Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Saving Summer

Meet my current best friend...

My Canner!

We're spending a lot of time together.  You always know when my friend is here because when we are visiting together I always put the flag up!

Flag's up!

We share some books...

My trusty friend

My favorite!

And we seem to work well together.  At least we create some tasty things!

This last week I was busy processing tomatoes, peppers, and tomato sauce.  When I can tomatoes I am usually left with a pot of juice from those tomatoes.  There are usually a handful of tomatoes too...whatever wouldn't fill a quart jar.  What a treasure!  I put it on to boil and let it cook down by half.

Cooked down

Then I let it cool and use a measuring cup to ladle it into my wonderful food mill!  I LOVE this machine!

Food Mill

Tomatoes go in the top with skins and seeds, turn the handle and the wonderful tomato sauce comes out the bottom while the yucky stuff goes off to the side for the chickens.  Josiah came up with this set up using a workbench from his shop and a piece of wood.  Tools all Moms needs!

Time to can the tomato sauce!  Back in the pot to get hot...
Tomato sauce

While it's heating up I call on a few other friends..

Canning tools!

A little of each in every pint jar and then the sauce goes in...

Filling jars

Top with rings and seals and into the canner.  When done they go on a towel to cool...

Really hot!

Notice the white discoloration on the jars...

Why are the white?

This is because I forgot to put a dollop of vinegar in the canner.  Once the jars are cool, I remove the rings, wash the jars and rings and then put them in the pantry.  The white comes off during the washing process but I like to use the vinegar.  My oldest son saw these and thought they had come from the freezer!  I caught him just in time...he almost touched them and would have been burned!

When I finished with the tomatoes...I began on these!

Just a beginning!

I had several bowls full of these lovely jalapenos.  My boys and I like to eat spicy food so we use quite a few of these each month.  It didn't take long to turn all of those bowls into several bowls full of this...

Ready to can!

Pack the jars, make a brine, pour over the peppers and pop them into my canner...

Before you know it you have added to your winter stores.


Why are some red? Because a red jalapeno is truly a ripe jalapeno - when they are green they are actually being picked early.  The flavor of a red jalapeno is completely different that the taste of a green jalapeno - and the red ones are a lot more spicy.  I like them better but they are a bit too hot for some of my boys. So..I can them green but throw in a few red ones for me!

You might notice the whole jalapenos on the left.  Those are for a special nephew of mine who loves them whole but can't find them that way in the store.  I'm so glad that we don't need them whole - takes twice the time to pack those little peppers in tight....I wouldn't do that for anyone else!

Now that I have the messes all cleaned up, it is time to do it again!

I'm so thankful to my Father for this bounty.  As the jars in my pantry continue to grow, I know that this winter we will still be enjoying the fruits of our labors. Truly if we are willing to work, He is faithful to provide.  I am also thankful for the seasons and the change of pace.  If I had to can year round, I think I'd fall in a faint.  It is a busy season right now, and one that I praise Him for...but I must admit I am looking forward to packing my friend up for the year and lowering the flag!

So....what parts of summer are you saving?


  1. Hi Cheri

    WE have frozen 36 pints of peas and 63 1/2 quarts of sweet corn along with several bags of shredded zuchinni and a few bags of chopped gr peppers.

    We've canned 29 pints of bread & butter pickles, 28 quarts of gr beans & 40 pints, also 5 pints of tomatoes so far to be used in goulash or chili, etc.

    The tomatoes & peppers are ripening slowly due to cool temps so only small batches at a time. We have 17 rows of sweet corn and after 3 -4 marathon days of putting up corn and both freezers full of garden goodies as well as home-grown chicken and beef we are just giving away the rest of the corn or letting it dry down for the chickens.

    It's alot of work, but it's all chemical-free, tastes great and no matter what happens to gas/food prices over the winter we have it in the freezer. Thank you Lord!!

    Did I mention I'm ready for KILLING FROST?!?

  2. What a beautiful harvest. One thing I learned this year...


    Now I wish I had grabbed the remainder of the peppers this morning. Your peppers look yummy.

    I will remember the vinegar from now on. Great tip!

  3. My tomatoes are just starting to come in heavy, so I still have them to do. We did make some fresh salsa for eating now. We too love hot stuff. I am praying I will get lots of jalapenos. Our second planting of corn will be ready this week as well. Here is what I have done so far.

    Asparagus 12 quarts
    Beans 22 quarts
    Blackberry jam 15 half pints
    Raspberry jam 6 half pints
    Dill Pickles 19 quarts
    Green Pepper Strips 3 quarts
    Bread & Butter Pickles 16 pints
    Corn (3 cups in a bag) 46 bags
    Corn (4 cups in bag) 1 bag
    Pickled Beets 17 pints
    Pickled Beets 14 quarts

  4. Sigh, we are still waiting for our corn and tomatoes to ripen.

  5. This is only my second year to can, so there's much to learn. This year I did lots of strawberry jam, blueberry jam, blueberry sauce, blackberry sauce, roasted red pepper spread, peach sauce, zucchini relish, ketchup, and tomato sauce. Dehydrated and froze strawberries. Froze corn, zucchini and spagetti squash. Not near enough to get through the winter, but good memories, lots of learning, and some wonderfully special gifts when the jam is made from the berries the kids picked!

  6. I love your web site!

    I was wondering how you process your salsa? I didn't know if cooking it is getting the nutrition out of mine or not. That's the only way(cooking) I know how to keep the salsa.

    We had too much rain and then too dry. Our garden didn't do a thing this year. We always put up what we are going to eat for the winter. Between the rain and deer, we have slim pick'n for winter.

  7. Sarah,
    Watch for a salsa post on my blog soon!


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