Tuesday, September 6, 2011

'Tis the Season for Canning



As the end of summer draws close, the canning season is in full gear.  Almost every vegetable around is in season right now and that means a lot of food preserving.  In the past couple of weeks I've managed to pickle some beets, kept a few more beets for the freezer, canned 5 large jars of marinara sauce and 7 smaller jars of salsa.  I'm hoping to get a few more jars of salsa done in the next couple of weeks since we seem to go through salsa like crazy around here.  I'm hoping corn will be around a bit longer and hope to pick a bunch up at our small farmer's market here in town to put some in my freezer. 

We planted a garden earlier this summer but it has kind of flopped on us.  The plot is in the back and is under some pretty serious shade combine that with a sandy soil and a very hungry animal and we get half eaten green tomatoes.  So I have been purchasing a lot of my produce from local farmers.  Here's the recipes of pickled beets, marinara sauce and salsa.  All recipes have been taken from the book Saving the Seasons which is a great how to book on canning and preserving.

Pickled Beets
1 quart/1 L beets
1 cup vinegar (white or cider)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup beet juice from cooking (add water if necessary)
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp salt (optional)

Choose young, tender beets.  Cut off tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and root.  Wash thoroughly.  Cover with water and cook until tender, approximately 15 to 25 minutes, depending on size.  Dip in cold water until cool enough to hand.  Slip off skins and cut off remaining tops and roots.  Cut into cubes, slices, or quarters.  If quite small, beets may be left whole.
Combine vinegar, sugar, beet juice and spices.  Heat until sugar is dissolved.  Pack beats in clean jars and hot pickling liquid, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath.  Makes about 3 pints / 500 ml jars.

Light Marinara Sauce
1 1/2 to 2 pecks Roma or other paste tomatoes
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (flat leaf)
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp oregano
4 bay leaves

Cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds, if desired.  Cook until soft and blend in blender or food processor.  Set aside.  Cook onions in oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, parsley and green pepper; stir until limp, about another 5 minutes.  Add blended tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaves.  Simmer uncovered until thick about 1 hour.  Remove bay leaves and garlic.  Pour unto jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Tighten lids and process jars for 35 minutes in boiling water bath.  Makes about 6 pints.

Farmer's Market Salsa

7 to 8 medium to large tomatoes (about 6 pounds)
9 jalapeno peppers
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell peppers
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, packed loosely
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Peel and coarsely chop tomatoes.  Measure 7 cups.  Remove seeds from and chop jalapeno peppers.  In a large cooking pot, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil and boil gently for about 30 minutes or until salsa reaches desired consistency.  Ladle into pint / 500 ml jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Tighten lids and process for 20 minutes in boiling water bath.  Makes about 5 pints / 500 ml jars.

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