Category Archives: Freezing and Canning

Finally! Productivity

September 2nd…Where has the summer gone?  It feels like I haven’t gotten anything done this summer!!

After missing the harvesting window on so much of our garden bounty this summer, we finally managed to be productive today and do some canning.  We set up a summer kitchen out on our back deck for sterilizing and processing jars in a hot water bath.

It worked fabulous because all of that moisture from the boiling water that usually ends up saturating my kitchen stayed outdoors.  We used the two-burner propane stove that Jesse purchased for making maple syrup this spring and it was perfect!

We started out with our tomatoes.  I don’t know about all of you, but our tomato plants suffered from a serious case of blight this year.  We have nonetheless still managed to enjoy a good harvest.  Cheating a bit, we use a package mix that has all the spices and all we have to do is add the freshly chopped tomatoes.  We processed 35 pints of salsa.

After the tomatoes, we started processing our apples.  This turned out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated.  This is really the first year that our tree has produced a decent amount of apples and I’m not sure how I feel about harvesting apples after today.  Peeling, coring, cutting up, boiling until softened, grinding up in the food processor, heating again until boiling….what a mess!!

We processed 7 quarts of applesauce and approximately 8 pints of apple butter.  Based on the amount of work that went into these jars, I sure hope we enjoy them.
So, finally…a day of productivity here on the farm.  We have managed to preserve some of the produce from our garden.  It makes me feel good…giddy…happy…satisfied.

Some time this winter, probably in January, I will be feeling even happier as I pop open a jar of salsa or apple butter for us to enjoy.  It will remind me of summer and of how grateful I am to live here.



Filed under Food, Freezing and Canning

Dilly-icious Beans!

Thanks to the ranting and raving of various people, I have discovered a great new way to use all of those green beans and wax beans that I am harvesting at the moment.  Over the past few years, when discussing preserving the garden harvest I have heard numerous people mention dilly beans and how much they love them.  I must admit, the thought of pickled beans did not sound that good to me at first.  At some point, however, I just could not ignore the fact that a LOT of people seemed to like these dilly beans.

When the bush beans started producing a few weeks ago, I dug out my canning books and looked for a recipe.  I found several variations and decided to use the following simple recipe out of  The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving:

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Filed under Food, Freezing and Canning, Gardens, Vegetable

Preserving Rhubarb

Like most people, we have more rhubarb than we know what to do with. After all, there are a limited number of things you can do with rhubarb, and all of them involve a LOT of sugar to tone down the sharp flavor.  During the harvesting period of spring through the end of June (in my zone 3-4), our daughter usually makes us pans of rhubarb crisp, rhubarb muffins and rhubarb cake to enjoy.  She loves to bake and we love to eat her creations.

This year I decided to attempt preserving some rhubarb to enjoy past its short season.  My first project was to make some simple rhubarb jam.  My husband’s co-worker had an easy recipe for refrigerator jam.

Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

6 c. diced rhubarb

3 c. sugar

Combine and sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

Heat mixture to boiling for 10 minutes.  Add 3 oz. package of strawberry gelatin.

Pour into canning jars.

I am not an expert at canning, or anything else for that matter, but I am trying to learn more each summer as I try to preserve food from the garden.  I boiled the jars of jam in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes just to seal them up.

The resulting jam was very tasty and the consistency out of the fridge was good.

The next recipe I attempted was this ginger rhubarb chutney recipe that I found over at tigress in a pickle.  I discovered her blog a few months ago, along with her companion site, tigress in a jam.  These sites are great resources if you are looking for a collection of recipe ideas for preserving your garden bounty.  In addition to standard pickling and jam recipes, you will find unique and creative recipes with some wild flavor combinations.

Anyhow, this sweet, tangy, and intensely flavored chutney turned out delicious.  After finishing a batch, my daughter and I took some fresh bread with a piece of cheese and put a scoop of chutney on top to test it out.  I loved it and to my surprise, she did too!  Over the weekend, we smoked some pork chops and covered it with the warm chutney, which was also a great pairing.

What other ideas are out there for using or preserving all that rhubarb?


Filed under Food, Freezing and Canning, Gardens, Vegetable