Monday, October 1, 2012

End-of-Summer Canning

Pickles, plums, tomato sauce, strawberry jam, and blackberry preserves
When we moved to Morgan Hill a few years ago, my parents gave me a canning kit as a gift to help us realize our homesteading dreams. Preserving food was all new to me. Both of my grandmothers were modern career women who were somewhat appalled when I took up knitting, so you can imagine that I don't have a lineage of home-ec types to draw upon in my canning endeavors. Fortunately we have the internet and some books to help us. I tend to rely on the Ball "Blue Book" and "Keeping the Harvest" by Chioffi and Mead. It's definitely been a messy learning process, but in my third season I'm finally getting the hang of it.
A bit of the summer bounty. Getting ready for the CSA members.

Whether you have a farm, a garden, or just an interest in eating locally, preserving food makes a lot of sense. By late summer we are giving our CSA members large amounts of tomatoes; we eat tomatoes with almost every meal, and we still have more than we can possibly use. By November, though, the tomato plants will be dead, and we won't have any more until next July. So, we do what we can to preserve some of the tomatoes for the cold months. I've been canning tomato sauce and making sun-dried tomatoes, and I'll probably freeze some too. It takes some extra effort, but I'm sure it'll pay off later. Even in California, where we have a year-round growing season, the cold months of only eating greens can get a bit tiresome. So, here's to one more step toward self-sufficiency, keeping it local, and infusing every meal with delicious home-grown produce!
The most satisfying moment, a full cabinet of goodies for the winter months.

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