Sunday, September 7, 2014

Canning 2014

I thought I would give you all an update on my canning this year.

I have to say I have done less canning than some years because the produce just didn't grow this year. We had a late cold spring. Then monsoon rains, hail, and wind. It has just been a tough year for gardening. I had a handful of blackberries but they were so bitter I let the birds have whatever was out there.  The lettuce grew late and we got ONE measly cutting from it.

I would have to say our largest crop this year was squash and zucchini which is pictured in the first photo below. (Along with a lovely set of toes...oops). I froze some mix for this winter in hopes I can get kids to eat some. If not it will be hubby and my meals.  We only had enough cucumbers to eat fresh. No canning of my sweet relish!!!!! I hope I don't run out as I eat that on my hamburgers all year long. I have also canned more green beans than ever before. We had both pole and bush beans. I have to say I like the bush beans better even if they are hard on your back. The pole beans get so large and stringy that it just isn't fun to process those things. Notice also the peppers are missing from the photo. We have two - yes TWO peppers finally growing on the plants. They are poor. I don't know if it is because they were crowded out by the sunflowers, the evil vine weed crap choked on them too much or we just can't grow peppers. It is probably a combination of all the above because we have gotten decent crops of peppers before.

This next photo deserves a paragraph all to itself. Yes, we did get about 3 gallon bucket of peaches compared to the 100's of pounds last year. I still have plenty canned up so I think we will be OK. What I wanted to point out is the size of the few peaches we did get. THEY ARE HUGE!!!!  I didn't have a softball to put beside these peaches so I put a pint jar instead. As you can see one would fill a pint jar if you could get it shoved inside the jar. We are enjoying these fresh as they run down your face and arms as you eat them. Nothing quite like a tree ripened peach. (Yes they are my favorite.)

In this final photo I wanted to show off what about 7 gallons of tomatoes ends up with when you place them in canning jars. I made pasta sauce, spaghetti sauce, and some plain old tomato and onion sauce.  I think that was my largest tomato picking for the year. There seems to be a lot less on the plants now and i am OK with that. :-)

This weekend I canned V-8 juice. You need 22 pounds of tomatoes to yield around 6-7 quarts of juice. You also use carrots, peppers, onions and celery. It is SO delicious that v-8 in the store is 4th class compared to this stuff. Every time I push that cooked combination through my grandmother's food sieve I think of her and smile.  I also started my canning of potatoes. It was quite the ordeal to figure out if I could even can red potatoes. That is all that grew in our garden this year and my ball book only says to can white potatoes. So I researched, asked fellow bloggers, asked the extension agency and even asked the United States potato board!  I got about 50/50 on yes/no to canning red potatoes.  Some say the sugar is to high, others say starch is to high, others say they hold up better but need to kill bacteria. I settled on yes I am canning these puppies. I pressure cooked them so I believe all is well.

I have yet to start canning apples. That is the last canning crop of the year. The one tree is average and the other tree has a lot of small apples on it. It will be plenty for us and I am sure the food pantry will once again get some of our extras.

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