Sunday, August 3, 2008

Canning Weekend...Results are Awesome!

What a weekend! I suppose most people might consider this a sort of drudgery, but not me. To me, this is fun and productive. Most of all, I know how much I'm going to love opening this stuff up in the dead of winter and enjoying food that tastes like summer.

I took a day of vacation on Friday so I could go to the spa for a nice massage and facial. Ya, ya..I know..self indulgence. It was great, by the way. But I also wanted to do my canning starting on Thursday night in order to get it all done. Rough calculations showed I would need all that time in order to still be able to do my regular chores, garden work and get the laundry done.

I started with tomatoes, corn and peaches to can and dehydrate. I'm still dehydrating potatoes and onions and will be all week. This is what my corn supply looked like (I'd already removed some but it is close). I include that because it is amazing how few jars come from such large amounts. Most people sort of take for granted cans of corn. After all, you go to the grocery, it is one of the cheaper cans so you pick up a few and it is a relatively boring addition to most family meals.

After shucking, removing silks as much as possible, carefully cutting the kernels from the cobs and then processing, you wind up with about 3.5 ears per pint or 6 to 7 ears per quart of corn. Next time you're in the grocery, think about what an amazing bargain that can of corn is.

I also combined the tomatoes from my garden with a half bushel from a local farm I like and canned those up in quarters and made a couple of pints of sauce. I gave a few away and also enjoyed some lovely tomato sandwiches, of course. Don't they look pretty when they are cooking for canning up.

When working with the builder to make sure that this house was ultra energy efficient, I made the decision to use all electric. One of the huge downsides to this is that I have a smooth glass ceramic cooktop, which is fine for cooking but bad for canning. Weight limits on it mean that I have to use the smallest good pressure canner out there and can process only 9 pints or 5 quarts at a time to be sure I won't crack it.

Hot work, yes, but aren't the results just awesome. From left to right we have peach halves and quarters in a very light honey cinnamon syrup, honey spiced peaches, corn, tomato wedges and halves and off to the far right is the start of the dehydrated things. What you are missing from that picture are the quarts and pints of dehydrated stuff, like peaches, which I'll use for breads and such during the winter. And...

...also about 16 jars of peach jelly. Shown below are the pots of the skins and sections of peaches that were just a bit too ripe for canning. Those make a wonderful jelly, but it does require cooking and then sitting overnight, using up my pans and stove. That means it gets made last and my whole house smells of peaches and will for another day.

And there is no way I would leave you all without a Beagle to brighten your day. Here Gigi has just finished eating a treat, leaving a mess, and looking a tad mournful that it is gone. Just a good example of why I always keep the couch covered in a white sheet in the evenings!

Hope everyone else had a great weekend! I'm really enjoying reading your emails on how your gardens are doing, so keep them coming!

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