We're beginning to wind down after a very mild and busy summer. We've had our share of illnesses around this house, more than I'd like to repeat, but we survived. Between sick kids, playing at the cottage, and normal every day events, this little blog gets put on the back burner quite a bit. I think it's about time for a garden update!
If you've been following along this year, you might remember my original post about putting our garden in. This is the fourth year of our garden, and usually we try something new every year. This year we kept it pretty basic, but have yielded bushels of Roma tomatoes, Big Boys, Early Girls (or fashionably late girls in our case...), bell peppers, jalapenos, banana peppers, and resilient broccoli.
On the contrary, our snap peas and beans didn't do so well.
I'm pretty proud of myself this year, as it's the first that I've canned multiple foods all by myself!
I'm growing up so fast...
In the Spring, some friends and I took our little ones raspberry picking. That weekend I canned 4 little jars of Raspberry Lavender-Mint Jam using this awesome book my mom got for me:
|"CANNING FOR A NEW GENERATION"|
I've also been referencing it to can our scads of tomatoes. Last year my mom and I canned a dozen quarts or so of whole tomatoes. With a brief refresher from her on the simple steps, I canned 14 more quarts. My hubby loves them for his "Deer Camp Chili", which he makes several times each fall, and enough to feed an army.
In a nutshell, here are a few simple steps to canning whole tomatoes.
Every jar sealed, however I had one jar crack open. What a mess!
For the first time I also made a tomato basil sauce with fresh basil from my mom's herb garden. I looove the smell of fresh basil! I sampled the sauce while it was still really hot, so here's hoping it has good flavor and thickness on a prepared dish. This was a modified recipe of All Purpose Tomato Sauce from "CANNING FOR A NEW GENERATION".
As a side note, if you run out of time to process your jars the same day you prepare all of the tomatoes like I did, store the jars of tomatoes in the refrigerator until you can process them. Just be sure to place the jars in the canning pot, then fill with cold water and bring to a boil to ensure your jars to crack under the temperature change. It takes longer for it to boil, but I wasn't about to stay up until 1 A.M. processing tomatoes. And no, the jar that broke actually wasn't one I had in the fridge.
Preserving might seem overwhelming, but if you work with someone who is experienced, you learn quickly, and it makes the job go a lot faster!