Monday, September 14, 2015

What I Preserved This Summer

I decided that any preserving I did this summer when Phoebe was a newborn was a bonus.  I am quite surprised and pleased at how much I accomplished, with the help of the big kids and some strategic planning. The big kids could care for Phoebe if I needed to pull jars out of the canner or some other time-sensitive thing.  Thanks to the methods in Bringing Up Bébé, Phoebe can be patient with some delays if I had miscalculated my time or her needs.  She is also a pretty predictable napper by now, so I coordinated my projects with those naptimes.

Some of the totals below actually represent several days of split-up work, especially the corn, which I froze by just processing a few extra ears every time we had corn for a meal.   I didn't manage to take photos or blog it along the way, but here's the roundup.

16 pints strawberry freezer jam
3 pints strawberry rhubarb jam
8 pints sour cherries, frozen
7 half-pints maraschino cherries

7 pints dilly beans
7 quarts kosher dills
8 pints pizza sauce
10 pints blueberries, frozen
4 quarts green beans, frozen
17 pints pickled red beets
6 quarts red beet brine

10 quarts canned peaches
6 pints sweet pickle relish
6 pints peaches, frozen
5 pints peach salsa
7 half-pints salted brown butter peach jam (from Preserving by the Pint)
4 quarts pears
21 pints corn, frozen

20 quarts whole tomatoes
9 pints salsa
6 half-pints tomato jam (from Food in Jars)
8 quarts pizza sauce
2 half-pints chocolate pear jam (from Preserving by the Pint)

I ordered some more seconds tomatoes for tomorrow to make tomato soup.  I also will watch for cheap red bell peppers for pimentos, and also seconds apples for sauce.  And then I'll be done!

When I look at this list, I realize how experienced I've become as a canner.  Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself (I mean, yes, there are all the right reasons - local food, thrift, straight-up skills, etc.) but it's just so much work.

I know some of my mom friends have time for other things because they are not canning.  I'm not locking myself into canning (see the first sentence of this post), but right now in my life, my satisfaction with the results is worth the time and work.

Are you a happy canner, a wishful canner, a former canner, a what? I'd love to hear about it.


BLD in MT said...

We tried a new tomato sauce recipe over the weekend. It called for roasting the tomatoes with onions, peppers, and garlic before pureeing and canning. Oh. My. Goodness. Its worth the effort. That said, my husband was wishing aloud that it took one hour less than it did. But, still, worth the effort. We also did apple juice on the weekend. There is no storebought comparison for it that I've found.

And you, my friend, are a wiz. You get so much done--including rearing that little one! Good for you. It sounds like a yummy list.

Dianna said...

That is a lot of canning. Well done! It is so rewarding to open up those jars in the winter.

I canned applesauce and peaches this summer, and this time around, I must say I was a grumpy canner. I didn't enjoy it at all and it disrupted all my routines and left my kitchen a giant mess.

Perhaps I'm grumpy about it because of my inexperience? I would have had things out of the kitchen faster if I had more practice, I think.

Anyway, I'll can again next year, but no more this year. :)

jenny_o said...

I am an old canner. So old that it was back when jam and pickle recipes called for a layer of hot wax to seal the top, or simply sealing while hot, instead of hot water bath processing. Now we eat very little jam, pickles, canned fruit or tomato sauce, so it's not worth it to me to invest in a canner and the bottles and equipment. I so admire your productivity. My word, woman, with a new baby and two young children - all those bottles and bottles of goodness - what an accomplishment!

May I ask what the beet juice will be used for?

Anonymous said...

I've only canned applesauce. It was so much work and made such a mess. I'm not sure it was worth it. I hated it. What else do you do with produce from your garden unless you just stop gardening. I like the idea of gardening and canning and the money saved, healthy food, etc. but the actual process I loathe.

Alica said...'ve done a lot! I've been canning for a long time, but have had to adjust my expectations since back surgery. I've canned a bunch this summer, but the produce has either been purchased or shared by friends, and I'm ok with that! I would LOVE to know how you make your peach's always the kind I sample when I go to market!

Margo said...

Jenny_o, the red beet brine is for pickling hard-boiled eggs. I save all the juice left from cooking the red beets - it's more than is needed for the actual beet pickle - and then I make it into the brine and can it.

Margo said...

Anon, I do not really enjoy making applesauce either, but the flavor is incomparable. I cannot abide commercial applesauce, so the homemade flavor motivates me! Plus, I have a Foley food mill for making the sauce and I can get my kids to turn the crank, so I have help.

Margo said...

Alica, I'll give the peach salsa recipe here, but I tweaked the recipe a bit this year and I haven't opened a jar yet and tasted it :)

6 cups diced, peeled peaches
1 1/4 cup diced red onion
4 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika

Simmer all together for 5 minutes. Process pints in water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Margo, with the help of your kids , you did a wonderful job with your summer canning.. So happy for you.. Looks really good.Know you and family, will enjoy it this winter.
I didn't can a lot this summer.. We had a good bit of jellies and jams left from last year.. Just the two of us, it doesn't take much.
Have a great week.

Becky said...

I can everything in sight. I don't keep track of what all I put up, although I should. During the height of the season - end of July through August, I can daily, sometimes a few rounds a day. I sell my pickles on the side, that's how much I can. And I'm wildly uptight about knowing exactly where our food comes, so canning helps me navigate that during the winter. I freeze a good bit as well - I do my corn just like you - I buy a dozen ears of corn weekly and freeze what we don't eat.

Canning IS work, but once I find my groove, I find I can knock it out in no time. I can get a half bushel of tomatoes peeled, chopped, packed and in the canner in under two hours solo. I love apple season, because it's the easiest. A box of apples can sit in my kitchen for weeks without spoiling, so I can do a small batch of applesauce every night while cooking dinner. Before you know it, I've put up four bushels of apples!

Mrs. B, a very peculiar person said...

I just found your blog and had to comment as, each and every year, I am an overwhelmed caner. Since I grow a 5,700 sq.ft. vegetable garden (large enough to feed a family of 6 for an entire year) AND live on Montana's eastern prairie (due to our short growing season everything comes in a the same time), I can and freeze hundreds of quarts and pints each and every summer / fall. Each year I begin feeling overwhelmed, but somehow get it all done.
Why? Why would I do this to myself? Simply put, I save THOUSANDS of dollars per year growing and harvesting our own food AND we know it is herbicide and pesticide free ... we also live 45 miles, one-way, from the nearest grocer so, a quick trip to the basement serves as my store during the snow bound, bitter winter months.
Looking forward to reading your other posts.
Blessings to you,

Laura said...

As someone who knows next-to-nothing about canning, I'm so impressed by your output, with a newborn at that! I like the idea of home canning but oh my, all that work... maybe when my children are older and can be useful in the garden and kitchen...

There's something so beautiful about all those jars of homemade food!

Shauna said...

Wow, that really adds up to a nice list! I enjoy canning too, next up for me is pickled beets, a real favourite of ours. Super job, and your kids learn a lot too!

Polly said...

Well, I am IMPRESSED! I own a canner but have never used it (yard sale, last year, $10). I just failed to use it this summer. But that's okay because I'm a little scared.

Next year!

I can't believe all you canned WITH A NEWBORN. I'm so amazed. You are a master.

Kate said...

I spent half this summer extremely pregnant and half with a newborn and truthfully I found canning easier and more enjoyable with the newborn rather than canning while pregnant. I usually really enjoy canning mainly because I feel like a superhero afterward, looking at all my jars full of good stuff. This year I did some apricot jam, a bunch of salsa and a bunch of applesauce. I also can't stand commercial applesauce. Some peach salsa happened and peach jelly that didn't gel, so peach syrup, and a small batch of plum jam. I know I did something else earlier in the season, but I can't actually remember what though. Most likely some jams...Oh, strawberry jam. Probably something else. I read posts like this and think it would be a good idea to keep track of what I put up every year.

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