Tag Archives: canning

Preserving the Harvest

8 Aug

I’m at the time of year when my garden keeps me busy.  I’m lucky that the weather has been good here for keeping the weeds out, and I’m also grateful that I have water close by so that I can water the garden.  We’ve been horribly dry for the last six weeks or so.  My trees are losing their leaves because of the dry conditions.  I’m kind of worried about a couple of my old oak trees.

I’m still getting a few cucumbers and zucchinis despite the dang squash vine borers.  I’m working hard at preserving the harvest.  I have been making and freezing zucchini brownies and bread.

I’ve also been freezing zucchini patties.  When they are frozen, I’ll switch them into a ziploc bag, but they stay separate by freezing on the baking sheet first.

I think I’m going to move on to zucchini chips next.

I have already canned green beans for me and my mom.

Snickers has been my expert helper.

Snickers

Now I’m playing with green bean recipes.  I must say the balsamic roasted green beans were yummy.

The tomatoes are just starting to get ripe.  That means I’ll soon be canning roasted tomato sauce, cold pack tomatoes, and tomato juice.

I’m also making lots of mozzarella cheese to grate and freeze for winter use.  I also plan on making and freezing more mozzarella sticks.

If I find time, I still want to make more yogurt, buttermilk, chevre, and feta, too.

Edit: Here is the recipe I use for my Mozzarella.  It is exactly as a friend sent it to me.  I do use liquid rennet, so I had to make the notation at the top.  I decided 1/4 tsp. in the 1/4 cup of water works best.  You might only need to heat it twice in the microwave.  When it is glossy and stretchy, that’s good.

Just a reminder, if you use store bought milk, you might need to add calcium chloride.  You can read all about that HERE. (Just scroll down to where it talks about processed milk and click on the calcium chloride tab).

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Wrapping Up

3 Sep

I am getting things wrapped up in the garden.  I still can’t believe I got anything as bad as it is overgrown.

Can you see the row of okra?

I have frozen okra and hot peppers.  I did get some of the plums frozen too.

I’ve canned all the roasted tomato sauce I’m going to.

I have even canned some by cold packing them.

I’m glad I did as much canning as I did last year, and the garden better do well next year again, but I think I have enough to make it through this winter with home canned tomatoes.  I also decided to dehydrate some tomatoes!

I already have a plan for their use.

Even though the garden is pretty much done, the milk room is going strong!  I actually had to buy some half gallon jars because I was running out of containers to hold my milk before I got to doing anything with it.

I’ve been making soaps–some just need restocked; some have been out of stock for a while and it’s time to bring them back; a couple are brand new fragrances!

Neroli and Clean Coconut

They’ll all be ready in time for the September farmer’s market (You know-the one for the month. I really need to find another market for next year).

Island Escape, Butter Mints, and Energizing

I’m excited to have my own Mozzarella again.  I’ve gotten a good start on freezing enough for the winter.

Since I’m getting so much milk right now, I thought I might even get creative, so I’m reading this book.

We’ll see if I get brave enough to try a new cheese yet this fall.

Sweet Relish

10 Sep

When I was young, my Aunt Mildred gave my mom the best ever sweet pickle relish recipe.  She got it from one of the old ladies from the town where she lived.  My aunt was born in 1925, and she referred to her as an old lady, so I have no idea how old the recipe is.

Reading it, however, you realize it’s old enough that it doesn’t use actual measurements for the veggies.  I’ve always gotten more from the recipe than it says you’ll get, so I’m guessing we grow tomatoes a lot bigger than they used to be.  I cannot vouch for its safety based on the FDA’s standards for home canning, but it’s delicious and I haven’t died from it yet.  It’s also a great way to use green tomatoes at the end of the season.

I picked my 24 green tomatoes, 8 green peppers, and (from the fridge) 10 onions, washed them and then quartered them.

I also use the vintage food grinder the same aunt gave my mom shortly after she was married.  I wouldn’t know how to make it with modern items.  I’m guessing you can just put them in the food processor and chop them.

As I kept grinding, I poured it from my little bowl into a big one.  It does take quite the big bowl to hold it all.

When everything is all chopped up, add the 3 Tablespoons of salt.  Then cover it and let is set in the refrigerator over night.

In the morning, I used cheesecloth to make it easier to drain.  It was super easy to squeeze out the juice through the cheesecloth, but I’m not sure it will ever be truly white again.

If you don’t have cheesecloth, you could use a clean pillow case or probably even just your hands.  When you finish squeezing it out, you’ll have nice balls of green stuff.

Then you add the rest of the ingredients:  4 cups of sugar, 2 cups of vinegar, 2 Tablespoons of celery seed, and 4 Tablespoons of mustard seed.  Mix it all up and cook it for 40 minutes.

I didn’t use too high of a temperature, and I stirred it enough to keep it from sticking, but not constantly.

Eventually, it will look and smell like relish.  A lot of the liquid will cook out.  After the 40 minutes, ladle it into jars.  I prefer half-pint jars.

Then adjust your lids and process in a hot water bath for fifteen minutes.  You might have noticed that the handwriting on the recipe (above) is different for the processing time. I had to look that up because the original recipe just said to seal it.

I just want to go have a hot dog now!