Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Canning Update, Mid-Summer

Canning season is in full swing around here.  Did you see my new canning tally list over there to your right?  I'm tracking our canning progress from here on out.  I have spotty records for broth and pickles so far, hence the vague terms.  But I'll be on top of it all things going forward.

We had a busy weekend.  We canned 7 quarts of Whole Tomatoes in their own juice (Ball Book recipe) and 5.5 pints Balsamic Tomato and Onion Conserve. For the record, the conserve was a-freaking-mazing.  And I'm proud to say the tomatoes were from our garden.

I also made (and will freeze, sans goat cheese) 4 quarts of Smitten Kitchen's Roasted Eggplant Soup.  And you know what's awesome (not)?  When your landlord drops by unannounced in the middle of tomato canning and cooking.  I'm not sure if I've ever felt more like poor white trash than I did at that moment.  My child was not even wearing pants.  Ah, good times.

Today is Farmer's Market Day in my neighborhood.  I still have yet to can tomato paste, ketchup, roasted balsamic tomato sauce, and 30 more quarts of whole tomatoes, so it's safe to say that it's going to be a bulk tomato day.  I'm also waiting on red peppers and beets.  It's gonna get all crazy up in here, I tell you.

I'm feeling generally good about my canning progress so far this year.  In fact, I'm about to venture into pressure canning territory this week, canning vegetable broth, chicken broth and beans.  The one canning bleak spot this year is that I haven't done nearly enough jam.  We have our standard quantities of strawberry and blueberry jam.  And we'll be doing a big cranberry jam burst in November, but peaches (our best, cheapest jam, ususally) were a bust around here this year.

Peaches have been tricky business around here.  You may recall that in March, it was 80 in Illinois.  The peach trees thought, "Sweet.  Let's bloom."  Then you may also recall the subsequent hard frosts that killed those optimistic peach blossoms and tender fruit.  In a usual year, low-spray peaches at my farmers market are $9 for 25 lbs.  This year, it's $5 a quart or more.  Ouch.  That's a pricey pint for sure.  Even though it's sad and disappointing, it's a good lesson in local eating.  Despite what the American Supermarket has to say, you can't have everything all of the time.

If you're a detail person, you'll have noticed the Canning Tally shows 21 pints of Tomato Sauce, all unblogged.  Keep your eyes on this space for the full story.

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