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Anyone preserving, canning or putting food up these days?

[The Chowhound Team moved this discussion from the Los Angeles board]

So I've decided to start putting food up this summer in an effort to reduce my carbon footprint this winter. Is anyone else putting food up these days? What have you been preserving and what looks good?

I'm using the classic books "Stocking Up" and "Putting Food By" and I'm starting tomorrow with a trip to the Hollywood Farmer's Market at the end of the day. Would love to hear from anyone else doing some preserving. My goal is to preserve some kind of seasonal produce every weekend.

Would love to share tips and pointers to what's seasonal and local in and around L.A. these days and how to put that seasonal/local produce up.



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  1. With the extraordinary frost back in January coupled with the dry spring, the stone fruits are the star right now... peaches and nectarines are in great supply... the flavor and sweetness are legendary as well...

    1 Reply
    1. re: bulavinaka

      Thanks bulavinaka! Will keep my eye out at the farmer's market! I'll be canning tomato sauce, romas, green tomato relish, and cherry tomato jam. I'm going to have to dust off my mom's bread and butter pickle and "4 berry" jam recipe too!:)

    2. Have made rhubarb conserve, cherry conserve, nectarine preserves, an apricot orange thing - taking a break now but may do something with plums. Fruit has been EXCELLENT this year!

      1. Planning on doing pickles when they finally are ready. Short lifespan ones like koshers and cornis and possibly canned ones if I have access to enough cukes. I also plan on making salsa (canned) and some frozen tomato products. We have a garden but usually buy things when there is an overabundance at the farmers market. All the stands seem to get a glut of the same items toward the end of summer. You can get produce extremely cheap. I am also planning on doing apple butter and some frozen apples for baking. Our local apple orchard does windfall apples for 25 cents a pound in September.

        15 Replies
        1. re: blackpointyboots

          Just pickled dills; have three radishes pickling-Icicle, French Breakfast and Easter Egg's; pickled blue lake and wax beans; preserved lemons and clementines (citrus stinks now though)

          Also we cured Chorizo, Soppresata, Tuscan Salami, Guanciale, Pancetta, Bacon, Wild Boar Pancetta, Merguez and Lardo...all ready when my new restaurant opens.

          1. re: chefthisguy

            Ugh so frustrating -- just back from Home Depot and they don't have any jars or pots big enough for hot baths -- where are you all getting your supplies?

            1. re: piedsdesanges

              i have been making preserves from kumquats, mandarin oranges and tangelo's from my own garden for several years. very pleased with the results. been buying my jars at "big lots" - they always seem to have them. have also seen canning supplies at OSH and "smart 'n final".

              1. re: justanotherpenguin

                I checked at OSH, where I have typically gotten jars. The OSH location in West LA no longer stocks jars. Neither does the Smart n Final in the area. So, I found jars at Ralphs. Or I buy them on-line at www.mcmaster.com.

              2. re: piedsdesanges

                you can go on line to get canning supplies if your local does not carry. I go to the dollar store, the big lots store, the walmart, local small grocery store, sometimes the veggie market carries all the canning supplies I need.....any local grocery store would have what you need,.,,rarely go to home depot or lowes or other home improvement....they never have what I want.

                Ball has a nice site for supplies and recipes. I have a sleu myself,,,too many to post....If you can not find what you are looking for as far as recipes go, shoot me a personal message and I will see what I can do for you.

                1. re: piedsdesanges

                  Family-owned hardware store. But I am in the country, where people do that sort of thing, and where there are family-owned hardware stores. Wegman's has jars, so does Wal-Mart, Target sometimes. Bed Bath & Beyond etc might have big lobster-sized pots.

                  1. re: piedsdesanges

                    Wal Mart has canning supplies at reasonable costs. Other stores around like Freds, Target and the like also carry these products. You can buy directly from the company at Ball.com and surejell.com. Have fun!

                    1. re: piedsdesanges

                      I get everything I need at Agway.

                      1. re: piedsdesanges

                        Wal-Mart usually has a great supply of canning supplies. I even found my pressure canner there as well.

                        1. re: piedsdesanges

                          I live in New York and have found it virtually impossible to find canning supplies. They don't carry jars in any of the normal places- hardware stores, grocery stores, whatever. I have found some jars in specialty kitchen stores, but they are way over priced in my opinion.

                          I've been ordering online (http://www.canningpantry.com/), which seems kind of backward since I'm shipping something to my door that will keep me from shipping something else later. But canning's about more than that I guess.

                          1. re: erns53

                            You probably don't have an Agway near you (if you come out to eastern Long Island stop at the one in Riverhead, they have a whole canning dept) but I believe Walmart has them, at least the one here does, but not sure about all of them.

                            1. re: erns53

                              (Late reply but hope you get it.) When I moved to NYC in the '80s from Maryland, where canning jars were sold in every grocery store, I was shocked when I couldn't find them anywhere. (Pectin was even harder. The A&P on Union Square once had liquid pectin on the shelf that was five years past its pull date. There were some newer packages, a mere two years past their dates -- yum! And for some reason they were in with the pudding mixes.) Who ever would have thought of looking in a hardware store? But yes.
                              Vercesi Hardware on E. 23rd St. nearly always has Ball jars or the equivalent -- Golden Harvest & such. Call first if you need a lot to make sure they have the right size in stock. Likewise Saifee Hardware on First Avenue & 7th Street (they may not always have a lot on the shelves, but are very nice about going down to the basement & bringing up cases). There's also a hardware store on Sixth Avenue below 14th St. on the west side of the street, I believe around 11th St. (sorry, can't recall name if I ever knew it -- it's a small place & I wandered in one day & there they were) that carries a more limited selection. Any of the three is within walking distance of the Union Square farmers' market, so if you bring along someone to help carry, you can do produce & jars in one go. And as you say, there is mail order, though it does seem a bit silly.
                              Or you can do what I've done the last few years: bug anyone who is going South to bring back a couple of cases or at least replacement lids (of course, they get full jars of whatever you are making as a reward -- so far, everyone's happy). If you are visiting there, yard sales often have plenty of jars for almost nothing (as in a huge box of assorted sizes in perfect shape for $9 -- "My wife said to get rid of them" -- happy to help!). There's far more choice in the stores, too (fancy lids, new sizes & shapes of jar, etc.). I've been in supermarkets in fairly small Louisiana towns that had whole aisles of just canning supplies -- I nearly wept. The TSA must be very surprised when they search my suitcases coming back: six boxes of wide & six of regular lids, six more of decorative lids/ matching rings, jar lifters, etc.

                              1. re: mshenna

                                "I nearly wept" - gosh I feel this often when I travel, usually because of what they have elsewhere that I'd like at home, but when I lived away from home, I felt how you feel too. Not about canning jars (I wasn't canning then, yet), but feeling your pain.

                          2. re: chefthisguy

                            What kind of chemicals -if any- you use for the cured meats?

                            1. re: RicRios

                              A lot of specialty items: TCM, DQ Curing Salts #1 and #2, Dextrose, Bactofern F-RM-52 (freeze dried culture)....basic nitrites; also some other sugars, spices, etc...for the cured meats that need fermentation and hanging time the temperature and the humidity levels are key for the development of flavor and preservation for the first few days..today we hung Soppresata, Spanish Chorizo and Duck Proscuitto....

                        2. I've made the occasional monster batch of apple butter or pear butter from local fruit. Makes great winter presents.

                          Mostly, I'm a big fan of soaking fruit in alcohol or liqueur. I use imported liqueurs, like Amaretto or rum (my only local options are beer, bad wine, or Everclear), so I don't think I'm exactly reducing my carbon footprint. But they're ever so tasty a few months later!


                          8 Replies
                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            Have you ever thought of using everclear? We're thinking of doing liqueurs this fall for xmas presents but don't want to shell out for good rum. I mean do you think you could add a lot of sugar and making the fruit-everclear combination drinkable? Just wondering....

                            1. re: piedsdesanges

                              I don't think you need to shell out the big bucks for great rum, vodka, brandy, etc. The flavor of the fruit is what you want to come through anyway. Just make sure the stuff is drinkable. Everclear (or equivalent) really is traditional. Be aware that the higher alcohol content makes a more alcoholic final product, so you may need to dilute with water. I used to make limoncello with Everclear but went back to vodka because I found the Everclear too harsh in the final product. But diluting can work.

                              1. re: piedsdesanges

                                Remember that Everclear comes in two grades: 151proof which is 75.5% alcohol and 190 proof which is 95% alcohol, either of which will dry out your mouth and blow your head off. You can do just fine with something less strong like an inexpensive vodka since the flavor will come from the fruit. Depending on what you plan to make, you might want to use brandy, rum, bourbon or other spirits. Obviously, you don't want to buy rotgut but there are many storebrands that are perfectly acceptable for this use.
                                My elderly Creole relatives in New Orleans used plain old bourbon with local cherries to make a ratafia. The cherries and added sugar fermented and the alcohol content of the finished product seemed higher than the bourbon they started out.with.

                              2. re: AnneInMpls

                                Do you have a favorite apple butter recipe?

                                1. re: schoenick

                                  I know you're not asking me but thought I'd chime in. I made a slow-cooker apple butter a few years ago that was embarrassingly easy, but very good. It may have come from Cooking Light, but I'm sure it is Google-able.

                                  1. re: schoenick

                                    I have 2 different recipes for Apple Butter. try both see which one you like best! First one: Boil down to half 1 gallon of cider. To this 1/2 gallon add as many apples as will cook. When apples are soft skim out and keep repeating this process until about 1 peck of apples have been used. Put all back in the cider and let simmer about 2 hours. Add 6 cups sugar and for each estimated quart 1 teaspoon cinnamon,nutmeg,and cloves mixed. let cook until desired thickness. This apple butter must be stirred frequently to avoid burning. This is from Mrs. Charles E. Paul, Markle,Ind.

                                    The second recipe is combine 21/2 gallon peeled and quartered apples and 41/2 lb. sugar in alternate layers in kettle. Cover with tight lid and let stand over night. In the morning cook over slow fire for 5 hours without lifting lid. Remove from fire, add 2 teaspoons cinnamon and put through colander. This is from Mrs. Lou E. Erbaugh, Dayton, Ohio..hope you enjoy one of these!

                                  2. re: AnneInMpls

                                    Love this site, just came across this thread while searching recipes for Quince Ratafia. I've started some with brandy, and will try another with vodka, I think. If anyone has a tried and true recipe for this and you're willing to share, I'd love it. I've been searching the web and have come up with various versions, but not feeling very confident and not crazy about failures.

                                    Anyway, I've been canning for years and love it. My friends always get things in jars for gifts. So far this year, I've made mostly sweet stuff, but have made pickles, relishes and chutneys in the past.

                                    This year: strawberry freezer jam, frozen pesto (pinenuts, cheese, the works - never seems to be a problem and always tastes good in the dead of winter), cassis is on the go (my first time), canned pears, pear butter, pear mincemeat, pear and ginger marmalade (really jam, but tasty), pear and apple fruit leather. I'm in the midst of processing about 40 lbs of quince from a neighbour's tree and am making paradise jelly (quince, apple & cranberry) and paradise sauce, spiced poached quince, membrillo, quince curd, and quince chutney. Hopefully some apple sauce and pumpkin, too. Lots of pears and quinces this year!

                                    I recently tried a jar of Meyer Lemon Chutney that is to die for. Does anyone have a recipe?

                                    1. re: czyha

                                      I made the Spicy Lemon Chutney from About.com with my Meyer Lemons and it's wonderful!
                                      Try it with goat cheese and crackers as an appetizer, an easy glaze on ham, etc., etc. I also make Meyer Lemon marmalade - great in yogurt or as a glaze for a ricotta cheesecake.

                                      I recommend the book "Preserving the Taste" by Edon Waycott for wonderful preserves, jams, etc.

                                  3. Yep-- pickled ramps, spiced prunes, sour cherry brandy, blenheim apricot compote, pies (apricot, boysenberry, peach), shell beans in various formats (fava or lima puree), frozen shelled beans, etc.

                                    I freeze more than I can. Also do cured meats and then like. Generally use Zuni and Chez Panisse recipes for summer fruits.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JudiAU

                                      just wondering, if you see this, how you do your sour cherry brandy...I mean, soaking time, what do you soak in, do you filter or how are the cherries for eating, do you add sugar? thanks

                                    2. I'm going to start this summer for the first time. I've been hunting around online for the scoop and I'll check the library too - but I thought I'd ask here:

                                      What do I need to get started, canning and making preserves? This is my first time :) What kind of monetary investment will I make for the basic supplies?

                                      26 Replies
                                      1. re: foxy fairy

                                        It won't cost you much to get started. You'll need a big pot for sterilizing the jars and processing them in a hot water bath after sealing. I like having a jar lifter to get the jars out of the hot water bath without burning myself -- that'll cost a few bucks. And a wide-mouth funnel is handy, too, for filling the jars -- that will cost you another couple bucks. Last, I like a preserves cookbook called Gourmet Preserves. There are some particularly good recipes in there, but you can also just comb the web for recipes. I find that most recipes for preserves use way too much sugar, though.

                                        1. re: glutton

                                          I agree with glutton that many preserves recipes do seem to call for too much sugar but I would caution you as a beginner to start out following recipes faithfully even if they appear to call for a shocking quantity of sugar. There's some basic food chemistry involved and if you cut back too far, the finished product won't jell properly or will spoil. Try to start with recipes that produce small batches so that your investment isn't great if you fail. Actually, this isn't that hard and you probably won't fail. Once you get the hang of it and find some additional recipes, you'll find some with more acceptable sugar levels.
                                          I still refer constantly to one of the most basic books around, The Complete Guide to Home Canning, Preserving and Freezing by the US Department of Agriculture. A funky old, no-mess-around textbook on procedures and cautions with lots of pictures to guide you through the basics. Nothing sexy there but it answers questions that the fancy "gourmet" books never bother to tell you.

                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                            I have a hobby of making jams/jellies, I have made apple jelly, strawberry jam,
                                            apricot/pineapple jam, wild or sour cherry jelly. when the elberta`s come off
                                            i will make my peach/pineapple/cherry jam. I would like to make some fig jam
                                            this year and also some quince jam. I am looking for some pickling cucombers
                                            to make some dill pickles, I am going to make some bread and butter slices
                                            out of zuchinni squash this year. and I don`t use a water bath on any of this.
                                            I just tightened the lid and turn it upside down for ten-fifteen minutes then
                                            turn it bake up straight to cool. and I haven`t lost a jar over 8 years.

                                            1. re: bigjimbray

                                              do you use the upside down thing for all your canning, or just certain stuff? signed, newbie canner!

                                              1. re: bigjimbray

                                                The upside down method works, but it definitely does not create the same vacuum seal that you get from a hot water boil. Given how easy the hot water boil is to do, I figured it's better to take that extra cautionary step. When I first started canning, I posted this question on chowhound and was resoundingly told to use the hot water bath because there was sufficient evidence that the upside down method has caused problems for some people. I suppose it all depends on whether you plan to refrigerate your jams and how long you tend to keep them before consuming.

                                                1. re: glutton

                                                  thanks for the info, I will stick with the water bath thing since this is pretty new to me!

                                              2. re: MakingSense

                                                this is really great advise. i wish that i had had it when i first started canning.

                                                1. re: justanotherpenguin

                                                  I more or less was taught by mother and I have always used this method
                                                  and I have yet to lose anything because of a bad seal. I mainly make jams/
                                                  jellies as a hobby, but i have done vegetables, fruits,pickles,soups,
                                                  and they all came out sealed. it works for me. I would advise you do what
                                                  you are comfortable with. that is the best way. and I think that is the joy
                                                  of cooking.

                                                  1. re: bigjimbray

                                                    Thanks, I think I will be fine once I start. I think it's one of those things (like biscotti and lemon curd) that seems difficult but once you finally make them, are pretty simple!

                                                  2. re: justanotherpenguin

                                                    When I first started canning, I was absolutely terrified of poisoning my family. Botulism is real and you can't see it until it's too late. I started with the safest, most foolproof foods and methods until I was sure that I knew what I was doing. Then I breathed a big sigh of relief and spread my wings.
                                                    You can keep more than busy with high acid fruits, pickled things, brandied peaches, cold-packed tomatoes, great relishes, simple jams, jellies and preserves. No need to take chances as a canning virgin.
                                                    Some of the "fancy" recipes sound wonderful but when the acid balance crosses a certain line, you can't use a water-bath canner, you have to pressure-can and that requires special equipment or you risk botulism. The jars will seal, but the organisms live and prosper, waiting to get you.

                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                      I work for the University of Missouri Extension service, and canning questions are common in our offices this time of year.

                                                      Puh-lease, please get a CURRENT Ball Blue book on canning, go to your Extension office or website, or go to the USDA site


                                                      for your canning information.

                                                      Read the directions and FOLLOW THEM--no shortcuts, no substitutions.

                                                      Water bath canning is not safe for low acid foods--they must be canned in a pressure canner to eliminate the risk of botulism.

                                                      While jams and jellies and other things *will* seal if turned upside down, you run the risk of spoilage--why waste your time and good ingredients on a slipshod method? Also, the upside down method doesn't make for as good a seal as water bath canning--the lids can come off if the jars are bumped.

                                                      Tomatoes used to be considered a high acid vegetable, but modern varieties lack the acid--they also need to be pressure canned.

                                                      1. re: sparrowgrass

                                                        sparrowgrass, as a professional, what's your advice on reducing the sugar in jams? i just tasted my plum jam and while it's yummy it's a bit too jammy for me.

                                                        1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                          You can get pectin for making jam that does not require sugar -- it is usually right next to the regular pectin at the grocery store. There is also a brand called "Pomona's", found at more "health food' like stores, that seems to work even better than the normal Ball's or Sure-Jell brand. I have made jam successfully this way with minimal amounts of sugar (to taste, but usually around 1/2 cup per batch of jam) and also with Splenda.

                                                          The jam does come out a bit softer than a traditional with-sugar batch, but perfectly acceptable, and after trying it without so much sugar, I can't eat regular jam anymore, it is way too sweet.

                                                        2. re: sparrowgrass

                                                          I have been making jams and conserves for quite sometime using the water bath method. I remember my Dad always using a pressure cooker, canning Everything and it coming out beautifully and tasty. From Salmon, fruits, and veggies. Marinara Sauce, Picadilly and chow chow. He was a firm believer in pressure cooking for all kinds of things. Our pantry was gorgeous. I don't know why I have had this fear of using one, but I am planning on taking the plunge, I know that they are safe, and efficient. Any recommendations of a brand?
                                                          I've made White Peach Jam, Plum, Pineapple Apricot, Strawberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, and FIG. The fig jam I made last year was awesome. Also, made a raspberry fig and then made my own fig newtons-so yummy!
                                                          Oh and I'm currently working on a Kim Chee recipe so I can have it all year round! And the other things on my radar screen is preserved lemon.

                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                            You don't have to process preserved lemons, at least according to Claudia Roden. She has three methods in _The New Book of Middle Eastern Food_. I'm getting ready to try the third method she gives. You might find one of her recipes online.

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              Chef Chicklet, would you mind sharing your fig jam recipe? I just love figs in any way, shape or form and, if I can find someone with a fig tree, I'd love to make some jam. Too bad they're so expensive up here for the most part.
                                                              Also, how's that kim chee recipe coming? I personally hate kim chee, especially the smell and the foul burps that come from them (I know, TMI), but my husband loves it and would eat it every day if I allowed it. If I made him some he would be my slave for a year. :)

                                                              1. re: ScarletB

                                                                SB, I was reading this thread and lo and behold, I saw that I never answered your request. I am so embarassed and this was an oversight. I had lost my data when the computer crashed that has that recipe, but I do have a written copy. So...fig season is a coming, and I will get it out for you. And the kimchee is hannaone's recipe


                                                                I love this stuff.
                                                                Fig jam is soooo easy, you can add other fruits, like peach or raspberry and it really really make wonderful jam. There is a lot of pectin in figs (I think) because it really sets up nicely. I've never had a problem with it. I made the best raspberry figgy newtons and man were they good! ( a little too good if ya know what I mean
                                                                )so again, I do apologize for missing this it was not intentional.

                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                  Thanks chef! I look forward to seeing the recipe. I have found someone with a fig tree even - yay!

                                                              2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                Hi Chef- Could I have the recipe for fig jam? What about Bing Cherries in Alcohol?

                                                                'Thank you-Dukessa

                                                            2. re: MakingSense

                                                              Thanks, cannning is intimidating but I know doable, now the pressure cooker, that REALLY scares me:)

                                                          2. re: MakingSense

                                                            Sound advice from Glutton and MakingSense. Don't get discouraged if your jams don't set up properly. Follow surejell's or ball's waterbath methods and you should be OK. If it still doesn't jell well but the lid is sealed consider it nice ice cream topping!

                                                        3. re: foxy fairy

                                                          Hey FF I just bought a reasonably new graniteware hotwater bath, rack, colander and stewing pot, all with lids, from ebay for about 42.00 with shipping... I'll give them a good borax scrubbing but that's it. Jars I got from Smart and Final - couldn't believe how hard it was to track down everything but the jars. Don't people put food by anymore? Guess the answer is not in L.A....

                                                          1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                            postscript: i don't have my canning equipment yet so what i did is take my tallest pot, cover the bottom with cutlery and then boil my pint jars in it. it worked; next time i'm buying half pints instead of pint jars so that we have more for gifts....

                                                            1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                              A quick note - you may want to replace the rack that came with your set with a stainless steel one. I found that mine rusted. You can get them for just over $20 at kitchenkrafts.com (a great resource). Also, I get my jars from Osh (out here in Los Angeles) they tend to be cheapest there.

                                                              1. re: WildSwede

                                                                I also live in LA. The OSH in West LA, that just finished a complete renovation (new signs, new merchandising, new everything) no longer carries jars. I don't know if that is a harbinger for what's to come company-wide or not, but it most certainly was distressing to me.

                                                                1. re: glutton

                                                                  Hmmm, I have not purchased any jars since my mom found them for me at Big Lots for $6.99. Also, I have not been canning, but prepping and freezing like mad for when it cools off! I am in Pasadena. I do not think that Osh has gone through any renovations lately.

                                                          2. "My goal is to preserve some kind of seasonal produce every weekend."

                                                            Brilliant! Doing a little each weekend will help you avoid the end of summer sweating in the kitchen for a week. I'm going to try to emulate you but I am rarely that organized. I love having my own stuff squirreled away for winter - nothing more satisfying. I like Putting Food By, that you suggest, and I'd recommend Sunset's Canning Freezing and Drying, as well as Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures. Please keep us posted on what you are putting up.

                                                            So far this year:
                                                            20 half-pints of Bing cherry jam
                                                            24 of plum jam (from tiny plums picked in the neighborhood)
                                                            3 pounds of pitted Rainer cherries in the freezer
                                                            A few batches of pesto already in the freezer
                                                            2 pints of Bing cherries soaking in brandy
                                                            1 pint of black currants soaking in vodka (for cassis)

                                                            As the summer goes on, I'll add:
                                                            wild blackberry jam and syrup
                                                            dill pickles
                                                            strawberry jam and syrup
                                                            raspberry jam
                                                            plum paste
                                                            canned peaches (we have a tree with small white peaches that are better canned than fresh - such a treat in February)
                                                            dried figs and fig jam
                                                            dried chiles
                                                            and freeze:
                                                            roasted red peppers
                                                            tomato sauce
                                                            lots more pesto
                                                            I usually freeze some sorbet bases as well to defrost and refreeze in the winter - last year I had a lot of plums and grapes

                                                            In the fall:
                                                            quince paste

                                                            26 Replies
                                                            1. re: Junie D

                                                              Do you can your pesto with a water bath, or just freeze in jars as is? Reason I ask is because I always freeze it in jars, but for some reason when I have taken jars out over the last year, they seem to go moldy on me very quicky. I try re-covering the scooped out section with EVOO, but that hasn't worked. Wondering if you have any advice or if the water bath will make a difference. Thanks

                                                              1. re: geminigirl

                                                                The secret to year-round pesto is not to make pesto for storage. An old Italian woman in her 80s who lives in NY and still cooks for the entire family of 20+ every Sunday gave me her secret that works like a charm. Finely chop the basil in the food processor with olive oil and freeze small jars of that. No garlic which gets an off-flavor in the freezer. When you want pesto in the middle of winter, get out a jar of basil and oil which soften amazingly quickly. I freeze mine in the quantities I need for a regular batch. Finely chop the garlic and pine nuts or whatever you use. I incorporate the cheese by hand. The pesto tastes as fresh as a summer day and the basil keeps a great color when it's stored only in the oil.
                                                                I think what makes it go moldy so quickly is the moisture that builds up in the frozen pesto from the cheeses, etc.. I don't have this problem when I make fresh pesto from the frozen basil/oil combination..

                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                  junie D:
                                                                  Young lady your my kind of gal. I hope you reach your goal. as for the peaches
                                                                  I have 3 varieties in my yard, I have a white peach that is so sweet., then to me
                                                                  the best peach there is a elberta my favorite, then I have another peach which
                                                                  it is alot like the eberta. peaches are my favorite fruit. I eat fresh the white peaches, cook the elbertas, and give the other one to my neighbors, friends,
                                                                  and relatives. the elbertas stays home. I very impressed about your canning
                                                                  and would love to see it get more popular again. I have ahobby of making
                                                                  jams/jellies each year, I made some wild cherry jelly this morning,I have made
                                                                  my wifes favorite apple jelly, apricot/pineapple, and when the elbertas come off
                                                                  iwll make my peach/pineapple/cherry jam. and I give it all away because I am
                                                                  a diabetic. but my neighbors,friends and relatives like it.

                                                                  1. re: bigjimbray

                                                                    Holy awesome responses; I'm just glad to see people still preserving. Found the University of Georgia website and the USDA book but appreciate the other book recommendations. I'm finding the recipes in Socking Up and Putting Food By to be just a tad boring.

                                                                    Anyway, I just finished nine pints of plum jam yesterday and I'm on to apricot jam today. MakingSense, love your list of what you're putting up this year. Do you have a dehydrator?

                                                                    One thing I'd like to do is start making preserves rather than cooked jam. That is, I'd like to preserve a bit of what the fruit is off the tree - does anyone have any suggestions for that?

                                                                    OMG I would LOVE to freeze some pesto. Unfortunately we are moving in August so I can't do any freezing that I want to keep. But I'm keeping that tip in mind. I imagine that there will be basil in California in August so maybe I can do it then.

                                                                    Anyway I'm thinking cherries and berries next week before the season ends. Haven't posted anything on my blog yet but will tomorrow:


                                                                    1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                      That was JunieD's extensive list. I don't put up nearly that much. When I started out, I went hog wild but I found out that we just didn't use or even give away nearly as much as I produced and home canned goods have a shelf life. This is NOT a cheap undertaking. Even discounting your time, good ingredients and the jars, etc. are expensive. Figure out what you can reasonably use and restrain your enthusiasm!

                                                                      Whole fruits can be canned very simply and used for pies during the winter. I love to do pickled or brandied peached for serving with winter meals. Great with things like duck or ham. Cherries in brandy are fabulous over ice cream or with crepes.
                                                                      A lot of fruits and veggies can be canned very simply and then added to other recipes during the winter or used to make pies and desserts. An example would be a corn relish that you can add a bit of freshly chopped red or green pepper to for a crisp note when you serve it months later. A lot of pickled whole veggies make great hors d'oeuvres. Dilly beans, okra, etc.

                                                                      I quit canning tomato sauce years ago and now just cold pack plain Roma tomatoes. I make sauce fresh when I need it or use the tomatoes in other dishes. Found that I always ended up stuck with that one sauce recipe when I invariably found a new one that I wanted to try or just wanted to vary the seasonings. Canning sauce is just too limiting.

                                                                      Basil will continue to have strong flavor worth freezing well into the Fall as long as the area where you're moving continues to have hot days and the nights don't get too cool. And - very important!!! - the basil plants are not allowed to set flowers. Once that happens, the leaves lose their flavor. Even when I don't harvest basil, I pinch off evil flower buds daily to maintain the flavor.

                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                        "Figure out what you can reasonably use and restrain your enthusiasm!"

                                                                        Excellent advice. There have been years when I've had a lot of extras. Now I tend to make large quantities only of things we'll give as Christmas or hostess gifts, like jams.

                                                                        If you can plain tomato puree, you can then turn it into whatever sauce you want later on. But I've stopped canning tomatoes/sauce now that I have a big freezer - that's much easier.

                                                                        1. re: Junie D

                                                                          It is worthwhile noting that not all tomatoes are good for sauce. Slicers and salad tomatoes are too watery for that use. You'll be wondering why your sauce doesn't cook down to a nice consistency. Plum varieties (Roma, San Marzano, etc.) are the ones you want for cooking. If you have a surplus of salad tomatoes, they can be used for soups and dishes where their high liquid content won't be a liability so be sure to mark the cans or freezer containers. Salad tomatoes make terrific tomato juice - great for your own Bloody Mary Mix - a super hostess gift with a bottle of vodka.
                                                                          Before canning or freezing, I skin them and cut off the hard stem end. Usually, I just half or quarter them so that I have the max flexibility when I use them later since I don't use much tomato purée in cooking. I also prefer chunky sauces.

                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                            I would say not all tomatoes are "ideal" for sauce. Plum varieties are indeed easier to deal with. But at the end of the season we have a lot of green tomatoes still on the vine, which won't ripen before frost. I pick them and as they ripen on the kitchen counter cook batches of them down for sauce, putting through the food mill to remove seeds and skins, then freeze. This is sometimes the most delicious and fresh-tasting of our sauces - made from Brandywines, Cherokee Purples, Early Girl, various cherry tomatoes, etc. I like your Bloody Mary Mix idea too!

                                                                            1. re: Junie D

                                                                              The homemade Bloody Mary Mix was a major hit. I started with the ingredients list from V-8 juice (carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach) and added onions and garlic to the really flavorful but watery tomatoes. The trick was to cook the veggies for awhile to soften them so the tomatoes didn't taste too cooked. I wanted it to taste really fresh, like summer tomatoes in a glass. Everything through the food mill to remove the pulp.
                                                                              We drank oceans of it. Had we put vodka in all of it, we'd have been on the floor.

                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                How do I find this recipe and the instructions? Thanks!

                                                                        2. re: MakingSense

                                                                          As a total novice who just ordered a canning kit online, can someone tell me what cold pack is? Making Sense mentions it in regards to romas, which I should have a ton of this year, and others have mentioned it too. Is it just freezing? Thanks for the advice!

                                                                          1. re: ScarletB

                                                                            Coldpack is when you don't cook the food first, or you cook it very little. The fruit/vegetable is then usually processed in a steam bath or bw bath, and I'm pretty sure that the liquid used to cover the fruit/veg up is usually hot. That' my impression. You can doublecheck at the usda website.

                                                                            1. re: ScarletB

                                                                              Cold pack is also called raw pack. Easy as falling off a log. I do my tomatoes this way because they get the absolute minimum processing and taste the freshest when I use them later.
                                                                              I skin them (boiling water drill, etc.) and remove the hard stem end, cut them in half or quarters, I don't mind the seeds but you could remove them, pack the raw tomatoes into jars to within 1/2 inch of top pressing gently to fill spaces. Don't add water. I don't even add salt or any spice or herbs. Then process in a boiling water bath.
                                                                              So easy that you can do just one pint if you happen to have only that many from your garden that day or get a bargain at the market..
                                                                              With most other veggies and fruits, you have to fill the spaces with boiling syrup/vinegar or use water/juice and pressure can. Tomatoes however are a snap!

                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                Thank you for the info. How do you use the cold-packed tomatoes? Are they good raw like in bruschetta, or do you find after being canned that you need to cook them to use? I'm going to have a rush of tomatoes this year and I'll definitely need as many ideas as I can get.

                                                                                1. re: ScarletB

                                                                                  The process of water bath canning heats the tomatoes to the boiling point and keeps them there for a certain length of time so they are cooked to some degree. I've used them, very well drained and dabbed with a towel, in the winter for buschetta and the like simply because they're better than winter tomatoes but they're not like raw, fresh summer tomatoes. Now we can get grape tomatoes or UgliRipes so I'm not as likely to do that.
                                                                                  The advantage I find to canning my own is that they are as minimally processed as possible with nothing in them. They taste as close to fresh as possible. I like a very fresh, short-cooked sauce, rather than a long-simmered sauce so they work for me in winter in any recipe that calls for using fresh tomatoes.

                                                                        3. re: bigjimbray

                                                                          Another peach lover! It is the perfect fruit, isn't it. But a good nectarine.... I would also like to see canning, and preserving your own food in general, become more popular. Maybe it will on Chowhound thanks to piedsdesanges. I'm glad to read on this thread that people are out there doing charcuterie.

                                                                      2. re: geminigirl

                                                                        I'm not sure why your frozen pesto is molding. I've never canned pesto (water bath). I make the pesto with the basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pine nuts, then freeze it in "snack" size Ziploc bags. They freeze flat and hold the perfect amount for three to four people. Plus they defrost super quick. I add the cheese when I serve it.

                                                                        I usually blanch the basil for maybe 10-15 seconds, shock it in an ice bath, then squeeze it out and proceed. It makes the blending easier because you have less volume, but best of all blanching totally sets the color bright green. No brown or black pesto.

                                                                      3. re: Junie D

                                                                        So Junie, what kind of container do you use for soaking fruit in liquor? We're going to start putting some liqueurs up after we move in August but would love some tips now.

                                                                        Love your list of preserves - really impressive...

                                                                        1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                          Glad to hear from another canner! For soaking fruit in alcohol, my favorite are these wide mouth jars from Italy with a rubber gasket and metal hinge-thing (great description!) that holds it shut. I buy them at a kitchen store. They come in all different sizes and look kind of like this:


                                                                          I also use those, in large sizes, for brine-curing olives. But you could use a quart canning jar. Either way, they should seal well enough to be moved.

                                                                          1. re: Junie D

                                                                            And - hope I'm not bothering you - are you buying your olives unbrined and then brining them yourself? And if so, where do you buy unbrined olives? Don't mean to pepper you with questions...

                                                                            1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                              Are you kidding? I am completely thrilled that other people are interested in this stuff!!!

                                                                              We forage for fresh olives. We've picked from shopping center parking lots, friends'-of-friends'-of-friends' trees, and even (after asking) at the cemetery. Most people who have olive trees don't do anything with them and olives make an oily mess on pavement so they are more than happy to have you pick them. That said, you may be able to buy some at a Farmers' Market. Penna sells them online in season (approximately Oct-Dec). We'll have to talk methods then! We usually brine them but I am determined to use lye this year. http://www.greatolives.com/FreshOlive...

                                                                          2. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                            How do you do your fruits in alcohol. I haven't done any in years,


                                                                          3. re: Junie D

                                                                            This might be a silly question but.... are cherries in brandy just that? Clean cherries in a jar topped with brandy. How long would they have to sit before use?

                                                                            1. re: h2o

                                                                              There are no silly questions! Yes, it is just that, plus a little sugar. I let them sit 4, 5, 6 months. Then eat them for dessert.

                                                                              1. re: h2o

                                                                                From TimeLife Good Cook Series Preserving: to make Brandied Cherries, use 1 1/2 lbs cherries, stems removed, 2/3 c sugar, 4 c brandy. Seal in a jar. No processing is necessary. Shake the jar once a week. Let stand 4 to 5 months before using.
                                                                                Eat the cherries, drink the brandy.
                                                                                That book, BTW, is terrific but may be out of print.

                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                  I used grain alcohol- 151 proof, cut with water, add sugar, and leave stems on Cherries, so when they are served, you pick them up by the stem. Kept them 4-5 months and gave them out for gifts. Will that affect anything? I want to do them in the next couple of days. Guess I could try small jar with stems and see what happens. But there is a whole Pear in Poire William and nothing happens there. Help.

                                                                            2. I've been preserving tons of stuff for years and love it. In fact, I'm giving a class on food preservation this coming Friday. I've moved away from canning as much as possible, mainly because it's hot work during hot weather and the heat destroys nutrients in many canned foods. I usually only can jams and tomato sauce/salsa now.

                                                                              I'm way into fermenting and brining. Even less carbon footprint than canning.
                                                                              Three books that are very good are:

                                                                              Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz
                                                                              ISBN 1-931498-23-7, Chelsea Green Publishing

                                                                              Sandor's site is great and talks about the benefits of fermented foods.

                                                                              Keeping Food Fresh
                                                                              ISBN 1-890132-10-1, Chelsea Green Publishing

                                                                              Ferment and Human Nutrition by Bill Mollison
                                                                              ISBN 0-908228-06-6
                                                                              Tagari Publications, Australia

                                                                              1. I'm amazed at the number of videos available when I'm approaching a subject about which I know absolutly nothing. Here's just one on canning.


                                                                                1. So far this season, I have done Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Nectarine Jam (which for some reason did not gel). Definitely the stone fruits. I usually make a delicious Peach Lavender Jam which everyone loves. Also Fresh Fig Jam.
                                                                                  BTW, does anyone have a recipe for Brandied Figs (or know how I would go about making them). I bought a jar for my mom from Waldo and she loved them, so now that the season is upon us, I would like to make a bunch and dole it out to her in increments!! Thanks!

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: WildSwede

                                                                                    Hey all -- does anyone have a recipe for apricot jam? Plus any advice on peeling them? I'm starting my second batch of jam for the week today. I have about 20 lbs of apricots....

                                                                                    Thanks!!!! This is an awesome topic -- you guys know so much.


                                                                                    1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                                      I used the recipe from The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving. However, be really careful as this jam over gelled and became really hard. I would cook it for exactly the 25 minutes it states and not any longer. However, it still got rave reviews.
                                                                                      I never peel them (my recipe did not call for it) but I would go about it the same way as for peaches: cut an "x" in the bottom end of the fruit and drop into boiling water for about 15-30 seconds. The skin should peel back and off fairly quickly.

                                                                                      1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                                        I posted a recipe on chowhound for apricot-honey jam that was great and easy. It was a runny jam, not a jelled jam. It has very large pieces of unpeeled apricots and it uses less sugar and no pectin, so it tends to be on the runnier side. However, it is wonderful. The apricot flavor really comes out strongly and I personally prefer to have large pieces of the fruit in the jar.

                                                                                        1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                                          I love this topic.

                                                                                          I wanted apricot jam and spent a lot of time peeling them. I couldn't find a recipe that clearly stated peel or not. The peeled apricots resulted in apricot sauce. I would not recommend peeling! I think there's pectin in the skin thats needed to help the jam set.

                                                                                          1. re: rtms

                                                                                            Yes, there is pectin in the skin. And the skin doesn't pose much problem in the finished product. When you use peaches, the skin can get slimey in the finished product, but I didn't experience that with apricots. That is partly because I like the finished product to have chunks of fruit and the skin holds those chunks together.

                                                                                            If you really hate the skin, I suppose you could cook the apricots with teh skin on, then pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the skins from the jam, and then can the jam. The pectin would come out of the skins during the cooking process, so your skin-less jam may set up better. I've never done this, so it's just a theory at this point...

                                                                                        2. re: WildSwede

                                                                                          Oh, I'd love your recipe for peach and lavender jam, if you have a moment to post it. Sounds wonderful.

                                                                                          1. re: Liana Krissoff

                                                                                            Sorry, have not been on this page in a while. I will get the recipe and post it for you. Glutton - I will find your apricot-honey recipe and try it! Thanks! I have done a blueberry honey jam and I think a plum honey jam.

                                                                                        3. BTW, two more excellent resources/references for preserving:

                                                                                          Chez Panisse Fruit (I love this book)
                                                                                          The Glass Pantry by Georgeanne Brennan (out of print - maybe in the library)

                                                                                          1. When I was there, a German NGO in East Timor worked with poor villagers to build and use sun-dryer boxes (w/ glass top at an angle, floor and sides with holes, screen rack), all built to partucular proportions that somehow make them work better. I built one here a few years ago; and it works. Just today we got a big sack of tomatoes from friends to make the first batch of several sun dried fruits and vegetables.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                              hey sam
                                                                                              My sisters dry alot of apricots and peaches and a few pears, each year my brother in-law makes his own drier ant they burn sulfer to dry that. she told me she was always
                                                                                              wanting to dry some tomatoes. here in Traver.

                                                                                              1. re: bigjimbray

                                                                                                jim, you guys are lucky. That Central Valley sun means you don't need to do anything but quarter the tomatoes (you guys call them "Romas"?) lengthwise and lay them out. Start early morning on a scorcher, and you'll be able to ignore them til they're done.

                                                                                            2. So far:
                                                                                              24 pints of butter beans
                                                                                              15 pints of speckled beans
                                                                                              18 pints of crowder peas
                                                                                              16 pints of Pink eye peas
                                                                                              Grape jelly
                                                                                              Strawberry jam
                                                                                              Bread and Butter pickles
                                                                                              Dill pickles

                                                                                              Still have to do :
                                                                                              Green beans
                                                                                              Sauce bases
                                                                                              Extra juice for winter jelly making
                                                                                              In the fall Pumpkin for pies
                                                                                              AND anything else that comes in in great quantity at good prices! The beans and peas we picked in Mississippi and brough back to Ohio. Peaches I usually go to a farm and pick. Home canning in my family can be traced back through handed down recipes for over 122 years. Don't know how long before that. I can remember going to my Grandmother cellar. All of her canned food were on open shelves. When the outside doors were opened and the sun hit her jars, it looked like stained glass on the walls. I am so glad to count you among the ranks of home canners!
                                                                                              As far as local produce is concerned, trust your local growers. They are the masters of their crafts. They will know best the methods to preserve their produce.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: clscherf

                                                                                                Wow, that brings back memories of Central Valley picking, processing,canning and preserving in the heat of summer in the 50s and 60s by Mom and the Aunts. Because we cousins had it harder than a Nike-sewing Indonesian of the same age, I'm a bit lazier these days. But, you're so right about the stained glass on the shelves.

                                                                                                1. re: clscherf

                                                                                                  Sounds great! How do you can the crowder peas and pink eye peas (seasonings, cooking, etc?) and what do you do with them when you open them in the winter?

                                                                                                  1. re: Junie D

                                                                                                    Crowder and pink eye peas are better put up in the freezer, not canned in jars. They maintain a better texture that way. We blanch the peas in plain unseasoned water and let them cool. Then we bag, without the boiling liqiud. When we want some beans or peas we thaw a bag out, just cover with water, then (sorry to all of you fat watching heart concious folks) we add bacon fat or other smoked pork meat and salt and pepper to the mix and cook until the peas are tender. What a treat in the cold months when our gardens up North are snow covered and frozen!

                                                                                                    1. re: clscherf

                                                                                                      Thanks! I read pints and assumed you were canning - yes, freezing makes much more sense. They must be delicious (bacon included).

                                                                                                  2. re: clscherf

                                                                                                    HI, Clscherf! I'm from Ohio too! I'm a new canner/preserver! Can you give me some of your favorite recipes! I want to make this part of my family history!


                                                                                                  3. So far I've put 30 pounds of local strawberries in the freezer for smoothies throughout the winter. 2 batches of scape pesto. But I'm just getting started. I'll freeze a dozen bags of green beans. Then I'll freeze some roasted peppers. I freeze basil pesto in ice cube trays.I'll spend Labor day weekend putting up roma tomatoes...raw pack both ground and whole. I use a shallow water/steam canner for the tomatoes. You can read more at:


                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: GeekVanessa

                                                                                                      Okay so I finished my batches of plums and apricots today (see my blog at http://omnivoreherbivorecarnivore.blo... for details). But here's the thing: I'm not sure about the apricots in syrup. I'm seeing bubbles in the syrup, under the fruit, and I'm wondering whether I should redo them with some extra syrup. Any advice?

                                                                                                      1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                                                        I would that way you know its right, and save all your good work and product.
                                                                                                        It is always better to be safe than sorry.

                                                                                                        1. re: piedsdesanges

                                                                                                          It's probably fine -- I see bubbles in some of my stuff, too. However, if you're worried at all, then I would top them off to get ride of the bubbles.

                                                                                                      2. Gosh, this all sounds too tempting to a Southern Hemisphere (and thus wintry) C-hound!

                                                                                                        In the summer I bottle chili plum sauce and different fruit butters, but now that I'm in winter, I'm running low on ideas. I bottled poached quinces and quince butter all autumn, but now my seasonal choices seem limited to pears (poached and fruit butter'd). I have a lot of citrus (clementines, grapefruit and a local, indigenous lemon variety) - any ideas for bottling? I already have preserved lemons, and I prefer options that use less sugar, both because my boyfriend in diabetic, and because I enjoy stronger 'natural' fruit flavours. Any ideas would be welcomed...

                                                                                                        1. Last time I tried canning some cherry tomatoes, along with some tomato puree to fill up the spaces between the cherries, several of my jars exploded in the water bath. I don't think I filled them too full - and about half didn't explode, filled to the same level, approximately. Any ideas on what I did wrong? Maybe screwed the lids on too tight?

                                                                                                          1. Hi,
                                                                                                            I signed up to this place just bc of this thread! My husband has been canning our garden items for the last several years! I never have touched the canning untill this year and I have gone crazy!
                                                                                                            We have canned Pickles, Zuc Mango Relish, Corn Relish, Zuc Pickles,Hot Dog Relish,Jellys,Mt.Dew Relish,Spag Starter,
                                                                                                            I have gone nutts!
                                                                                                            But now im looking for a Something!
                                                                                                            A canning Recepie for
                                                                                                            Corn & Black Bean Salsa??
                                                                                                            Oh, I so need this for a family member! They would be so excited if I could can this! I can find all kinds of Corn Salsa on line, but none for canning ect.
                                                                                                            Thanks Darla

                                                                                                            1. I've been doing some canning the last couple summers (after moving from a tiny Manhattan kitchen to a much more spacious one in rural Georgia!), and I've been remembering all the stuff my parents put up from their garden every year when I was a kid. One thing that I haven't seen made by anyone else is tomato-basil jam. I absolutely love it, and posted a recipe for it recently: http://pieandbeer.blogspot.com/2007/0...

                                                                                                              1. I don't think anyone has mentioned pickled beets yet!

                                                                                                                My mother's recipe: simmer cooked and sliced beets in a one to one mixture of vinegar and sugar then pack into jars and process.

                                                                                                                I made some with fresh beets from the garden last week: 5 large beets, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup vinegar. I didn't bother canning them and just put them in the frig - we ate them up within a few days!

                                                                                                                1. Does anyone have any ideas on canning without using lemon juice (or anything containing citric acid)? My s/o is allergic.


                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: callmijane

                                                                                                                    Traditional canning actually destroys the live enzymes in our food, leaving them little more than colored stuff. As mad as everyone gets when I suggest such a thing, it really does produce nothing but dead foods that then require we add other enzymes to our diet to help our bodies deal with the over abundance of simple carbohydrates..

                                                                                                                    With allergies, I would suggest he needs ALOT of probiotics. But you dont need to go buy pills. I have been fermenting much of my garden this year. I use lemon/lime occasionally but as a rule just whey (made by allowing RAW milk to culture and separate into curds and whey), sea salt, water and herbs. When I strain the separated products the proein solids that are left in the towel can be seasoned to make a wonderful fermented garlic bread spread!

                                                                                                                    This sort of preserving doesnt require canning or refrigeration, so no heating up the kitchen. You just follow the recipe, put a lid on each jar hand tight and stick it in a kitchen cabinet. I did green beans a month ago and served them for dinner last night and they were YUMMY. Im just beginning to get creative w/ fresh herbs. Its a learning curve for everyone. So sad the way we have been conditioned to use only s/p most of the time.

                                                                                                                    I now consider ferments a required part of every meal...fat + protein + ferment + raw veggies + milk. For breakfast I love slices of grass-fed brisket (sliced thin as bacon and fried in coconut oil) w/ eggs & LA kraut and a glass of milk. Very satisfying and stick with you.

                                                                                                                    A taste for ferments is an acquired thing....try all and pick favorites and stick with them. As your body becomes accustomed to them it will crave more.

                                                                                                                    medicinal kvass = (beets + sea salt + water; a daily 2oz dose promotes liver/digestive function)
                                                                                                                    green beans = (beans + oregano + garlic + whey + sea salt + water)
                                                                                                                    garlic = (oregano + garlic + whey + sea salt + water)
                                                                                                                    cucumbers = (dill + garlic + whey + sea salt + water)
                                                                                                                    serrano peppers = (cilantro + whey + sea salt + water)
                                                                                                                    cabbage (LA kraut) = (cabbage + oregano + carrots + garlic + whey + sea salt + water)
                                                                                                                    green tomatillo salsa = (my recipe contains lime juice)

                                                                                                                    ....then of course I also do the milk kefir and kombucha ferments. Im learning to make cheese (which is one of the ways people preserved milk out of season in times past).

                                                                                                                    See: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz and/or
                                                                                                                    Keeping Food Fresh by Claude Aubert

                                                                                                                    1. re: FarmSchooler

                                                                                                                      Very interesting. When you say it's an acquired taste, do you mean they taste different than say pickled or brined foods?

                                                                                                                      I just tasted my first kombucha and liked it.

                                                                                                                  2. I actually like canning soups and chilis. I use a pressure canner and it saves a lot of space in my freezer. Canning chili is pretty easy. I just cook my chili one day, strain the grease the next day, heat it up and can it in a pressure canner for 30-45 minutes under 10 pounds of pressure. It makes cooking it later a breeze.

                                                                                                                    I also can jambalaya. The only ingredients I don't put in are the shrimp and the rice. I just pop the jar open heat it up, put rice in and cook it and just add the shrimp at the end. It works out really well and makes a great, quick dinner.

                                                                                                                    As far as soups, I have canned beef soup, clam chowder, and french onion soup. Canning is one of my favorite pastimes.

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: kprange

                                                                                                                      Kprange, could you provide instructions for canning the French Onion soup? I would like to use a hot water bath, I do not have a pressure cooker. I would appreciate it very much. It has been years (and I mean years) since I have done any canning and feel nervous about it.
                                                                                                                      Thank you kindly.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Grenell

                                                                                                                        This doesn't sound like a good idea. All low-acid foods have to be processed in a pressure canner. Vegetables, meats, poultry and fish are low-acid. The exception would be recipes that incorporate high-acid ingredients, like the vinegar you use when pickling vegetables.

                                                                                                                        Also, be aware that pressure cookers and pressure canners are different. My reference book says "A pressure cooker and a pressure canner are not synonymous .... Pressure cookers are not safe for home canning low-acid foods." So even if you had a pressure cooker, you’d be out of luck on French Onion Soup.

                                                                                                                        To make matters even more confusing, there are gadgets like my Presto "Pressure Cooker / Pressure Canner" that advertise themselves as dual-function. It wasn't until I had already bought it and read the user's manual that I found out it can only be used for pressure canning at elevations lower than where we live now. Phooney.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Grenell

                                                                                                                          When I canned onion soup, I just made the soup - using whatever recipe works for you - canned under 10 lbs. of pressure for about 25-30 minutes. I didn't use a water bath canner, so I couldn't give directions for that. I hope this helps!

                                                                                                                          1. re: kprange

                                                                                                                            As one of the previous posters said, you cannot safely can onion soup in a water bath. You're just asking for botulism if you do that. Canning under pressure, as kprange did would be the appropriate method. Another method would simply be to freeze the soup and then reheat it slowly on a stovetop when it's time to eat it.

                                                                                                                      2. Organic red cabbage 89 cents a pound at our local grocery. I think it may be time to experiment with sauerkraut.

                                                                                                                        1. home made v8 - canning - anyone have a tnt recipe? I would like a sort of chunky version? Should a juicer be used or a food processor?

                                                                                                                          1. Boy, I love preserving. Not only do you get fabulous food all year round you also get the gratification of carrying on artisinal techniques. In addition to the usual canning fruits/veg and salsas and such I always make several mustards; flavoured vinegars and oils; countless preserves (favourites include lemon and oregano jam; pear and vanilla bean butter; lavender jelly, basil jelly); flavoured butters to throw into the freezer; applesauce; BBQ sauces (sometimes using up a few peaches or nectarines); various fruit coulis; man, my list goes on and on! Our pantry always looks like a store...

                                                                                                                            1. The trouble with preserving fruit is the amount of sugar you add to your diet. Sugar is, after all, the method of preservation.
                                                                                                                              If you "can" veggies, you need a pressure cooker.
                                                                                                                              One might consider the freezer. There you will need no, or less sugar, for holding them, and no pressure cooker for the veggies.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: The Old Gal

                                                                                                                                I just canned peach nectar without added sugar. I followed a Bernardin recipe. Don't have to have a lot of sugar to can fruit. I personally prefer frozen fruits, unless I'm doing something like crabapples. I also do enjoy canned saskatoon berries.

                                                                                                                              2. Your post seems to indicate you will be doing mostly water bath canning for high-acid foods. Don't know if you plan on getting into pressure canning but it's nowhere near as intimidating as many people have been led to believe. I taught myself how to do it this spring with the aid of the internet and a few well-chosen books. It's very satisfying. I don't live in a region where fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available at reasonable prices so I've mostly canned meats, dried beans, and meat sauces. I can't tell you how convenient it is to open up a jar of lean chicken breast chunks and put a burrito, taco, or chicken salad together in literally a matter of minutes. And my products taste better than commercially canned and have no funky chemicals added! Can't beat that.

                                                                                                                                1. I think it's great more people are putting up food this year. I am lucky enough to have a garden and have been canning and freezing for about a month already. So far I have put 29 bags of greenbeans in the freezer and still going strong. I have picked peaches, plums, and blackberries and made jam and also frozen some of the fruit til later when I am not quite so busy. I bought some really great organic blueberries (tried to go to a you pick place but they were running out of fruit) so I made jam and froze 4 pints till later. I also made pickles. The dills were just ok but the bread and butter were amazing! I tweeked a recipe I found and it is great! If anyone wants it just ask. I also made salsa from my cilantro, tomatoes and onions. I am now making basic tomato sauce to put in the freezer. I love doing this and I really think anyone could do it if they really tried. I did this in the past (20 yrs ago) and now have the time and means to do it again. The good thing is that I am passing it down to my oldest daughter and she really enjoys it and gets it!

                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                    I made a few jars of pickled cucumbers and jalapeno's the other day. I did not process in a hot water bath after capping the jars. I took the jars and lids directly out of boiling water with sterilized tongs, added the cucumbers and poured in the boiling pickle solution. The jars have sealed, but now I am worrying about not having processed them in the hot bath. 1. should I be worried? 2. can I process them now (a week later?).
                                                                                                                                    /pickling newbie

                                                                                                                                    1. re: squabbit

                                                                                                                                      I always water bath. The jars will most likely seal if you do what you describe but the seal isn't as strong as if you water bath. Not sure if you can do anything about it now--perhaps move them to the fridge?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: squabbit

                                                                                                                                        I don't see why you can't process a week later. It is common to let pickles 'pickle' in a crock for a week before processing.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                                                                                          I think the kind of pickle you are referring to are salt brined. Those pickle by fermentation and heating in connection with processing stops the fermenation process.

                                                                                                                                          Most instructions say if your jars don't seal the first time, you can re-process immediately or store in the fridge. I guess if the jars feel solidly sealed now, you could put the screwtops on them and do a water bath now.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                        Hi Suzarooze.. can I get that "amazing" bread and butter recipe? I would love to try it!


                                                                                                                                        1. re: sassypants01

                                                                                                                                          I just found this request while re-reading posts concerning preserving. I am sorry to have dropped the ball on this one. I will be happy to send the recipe to you if you still want it and if you even get this post. Let me know, Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                            Hi Suzarooze! Yep I would still love that recipe and any other great canning recipes that you use!


                                                                                                                                      3. Seems like canning should be done by now, but I got some nice green tomatoes and I've tried to pickle them. I've already done it, but now I have some questions....

                                                                                                                                        1. I kind of messed with the vinegar that the recipe called for. The recipe called for 100% apple cider vinegar, but that seemed really intense, so I did about two thirds vinegar and one third water. I boiled it all together until it was very hot. Later I was reading the USDA thing and it was pretty clear about not messing with the vinegar in pickles... anyone else think this is a problem? I figured it was okay because you can preserve tomatoes plain in nothing but hot water....

                                                                                                                                        2. All the seals formed perfectly, but the tomatoes kind of unwedged themselves while processing, and now a couple of them have corners above the liquid line. That doesn't seem good... is it a problem?

                                                                                                                                        3. Again, even though all the jars are well sealed, there are some renegade bubbles in the brine. I think that's normal... but I'm not sure. Please advise.

                                                                                                                                        This is my first year canning, so of course I'm all paranoid. I remember reading on a previous thread a woman who said she was sacred of canning until her father told her that people with a lot less technology and less common sense than her had been canning for ages, so she shouldn't' worry about it. I've been taking that approach (with care, of course) but, you know, botulism is kinda scary. So.


                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: erns53

                                                                                                                                          Just be sure not to use any jars that have a bulging top or where the air puffs outward when you open it. No, you shouldn't mess with recipes for canning, as a rule. Even ripe tomatoes must have acid added when canning - they are not acidic enough. Don't rely on the old recipes because there has been new research. Ripe tomatoes probably are more acidic than green tomatoes. Now, having said all that. the floating fruit shouldn't present a health problem but they will darken and not be so attractive. Bubbles are not a good sign. I would use the bulging lid rule for not eating, I guess.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                                                                                            Well, I don't have a bulging lid, so that's good. I guess as long as my seals stay good I'll just proceed with caution. I mean, can you really not tell at all if food has gone off? Is Botulism that sneaky? I hope not.

                                                                                                                                            It's hard not to mess with recipes, especially because I feel Ball and the USDA and I don't always see eye to eye on how things should be done... but I'm going to have to learn I guess.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: erns53

                                                                                                                                              With botulism you cannot tell! Bulging lid is the only clue. Since you are a newbie to canning...don't be so hard on Ball and USDA, eh! You have lots to learn!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                                                                                                It's true. I don't mean to be hard on either party... I'm just not used to doing things where not following the instructions leads to such disastrous results. I know I need to listen, so I will.

                                                                                                                                                So far, no bulging lids.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: sarah galvin

                                                                                                                                              I use the bulging lid theory on storebought canned goods too, I like to leave cans that I don't trust for a few weeks to see if anything develops!

                                                                                                                                          2. I turned into an opportunistic canner this summer... Went to visit grandmom for her birthday, pulled into the driveway to the sight of my cousin up to his shoulders in her fig bush. For years is was small and unproductive (but very pretty), then Hurricane Isabel took out the tree that had shaded (and dwarfed) it, 5 years later and that little bush is HUGE. Cos' and I spent most of the day picking, and I ended up with nearly 12 pounds of figs plus all of grandmom's old jars. I made 8 half pint jars of fig preserves, and was hooked.

                                                                                                                                            Went to the farmers' market the next weekend, green beans were cheap, so I made dilly beans. Very good snack food, but I have to remember to save a jar for Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                            A few weeks after that, Valencia oranges were dirt cheap at the grocery store (3/$1), and my first batch of marmalade was born.

                                                                                                                                            Haven't made anything else, but I have asked for a pressure canner for Christmas!

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                              Good for you! I bought a pressure canner a month or so ago and haven't used it yet. I'm working up the courage! I thought it would also be good for canning homemade soups and stews rather than freezing them.

                                                                                                                                            2. Sauerkraut--I put up 24 qts. on Saturday. We like it well enough, at home but I mostly do large quantities for the historical society I belong to; we have a market at Christmas every year and I never would have believed people would pay for such things as pickled beets (put up 19 pints), chow chow, relish, strawberry jam, ground cherry preserve, and the sauerkraut. You can also freeze or just refrigerate kraut if you like when it is ready. I actually prefer to let the cabbage finish fermenting, then raw pack in pint jars and refrigerate it. At home back in the day, we could put the entire crock in the springhouse and take out what we needed but alas those days are gone....

                                                                                                                                              I started with over 100 lbs of cabbage and ended with about 12 gallons of kraut. The small bucket, which holds less than 3 gallons, gives about 10-12 quarts, as a rule. You can make kraut in a very small quantity if you like. Good instructions are available from the Penn State Extension service on line.

                                                                                                                                              1. This year we put up 13 quarts of sweet chili sauce. (A family favorite, we almost have to put the jars under lock and key.) I also made homeade blackberry jam for the first time. This year, blackberries were everywhere in the Adirondacks. I ended up picking like 4 quarts in two hours, with the scratches to prove it.

                                                                                                                                                Next year, I'm trying pickles.

                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                                                                                                                  Any particular recipe? I've come into the motherlode in wild blackberries! Did you deseed or strain them in any way? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ctscra

                                                                                                                                                    ctscra, probably too late for this year, but yes I run all those seedy berries, blackberries, rasperries, through my food mill before canning because I don't like that many seeds. Inevitably some make it into the finished product and I can live with that.
                                                                                                                                                    For basic jams, jellies, etc., I just use the recipes on the insert with Pomona's Universal Pectin.
                                                                                                                                                    Happy canning

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ctscra

                                                                                                                                                      no deseeding. I just did them in the pan with some sugar and lemon juice. It came out with a pleasant red wine essence to it.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                                                                                                                        There's also no need for the pectin -- you can create a fine consistency with berries, lemon juice, and some sugar. In fact, you can cut out the pectin and reduce the sugar that is called for in most recipes. That way your preserve will taste entirely of the fruit and not by cloyingly sweet.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I have a canning question I was hoping someone in this thread can answer. We canned applesauce last night but one of the jars overflowed. It still sealed fine as far as pushing the top in. Do I need to reprocess it, though, because of the overflow? Thanks in advance!

                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ScarletB

                                                                                                                                                      I've had this happen from time to time. I'll see some jam seep out during the boiling phase of the processing. It's never posed a problem for me, but I usually eat those jars first and I very deliberately clean the top and rim once I open the jar so that none of the spoiled jam drops into the jar inadvertantly.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: glutton

                                                                                                                                                        Since garden time is quickly approaching, I wondered if anyone was still interested in discussing canning? I have made many jellies, pickles, salsas, soups and roasted tomato sauce. I am still uncomfortable with the last three items and canning. I have had a few experiences where the jars overflowed and even though they sealed, I was very uneasy about the seal in case some residue was stuck on the rim of the jar? What causes them to overflow, filling too full? I sure would like to get more comfortable with this. I love to garden, cook and preserve and have a daughter following in my footsteps so any light you can shed would be appreciated. Thanks and that goes to anyothers that can shed some light.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                                          Glad to hear your daughter is canning too :) If you are pressure canning, overflow can happen if your pressure is wrong for what you are canning. Usually you only need about 10 lb's for tomatoes, green beans and such. Make sure you aren't over filling and have wiped off the rims before sealing. You can also have overflow if you leave them in too long. After that I am stumped as to why you would have overflow. Salsa is fun as you can put in anything in YOU like :) It can be as hot or as mild, precooked or raw packed depending on what you like. My family hates canned soup. It tastes canned just like the store once it goes through the pressure canner. The only soup I put up is a vegetable beef soup and I freeze it to preserve the fresher flavor and the beef chunks. Everything else is fresh made. Roasted tomato sause is a labor of love. It's all about how long you cook it before you can it. I make a canned Italian roasted tomato that we use in a lot of different ways. It cooks for hours before I even get the jars out to prepare. Same for canning BBQ sauce. Seven hours in the pot before it hits the jar. Don't be afraid to experiment with small batches. Write down what you do with each. When you find the one you love, can away! I hope this helps you!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: clscherf

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the discussion. So far the only soup I have canned was a butternut squash soup I created and it tasted fine after being canned. There are alot of things I prefer not to can including most veges with the exception of tomatoes. I freeze the veges but even with two upright freezers space is limited. My roasted tomato sauce is so easy and the best sauce I have eaten. Not bragging, it is very versatile and is great as is or used as a base sauce. Several years ago when I started gardening again on a larger scale, I was making sauce the traditional method, ie stovetop. But then I had an idea that has become the only way I make sauce now and that is roasting. I am an avid writer/ recorder and I'm not sure if that comes from a short memory or the fact that I am a list maker (you know the type, make a list so you can cross things off!) People tease me for recording everything but I figure one day my daughters will get a kick out of reading things. I'm thinking of starting a blog but haven't figured out how yet. I am hoping to work side by side with a seasoned "canner" to see if I can pick up some tips. As far as the sanitary part goes I am beyond picky. I was in the medical field and understand sterile. I hope since we have restarted the subject matter this discussion will bloom again and everyone will get excited about planting their gardens and preserving their work. I know I am.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                                              Your salsas should be fine processed in a water bath if they contain enough added acid. Check this website For the National Center for Home Preservation http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/ and compare your recipe with the veg to acid ratio in their recipes.

                                                                                                                                                              Soups should ALWAYS be pressure canned because they are a low acid food. Water bathing won't get the internal temperature of the jar high enough to inactivate botulism spores while steam under pressure will. Leave a very generous 1"-1 1/4" of head space in the jars to prevent siphoning (overflow). Siphoning happens when the oxygen is beginning to be extracted from the jars and there's not enough room to accommodate the contents as the air is pulled out. This can happen in the canner itself or directly after the jars have been removed to the counter. Sometimes the jars seal fine, sometimes they look sealed but are not. To test a seal, after the jar has cooled remove the ring and lift the jar by the lid alone. If all is secure you have a good seal. Process your jars at the correct poundage for your altitude. 10 lbs pressure at sea level is the base and you work up from there. I can at 2100' so I use 11 lbs pressure, plus an extra pound because I know my gauge is off by 1 lb, for a total of 13 lbs. Have your gauge tested yearly. Your Cooperative Extension will do it for free. The also offer free water bath and pressure canning classes. Water bathing times lengthen depending on your altitude as well. I add an extra 5 minutes to the recipe's recommended processing time because water boils here at 210F instead of 212F.

                                                                                                                                                              Process your roasted tomato sauce in the pressure canner as well. Tomatoes are on the acidic cusp and there is no sure way of knowing whether your tomatoes contain enough acid as they are to be safely water bathed. If you've added anything to the tomatoes (onions, garlic, fresh herbs, other veg) you've just lowered the overall acidity with low acid ingredients as well. There are a number of tomato recipes that can be water bathed but they've been seriously acidified by the addition of vinegar or lemon juice. Always use a vinegar with a minimum of 5% acidity and bottled lemon juice which is consistently acidic. Fresh lemons can vary greatly in their acidity.

                                                                                                                                                              Please, please, as a new canner, make heavy use of the above web site. They have the most up to date information for safe canning and preserving out there. The recipes have all been tested. Don't think you can slap any old recipe in a jar and process it. High acid and low acid foods have different requirements and a litmus strip won't answer that question. Pathogens are invisible and odorless and those are the ones that will kill you. Take advantage of your county's Cooperative Extension to learn to can. What our grandmothers did and what our mothers did (do) was probably food science state-of-the-art at the time, but food science has advanced and continues to every year.

                                                                                                                                                              As you get more familiar with safe canning, you'll learn just what ingredients can be tweaked to create a custom product without throwing off the acid ratios.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: morwen

                                                                                                                                                                Thank you so much for the information. I never water bath my tomato sauces or salsas, I always use pressure. I always refer to my pressure canner's instruction guide as well for each batch I can so I am very conscious of acid contents etc. The website you posted is a very good one indeed. I took an online course and test on safe canning from the U of Ga and am happy to say I passed. The tip about overflow is the one area that you really helped me with and I beleive from reading your post that I have most likely overfilled the jars. I live at 3900 ft and do adjust pressure and time as advised in the guide. This is SO important and I am so happy you have expressed this imformation so clearly. With more and more families beginning to preserve, greater attention to food safety is of utmost importance. As suggested I am going to seek out my local cooperative ext and see what they offer. We should all take advantage of such wonderful resources. The part about the pathogens is hard to make people understand, even highly educated people still say, but it smells fine. Wrong! Thanks for helping all of us be safer home canners and I hope you have a bountiful harvest to pick from this year.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                                                  Whew! Glad to hear you're aware of those issues! I was at a tri-state training course for master preservers this week and the uptick of horror stories amongst agents and teachers now that canning and preserving is "trendy" again was just...jawdropping. Apparently, this is something that repeats itself during tough economic times. We were shown documentation from the '70's and '90's where the number of cases of botulism poisoning from home canning rose and they unfortunately expect this to happen again.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: morwen

                                                                                                                                                                    I am very interested in the info regarding a training course for master preservers. This is something I have not heard of and wondered is it work related? Are you a pro chef? I too am afraid we will see alot of problems with unsafe preserving techniques. Too many shortcuts wanted. In fact it makes me very nervous when someone I don't know personally gives me an item they have preserved. As I mentioned in my earlier post, having worked in the healthcare field, it is very hard to get trained workers to understand cross contamination, let alone someone who has never had any formal training in the kitchen. I feel it would be very helpful to all of us if you could write in detail some of the things you have learned and to encourage everyone to take advantage of any training offered at various institutions, especially free courses. Again, thanks for caring.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                                                      Master Preserver/Master Food Volunteer training is offered through the Cooperative Extension. It's "free" but you pay back by contributing hours to community extension projects. There is also a Master Gardener program. There is a $90 charge for materials for MG (here anyway), a huge textbook-like notebook, and a 50 hour volunteer giveback the first year. They also offer Safe-Serve certification for a fee.

                                                                                                                                                                      Not all counties offer these programs but if there is enough interest in your area you can lobby for them. With funding cutbacks, these programs are disappearing from more counties (thus the tri-state program that I attended) and it becomes even more important to lobby with your local co-op agent so she/he can present evidence that these valuable programs are indeed needed and worth being funded. From what I understand, the UGA program is funded through the Cooperative Extension and is running out of funding this year. There are people trying to work out a plan to convince land grant universities across the US to come together to keep the National Center for Home Preservation up and running.

                                                                                                                                                                      I was a professional cook and left several years back due to health issues and loss of upper body strength. I spent a few years after that catering, retrained as a graphic designer and glass carver and now my husband and I operate a B&B. We grow and serve as much of our own food as possible and source the rest as locally as possible. I've been canning and preserving since 1980, teaching by request the last few years, and will start teaching more formally this year.

                                                                                                                                                                      You're probably safe with any high acid preserve gift your given, especially if it was just made recently. Personally, I accept low acid gifts and am profuse in my thanks and appreciation, but I don't generally eat them unless I know the person is as obsessed with proper canning as I am. I often wondered what judges do about tasting low acid foods in competition and just found out that they don't. Those items are judged on presentation and evidence of proper canning techniques. So when you enter those jars of pressure canned veg in the county fair, make sure they look extra pretty!

                                                                                                                                                                      If you search canning, preserving, home preserving, fermenting, dehydrating, freezing, charcuterie, and subjects like jams, jellies, etc. on CH you'll come up with a wealth of discussions. I've been hoping that someday Chowhound will give home preserving it's own board making it easier to find and discuss these topics.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Suzarooze

                                                                                                                                                                That soup sounds yummy! Another great place to look for produce or fruit is the U-Pick farms. I don't have the space to grow on the scale that I can. I go to a produce farm in my area and pick tomatoes, green beans and peppers. There is a fabulous fruit farm near my fathers home that I pick blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, red gooseberries and loganberries. Strawberries I get from a different farmer. I buy my corn from the same girl off the back of her blue pickup truck every year :) Finding good fruit or produce locally is great fun. It helps local farmers and I know where my food comes from. I am glad you like to can! I learned to can from my grandmother. I have been doing so for 30 years now. I have learned to not worry if the jam doesn't set up perfectly. If so, we use it for ice cream topping. Yummy! That usually happens with experiments. The last one was with mangoes about 15 years ago. Made good topping! I only can things we really like and will eat a lot of. (Which is a lot!) Happy canning!

                                                                                                                                                      2. Since you mentioned reducing your carbon footprint, you will enjoy Lisa Rayner's new Natural Canning Resource Book, which addresses safe canning, carbon footprint for canning, water bath vs. pressure canning, solar canning, etc. Check it out at http://lisarayner.com.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Robertinflag

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the tip. I visited Ms. Rayner's Web site and I may have to check out the solar cooking publication for the canning section alone. I don't know if I'm ready to join Ed Begley, Jr. in making dinner in a solar cooker but being able to can in the summer here in Phoenix (where, Lord knows, we have an abundance of solar rays right now) is intriguing. I've been resigned to waiting for autumn for my next canning adventures.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Robertinflag

                                                                                                                                                            Oops, never mind. I did some research online and first found some sites that described solar canning methods that directly contradict what I've always known about canning. Then I ran across a site from the Penn State Department of Food Science that specifically included solar canning among unsafe canning methods. Solar canning may be okay but why take chances?

                                                                                                                                                            At least solar canning was merely described as unreliable. Some of the other methods mentioned sounded downright suicidal.


                                                                                                                                                          2. Well, no. But I was just reflecting today on how it's such a lost art for most of us. I'm still working on the how-long-can-I-keep-this-fresh fridge rotation - and remembering to do things like buy smoked salmon and dry cheese for snacks that last a long time (along with bread that freezes and then toasts well). That whole 'we'll need things for the winter' necessity must have been just such a different mentality from today! (I love the idea of knowing how to preserve food and actually doing it. Practically though I've got too much else going on to delve into it at moment.)

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                              Luckily the art is being resurrected and many young folks are finding the satisfaction of preserving their art. Having been raised on a farm I learned about gardening and although my Mom wasn't into canning (she liked the freezer better) I was exposed to these things at an early age. Some people just have a natural love for the earth and what it provides and that isn't saying everyone who doesn't should feel bad. We all have our special areas of talents and loves. I guess I hope we just can all tap into our natural talents and take them to new heights.