Category Archives: Canning & Preserving

Strawberry Preserves

As I recently shared, my husband and I took our two-year old strawberry picking for the first time. We harvested a little under 30-lbs of strawberries, all from a local farm that offered a relaxing, quiet picking session. The berries were so delicious, bursting with flavor and dripping with sweet juice!

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We enjoyed eating them fresh, often unable to eat just one, and put up four pints of whole strawberries in syrup, to be used for pies, tarts and other fun desserts.  The other recipe that we tried out this year was for strawberry preserves, and we were able to can (5) pints of it. The preserves are sweet and jammy, but still feature the bright freshness of the strawberry, accentuated by the lemon zest.

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Whole Strawberries in Syrup

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If there is one thing I always think of when the month of June comes to mind, it’s strawberries. As a child, we always went strawberry picking for one of my younger brother’s birthdays which falls in June, and I remember we would pick berries boys vs. girl style to see who could fill their basket with the most berries. June is simply Strawberry Month to me, and probably always will be.  Continue reading

Taco Pickles

I love tacos – who doesn’t, really? I think that most of all, I love the extreme versatility of this food – you can put anything in a taco, load it up with whatever toppings you want, and enjoy. My husband and I love doing “taco night” with our family, and enjoying multiple types of tacos, mix and matching the toppings for different combinations.

That being said, Taco Pickles are definitely something you’ll want to add to your next topping bar! It sounds a little strange, pickles on a taco? But these are not your ordinary pickles! This recipe makes a pickled mix of jalapenos, radishes and carrots that comes out zesty, tangy, and spicy. I love adding it to fish tacos, as the bite of the vinegar compliments it so well. But I’ve used it on vegetarian tacos, venison tacos, shredded chicken, you name it!  Continue reading

Balsamic & Black Pepper Beets

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Beets: the often under-appreciated root vegetable. I have always liked beets, but it wasn’t until I added them to my garden this past year that I feel completely, hopelessly in love with them. Sure, they’re not the easiest vegetable to eat, certainly not compared to the snap peas and green beans we snack on right off the plant, but they’re worth the time spent roasting and peeling them. Continue reading

Canning: Diced Tomatoes

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We have been blessed with a very successful gardening year. Our gardens are bursting with fresh produce – tomatoes, peppers, carrots, snap peas, green beans, beets and radishes. Our zucchini didn’t fare so well with the endless, pounding rain storms we had for nearly two weeks straight, but our butternut squash, pumpkins and gourds have held on and are loaded with ripening produce. Continue reading

Homemade Roasted-Tomato Sauce

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This recipe is super simple, and truly delicious. We have an abundance of cherry tomatoes, so I have been looking for a way to use them up. After searching around for ideas and recipes, I decided to make a sauce.

I made my tomato sauce using a blend of chocolate cherry tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes don’t have too much water and balance out the heirloom varieties nicely, acting as thickener.

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One of my favorite parts of this recipe is how little work you have to put into it – there is no need to hover over bubbling pots of sauce, or to painstakingly boil, ice, and peel tomato skins.

I ended with (3)-pint jars of sauce, two of which I canned in a water bath for 40-minutes, and the other I put into the fridge for use on homemade grilled pizzas tomorrow. Yum!

Ingredients:
(Approximately) 2-lbs. chocolate cherry tomatoes
5 large heirloom tomatoes
Olive oil
Sea salt
Citric acid

 

Directions:
1) De-stem and slice heirlooms into thirds. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a baking tray, and arrange tomatoes. Salt lightly. De-stem and cut cherry tomatoes into halves, add to another lightly oiled baking tray and dust with salt.

 

2) Bake tomatoes in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes.

3) Remove tomatoes from oven. Using a fork, gently remove skins from heirloom tomatoes. They should peel right up – super easy, right?

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4) Add roasted cherry tomatoes to a blender or food processor. Using a slotted spoon, remove heirloom tomatoes from baking tray, leaving behind all of the tomato juice. If you add this in, your sauce will come out way too watery. I strained out the last bits of tomato pulp from the water and added the pulp to the blender as well.

5) Blend tomatoes until smooth, then pour into cleaned and sanitized jars. If using right away, seal and put in fridge.

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TO CAN: Add 1/4 tsp. citric acid to each pint jar (or 1/2 tsp. each for quarts). Add to water bath and process jars for 40 minutes, starting your timer at the point the water starts boiling. After 40 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool fully. Check jar lids after 1 hour – if they haven’t sealed, put them in the refrigerator immediately. If they have sealed, allow to cool completely,  remove rings, wipe down and store in a cool, dark area.


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Blueberry Jam – No sugar and no pectin added!

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Recently, my husband and I took our one-year old daughter blueberry picking, and brought a little over 8.5-lbs of blueberries home. Our daughter absolutely loves blueberries, so we knew she would have fun, and we were ready to make our own jam and syrup, as well as some blueberry scones. Continue reading