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03 September 2009 @ 02:22 pm
Back to basics  
I don't know if many of you know this about me, but I'm a farm girl. Born and raised on a farm. We raised and either butchered, or had butchered, our own beef, sausage, pork, chicken (until the pair of hawks living on our property ate them all), rabbit and, um, hmm. We also had a full garden every year.

I hate weeding to this day. And I have a terrible black thumb. I kill plants, indoors and out. So instead of growing my own, I buy from the local farmsand go to the Farmer's Market on Saturdays sometimes.

I vaguely recall my Mom canning when I was growing up, but then she got a full time job and that never happened again. Well, recently I made some jam from $10 worth of peaches I bought at the farmer's market. In the same week, I chipped in on a friend's fresh tuna buy and ended up with 23 half pints of freshly canned tuna that is freaking amazing.

Today, I went searching for canning tips online "what else can I can with my barely adequate rustic water bath, home canning set up ?" But tomatoes and tomato sauce, it turns out, are low acidic content and either need acid added, or a pressure cooker to can. More research yielded that this is true of most vegetables and meats.

So, I wanted to upgrade my water bath set up, anyway. I need a taller, wider pot to do more cans at once. I need jar tongs, instead of the regular ones I've been using. The difference between getting this, and getting a pressure cooker in which I could either pressure cook OR water bath can was approximately $50. I went with the pressure cooker.

Free amazon two day shipping, that baby will be to me, um...crap. Next Wednesday, thanks to the holiday. :( Oh, well.

In the meantime, I'm on the hunt for the perfect tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce recipe. Alton Brown, don't fail me now! also, my boss has cucumbers coming out his ears from his garden. Perhaps I'll snag some and try my hand at homemade pickles! I do believe I'll make some homemade applesauce this Fall, as well. Mmmmmmmm.

Some central part of me misses that "home grown"-ness of the farm. I might not be able to raise my own cows, but we bought a quarter of a steer last year, part of which is still in my freezer, and I'm loving the canning possibilities.

Do any of you can? What are your favorite canning recipes?
 
 
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Queen of the Skiesqueenoftheskies on September 3rd, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC)
My mother canned EVERYTHING, but I've never been set up where I could.

She made amazing strawberry preserves and green tomato relish and delicious homemade pickles.
Patron Saint of Pessimism: Cheerful (Daisy)woodrunner on September 3rd, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)

I'm one generation from being a farmgirl. My granddad kept a huge garden, my grandmother baked everything from scratch, my dad's friends had herds of horses, and I've had rabbits, ducks, and a whole slew of other animals growing up.

My mom baked quite a bit when I was growing up. She would make all these meat pies ("tourtieres") and freeze them and serve them throughout the year. She'd make canned beets, pickles, jams, sauces, and other preserves.

My favourite is still the beets. I haven't done those in a while. But god, are they messy and it stains EVERYTHING. I have done beets, pickles, tomato sauces (marinara), applesauce, fruit jams, carrots, hot pepper jams, um... um... spicy green beans...

Hm, I'll have to hit the farmer's market soon to see if they have any beets this year...

"Connoisseurs of Difficulty"kistha on September 4th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
I can ask Mom for some of her recipes, and then maybe Aunt Kara for some of hers. She made the best garlic pickles ever....
soundingsea: personal - canningsoundingsea on September 4th, 2009 11:59 am (UTC)
I assume you got a pressure *canner* and not a regular cooker? The canner would come with a rack, thicker sides, a different lid iirc, etc.

And yeah, I have one of those and do all my boilng water canning in it too.

I like the Ball book (the expanded one, not the Blue Book):
http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Complete-Book-Home-Preserving/dp/0778801314/

The no-commercial-pectin raspberry jam with the apple base is delightful.

While you can process tomatoes without a pressure canner, the processing time is much longer.

I could talk and talk about this, but I have to go get on a plane. I'm sure I'll post more about canning next weekend!