Category Archives: Canning & Preserving

Balsamic & Black Pepper Beets


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


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


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.


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!

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


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?


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.


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!


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.



We looked at different jam recipes and decided we wanted to do one without adding sugar or pectin. After looking around, we came up with the below recipe. This recipe uses honey, blueberries, fresh lemon, and nothing else. That’s really it! It sets up amazingly well and is so delicious, we actually went picking again and came home with another 7lbs. We put some in mini jars this time, which will be nice to share with family and friends.

This recipe will yield about two (8)-oz jars of jam. It will vary slightly based on the blueberries and how much you reduce it, but not by too much.


(1) cup honey

(4) cups blueberries

(2) tablespoons fresh lemon juice

(1) teaspoon fresh lemon zest




  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan over high heat. Allow to come to a boil, stirring occasionally.image
  • Once the mixture begins to breakdown and is boiling, reduce to low heat and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes.image
  • The berry skins will breakdown on their own, so don’t worry about mashing. Just stir occasionally and make sure it is actively simmering. You may need to adjust your burner heat according to your stove.image
  • Once the mixture has reduced down by about half, the skins have almost completely vanished, and you have a dark, rich color (almost looks black in spots) you can remove the blueberry jam from the stove.image
  • Immediately ladle into jars and seal tightly. If you are going to use within three months, you can pop these into the fridge and they will seal. Keep them in the fridge with the rings on, and they will store just fine.
  • If you are looking for long term storage, process your jars in a pressure canner, following your canner’s directions to properly fill and heat. Then process jars for 8 minutes at 5lbs. Once removed from the pressure canner, allow to cool fully, then wipe down, remove rings and store in a cool, dark place.


I am truly in love with this recipe. The jam is  sweet without being overpowering. The honey really allows the bright, tangy, naturally sweet flavors of the blueberries to come through, and the lemon just highlights the acidity just right. I love it on a toasted English muffin with a little butter (the saltiness of the butter just compliments the jam so well!!), and I’m planning on mixing a spoonful into my oatmeal come winter. Mmm.


Featured at the Homestead Bloggers Network