It begins

Canning season and the academic year, that is. Dan and I both returned to our respective campuses this week –he to his brand new middle school, and I to my campus on a hill. I had tried hard to get ripe tomatoes earlier to so I could get some canning done before the return to work, but mother nature conspired against me this summer with out cool wet weather, and the tomato flood is just beginning.

Sunday we made a batch of dilly beans and a batch of pickled beets. Both the beets and the dillies just need a boiling water bath. Most non-pickled items will require the pressure canner. I used green and yellow string beans for the dillies; next year I want to try purple beans, too, and see if the processing time is too short to tun them green. Wouldn’t it be cool to have three-color dilly beans?

We’ve learned that it is much easier to use the big portable gas cooker (made for a turkey fryer) on the deck to process either in the boiling water bath canner or the pressure canner. It heats up a lot faster –the thing sounds like the space shuttle booster rockets igniting –and it keeps the heat out of the already hot kitchen. It requires a bit more thinking through the steps to make sure you have all you need ready to go, but it is so much faster that it is worth it.

The tomatoes are beginning to roll in; the squash is, too. Last night, I roasted a pan of tomatoes; tonight I’ll make it into a quick sauce with lots of squash, onion, garlic and peppers. This batch I’ll freeze since I won’t be following a tested recipe; future batches I’ll be sure to follow an approved recipe to ensure the product is acidic enough for safe canning.

These are all backyard products with the exception of the garlic and peppers, which came from a farm stand less than 2 miles away. My peppers are just getting started, and the garlic, well, she didn’t like the wet weather so much. But it is as local as I can manage. Check out this hilarious post on Compostings about the trials of the 100 yard diet. I nearly wet my pants.

In the ice cream front, I made a batch of sublime Blackberry-Lime ice cream the other day. I know I say each flavor is my favorite, and so is this one. Life is too short for just one favorite! Give it a try, it really is fantastic. The recipe can be found here on Yankee Pantry.

Between working, gardening and canning, we may be too busy to post too often. But we’ll try.

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6 Responses to “It begins”

  1. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife Says:

    Blackberry-Lime ice cream! Oh MY GOD, that sounds fantastic. And ice cream doesn’t usually excite me all that much. Too bad we ate up all our gleaned blackberries in a crumble. Any suggestions for an ice cream pairing for the raspberries we stashed in the freezer?

    Our tomatoes have been late too this year. It seems pretty universal from what I gather on the blogosphere.

    cheers,

    Kate

  2. Daphne Gould Says:

    The roasted tomatoes look so fabulous. I can imagine them in a sauce. I used to can things years ago, but haven’t recently. I tend to dry or freeze now, but I think I need to start canning again. The canning posts are making me drool.

  3. sjones71 Says:

    Thank you for the link to my silliness!

    Your ice cream is killing me. I must convince my wife to get the ice cream maker running again. We had great success and then a failure making frozen yogurt. And I say screw the frozen yogurt! it’s fake ice cream anyway! Blackberry Lime sounds awesome.

    What I need to do is get going on a larger canning operation too. Your outside cooker thingy is the way to go.

  4. Betsy Says:

    Found an old blog entry on the Bowdoinham plant sale. We loved your comments. We are the plant sale ladies and really appreciate your comments! Please introduce yourself next time you come to the sale, Saturday May 16.

  5. Kim Says:

    Seriously, I’m pretty sure that you have some sort of spy living next door to me who reports back to you on my activities! We have started using our propane burner for big canning projects, as well, and I actually said to my husband that people were going to think we’re launching a rocket over here.

    Not only that, but I was just complaining about how the tomato season seems late this year, and I wasn’t able to get the tomatoes done during my two weeks off. The teachers are back to school this week and kids come Tuesday, so I’ll have to use a precious weekend day for canning tomatoes soon! Oh, the anxiety! After all the rain we’ve had, is it wrong to hope for a cloudy/rainy day this weekend?

    :-)

  6. Ali Says:

    Kim: YES! It is wrong to wish for a cloudy/rainy day, as we have one last little camping trip planned to the coast. Sorry, but if it rains, I’m coming after ya! As for the propane burner, great minds….

    Betsy: Thanks for visiting Henbogle! I will introduce my self, and I will before then someday drop off some plant pots and other garden items you amazing ladies might find useful for the sale. I meant every word; every plant I’ve ever purchased from that sale is thriving.

    Jonesy: The propane cooker rocks, and your post just killed me. I’m saving some spider egg sacks for you, for the lean times.

    Daphne: I love the roasted sauce, it has a deeper, sweeter flavor that is fabulous on pizza, especially. And it is easy –not as easy as freezing, but m freezer if getting very full….

    Frugal Kate: Thanks for visiting. Try the ice cream, you’ll love it. I suspect the recipe would be equally yummola with raspberries. I need to plant some raspberries, somewhere….

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