It’s been rather quiet on this blog home front lately. My family has been more than busy with work, life, family, and the likes. However, I do allow myself to indulge in some of my creating hobbies even in the midst of storms. This post covers the topic of my most current creation focus.
I am not even close to sorry for the low quality photos in this post. As I sit here and type, my brain is wrestling with itself on whether or not to hurry to the kitchen and continue the madness that is taking over my cooking, baking, blogging, and evening time right now: canning. I have become my parents.
There, I said it, I am hooked on canning.
I have been canning salsa and whole tomatoes for a week or two now. I do small batches that can easily be accomplished in the hours after Greta is in bed and before I am too tired to stand anymore.
I used to fear canning, even though I witnessed it thousands of times as a kid. I always feared botching the entire batch of canned goods. However, upon moving back to Iowa, my goal was to overcome this fear. I had the kitchen space, I had the time, and I most certainly had access to all the produce I wanted from family and neighbor gardens. All I had to do was some research and acquire the necessary equipment.
I headed off to the amazing place called Fleet Farm
and bought a steel/porcelain canning pot with rack for processing, and jars, new lids (for my reused jars), a straining set (for when I make jelly), and a canning set complete with a funnel for filling jars, tongs, lid tool, magnetic jar lifter for removing lids from hot water, jar lifter, and jar wrench.
Within a couple hours, I was enjoying my very own home made salsa. This batch is mild and sweet – easy on the spices. The next batches will be amped up a notch or two, for our family’s hot taste buds. I made a plea to Des Moines for its tomatoes, claiming I would never buy salsa again. Next time I may keep a little more quiet.
I have two 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes waiting to be canned now. Why am I still sitting here? Time to get cracking! Next I’m working on Can Your Own Tomatoes.
Resources I found helpful for canning:
- My mom. No really, find a family member or friend who has canned before and ask them to assist you on your first try.
- The Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication, Canning.
- The Bell Blue Book of Preserving.
Home Made Salsa, from Better Homes & Gardens, Canning, 2013.
1. If desired, peel tomatoes. Seed, core, and coarsely chop tomatoes (you should have 14-15 cups of tomatoes total). Place tomatoes into a 8 to 10 quart stainless steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy pot. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or till thickened, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in: 1 green bell pepper chopped, with ribs and seeds removed, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, 1/2 cup lime juice, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon cumin seed powder, and 2 -3 chipotle peppers diced. Return mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
3. Ladle hot salsa into hot sterilized pint canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar rim; adjust lids and screw bands.
4. Process filled jars in boiling-water canner for 15 minutes (start timing when the water returns to a boil). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Makes 5 pints.