Year Round Canning!

I love putting food in jars. I love looking at food in jars. I love looking at Pinterest for recipes to put more food in jars. I’m a little obsessed, I know! Don’t act surprised. It’s in the name of the website after all! Pfft…

My canning obsession probably started with the garden. Some veggies just call for canning. The tomatoes I don’t eat like an apple, standing right in the garden? Canned. The beets that don’t get roasted in foil with balsamic vinegar? Canned. The beans that Lola the dog and I don’t eat raw? Canned. The garlic that we can’t eat fast enough before it gets soft? Canned. The asparagus that I started 2 years ago and (hopefully) will be able to start harvesting this year? Will be canned! Some of my harvest is pickled and canned, some is just plain old pressure canned.

But if the canning started with the garden, what am I year round canning? Who has a fresh harvest in January when it’s 14 degrees outside? Me! I do! OK, you got me. It’s not exactly fresh. But very close!

See this kid being amazing? It’s what I did instead of canning my fresh produce this year. And I loved every second of it! (She was safe, by the way. My kid is fast!)

I did some easy small batch canning in the thick of travel softball season. Think pickled beets and pickled garlic. But big batch tomatoes? No time! All my canning tomatoes (not to be confused with my eating like an apple tomatoes) go right into freezer bags and into the chest freezer. It is a method I have read about but never tried. I frequently use this great blog for knowledgeable canning advice. And in this post link she shares how easy it is to peel your frozen tomatoes for canning.

This year I was scaling down the size of the garden. Spending every other weekend on a softball field (for me, at least) is awesome! But it does not lead to a beautiful plentiful garden. So I tried some new varieties that were smaller plants and also purchased fewer plants. I found a new tomato in my garden center that I had never heard of before, Little Nopoli. They are very compact and are a Roma variety, great for canning. I only bought three of them. I would only get 5-6 tomatoes at a time. And it would take a while at that rate to collect enough tomatoes to make it worth a canning session. So into storage bags and into the chest freezer they went!

Now back to my winter canning. I may use the frozen tomato method from now on! It was amazingly easy to peel my frozen tomatoes. In previous years, I have used the cut an X in the bottom of your tomato and dip in boiling water, method to peel. It creates a time involved extra step to canning tomatoes. This year I pulled my tomatoes out of the freezer and simply ran under a trickle of lukewarm water and the skins slipped right off! It was a miracle sent down from the tomato Gods!

See my pile of peels? I remembered reading someplace on Pinterest that tomato paste can be made from dehydrated tomato peels. Simply dehydrate and give them a whirl in the food processor. Then when you need tomato paste, mix tomato peel powder with water. My inner ADHD brain decided to try this in the midst of my easy canning session. This type of stuff is why my house is a cluttered mess and I don’t get to bed on time. (One project at a time dammit! Concentrate!) For the record, I give this Pinterest idea a big NOPE! Those dehydrated tomato peels turned into tomato plastic that would not mix with water, had no tomato flavor and had no place anywhere near my food. If you’ve had good luck with this idea, please comment below and tell me what I may have done wrong. But I don’t think I’m wrong. Just saying…

Sidetracked again! Back to canning! I used the hot pack method to can my tomatoes. I cut my semi frozen tomatoes in half and squeezed out the innards. I threw them in a stock pot and started to warm them. The first few cups I crushed. But as I added more, the cooking process broke them down. When I had all the tomatoes in a pot, I ladled them into properly sterilized, hot jars. I pressure canned them according to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning processing times. Ball’s guide to canning is also a trusted source.

Lets talk about canning safety people. There are some serious rules to follow to safely can your food. (I may have to write a whole blog post about this, it is so serious. And I am very rarely serious.)

  1. High acid foods can be water bath canned. They can also be pressure canned.
  2. Low acid foods have to be pressure canned. They absolutely cannot under any circumstances be water bath canned. Unless you want botulism…
  3. Botulism CAN KILL YOU.

Leave it to the experts to make the rules for your canning, whether water bath or pressure canning. It is just not worth the risk.

So that’s my post on ONE thing I’m canning year round. What else do I can year round? Stock/bone broth! I’ll leave that to another post. And check out the post where I made Chipolte Tomatillo Salsa. This is a very easy, readily available veggie, year round canning recipe.

Thanks for stopping in!

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