It's fall and that means it is time to gather up the stuff growing in gardens and on trees and shove it in cans for future use.
I love that.
This year I am not doing jam (which I usually do, but I'm lazy and fairly fruitless) but I still have plenty of stuff to try to preserve.
First off, I have loads of tomatoes to take care of. I had more than 30 plants volunteer (not exaggerating) in my garden this year despite the four that I actually planted. Unfortunately, most of my volunteers were cherry tomatoes and there is no way I am spending the time or effort to peel, de-seed and can those babies.
So I pulled most of them out. Sad day. It happens.
However, the plants I am left with are fabulous (one volunteer did produce full sized fruit so he got to stay). I have a plant of huge salmon tomatoes, a delicious heirloom sweet tomato plant which spouts yellow/gold babies that are amazing, and another heirloom plant that gives me these tie-dye beauties.
|Aren't they gorgeous?|
I get a haul like this most mornings so every couple of days I am canning these lovelies.
It only takes about 20 minutes to turn that pile into this...
(although then they have to sit in boiling water for a bit to seal the jars, but that's the really easy part so it doesn't count).
This year my Grandpa also gave me a bunch of apples from his tree. The problem is that his apples are a fairly sour variety and I made the mistake of turning similar apples into apple sauce once before and then my kids WOULD NOT eat it (and I don't blame them, it was pretty tart and no amount of doctoring with sugar and cinnamon can completely fix that). I ended up using that applesauce in cooking (it is a great substitute for oil in most recipes like cakes or cookies and it much better for you).
Well, thankfully I have an amazing mom and she did some research and learned that by pairing a tart apple with a very sweet apple you can balance the flavor and end up with fabulous sauce. So my brother, Brian, grabbed us some Gala and Honeycrisp apples when he was at the farmer's market and we went to work.
We got the whole family in on the fun (it is wonderful when we can all work together, plus I love that my kids are learning skills like this) and we were able to pound out lots of quarts of applesauce and it is DeLiCiOuS!!
Last, but not least, my brother, Kevin, and my neighbor across the street each gave us some peaches. My kids do not care for fresh peaches (I think it is the texture of the peel that gives them pause) so we opted to can them. Josh and I spent one afternoon in the kitchen and now we have a half dozen quarts of golden peaches in our store room. Good stuff.
I love canning.
I love watching something that is perishable turn into something that will last and will benefit my family. I love watching the cans of fruit slowly fill my shelves. Besides, this stuff just tastes waaay better than store bought canned goods (I am telling you, my tomato sauce is to DIE for!). Every way you slice it, it is a beautiful thing.