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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First Time Canner


This past summer was the first time I have ever canned. Yep, every year we eat as much as we can fresh and give away as much as possible. No one locks their cars around here until summer harvest begins. Then you can't find an open car to "donate" veggies to if you try. Something about un-found veggies in the Idaho heat, I don't know. Anyway, I have a friend who is the master home preserver for our county and she steered me in the right direction as far as up-to-date info goes. She recommended the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and the Ball Blue Book of Home Preserving. But because I am simply neurotic about not killing my family, I also purchased Canning and Preserving for Dummies. When you are trying to learn something as important as proper food handling and preserving, you don't want to screw up. I had a disastrous encounter with canning tomatoes many years ago and I must say after much reading, I now know what they really mean by "core" a tomato. I read everything in my local library and all three of the books I already mentioned. By the time it was time to can I felt pretty good about it. One bit of advice I will pass on is that Great, Great Aunt Millies old Fashioned Green Bean recipe may be out of date by today's standards and maybe should be reevaluated for safety. Food is simply different now days and some things aren't as naturally acidic as they once were. Modern recipes are the safer way to go. I am really looking forward to this years harvest. I will expand my canning adventure to encompass pressure canning too. This way I can can more vegetables and salsas and... you get the picture.
The above picture is of some of the things I canned this year. I used a steamer/juicer to juice elderberries, wild plums and blackberries. I then canned the juice so I could make jelly with them later. I made bread-n-butter pickles, dill pickles, applesauce, salsa verde, stewed tomatoes and a few other misc. things. I am really excited to see what I can put up this year. It tends to redirect your garden plans. Why plant 6 tomato plants when you can have 30? See what a problem this may create?

15 comments:

  1. I think that it's great you tried canning. I remember helping my mom when I was younger. Hope you'll have lots of room to store what you can this year :)

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  2. How smart you are and everything sounds and looks delicious.

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  3. Heather,

    Pickles, we love pickles please plant Lemon Cucumbers. These cukes are very pretty in a ball jar.

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  4. Ohhh, Heather! It looks so delicious! And brings back memories - my Mom used to do canning and I helped. Nothing could beat home-made pickle or marinated tomato! Good job!

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  5. Your canned goods look very pretty! That is half the fun....just standing back and admiring the colorful jars lining the shelf. :-)
    I used to do lots of canning when I had my big garden and our kids were still with us, but don't do much any more. I do, however, still can salmon and elk.

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  6. Impressive! I haven't done any canning. Maybe this will be the year to try it! You're getting my wheels rolling. Thanks!

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  7. Hi Heather, I'm impressed with your skill and determination. I bet you're very proud when you look at those pantry shelves brimming with shiny jars of homemade goodness. And I'm sure you're saving a ton of money too. Hats off to you.

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  8. Heather, I have that Ball Canning Book, great resource. There is a certain satisfaction eating something you grew and then preserved. Way to go!
    Janet

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  9. 6 tomato plants? Come on. You know you'll have more than that. I've got six varieties already growing in the basement waiting to be planted out in April. I'm hoping to can bunches of them this year. I cannot bring myself to purchase store bought tomatoes in the winter. There's no flavor and the texture...well, it's just wrong.

    Glad to see others are going back to this as well. Happy canning. I'll be right there with you.

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  10. Man on man I wish we lived closer so I could get in on some of this goodness!
    I don't think people understand what a process it really is to can. It really is a talent or an art form. Have you ever looked into the reason Rusty Pickle has it's name in the scrapbook industry? I went to a class they taught and the name came from a bad batch of pickles that they stored out in the shed. The next year they went out to get them and all the jars were rusty because they had not been properly sealed!
    No rusty pickles for you Heather!

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  11. Heather look what you did!!! That is fantastic. I really admire people who can and aren't afraid of the pressure cooker - like big chicken here. I had a lady say to me once I can't believe you don't can afer growing up with a mother like yours. Well, I'm sorry growing up I was peeling and cutting and chopping but not operating the pressure cooker. When we got married we took some of the money we received and bought one and my hubby planted a garden and he does all of the canning. I still do the above and keep my distance from the stove! Anyway he does it all and I love it - tastes wonderful. I don't know where this fear came from - my parents never had a problem and we haven't either. I think it's the hissing sound. LOL
    But ya know there's a method to my madness - just like I don't have a clue how to use the BBQ (and I don't plan on learning) so therefore I don't have to be the one to can or BBQ. My bad!!!

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  12. I, too, tried canning a few jars of tomatoes last Fall for the first time. I wasn't sure if it was worth the hassle - until mid-January I opened my first jar and got a full whiff of summer goodness. Oh my, you should see how many tomato plants I've started in the basement right now! LOL

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  13. oh cool! I'm going to try my hand at canning this year so if you don't mind I may riddle you with questions!
    thx

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Thank you for your ideas, suggestions or greetings. I love to hear from you and read them all.
-Heather

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We started this blog in Feb. of 2009 to help us stay motivated and to track our progess in the garden. We live on 5 acres surrounded by Idaho farmland. We have wildlife galore and are attempting to attract more in the bird catagory. This is our journal. Welcome!

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