Category Archives: Canning and Preserving

A Day of Canning

Well, this post is only a week late, but I’m writing it! What can I say? It’s been a busy and distracting week.

Rain rain, go ahead and stay!

Rain rain, go ahead and stay!

Last Sunday, we woke up to a nice, rainy morning.  Now, there will come a time later in the year where I do tend to complain about rain quite a bit.  But August in Southeast Texas is not one of those times.  We decided to put the rainy day to use, and got busy in the kitchen!

Pretty Cans

Pretty Cans

We knew when we planted our garden this year that we intended to can as much as possible.  We’d hoped for more tomatoes, so that we could can those, too, but those darn stink bugs (actually leaf footed beetles, but po-tay-toe po-ta-toe) so we ended up with just enough for a jar or two of salsa.  Those are still in the freezer until I decide to splurge at the grocery store for the rest of the ingredients.  So, our canning was put on hold a little this year, but now our okra are coming in like crazy, and my grandmother’s friend brought us this:

Bag of Figs

Bag of Figs

Not only could we not even think of eating all of those figs, but they were also already frozen.  sigh.  The only option left was to make fig preserves, which are the best thing ever on a buttered muffin. If you haven’t tried them, go ahead.  It’s almost impossible to be disappointed.

We figured since we were at it, we may as well harvest our jalepeno plants as well, and make some jalepeno jelly.  Some will go out as Christmas gifts (oops, spoiler for family and friends), some will be brought to social gatherings, and others will be enjoyed at midnight with a cube of cream cheese and a sleeve of crackers while I watch re-runs of Scrubs.  Don’t judge.

Canning fig preserves

Canning fig preserves

So, we got to work.  8 hours, 3 big messes, 5 dirty pots, and 43 jars later, we were done.  And tired.  But our first day of canning for the season was a big success, and a lot of fun. We ended up with about 24 1-use sized jars of jalepeno jelly, 8 cans of okra, and 10 cans of figs.  Yes, I realize that adds up to 42 and not 43 jars, but believe it or not, one jar actually exploded in the canner!  That was definitely a first for us, but apparently it can happen if you’re re-using a jar, or the jar is too cold when you put it in the hot water.

All in all, it was a fun and productive day.  We’ll have to do it again really soon, too, since we’ve already got enough okra to go through it again! This time it will be on a much smaller scale.

Do you can produce from your garden? What are some of your favorite recipes? For those of you new to canning, stay tuned for a canning 1o1 post real soon!

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Filed under Canning and Preserving, Self Sufficience

Surprise Carrots

Yep, you read that title correctly!  If you have read my blog from the beginning, you’ll know that our first garden struggled.  We planted lots of carrots and we were really excited about them.  According to the seed packet, we expected to wait a little while for our crop, but still expected carrots by mid-summer.  Unfortunately, while the tops sprouted up really quickly, we only ever got tiny orange slivers underground.  Eventually, we gave up, and then moved.

This past weekend, we went back to our old garden site to pick up a few things (it’s in my grandmother’s back yard, so we still have access), and when we drove back there, we were surprised to see a garden bed nearly full of carrot tops!  Curiously, I went and pulled up a few to inspect them, and sure enough, I had a garden full of carrots.  They’d clearly reproduced and made a second crop, too, because some of the carrots were smaller and some were huge.  I didn’t expect much from all of them, since they were so huge and basically abandoned, but I went ahead and filled 2 5 gallon buckets with carrots to bring home and clean.  I couldn’t believe it!  We got to cleaning and ended up with a lot of carrots.

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I still can’t believe we found these a full year after planting, and that they still tasted good!  We discussed what to do with these, and decided to try a recipe we found in our canning book.  We’ve tried it before, when some friends made it, and it’s a really interesting, different dish that we really enjoy during the summer!

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So, Cage Free Dad and Pistache got to work in the kitchen Sunday night after dinner, and got to work on our dilled carrots.  Those two love canning together!  We ended up with 9 cans, which should be ready just in time for Easter dinner.  If you have the Ball canning book, I suggest you try the recipe yourself! It’s a great, different way to enjoy carrots, especially when you have too many to eat before they go bad.

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Filed under Canning and Preserving, In the Garden, Self Sufficience