food preservation

Filling the Pantry

Cool evenings and crisp mornings…there are hints of fall colors starting.  The change of seasons is becoming more evident with each passing day.

We’ve been working in the garden to clean out summer crops passed their prime while planting crops for over-wintering.  Crops in the works include: lettuces, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, scallions, kales, collards, and even crazy things like cauliflower (may be too late but worth a try).

In the meantime, the last summer harvests have been processed in order to savor the tastes later on.  It is a bit of work, but there is a feeling of satisfaction when the pantry gets full.

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The results of a few weeks of canning.

Soon, I’ll get some beets and garlic pickled and restock our supply of hot pepper jelly.

What are you filling your pantry with?  Do you have a favorite canning recipe?

Rainy weekend tasks

The weather is the top talk of the town these days…from extremely dry to record breaking rains…it has been a season of extremes, making many gardening tasks rather difficult to even consider.

For the past rainy weekend, social activities were cancelled due to rain and the to-do list was refocused to indoor activities. I posted some time ago a recipe for canning sweet pepper relish. A customer and friend supplied me with this recipe, and with bell and hot peppers still producing, Saturday was a perfect day for revisiting this relish.

Peppers

Peppers

With every available color bell pepper and a few hot ones for good measure, this relish makes a colorful and fun alternative to your run-of-the-mill pickle relish common to the backyard hot dog. Easy to make, this recipe is definitely a great rainy day canning project to tackle.

Have a peck of peppers you don’t know what to do with? Consider making this relish.

Do you have a favorite bell pepper canning recipe to share?

Food preservation – quick option

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Cherries

We are grateful to have a tomato crop this season. The past two years, our plants have succumbed to blight. This season, the plants still had to content with excessive moisture, but they have yielded some delicious fruits despite the wet weather.

With the summer season winding down, it is time to be sure to preserve some crops for winter enjoyment. Winter is prime time for soups, stews and chilis, so having some tomatoes on hand is a plus.

We have a Foodsaver vacuum sealer. This affordable appliance is great for packaging items (such as tomatoes) for the freezer. You certainly can use Ziplock freezer bags…just be sure to get as much air out as possible to limit freezer burn and loss of quality.

Vacuum sealing tomatoes

Vacuum sealing tomatoes

Vacuum sealing helps to prevent freezer burn and rapid degradation of flavor and quality. To package the tomatoes, I just put whole fruits in the bag! It’s just that simple.

Sealing

Sealing

I do not blanch, core or remove skins. This winter, when I thaw these tomatoes, they will resemble stewed fruits. Their skins easily will come right off! No fuss or muss. It’s perfect for cooking.

If you’ve space in your freezer, freezing tomatoes is a quick food preservation alternative to canning.

Ready for the freezer

Ready for the freezer