Sep
25
2011
2

Can it be?

More canning… I really don’t know how this all fits in with everything being so busy these days. We brought back a box of beans from Yakima and pickled them. My grandma made these and I loved them as a kid, both the regular dill ones, and the spicy ones with red pepper flakes in the bottom. My mouth is watering just thinking about them now.

I’ve been doing a little bit of design work for Panacea, an awesome dinner delivery service here in Seattle. I am all for getting paid in food, especially when it’s this tasty. They did house-roasted beef sandwiches earlier this summer, and it came with a really good Tomato Jam, with big slices of ginger in there. I used the leftovers on egg sandwiches, a burger, and shamefully, straight from the spoon. So I took a shot at approximating it with the Tomato Preserves recipe in my trusty Ball Home Preserving bible. It’s close enough and will have to do… until I can get them to pass along the secret recipe.

Sep
25
2011
1

Bounty from out east

Every August we spend a weekend in Yakima picking up (and u-picking) produce to preserve for the coming year. The first year we went may have been pre-children, and I think a couple other times we managed to leave them with the grandparents, but by now it’s become a full-blown family vacation. There is the hotel with a pool, Mexican food for dinner, the quirky winery we go tasting at, and of course our favorite places to buy produce.

This year we made quick work of the tomato fields, picking 140 pounds in 20 minutes or so. Even when the tomatoes are 35 cents a pound, they end up costing quite a bit when you get 4 huge boxes full. When we got home and realized what we’d done to ourselves… the project was pretty daunting. The first half of the batch we peeled, pureed, and cooked down to a really tasty pizza / pasta sauce (the recipe in the photos is what we added to each stockpot of sauce after it had reduced by about half.

The second half of the batch we peeled, chopped, boiled, and canned as stewed tomatoes; it was a lot less work and we put those away as quarts rather than pints. All told, we ended up with about 25 pints of pizza sauce and 25 quarts of stewed tomatoes. The best part was getting that bucket of tomatoes out of our fridge.

Written by dan in: Food | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment
Aug
16
2011
5

The start of canning season

The little crabapples out in front of the run-down church next door are ready to go, so Robbie and I filled up a basketful yesterday. The sauce they make is really tart, but the batch we froze last year was perfect as a base for pie filling, adding either apples or rhubarb. The first batch today made 7 pints of applesauce, and I have the rest prepped to cook down tomorrow, hopefully for another 5 or 6 pints. That should get us through to next year in pretty good shape. Though pies have become my go-to potluck dish, so I think we’ll also do some apple pie filling this fall.

I got a little artsy with the photos this time, just to warn you. Here’s to steamy August nights in the kitchen.

Written by dan in: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments
Sep
06
2010
0

Green with Salsa

I was on such a canning kick early last week dealing with the blueberries and tomatoes.  Unfortunately it wore off quicker than I would have hoped and I was left with piles of tomatillos, corn and peppers and no motivation.  I shoved the corn and peppers in the fridge, but left the tomatillos on the counter thinking I would be reminded that they needed to be dealt with ASAP.  I managed to avoid looking at them until I noticed a gooey substance leaking from the bag.  I opened the bag and was horrified to find hairy mold growing.  I felt my big plans for a year’s worth of green salsa (my favorite) as well as the money we spent on them going into the compost pile.  I thought I might be able to salvage a few so I put on my industrial rubber gloves and attacked the bag.  I was happy to find that I only really lost 3-4 tomatillos and was able to salvage enough for a respectable batch of salsa.  I roasted some peppers from Yakima and followed another recipe from the well used Ball canning book and I have to say I am happy with the results.

Written by alicia in: Food | Tags: , , , | No Comments
Aug
31
2010
0

Canning Continued

In addition to tomatoes we picked blueberries as a family in Yakima.  It was the end of the season and the field wasn’t really even open, but one of the workers let us pick after warning us there was not much left.  We were impressed by his sense of “not much” since we had no problem filling two large buckets in about 30 minutes.  That doesn’t even include the dozens eaten by our kids.  The best part was that he only charged us $1 a pound.  We picked 10 lbs and have been eating them steadily, however it was clear we were going to need to do some preserving.

We approach canning for a practical standpoint.  Whatever will attract the most fruit flies is attacked first, hence the tomatoes canned on Sunday.  Blueberries are the next priority.  Yesterday I made a blueberry pie (with lard crust) and today it was syrup.  We are so overloaded with jams and jellies I am having to try different ideas for fruits.  Pancakes are a regular breakfast food around here so I figured syrup would get used up fairly quickly (like before next summer).  It’s also pretty easy.  Just crush and boil blueberries, run them through a food mill and then boil again with sugar water.

I used 8 cups of blueberries and got 5 pints worth, which seems pretty good. I used the proportions in the Ball canning book which I recommend.  We got it from the library last season and I added it to my Christmas list soon after.  Its a great book for coming up with ideas and it has all the basic info you’ll ever need as well.   Tomorrow I may make blueberry juice or I might  just freeze the rest for winter cobblers.

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