From Field to Jar

We took our annual trip to Yakima this weekend to taste wine, stay in a hotel with a pool, and buy a bunch of produce. Our favorite place to buy veggies over the last few years has been Imperial’s, who have a new, larger location this year, right next to their fields. We picked tomatoes and paid 25 cents a pound… that’s over 40 lbs. of tomatoes for $11.00. Plus, as the pictures show, the kids got a kick out of the whole thing.

We got home, and knew that if we waited, the project would loom over us all week, so we dove right in, canning them less than 12 hours after we picked them. We cooked down a bunch into a thicker sauce for pizzas, and canned the rest of them raw. The only downside to that method was the 45 minute processing time required for uncooked tomatoes.

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Summer sweets

We recently remodeled our kitchen, and the photos have been piling up and not getting posted. So here are a few shots of making strawberry freezer jam earlier this summer.

One of the most memorable flavors (and colors – that red is so vivid) from my childhood is this very jam, made not from a secret recipe but from the back of the pectin box. Funny how often I ask my mom for a recipe and she says, “Buy a packet of onion soup mix – it’s on the back.”

I can’t help but overload a peanut butter and jam sandwich with too much of this tasty jam, the peanut butter preventing it from finding purchase on one side of the bread, so instead it runs down my fingers and I’m forced to wolf it down in 4 bites. It’s safest to eat it over the sink if you don’t want to have jam all over your shirt as well.

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Tomatoes Two Ways

We went to Yakima on our yearly pilgrimage for wineries, minor league baseball, and of course, fruit stands. We came home with way too much produce to deal with, including two boxes (20 lbs each?) of tomatoes. They sat on the counter for about a week, and finally we got motivated and got to work on them. We canned 15 quarts and 12 pints of stewed tomatoes, and what didn’t fit in our two huge kettles for stewing, we decided to dry in the new (to us) dehydrator. I am hoping this method works a little better than last year’s tomato drying experiment.

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Apple Adventures

One again we found ourselves with a barrel of apples to process this year.  The blessing (and curse) of apples is that they can actually sit around for awhile.  This means that its easy to put off getting to them and begin to stress out and/or avoid them. Once we faced this procrastination we decided to do some canned apple pie filling, which we’ve done several times before.  We’ve always enjoyed it and used it fairly quick, but we also seem to be a little cursed by it.  Last time we did it we had problems ranging from broken jars to not enough head space.  This year that pattern continued.  We were using some very old canning jars and had two crack in the water, which of course leads to a huge mess of apple pie filing and broken glass in boiling water.  I don’t really know why this happened since generally in my canning experience its fairly rare.  Additionally our apple peeler/corer/slicer broke unrepairably.  After this we decided to switch to applesauce for the rest of the apples, which is easy enough.  Unfortunately, one of us (he shall remain nameless), forgot that you can’t really process the jars while the applesauce is cold (i.e. straight from the fridge) which led to even more jar breakage.  Overall we did manage to successfully can 6 quarts of pie filing and 4 pints of applesauce, but I have a feeling that next year I am going to procrastinate even more when it comes to processing any apples we acquire.

Written by alicia in: Food | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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