Under pressure

In an effort to use up a little vacation time, and give myself a couple of “me” days, I took the past two Mondays off.  Relaxation efforts on the first Monday?  A big fat FAIL.

I told myself I would do better this past Monday.  That all flew out the window when I foolishly offered to deal with our latest tomato harvest, which included my first foray into pressure canning.*

A small portion of the harvest

Instead I spent the day cutting tomatoes,

Blending tomatoes,

And cooking them into sauce,

So I could cancan can.

I watched nervously as the pressure built, fearing the worst (broken jars) as I heard some suspicious noises from inside.

Nothing to do but wait.  Eleven pounds of pressure for fifteen minutes, them time for it to fully depressurize.

A peek inside . . .

No tomato vomit, i.e., tomato bits floating in the canning water, indicating certain jar breakage.  I still held my breath as I removed the jars, since sometimes a jar can crack, but remain more or less intact until moved.

All intact!  Of course, I kind-of overshot my goal of cooking the tomatoes down enough to only have to do one round (seven quarts) of canning.  My super thick sauce only yielded five quarts, which I divided into four quart jars, two pint jars, and a pint-and-a-half of tomato juice to give me seven jars for a full load.

So, relaxing Monday FAIL, but canning SUCCESS.  I’ll take it.

*We bought the pressure canner last summer, right before Pookie arrived.  Matthew used to can a few batches of green beans, but I was pretty out of commission during that time.  Matthew’s mom handled all of the tomato canning last year (water bath method), and she’s done a ton of it for us already this season.

Cancan can!

The fruits (and vegetables) of last year’s gardening and canning labors:

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From left to right on each shelf, starting with top shelf:

  • Green beans, catsup
  • Relish, pear preserves, more green beans
  • Tomatoes w/fennel, onion, and garlic, straight up tomatoes
  • Pickled beets, pickled onions, pears, more green beans

We grew everything pictured, except for the pears, which came from Matthew’s grandparents’ neighbors’ tree.  Matthew’s mom did most of the preserving and canning last summer and fall, since we were a little bit busy with this.  We contributed the green beans, lest you think we were total slackers.

Previous canning posts on HerGreenLife
Salsa, salsa, salsa
Pear preserves
We now return to our regularly schedule posting

Eating garden fresh in February

I’m always delighted when I look at my plate and realize that a large portion of the food on it came from our garden (or local sources).  A couple nights ago, we tossed together a relatively quick meal, almost all home grown.

From the top: roasted, shredded beets with butter and salt(actually from my father-in-law’s garden), a veggie saute made from frozen green beans and corn, plus roasted winter squash (sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with fresh ginger, horseradish, and soy sauce), and noodles with canned sauce from our garden tomatoes.  Yum 🙂

Salsa, salsa, salsa

I typed the title with a little song running through my head.

On Tuesday night, I chopped up a bunch of tomatoes.  Matthew handled the onion, garlic, and hot peppers (much to his chagrin on that last ingredient — multiple hand washings still left behind residue that made it into his eyes).

A few hours later . . .

Six pints sealed and another pint in the refrigerator to eat now = success on our first salsa attempt 🙂