Archive for the ‘canning’ Category

Cha-cha sal-sa Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Last week my sis, mom and I made quick work of 18 pints of salsa. Last year we hadn’t done any. It can be quite the chore, but with three (and a couple beers) it was quite a fun evening.

  1. Sterilized jars
  2. First we scalded the tomatoes in simmering water for easy peeling
  3. Peeled tomatoes
  4. Chopped onions, garlic, sweet and hot peppers (make sure to use gloves – I also made it a point to take my contacts out before starting this venture, nothing says, “youch!” like hot pepper in the eye)
  5. Threw it all in a couple stockpots to simmer with some vinegar, a little brown sugar and salt – upwards of 3 hours (we didn’t do it nearly as long as the recipe said)
  6. Just before ladling into jars we added some lime, fresh garlic and chopped cilantro
  7. Ladled to within 1/2″ of top of jar
  8. Topped with sterilized lids and rings, tightened
  9. Immersed jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes

I’ve been eating piles of it. We used a few long hot peppers and a couple jalapenos to two grocery-sized bags of tomatoes. We got an awesome medium heat and it is very smooth.

What a great way to spend an evening.

Boiling over Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Stewed Tomatoes

Tis the time for preservation of the all-too-short season of growth. The Hub cranked out the first 4 quarts of stewed tomatoes. We have one determinate tomato (all fruit ripens about the same time) so we need to stay on top of it to reap the most benefits. Stewed tomatoes are quick, he added some onions too.

  1. Cut up tomatoes into rough chunks
  2. Cook over medium heat till desired reduction to intensify flavor
  3. Put into sterile quart jars
  4. Wipe rim clean
  5. Place on sterile lid and ring (tighten to slight resistance)
  6. Place in boiling water to depth that the lids are covered (sometimes it’s easier to keep it a little shallower and have a hot tea kettle standing by to top it off)
  7. Boil for 15 minutes
  8. Remove from boiling water and wait for the !POP! to know it is sealed – if one doesn’t, just refrigerate til you can use it.

Worst thing about the process is the residual steam when we are trying to keep our house cool and dry.

dragon beans

Other means of preservation: freezing

So far I’ve picked some edamame and froze them in quart size freezer bags. When ready to use, just boil up some salted water, drop them in for 5 min. or so, peal and enjoy.

Our Dragon Tongue Bush Beans are awesome. They are great fresh so I doubt we will need to preserve any. Even when they get big they are still good and not too fibery. When they are cooked though, they loose their distinct purple flecks.

Monday, February 15th, 2010

YARD AND GARDEN EXPO
MARCH 13, 2010
RAMADA INN & CONVENTION CENTER
ABERDEEN, SD

Registration—8:45 A.M. Registration fee- $5

THIS YEAR’S TOPICS

  • 9:00 A.M.:  PRESERVING YOUR HARVEST – Marjorie Zastrow, SDSU Extension Educator—FCS
  • 10:15 A.M. TREE AND SHRUB PRUNING MADE EASY – Aaron Keisz, Aberdeen City Forester
  • 11:15 A.M. HARDSCAPING-PATIO PAVERS & RETAINING WALLS – Jerry Mattern
  • 1:00 P.M. TIPS FOR DIVIDING AND MOVING PERENNIAL PLANTS – Glenda Oakley, Extension Master Gardener
  • 2:00 P.M. SMALL COMMERCIAL GARDEN, MAKING/USING COMPOST – George Piper, Extension Master Gardener
  • 3:15 P.M. FLOWER ARRANGING – Cindy Carlson and Renita Kainz, Lily’s Floral Design & Gifts

EXHIBITORS
Angerhofer Concrete Products; Beadles Floral and Nursery; Gary’s Engine and Repair; Harvest Garden Center; Lily’s Floral Design and Gifts; Parkview Nursery; Boston Fern; RDO Equipment; Scentsy; The Happy Gardener; Prairie Partners Master Gardeners

HOSTS
Prairie Partners Master Gardeners
South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service

Wishing season Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

My mom asked me the other day if I’d received any garden catalogs yet? “Um, one – Baker Creek.” She wanders away just to come back and plop down what looked like a dozen seed, perennial, vegetable, and supply catalogs.

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again. The anger over tomato blights and squash maggots has softened like labor pains for a mother looking upon another birth (like me come April). The hope is here again. South Dakota is a nice place to garden for that. Everything is covered with a blanket of snow – some survivors will mark the building blocks of what is to come and among them a blank slate to fill anew. Without our killing winters I couldn’t imagine anything turning the switch on the jungle I inevitably find myself in come August. By then I’m just willing the growing season to end.

So, with my impending 2-month leave April and May I’m going to give a shot to starting some seeds. I’m had very minimal success in the past. Lighting has always been my problem. The seeds sprout, grow, become lanky and flop over – growing in much too long and weak to rebound the transplanting to come.

In steps my first wish – this is why I love my March birthday, just in time for garden season – a grow light with adjustable height. You see I have a great south window, but it’s never enough, nor can one regulate the S.D. sun. Also, seeds just give us a sate to our early gardening thirst, they also give us a jump so we can grow some things our growing season just can’t accommodate without a head start.

The hub and I have started a seed list just from Baker Creek:

These are just a few ‘wishes’ – haven’t filled out the order yet – guess it’s also the time to figure out the garden budget before we get too ahead of ourselves.

Preserving the bounty Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Today The Hub will start the preservation ritual. Mostly tomatoes but we do a bit with other stuff too.

Tomatoes: Cook down or stew tomatoes til desired consistency

  • Chunky sauce: Cut chunks, cook off some water – any extra tomatoes are good for this
  • Smooth sauce: Do as above, strain through colander to get rid of seeds or peels – any extra tomatoes are good for this
  • Paste: Follow step for smooth sauce, then put back over low heat, stirring frequently until thick – this can take several hours. Use Roma or plum tomatoes to speed up process (they have less water than others.
  • For sweeter, low acid tomatoes like yellow, pink, orange, etc. Or, just to be safe, add 1 T. per pint or 2 T. per quart of lemon juice. Vinegar may be used but it could change taste. This brings the acid level up to safe levels so botulism does not set in.
  • After your tomatoes are cooked down to desired consistency, take clean mason jars, rings and seals. Put all in a large clean colander and pour boiling water over all. Canning tongs and silicon tongues makes handling these much easier. Pour water out of jars and set on a towel on your counter close to your pot of tomatoes.
  • Using a  funnel and ladle, spoon the mixture to within an inch or so to the top of the jar. Take a clean dish towel and wipe the rim of the jar. Place on a sterile lid and then ring. Screw on only til you feel tension – do NOT tighten.
  • In a stockpot of boiling water with an elevator (a small cooling rack can work for this, just to keep the bottom of the jars off the base of the stockpot – they will burst otherwise). Place in jars – the water should just cover the top of them and the jars should not touch – do not crowd them. If you need more water you should have a backup of boiling water in a teapot just in case. Or if there is too much, ladle it off. Let the jars sit in the stockpot for 15 min. Then, using a canning tongs (it fits around the rim of the jar to pull them out) carefully place them back on the towel – do not bump them again.
  • Within the hour you should hear popping noises of the jars sealing themselves. If any don’t seal, place them in the fridge after cool and use them within a week.
  • Reasons a jar doesn’t seal: the ring was too tight, the rim of the jar was dirty, they didn’t sit in the stockpot long enough, there was too much or too little sauce put in them.
  • Extra: Tomatoes do not need any extra accompaniments to be canned – there acid content is high enough to inhibit any bacterial growth. Once sealed the jars can sit for more than a year. During the initial stewing process, you may add any spices or other veggies you like (do this after the straining process if you want the tomato parts smooth though). Hot peppers, onions, salt, lime and garlic for salsa or basil, salt, pepper, garlic and onions for pasta sauce. Whatever you like. Except for making salsa, I like to keep my tomatoes plain so I can add whatever I like when I want to use them. Many times it’s just a dollop of homemade pesto to make a wonderful pasta accompaniment.