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Canning Season has Started

IMG_5293I cut all the rhubarb down and made rhubarb jam. I also googled rhubarb jam and found a recipe for rhubarb butter which is a similar  consistency to apple butter. I ended up with 12 pints of jam and butter.

After the evening milking, I had the Farmer do a taste test as to which recipe he liked the best. He chose the regular jam, probably because it was sweeter. He did say though, the rhubarb butter was more flavorful.

Both recipes will keep him happy, he loves his sweets.

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Making Applesauce

It’s apple time and I need to make applesauce for the freezer. I like to use Cortland apples.

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After I’ve washed the apples, I cut them in quarters and remove the stems & seeds. Not everyone does that, but I do. I don’t like those dark little specs in my applesauce. Then I slice then again lengthwise, I think they cook faster that way.

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I am using the steamer to cook the apples.

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After the apples are cooked . . .

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I put them in the sieve and start cranking.

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This is what is left in the sieve . . .

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Nice and thick applesauce in the kettle. The apple peels make the sauce turn pinkish.IMG_4751

A by-product from using the steamer is apple juice. It’s not our favorite juice, but we have it so we drink it. It does taste better than the stuff you buy in the grocery store.

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These boxes of sauce are ready to go into the freezer.

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Applesauce ends the canning and freezing journey for 2014. Now I need complete fall cleaning, and then I can SEW!

Canning Tomatoes

I freeze most of the fruits and vegetables I preserve, but all tomato products are canned. Early last week I canned tomato chunks, tomato juice happened later in the week. I scald clean, whole tomatoes for 15 – 20 seconds in boiling water, then quick chill the tomatoes in ice water. Next the tomatoes are cored, skinned and cut into pieces and placed into glass quart or pint canning jars. Wipe the jar edge with a clean dishrag, put on the lid, screw on the ring and place in the canner.

Most people can their tomato products in a hot water bath, but I pressure can mine. I have 2 canners, the Mirro Matic my mother gave us when the Farmer and I were married back in ’76, and an All American I purchased several years ago.

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The Mirro Matic processes 7 quarts or 10 regular pints, the All American also processes 7 quarts, but since it is taller, I can stack the pints and process 19 pints at one time. Or I can process 7 quarts and 9 regular pints. There is a rack that lies on top of the bottom jars and holds the top jars.

By using 2 canners, I had all the jars processed before I went out to the barn for the evening milking. Otherwise I would have had to run them through when I got back in the house after chores.

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Todays work yielded 35 quarts and 8 pints of tomatoes. I will let the jars cool overnight. Then tomorrow I will take off the rings and wash the jars to remove any tomato residue. After they are dry, I will wipe them with white vinegar to remove that sticky feel, then carry them downstairs to the cellar.

I like thick tomato juice so I use my steamer.

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I fill the top section with tomatoes . . .

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Steam rises from the bottom section and cooks the tomatoes.

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I draw off several quarts of tomato water through the hose. This make for a thicker tomato sauce.

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The cooked tomatoes are placed into the food mill,

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And I turn the handle until all that is left is seeds and tomato skins.

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The food mill hooks onto a large kettle.

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Then I fill the jars . . .

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Process in the canners . . .

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And let cool on the counter. The next day I wash the jars, give a white vinegar wipe and carry downstairs to the canning shelves to await use in the wintertime.

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Canning jars of food don’t come out in even amounts for the canners. I don’t like to process small loads of jars. There were 2 pints of tomato chunks leftover and 2 quarts of tomato sauce left. What do you do with the extra? You make chili soup for the freezer.  Put all the ingredients in the 6 quart crock pot and let simmer for at least 6 hours. I’m not including my recipe because everyone likes their chili soup their own way.

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Let the soup cool, then ladle into freezer boxes. Make sure you label them.

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Five boxes of chili, the perfect size for the little crockpot. Run water over a box and the chunk slips right out, stick into the crockpot, turn on low and it will be ready to eat in several hours. Perfect for the days I have Moda or Inspiration club.

Putting Up Corn

I used to grow sweet corn for my family to eat and to freeze but I don’t anymore. It’s just too easy to go to the neighbors produce stand and buy it there. I recently purchased 2 bushels of sweet corn to freeze.

IMG_4506First the corn needs to be husked, preferably in a nice shady spot.

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I sat a chair on the back of the truck. The Farmer will just sweep the husks off and feed them to the cows.

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Next the corn is blanched in boiling water . . .

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Then cooled quickly in ice water. Ice cream buckets work great for freezing large chunks of ice.

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Drain the corn throughly, then holding the ear of corn in my left hand, I take a very sharp knife in my right hand, and cut the corn off the cob. I wasn’t able to take a picture of myself cutting the corn. You just have to take my word for it. I keep putting the cut corn in a dish pan until it is full, then I fill the freezer boxes.

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The 2 bushels yielded 30 pints and five 3/4-quart boxes of corn. Plenty for the two of us for this winter.

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