Can it!

16 Oct

Totally excited about this new-to-me world of canning. I was invited to help my friend Chuck use up some of his abundant garden produce via homemade salsa while his girlfriend (one of my besties) was in town for the weekend. So I brought over some jars and lids, and we got to work.

First, he set all the kids to work planting garlic. 

This was interesting in itself because I had no clue you could just plant garlic like that. I grew up with vegetable gardens, and we even had one ourselves when we lived in Shreveport, but never had my own garlic. I WILL have a big garden and I WILL plant yummy garlic when we get to our new house in Delaware. This project was a big hit with the kids, on account of the playing in dirt I’m sure.

I wish I’d have gotten a picture of his garden, it was decimated in a hailstorm a little while back. But he still got a ton of tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc. I guess from the gardens out at his cabin. The cabin where he has bee hives.

First was all the prepwork. The tomatoes were set to boil so we could remove the skins and cut out any bits of imperfection. The green peppers were seeded, the tiny onions were disproportionately pungent so we mostly used a food processor, I thought I might go blind they had our eyes burning so much. He used some jalepenos and habaneros for the kick.

Once everything was prepped, the ingredients were combined into a large stockpot with some salt.

The jars were filled to about an inch from the top.

I think there was at least 3 gallons of yummy salsa, six jars of which I got to claim as my own. Here is Natalie’s daughter showing off the nearly finished products!

Now the part which I had been waiting for. The mystical canning/sealing process. Chuck used his turkey fryer out on the front lawn and got the pot boiling. The water level was just below the lids of the jars. He had some nifty grabber tools specially made to fit the jars, I have to invest in some for myself.

After about a half hour or so, we pulled the jars from the pot, and carefully but quickly, Chuck used his secret can sealing trick. This was to swiftly release the lid just a quarter turn then twist it back on tightly. Then we sat back and listened for the lids to “pop”. One, two, three, four, “was that one”, “yup”, ok five.

Afterwards we got a hankering for applesauce. So we headed out to the local pick your own, and came back with a few bushels of assorted apples.

 

There was less picture taking for this process, as it was getting late and I now found myself making enough pâte brisée to churn out 3 double crust apple pies. Chuck fed us all some farm raised pork tenderloin (AMAZING) and Natalie made sweet potatoes (of course, from Chuck’s garden) on the side. The peeled and seeded apples burnt a little bit because we used a giant stock pot which made it difficult to stir them. But from what I hear it turned out ok, although I wouldn’t actually know as I didn’t get a sample.

Next up, my mom has to teach me how she made all that raspberry jam. So I can try my hand at canning it.

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2 Responses to “Can it!”

  1. Chuck October 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Very cool and excellent write up. I have to admit, the tomatoes and sweet taters came from a buddies place just outside of town (and outside the hail’s wrath). Hope you enjoy the salsa, got one report, that it was quite good.

    And canning can be addictive: you have been warned.

    Cool site set up here too.

  2. greatgreenexperiment October 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Great account of your first experience with canning. I always thought it was too difficult, and then my husband taught me to can a couple of years ago. So much less intimidating than I had imagined. Now, I love making apple butter to can for Christmas gifts. It’s surprisingly fun to see, smell, and taste the fruits 🙂 of one’s labor.

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