Saturday, November 5, 2011

Summer Canning, Had me a Blast...

This summer's weather was, intermittent to be kind. Crappy, soul sucking and/or cold and rainy to be truthful. I didn't have the largest garden, but I loved it and tended to it and babied it like it was my a child. I dreamed of yields that would need their own zip codes or a storage locker at the very least. I envisioned so many tomatoes that I would never have to buy another can of tomatoes again. Ever. I mean c'mon, look at the plantation patch that was my passion this summer.

Towards the end of the season I knew the dozen Roma plants we had were not going to yeild any ripened tomatoes without some serious help. So we butted up some restore windows against the stakes I used for the plants. And crossed our fingers. I opened them up on days where the rain was heavy enough to give them a heavy watering. Other than that though, they stayed like this and it did work. I was able to get a bushel and a half before the first frost. I only wish I had done it sooner.
Alas, such was not the case for the thirteen rogue vine tomato plants that popped up from fallen tomato plants last year. Instead I ended up with more green tomatoes than I knew what to do with, barely enough red tomatoes to warrant the fossil energies it takes for a canning session. I did have a couple dates with the canning pot and here is some of the bounty.

A few samples of my efforts in canning.
Green tomato refrigerator pickles made using Meathead's AH-MAY-ZING deli pickle recipe found here. I made eighteen jars for thanksgiving and I am already down to three. I think I'll be making these next year for Christmas gifts.
Plum tomatoes raw packed and hot water processed.
In the back is pickled beets made using the Bernardin/Ball recipe. Although I do not eat them, everyone I gave a jar to, or shared some with loved them. Swore they were the perfect blend of crunchy and sweet.
 A neighbor brought me a basketful of jalepeno peppers for my dilled green tomatoes and instead of watching the leftovers wilt in the crisper I decided to pack them in olive oil and hot water process.
Strawberry rhubarb pie pillingmade with Bernardin recipe. I used two jars and added 1/4 cup cornstarch to filling before baking in a deep dish pie and it turned out wonderful.
The bruschetta mix was made with Bernardin's recipe as well but I'll be honest, i don't like it. It is way to vinegar-ry for my liking. I am thinking of draining all my remaining jars, adding fresh tomatoes and re-processing. I'll let you know how it turns out.

All in all it was an amazing experience, first growing the food and then preserving it. Most definitely eating it and loving how it turned year, I'll start my mini hothouses earlier so I yield more tomatoes. I'll be growing my own dill as well. I have a list and I will be sticking to it!

What do you love to preserve? Did you do any canning this year? I was nearly addicted, is it the same for you?

And now, I must run. But I leave you with Grease's Summer Nights because that has been in my head since I started this post.