28 August 2012, by gj
So, you put in a garden and are getting a wonderful harvest- that’s great news.
Or, you went to the market or farm market, and they had a deal on a bushel of whatever veggie is in season- a good way to save money.
Perhaps, though, you are wondering what to do with it all.
Previously we looked at what can easily be frozen, no blanching needed.
Of course most vegetables can be frozen, but maybe you don’t have enough space to freeze everything.
That’s when canning comes in handy.
Get your hands on a good canning book...
There are two ways to can food at home:
1. Pressure canning- uses, well, a pressure canner to bring food temperatures well above the boiling point.
2. Water bath or Steam canning preserves foods at the boiling temperature of water.
Foods preserved with the water bath method are either highly acidic, such as pickles and tomatoes, or sweet, such as jams.
Well do I remember my parents simply pouring melted wax over a jar of jam as a way to seal it. This method is no longer recommended, though I’m sure it’s still practiced.
The whole idea of canning is to prevent any nasty micro-organisms from having a party in your food.
Let’s look at green beans as an example:
If you want to water bath can them, you need to add something acidic, like vinegar, to prevent the growth of micro-organisms. So, pickle them- Dilly Green Beans are wonderful.
If you’re not into vinegar then you need to pressure can them. This will bring the water inside the canning jar to the hotter temperature it needs, much hotter than the temperature water boils at.
Let’s also look at tomatoes, because this is one that gets just a little more complicated.
Red tomatoes, and more so the heirloom tomatoes, are quite acidic (some of the new yellow hybrids are not acidic enough).
So you can water bath can whole or peeled tomatoes. If you want to make Salsa, Catchup, Juice, or Marinara (meatless) Sauce, you can also water bath can.
On the other hand, if you want to can Stewed Tomatoes or Tomato Soup, you need to pressure can it.
“Why?” you may be wondering, or “I was told I had to pressure can Marinara.”
The difference is acid. All of the recipes that get water bath canned have vinegar or lemon juice (citric acid) added to them, the others don’t.
And if you don’t want vinegar in your Marinara then you need to pressure can it.
...and and get inspired.
There’s also a really good reason to learn to can your own food- convenience.
Just today Mandolin took out a jar of homemade Bean Soup and heated it up.
“I made lunch” he called out to me.
“Thank you” I replied, “but technically, I made lunch; last October.”
National Center for Home Food Preservation has tons of info and free guides to help you can safely.
Categories: how to store, pressure canning, saving money & time, water bath/steam canning
14 July 2012, by gj
What a wonderful idea for a way to teach others about canning!
Today is the second annual National Can-it-Forward Day when the Ball Canning Company encourages those that do can to share what they know and help others learn.
home canned goodness
Back in our restaurant days we were licensed Food Processors, meaning we could sell what foods we ‘put up’ – our most popular was the Pear-Raspberry Jam.
Now we can for our family and friends and still love trying new recipes and sharing the old ones.
In fact, the Ball Canning Company was gracious enough to let us share some of their recipes that we love so much- find them in the Recipes Page.
sunshine in a jar
So in celebration of the day, here are a few things I’d share with new, and seasoned, canners:
1. It’s easy, really; and once you get the hang of it, it’s a lot of fun.
2. Home-canned food, like homegrown, tastes way better.
3. There is a small initial investment- but you can also find used equipment for sale and save some cash. Eventually it will pay for itself.
4. Look at what you are buying to determine what you should can- we eat a lot of soup, for example, maybe you prefer pasta with marinara sauce.
freezing berries now for jam later
5. If you grow your own food and/or buy from the farm market, know that much of what is in season can be frozen until you have the time to can. As I harvest berries, peppers, onions, and tomatoes I freeze them. Then on a cool fall day when I’m no longer in the garden, I make jam, salsa, soup, etc.
Also to celebrate the day, and to help those new to canning, we made a How-To Video- check it out, let us know what you think!
Have you tried canning yet?
If no, I hope this post helps.
If yes, what do you like the most about it?
Free label templates and more on National Can-it-Forward Day
Categories: how to store, pressure canning, water bath/steam canning
15 August 2010, by gj
So I’ve admitted I’m a gardening maniac and, like any obsession, there is always a price to pay.
I’m not quite sure how I ended up planting 600 onions (I must have been on a planting euphoria that prevented memory retention) but that is what happened.
And it was a very good year.
I’ve already written a bit on what to do with onions, and have a few jars of dehydrated and a few bags frozen.
But it was time to bring in the rest of the crop, and time to deal with it.
Until this year I didn’t know you could can onions (it must have been on a Need-To-Know basis, and I didn’t need)…I always just froze, dried and kept fresh in the fridge.
This year, there’s just not enough room.
So I looked in my handy Ball Book of Home Preserving (25th. anniversary edition by the way… just saying) and found two nifty recipes.
Yes, I did just intentionally use the word ‘nifty’.
onions in Ball brand canning jars
pressure canner and steam canner
Honeyed Red Onions and Vinegared Red Onions. One Pressure Canned, the other Steam/Water Bath Canned.
I did mix white and red, I couldn’t help myself.
honeyed onions and vinegared onions
Canned Onions-kewl. (Yes, this must be lame expression time…I’ve been spending too much time with Mandolin).
I have contacted the Ball Home Preserving Company asking them if I could share these recipes with you.
I am still awaiting permission. In the meantime, get one of their books. You’ll be glad you did. They are full of kewl and nifty recipes.
So this is how I spent most of today…
the onion aftermath
onions in the fridge
more on onions
Our Recipe Box
Did I mention I still have Leeks in the garden?
Categories: how to store, pressure canning, recipes, water bath/steam canning