and Freezing. 

Let me tell you what I made with all this beautiful produce from the garden and what people brought me. This may give you some inclination of why you didn’t hear from me that much. 

Last year I had an abundance of eggplant, this year it was tomatillo.

I had fun with the tomatillo. I canned and froze many versions of Salsa Verde. I even made two new recipes using them. I made a chutney and pickled some of them. On average I would get 3 pounds of tomatillos a day. 

  

With the blackberries, I made a Scrub Drink. A scrub drink is fruit, sugar, vinegar and a little time. It is delicious and refreshing. Add some sparkling water and ice and you have a great health drink. You can make it into a cocktail too. 

Blackberry BBQ Sauce is yummy on chicken and ribs. 

Blackberry Strawberry Jam, Blackberry Plum Conserve, Blackberry Jam, Blackberry Cherry Pie Filling, and bags of frozen Blackberries.

 

My fig tree gave me big beautiful figs. I made Fig Jam, Fig Newtons, Caramelized Red Onion Fig Tapenade and Fig Mustard, Dehydrated Figs and bags of Frozen Figs. 

The okra was seven feet tall. We ate a lot of fried Okra and I pickled some too. 

I planted German Pink Tomatoes. The plants were big and beautiful. Not too many tomatoes. I planted two different cherry tomatoes, one was Yellow Gooseberry. Very tasty and they were the size of a ping-pong ball. The other was Rosella and they were small and dark color with a nice taste. Then I had three cherry tomato plant volunteers show up in the okra bed. They were small orange and red cherry tomatoes that were delicious. We call them garden candy. I also planted Roma tomatoes and they did very well. With the Roma I made Red Wine Pizza Sauce, Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce, Basil Garlic Pasta Sauce, Ketchup, Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeno Peppers, Mex Mix, Salsa, Hot Sauce, Roasted Tomato Jam, and Dehydrated Tomatoes in Olive Oil. 

One day I got five pounds of cherry tomatoes and made Bourbon Tomato Jam. The cherry tomatoes keep coming in strong, so I made Cherry Tomato Caramelized Onion Spread. 

I made a few Tomato Pies too. 

My carrots did well too. I made Carrot Cake Preserves. I love making frosting with this jar and Pickled Carrot sticks.  We had Carrot Moroccan Salad quite often. 

Had a lot of fun with onions too. Onion Conserve, Onion with Rosemary, Hot Pickled Red Onions. 

My Jalapeno Peppers did just ok. I used them with my tomatoes and got to do a few batches of Pickled Jalapeno.

The strawberries are still coming in. We mostly eat them as we pick them. I did use some to make Strawberry Peach Jam and Strawberry Raspberry Jam.

I was surprised on how many peaches I got from my tree. First, let me tell you how wonderful it is to eat a peach ripe from the tree, WOW. Peach Pie Filling, Peach Conserve, Peach Chutney and Peach Jam.

Cucumbers did better this year than last. I got to make Fermented Bread and Butter Pickles, WOW those were good. I made some Pickles too. 

Raspberries have been fabulous. They came in May and came back in August and still coming in. We had them on ice cream, in yogurt and I made Raspberry Strawberry Jam and Mix Berry Jam. 

The blueberries did well too. I made Blueberry Jam and Mixed Berry Jam. 

Someone gave me plums. Plum Jam, Plum Chutney and Dehydrated Plums. 

Another person gave me apricots. Apricot Pie Filling, Apricot jam, Apricot Cherry Chutney and Apricot Mustard. 

   

I bought cherries from a local farmer. Cherry jam, Cherry Pie Filling and Maraschino Cherries. 

My Son-In-Law brought me tuna. I spent two days canning tuna. Most of it has Jalapeno peppers . It is out of this world! Once you have homemade canned tuna you can’t go back to store bought. 

Wow, I wasn’t tired doing all that work but after writing it that was a lot of work. Now you know why you didn’t hear from me all summer long. 

I will be working on the class calendar soon. Please let me know if you would like to learn something new. 

See you in class 

Canning Mistakes

 

 

 

I keep seeing an article about 7 mistakes people make while canning, so I wanted to give my two cents on this topic since I have been canning for quite some time!

 

The first mistake listed is about how oven canning is not safe and I agree. The oven can’t get the food in the jar hot enough to kill the bacteria and should not be trusted.

 

The next mistake is flipping jars to seal them. This is also not a good idea. The seal with not be strong enough and using a water bath or a pressure canner is necessary in order to kill the bacteria in the jar.

 

Another mistake is using Paraffin waxto seal the jars – this does not provide a proper seal and will allow bad bacteria to grow.

 

They also talk about inventing your own recipe. While I have to admit, I make up recipes all the time, the concern with this is the amount of acid needed to safely preserve food might be off (a pH of 4.6 or lower is advised). Another issue could be the temperature might not get high enough to adequately destroy bacteria and mold spores that are present.

 

The next mistake is if it’s canned at the store, it’s ok to can it at home. This is a problem. You cannot can certain foods at home, such as puree pumpkin ,because they are so low in acid and/or dense that you cannot kill all the bacteria in the jar with your non-commercial equipment.

 

Next they talk about not needing to boil the lids. They started making new lids a while ago saying just wash in hot soapy water and dry and set aside until ready to use. I tried that and half of my jars do not seal – I was not happy. So I always dip the lid in hot water right before I put it on the jar. This softens the rubber on the lid and I have a high success rate with this method.

 

The last mistake they mention is canning butter. I have never heard of anyone canning butter but it’s much easier to just freeze it as a way of preservation.

 

Although I agree with all of these “mistakes”, the article does not mention the most important aspect of canning – CLEANLINESS. If you have a dirty vent above your stove PLEASE do not can. Here is why: when you can you have a big pot of boiling water on the stove. The steam from the pot rises and will release the grease from the vent. This grease can fall into your pot of jam and now you have bacteria in your jars which can cause food borne botulism. And of course your kitchen should always be clean when starting to can.

 

Instead of worrying about these mistakes, come take a class with me so you have none of the stress and all of the fun!

See you in class

 

Cabbage Cabbage Cabbage

People have been asking, ” What do you do with so much cabbage.” Well let me tell you. Some of my cabbage weight as much as  5 1/2 pounds. I have made many cabbage rolls for the freezer, soup for the freezer . I made many different sauerkraut. We have had two different coleslaw salads. Shredded cabbage in fish tacos. My husband has put it in his smoothie. I assure you none of it has went to waste. I’m proud to say.

This is what I have been up to. Please let me know what you have been growing and preserving.

Happy Canning.

See you in class