By Dribs and Drabs…

…I’ll get my canning done.

I decided to take the ripe box of tomatoes pictured in yesterday’s post and run them through the strainer, cook them down, and at some point today, can tomato sauce.  It’ll likely only make one canner-load once the sauce is cooked down to a reasonably thick consistency, but that’s something, and it gets the household produce overload partially dealt with.

On the one hand, I hate to heat up the house to do just one batch, but on the other hand, the boiling water from the canner can be used for weed control on the border between my property and the neighbor’s.

And I’ll be a little closer to having enough tomatoes put up for the winter.  Which is to say–still very far from the goal of many cases of tomatoes (four? five?), but there’ll be at least a half a case done.

As I go through yet another season, I can look through my pantry and figure out what it is we actually eat (by what’s missing), and what’s left over.  I won’t be doing many pickles this year–the corn relish was one pickled thing I think I’ll use (I used a little in stuffing zucchini for dinner last night), but the pickling cukes are going to a friend this year–I’m just not that big a fan of pickled cucumbers.

I may make a batch of dilly beans, as I do eat those, but other than that, pickles aren’t really on the agenda except for perhaps a mixed pickle like I did last year–an antipasto in quart jars that uses up all kinds of little things–tiny carrots, little onions, green cherry tomatoes, okra, and the like.

Other canning projects on the agenda include ratatouille in the pressure canner–something I most definitely use, plus some quarts of tomato soup.  I may also can some chicken this year if we get a lot of them from our friend who is raising chickens on H’s place.

One more new thing I’d like to try in the pressure canner this year is some pints of fresh shell beans.  Those Bingo borlotto beans from Territorial are starting to get their lovely mottled cream-and-red coloration, so I’d like to make at least one or two canner-loads for convenience’s sake.

Bingo shell beans 2I’m not sure, though, if you can really call it convenience to shell, wash, pack, and process that many shellers–it’s a lot of work to deal with beans.  But I’ve got ’em, and I’d like to have some ready-to-use, so why not?  I can spend an afternoon shelling beans and listening to the radio or chatting with a friend over tea, and it’ll make the project go faster.

But no matter how fast each project goes, it’s still a long slog to the end of the food preservation season. It helps that the produce is so lovely, and that I have good tools to work with: a sure-gripping jar lifter, a multi-purpose funnel, a fantastic tomato and veggie strainer, a BIG aluminum pressure canner, sharp knives, sturdy cutting board, LOTS of kitchen towels, etc., etc., etc.

I just hope I don’t burn out my stove….


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