Daily Archives: July 26, 2009

I want to call it “Canning Orgy”


Today was a hot and sticky ones weather fans, and inside my kitchen it was even hotter…but you know what they say about can’t standing the heat…

I took on the monumental task of canning more than I have ever canned before in a single day and came out on the other end victorious and delirious, there’s pictures.  On the list today was to pickle cucumbers, okra, beets and green beans and to can up more tomatoes.  I had some help in the kitchen today, Tonia, who was an eager canning student, no pictures of Tonia, but she knows she was there!  Tonia, I know I told you, but you were a great help in the prep department and the sit back and watch department.


Boiled the tomatoes first thing and let them air cool, because there were other things ahead of them to be canned.


Also, sliced up the cucumbers and mixed them with salt to sweat out their moisture, set them aside.  This whole time Tonia was chopping the onions, garlic and bell peppers (or capsicomes as they’re called in her native Australia).


After they sweat for an hour, you rinse them off and pack them into hot, sterile jars, this time I made dill pickles!


So this is what Tonia so graciously helped with.  Dill pickles on the left, pickled beets in the back and tomatoes on the right.  She had to go and I told her I was probably going to stop because I was canned out, that I would leave the okra and the beans for another day.  I just couldn’t do that though.  It was so hot, that I didn’t want to have to do this again another day, I soldiered on.


The beets were fun to make.  The whole time we all marveled on how beautiful they were.


Four quarts of tomatoes and one of tomato juice.


Can’t wait to eat these.  You have to let them sit for two weeks minimum, for the flavor to develop and they just get better with age.


The pickled okra.  I’m also curious about these.

This is where the hot delirium took over, while the pickled green beans were processing in the canner.  Also, I was alone, with my camera, which always brings the magic and I hope you enjoy these very personal delirious moments I’m about to share.  You’re welcome.


When you’re hot, sweaty, listening to rap music, canned like a motherf#%@er, you can’t help but feeling a little gangster yourself.


Oh yeah, I put them both on here.  Too much bad ass to keep to myself.  Go ahead, tell me I’m the woman, because dammit I felt like it.  I still feel like it and hour later.  And obviously the green beans were done, because there they are.


I was feeling all sorts of emotions.  I bet I sweated out three pounds of water weight today.


Just to reiterate, I was alone.


Did I mention, because I’ll say it again….I was alone, and this is what happens with people and their cameras when they are alone.  It’s GOLD.  No, no, it’s PLATINUM!


The last shot of the take, which is done and so am I.  I love you all.  Peace.


Canning Tutorial


When I canned the pickles, it was raining.  It rained and rained and rained.  When it was all said and done, there was 2″ in the rain gauge.  Immediately I went outside and picked our tomatoes because Paul had just watered them in heavily that morning and after receiving the 2″, they had all split open.  So, out came the canner again, with Paul taking pictures for the blog, to give you a little hint about the process.  So here we go.


What I’m doing here, and looking ever so pleased about, is dropping the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water until the skins split.  You fish them out and put them into a bowl of ice water to cool them down and peel the skins off of the tomatoes.  All the while, the canning pot (The big gray pot to my right) is heating up to a boil.



I put Paul on prep duty and constantly had to keep him in check.  He was so adamant about documenting this, while everything else was going on.  Unfortunately, nothing waits for Paul to take pictures and as I’m standing in front of boiling pots, I got a little snappy.  When we’re in the kitchen, I’m in charge.  I will also mention here that everything that is going into our cans is totally “in-house”.  We grew the tomatoes, the bell peppers, the garlic and the onions.


After the tomatoes are peeled, you cut them into chunks and put them into a pot.


This is more of Paul not doing his job…GET TO WORK!


There is no picture of it, but all of the peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes were heated up in a large stock pot, until it boiled.  You have to heat up your jars as well and pour the hot tomato mix into the hot jar, which goes into the boiling hot canner.  This is me pouring the mix into the jars.


Rule of thumb here that was taught to me, it makes sense, there are so many types of hybrid tomatoes out there, that their acidity is compromised…these aren’t great-grandma’s tomatoes.  So, to doubly make sure that everything is on the up and up, it’s wise to add a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to each quart before sealing it.


More pouring action.


Jars going in.


20 or so minutes later, after processing the jars in your canner, you get to take pictures like this.  Canning was taught to me by Paul’s mom, Diane Daniel.  It was right after Oliver was born.  She bought the canner, the tools, the jars, and 40 pounds of tomatoes at the farmer’s market and said “Let me show you something”.  Diane, even though Oliver was four days old and I thought you were totally crazy (in a “I just had a baby” you want me to what? sort of way), I think this is the most valuable skill for any person to know and I thank you for showing me.  Now I’m the crazy, calling up my friends saying “Come over!  Let me show you something!”.

First Timer, Right Here


I made pickles on Tuesday for the first time in my life.  It went okay, I was satisfied.  There were a few things that could have gone better such as, the recipe I used said to pack the cucumbers into quart jars, so I did.  After they were processed, the cucumbers rose to the top, where they remain today.  Lesson learned, maybe do them in pint jars next time.  Also, I wanted more of a dill pickle, not realizing that all recipes are created equal.  So, they are sweet pickles.  What can you do.



I still enjoyed the learning experience…so did Ike, I think.

Farm Stand


Last weekend was our first farm stand.  I’ve mentioned it to some, but for those of you who don’t know, we are selling our produce this year at our house.  It was successful, unfortunately there aren’t a lot of pictures, but I didn’t have the camera, I was too busy enjoying the shade and the breeze.


Oliver was a tremendous help all day.  He was so into manning the stand and being the “money man”.  He was also helpful in letting people know to check their corn for worms.  He works cheap, all it took was an ice cream cone.


Our beautiful sign.


Post farm stand fun, Batchie put them to work shucking corn for dinner.


El fin.