I can, freeze and make jams, jellies. I plan to do some drying this year as well. I pickle cucumbers, watermelon rinds and beets. My great grand kids probably eat up most of my jellies. I gather wild plum, chokecherries, prickly pear cactus fruit and have friends who have peaches, sour cherries and pears. that they no longer use, so I pick pick some of each. I have apple and apricot and one Bing cherry trees. Canning time I am pretty busy. I usually put up more than we need. I agree with Paulgrow, I think frozen corn tastes better than canned and that canned beans keep better than frozen and taste better too.
I will be at a loss this fall though as most of our fruit trees were in bloom when the last frost hit. That means many of the trees will be barren this year. I will miss the pears the most. I think next year I will slack off a little and cut down the size of the garden. It does interfere with going fishing sometimes.
Don't do many jellies and jams anymore because my family has just about quit eating them, but love making them and it is an art form that is nearly lost. It was the 'off' year for my apples, but have a freezer full of blueberries and have made blueberry vinegar for gift-giving.
3 cups (more or less) of crushed blueberries in a non-reactive container.
4 bottles of rice vinegar (roughly 16 oz each). Lighter vinegars do better than stronger ones. I pick those with pretty bottles for gift giving.
Heat the vinegar to just below boiling and pour over the fruit. Cover and let set for 2 weeks. Strain the pulp and discard. Let the remaining juice settle in the fridge overnight. Line a sieve with 2 layers of coffee filters. (be prepared to do this several times) Carefully dip off the vinegar a cup or two at a time and strain through the filters. Every now and then discard and replace the filters as there is a lot of blueberry gunk. Don't disturb the bottom of the container and discard the last bit so you don't pick up any sediment. Let your clean juice sit in the fridge overnight and if it looks like it needs straining again, do it again.
Rebottle in your clean bottles (I scrub off the labels) and there you have it. If you need a bit more vinegar you can open a new bottle.
I don't usually preserve much of anything. Most of our surplus is citrus, which doesn't preserve very well by any technique that I know of. If you know of anything that doesn't involve sugar or making juice, please let me know.
The wife and I make hashbrown potatoes for freezing. Since a good number of our potatoes were not making it from storage to the start of the next season we decided to make up some quart size packages of hashbrowns. First we parbloil the potatoes, let them cool, remove the skins (my preference is to leave some skin), and once cooled down they can be grated in the food processor before bagging. This went over big with family and friends this last season, so now my neighboring gardeners are planning to do the same.
We grate fall carrots for freezing as well in quart size bags to be used in salads the next year. Can't seem to get fresh carrots here in time with the lettuce crops. Frozen peas also for salads! I microwage the frozen peas in a little water for just a minute or two so they still have a crunch to them in the salad.
We love frozen corn, however our preference is to freeze the barboiled and cooled corn, on the cob, in one gallon freezer bags (five or six to a bag). Flavor seems much better to us then cutting it off the cob before freezing. Can't save as much but we have three freezers for the two of us! With four kids and six grandkids we get raided a lot...
zone 8b, heat zone 9, sam rayburn lake, deep east TX
Vegetable gardening, fruit trees are too expensive to maintain: too many bugs, worms, squirrels, opossoms, coons, birds, etc. to get a satisfactory return on my investment of time and money. Expensive to maintain a freezer, buy special products for freezer preparation. :(
Local grocery stores stock these food items from all over the world.
our Growing Season is longer than most as the seasons have changed and laped over on each other we have set late and will grow longer our harvest will be longer this year. even our fall crops are being set out later this year we are still planting squash, maters, pepers and other things and getting good yeilds from them still.
When my two boys were home, I maintained a large veggie garden and did a lot of freezing and canning. Now that it's just two of us, I rely on the local farmers markets and only do up pickles and jam - mostly to give to the boys and family. Also raspberry vinegar (similar to the above post re blueberry only I use white wine vinegar and pop in an herb sprig at bottling time). Great Xmas gift. I've converted my veggie garden to an herb garden and am in the learning process of using and preserving for various purposes. A fun hobby.
I have made my first organic mulberry-strawberry jam this year. After a large storm system went through our area ( tornados and high winds) We went out to pick up debri and found 9 pounds ( we stoped at this point) of mulberries on the ground. We have two different types of wild mulberries. From one tree they are large and the leaf is heart shaped.. the other has five lobes total and has small berries. (See photo) Both kinds of Berries are dark purple/ red. That was the begaining of July and we are still getting tons of berries. The jam we call "Stramuls Jam"(my kids picked the name) is a hit around our little county town and the church ladies are beging for more.
I'm canning Mulberry with strawberries or blueberries or cherries or kiwi...or any of the mix. All have turned out great. One question though.. can anyone tell me how long a wax sealed jam will stay good for if kept in a cool basement? You can start to see the wax cooling around the jar. mm mmm good.
Mom used to use wax years ago and most of the time, they lasted a season, but it is no longer recommended by any canning books. (fair entries are not allowed to use wax at all, and are disqualified) I use regular canning rings and lids and water bath process for 5 minutes.
crisp pickles.. anyone know a faster way to make them? This one calls for days of brime soaks and rinses before you can even start canning with a pressure cooker.
These have to be made with overgrown yellowing cucumbers.. when done they are opaque with brown under tones.. (like looking through a light brown church window)
they snap when you bend them and are wondeful with black eyed peas and white onion.
Why not option for drying? Apples aren't the only things that can be dried like schnitz. Raisins & prunes don't have to come from the store. Hot peppers, herbs, winter squash, berries, & many beans dry well, too. Tons of recipes call for sun-dried tomatoes.
Jam: Many moons ago when I took the Master Canners course, wax was OK for dry areas (eastern Washington for me) and short water bathing recommended for damper areas (western Washington). The primary culprit was mold. Taking that into consideration, I continued to use the old school way of inverting the jam in the jar to get a seal. I then check carefully for any signs of mold when opening. I'm sure the USDA would frown on me, but there it is.
Pickles: I put a grape leaf in the bottom of the jar before loading. It looks pretty and supposedly adds crunch. I think the main key to crisp pickles is the very freshest cucumbers you can get. When I grew my own, I would get the brine going then go out to harvest.
I dry some herbs ... greek and italian oreganos, thyme, dill, rosemary, marjoram, myrtle, etc., by heating my oven to about 190, spreading them on a cookie sheet, placing them in the oven then turning off the heat and leaving them there overnight. I olive oil and freeze basil and make flavored vinegars with tarragon, strawberries, Juneberries, chives, peppers or whatever and combinations of same. It is time consuming but worth it!
So that's what happened to our cherries this year, late frost! We do have pears but I'm sure they will be eaten and not preserved. I freeze corn, and chard, and our strawberrries and raspberries make great jam even if they've been frozen. We eat a lot of them fresh. Most of the rest of the vegetables are eaten ..we're having beans daily. This year we planted some oriental beans which get about a foot long, but are very tender and nice. I like the blue lake variety, too, and I did put in some pole beans this year.
Squash is coming along, little patty pans. If they get too big I bread and saute them otherwise just steam them until tender crisp and slather on the butter. Their texture is similar to egg plant. Potatoes are doing well, we have several raised beds, and two are filled with potatoes but I've resisted the temptation to dig up the newbies. Tomatos aren't a resounding success this year, so far, but if I get enough, I'll roast them with olive oil and garlic and freeze them. Besides what we eat, if there are any left.
If the potatoes don't keep well, I might try the hash brown freezing idea.
Froze a lot of our beans last year and wasn't pleased with their texture. Had a mixed pkg of seed with purple, yellow and green and they were all delicious fresh. Too much rain this year and many tomatos have blossom end rot. Bahh!
My 'Yellow Submarine' cucumbers went absolutely berserk this year...must've been celebrating Ringo's 70th birthday or something.
Anyway, I ended up HAVING to pickle just to have something to do with them all. There are still about a dozen sitting on my counter waiting for the next round. I've found that the Mrs. Wage's pickling mix is easy and great-tasting, and adding some of the Ball Pickle Crisp granules does keep them crunchier.
All of my friends will be getting a jar of dill spears along with their other holiday prezzies this year. :)
I also make pesto ice cubes with my homegrown basil, and I dry and keep oregano, thyme, flavored basils (cinnamon, lemon lime), sage, fennel and cilantro.
Previously I mentioned shredding and freezing our fall carrot production for next spring salads. Peas as well...three minutes in boiling water then into the ice cube bath to cool before draining and freezing. I can't tell the difference between fresh or previous seasons frozen. I am still in a quandry about tomaotes. My determinates don't really come on until August and I would like to save possibly the Sprint Cherry tomatoes by freezing whole this year. Has anyone tried this? Suffestions appreciated. Also, any other salad additives which might come to mind. Tried freezing onions last year and they were chewy and tasteless. Hot peppers which I like can be easily diced after running a little hot water over the frozen pepper.
I don't can or freeze anything. We put the extras in a wagon and haul it around the neighborhood giving it away. I cut basil last year and gave it away by the trash sack full. I'd rather give it away than mess with it. And this year we haven't had anything out of our new garden except a tiny bit of basil and 2 zucchini!
We freeze or give away any extras we have. We freeze our tomatoes then cook them up for spagetti or chili when we need them. We freeze bell peppers too. Just cut them up in big strips, put them in a freezer bag and in the freezer they go. Everything else gets eaten. I grew onions and potatoes and we ate all of them within a few days of harvest.
Now I have yellow squash, cantelopes and lemon cucumbers going and am anixous for them!! None of them will get frozen or anything. They don't last long enough around here. lol
My grandma pickles some things, makes a few jellies, and freezes stuff. She freezes peaches and apples and digs them out when she wants to make pie. She will use frozen veggies to make homemade soups and other things.
pepper23/KC MO...You stated you freeze your tomatoes, then "Just cut them uo in big strips..." Are you talking about peppers or tomatoes or both when you cut them into strips? I am presuming here that tomatoes are generally frozen whole and the best method that comes to mind is placing them loosly on a sheet of wax papper placed on a cookie sheet. Again I am presuming that they could be cut into slices while still frozen for use in salads or on a sandwich, etc. Since I am making all these assumptions I would also assume that paste, cherry, or any thick walled tomato would be preferable for freezing over the larger, juicier varieties.
The tomatoes that we freeze are cherry and cherry type tomatoes and we freeze them whole. If we do freeze the bigger ones we cut them up into wedges or something similar. They don't hold up as well so we stick with the smaller types.
We cut the peppers in to big strips. They freeze really well and you just pull out what you need for cooking.
Here at the house this year, Jim and I (mostly Jim, OK), have made pear preserves, pear relish, muscadine jelly, frozen bell peppers, and some absolutely fantastiliceous watermelon rind pickles. I had never had these until Jim made some up from his aunt's recipe (you have to consider, his family considers recipes to be "just guidelines" that require knowing how something feels when stirred or looks when mixed, and you add just a little more of this or that to get it to where it is supposed to be).
We have more muscadine grapes on the way (possibly enough to try a wine this year) along with more pears and figs.
Does anyone know if it is possible to smoke dry a tomato? We love sun dried tomatoes for their intense flavor, but I thought it might be possible to infuse some smokiness to the flavor by sun drying over an indirect low smoky heat source. See what happens when you guys start talking about preservation! lol
I don't can or preserve:) I'm in an apt w/ no room for food gardening to speak of and it would just be for me.
I grew up with a family of canners and preservers so I have participated in all aspects of the processes so maybe that's why I am not too interested in it now:lol: We grew everything we could and hit farmstands and orchards for the rest. Mom would make:
Dill pickles, watermelon rinds pickles, some sort of yellow pickle slices sweet w/ onions,
whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, grape jelly, apple jelly, apple butter, succotash, apple pie filling, peaches and peach jam, apricots and apricot preserves, plums and plum preserves, cherry pie filling and preserves, hot cherry peppers, marmalade, beans, corn, peas...when we moved from CT to NM she added a few new items to her list---prickly pear cactus jelly (yes, we were sent into the desert w/ gloves and tongs to pick them!), jalepeno jelly (still have never eaten it) and even dad would throw together a roasted green chile and jalepeno puree/salsa and can it for him and his buddies.
I know the work involved as I was part of the work crew (peeling peaches, tomatoes and pitting cherries) so I SUPER APPRECIATE the work put into all home canned goods I recieve as gifts. Mom didn't give stuff to just anyone but the list was lengthy as she had many close friends and family--who all followed her ONLY request--if you want more next year, please return your clean jar:LOL:
Oh, scott, try the smoked tomatoes and let us know how it works. We love smoked cheese, smoked ribeyes, smoked and ground jalapenos (chipotle) and smoked poultry. Try drying them first, and try some with smoke first. We are anxious to see your results. We have no tomatoes yet.
There was a company mentioned on one of the Food Network programs about mail order food companies that made and sold smoked tomato products (chopped dried, in oil, salsas etc). Can't remember the name of the business though. They had a big smoke house and grew the tomatoes themselves.
When I was a kid and discovered fruit leathers (apricot is the best:lol:) I was such a fiend for tomatoes that I often wished someone would make tomato fruit leathers...maybe I should invest in a dehydrator:lol: