Tuesday, July 26, 2011

blueberry lime jam

We made yet another variety of jam recently: blueberry lime. It had a really surprising flavor - something you wouldn't get from Welch's in the store, but it is delicious. Our amount of blueberries gave us about 6 half pints of jam. All fruit jams have an inordinate amount of sugar in them. (This one didn't have that whole container, just 5 cups. Which is a lot anyway.) This is the first recipe we canned using my grandma's jars.

Monday, July 25, 2011

beans that are green

Mark and I canned our first veggies in a pressure canner this weekend: green beans. (You must can green beans in a pressure canner because a hot water bath cannot get hot enough to kill any botulism in the jar, leaving you susceptible to food borne illness.)

We used green beans that have had the "string" of the typical string bean grown out of them. Thus, when we snapped the ends, we didn't have to pull the string down before we chopped the beans.

The amount of beans we had ended up making 11 pints. The canner only held 10 pints, and rather than process twice, we plopped the last jar in the fridge to use up in the next few days.

Timeout while the green beans are canning. This next photo is only a fraction of the jars that my grandpa gave us, which belonged to my grandma, who canned in them for years. There are many different varieties, many of which I doubt you can buy anymore. It's really special for me that I'll be able to can in jars that she used. It's amazing that the jars are strong enough to hold up over generations of use. I can only imagine what was canned in these over the years. I can't wait to make HER applesauce this fall in HER jars when the local apples come to the farmer's market.

Later this week, I'll post about the first recipe we canned in her jars: blueberry lime jam.

Green beans are done! :)

I look at my photos and realize I will never really be the kind of blogger that sets up a light box and poses the food I make for the optimum look and feel. I guess to me it feels more real to see a photo of finished jars cooling on a pink valentine's day kitchen towel, next to a pile of bands to be dried and a pen to write labels, with a plastic bag and a tray full of garlic scapes and garden peppers in the background. Because that's what it looks like when canning overtakes your kitchen: chaos. It's not particularly glamorous, and it is SO very hot (I refrained from taking photos of us sweating to death). But it's the process of "putting up" -- preserving the summer bounty for the cold winter nights where I'll think, you know? I could really go for some garden beans right now. I'll just go down to the root cellar and get some.

Side note. In another example of not staging photos very well, I failed to remove an extra plastic pipe that extends the shelves, as well as a catnip mouse that we leave for Maggie in the basement from that photo. We do not have rodents invading our makeshift root cellar. Just so you know.

Friday, July 8, 2011

sweet relish (are the cucumbers gone yet?)

By the time we made some half pints of sweet relish, I was about ready to start feeding cucumbers to Maggie or peddling them door to door. We gave some to Amber, who was there and helped us with the canning operations that night.

That would be Amber chopping the peppers. Ooh shiny!

This is another recipe that sits for awhile in salt and water. Cucumber, peppers, onions, salt, and water.

While they soak, you can prepare the brine.

Relish actually cooks in its own brine on the stove before going into hot jars.

On to the top shelf!