Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Night Special: Canning

Canning 2010

I thought about calling this post "What I Did On My Summer Vacation," but I actually only had two weeks off. Ah, but no, I didn't amass this many jars of delicious things in just two weeks. If you don't count the meyer lemon marmalade I made in January (citrus season: the highlight of the colder months), I starting canning in earnest in May with pickled asparagus, which we'll eat with hardboiled eggs like before or maybe as part of an antipasto platter.

In June I kept the momentum going with dilly beans, which we have already eaten a jar of, with cheese and crackers during a night of card games. July was the month for jam: apricot, plum, and blueberry (we picked the blueberries ourselves and added lemon verbena from our garden). We've been eating the jam on toast, and as part of a delicious pastry that I have yet to tell you about, and I've got my eye on this jam tart recipe, too. We also made a kosher-style dill cucumber pickle in July, using a method from the new-this-year canning book Canning for a New Generation. I want to make every single thing in this book, but I'm running out of pantry space. Oh and if I run out of ways to use all this jam, here's a great list of ideas.

In August I made one more batch of jam (peach) and I made jalapeno jelly for the first time. It was also my first time using commercial pectin. My dad just emailed me to say he's enjoying the jar I sent up to Maine on crackers with goat cheese, so I'm going to call it a success. Speaking of spicy, we also put up sixteen pints of salsa in August.

September has been tomato month so far: 8 quarts of whole peeled tomatoes, 9 pints of crushed tomatoes, and three pints of tomato juice as a byproduct of the crushed tomatoes. We'll eat the tomatoes as sauce or on pizza or in any of the many, many things we eat that call for a can of tomatoes. I bet the tomato juice will show up as in a bloody mary for our New Year's Day brunch party if not before. Last week I made my first ever batch of mixed pickles using cauliflower, celery, carrots, pearl onions, cucumbers and hot and sweet peppers. We like these spicy pickles in salad or with cheese and crackers like the dilly beans.

I took this photo the other day mostly to remember what I've canned this year. I'll probably still do a batch of peach chutney since we enjoyed that so much last year, and I can always find room for more salsa in the cupboard. It was also fun to get it all out and see how productive we've been all season!  So, what have you put up this year? And how are you going to use it?


  1. Hey, would you mind sharing your recipe for spicy mixed vegetable pickles?

    I've just started canning this year and I've made:
    Sweet-sour Zucchini pickles with onion
    Watermelon Rind Pickle
    Simple preserved vegetables (purple cauliflower, mixed pepper slices, carrot & lemon cucumber)

    And I'm wanting to make some spicy celery pickles....but am not sure how to make'em spicy.

  2. Hi Caroline! Watermelon rind pickle sounds really interesting. I don't like the melon, but I've got no problems with the rind! I use the ball blue book recipe for my mixed pickles, but I did a sort of hybrid between the "hot pickle mix" and the plain "mixed pickles." Here's what I used:

    1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
    2 sweet red peppers, cut into 2" by 1/2" pieces
    3 jalapenos, thickly sliced and lazily seeded
    4 stalks celery, thickly sliced
    3 large carrots, thickly sliced
    1 cup peeled pearl onions

    Dissolve a cup of canning salt in 4 quarts of water, add vegetables, soak 12-18 hours. Drain, rinse, drain again. Heat 6 1/2 cups vinegar with two cups of sugar, 1/4 cup of mustard seed and 2 tablespoons celery seed, bring to a boil. Add drained vegetables, simmer 5 minutes. Pack hot pickles into hot jars (I added a pinch of red pepper flakes to each jar first), and fill with liquid leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, put on the lids, and process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

    As for spicy celery pickles, you could just start with your usual brine recipe and add a dried red pepper to each jar or just a pinch of red pepper flakes in each jar if you want to be cautious.

  3. This is great! Thanks, I'll letcha know how it turns out.

  4. I'm so impressed - look at all of those goodies!

  5. MMmmm blueberry jam with lemon verbena sounds lovely! Thanks for linking to my 50 ways post :)

  6. Very impressive! I just love the variety you've got there :) I just finished with the pears -- lots of YUMMY pear nectar, and pear halves and pear slices. Now it's onto the tomatoes :) Happy canning (and eating).

  7. Wow, you've been a busy girl :)
    Question - where do you get all this produce? I buy most of mine at the farmers market during the summer months and I feel like it's so expensive that I can't imagine buying stuff "in bulk" (to can). Would love to hear how you do it!

  8. Hi Honey,
    Can you be in charge of the relish tray for Thanksgiving this year?

  9. So far this year, I've made Blueberry-Peach Jam, Peach-Tomato salsa (peaches were 77cents a pound. I went nuts), Garlic Dill Pickles (cukes and zukes), Dilly Beans, Tomato Butter, and Tomato Sauce.
    I still want to do apple butter, cran-apple jam, pepper jelly, pickled brussels sprouts, and some kind of chutney. Plus, for some reason plums are still super-cheap at my grocery store, so maybe I'll do something with stone fruits. As soon as I get more half-pint jars, that is. My favorite size, but they go so quickly!

  10. (loving the comment from mom)

    Girl, you've been busy and this is most impressive!

    Ps. Will you contribute to my canning series next season?!

  11. Hi all,

    Elina I shop at the farmer's markets too! One of the reasons I can is so we can eat local produce even in the off season, so I don't mind spending money now that I won't have to spend later. I also buy "second" tomatoes - they've usually got deformities and I have to cut out a few bruises, but I 40 lbs for $30 (they come in 20 lb boxes) from Kimball Fruit Farms and if I'm just going to crush them, I don't mind doing a little extra work to keep the cost down.

    Aimee, I'd be happy to :)