I’ve been busy this summer. Busy canning nearly every weekend and sometimes on weekday nights. I thought my canning might decline a little because of our move to Charlottesville and our slightly smaller kitchen with less storage space. I was mistaken, the canning didn’t decline at all. It helps that I’ve moved to an area full of hard to resist farms, orchards and markets.
This blog post is being written for a handful of reasons including: recording the quantities of particular items that I made for future years, posting sources for all of the recipes I used this year and for boasting about my canning craziness.
Thus far in 2012, I’ve squirreled away 220 jars of fruit and vegetable goodness (not including countless jars of refrigerator pickles that I ate ages ago) in various locations around our house. I’m not done canning for the year, but my pace should start to slow down a little. I say that despite plans to use the rest of the frozen strawberries in my freezer for sauce and jam and plans to make cranberry sauce and apple butter in a month or two.
My husband and I will keep and use some of the things I’ve made, but most of what I’ve made will be given away as hostess or Christmas gifts to friends and family and some of it will more than likely be swapped with Internet friends for handmade goods.
I made this salsa for the first time last summer and it was very well received by everyone who received a jar of it. I even wrote a blog post about it this summer!
I didn’t actually mean to make spicy tomato salsa. I accidentally bought a bunch of spicy peppers instead of sweet or mild ones.
Same recipe as the last two salsas, but I subbed in a few dried chipotle peppers for the regular peppers. Just to try something a little different. I also made this salsa smooth rather than chunky.
I actually made the Tomato and Thyme jam first and when I had an abundance of tomatoes a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try this version too. I haven’t tried it myself yet but gave a jar to a new friend in town and she said that she’s obsessed with it…so that’s a good sign!
I’ve known about tomato jam for a couple of years but I couldn’t really understand the appeal of it until this year when some friends were visiting and told me about a smoked tomato jam that they had recently tried. Their description of the jam finally made me want to try tomato jam and I ended up making my first batch of it the very next day. I followed the White On Rice Couple recipe to the letter – but before I threw the tomatoes into the pot to cook down, I smoked them using my charcoal grill and some mesquite chips. This stuff is sooooo good, especially with a slice of smoked cheddar on a piece of crusty bread. I really need to try a grilled cheese sandwich with it. And even though I have only 11 precious jars of it, one of those jars is earmarked to give to the friends who suggested it to me!
I first tried this sauce a couple of summers ago as a result of a canning swap. It was fantastic, but I promptly forgot about it until this summer when I was lucky enough to get 50 pounds of free tomatoes from one of my in-laws. With that many tomatoes and a newly acquired food mill, I knew I wanted to make some sauce. Fortunately I remembered this one!
I can’t wait to turn this into tomato soup this winter. I used the tomato sauce recipe found in the Food in Jars cookbook. Because I wanted to smoke the tomatoes I used in this recipe (after my success smoking them for the tomato jam), I sent a tweet to Marisa, the book’s author, to make sure that this would be safe. Fortunately she thought it was!
Another recipe that I’ve made every summer for the last three years. I like my pickles crunchy, so I don’t process these and just refrigerate them. They get eaten so quickly that I can’t even keep track of how many jars I make each year.
I haven’t tried these yet, but when I came across this recipe in the Food in Jars cookbook, I was intrigued.
I make this every summer and haven’t bought relish at the store in three years. Finely dicing all of the vegetables for this takes forever and ever, but it’s worth it every time I make a batch of tartar sauce with this relish. Plus some of my family members really like it and would be rather sad if I stopped making it.
This one is another accident, I meant to make strawberry vanilla jam and accidentally added tablespoons of lemon juice instead of teaspoons. Oops. Luckily it still tastes good.
I made this two years ago, but skipped it last year. And I regretted it. My original source for this jam was Food in Jars, but this year I just made the strawberry jam in the Ball cookbook and added vanilla beans and extract to the mix. The addition of vanilla gives this jam a much richer taste than plain strawberry jam.
As part of a swap last year, I was asked if I could make a batch of this jam. I happily obliged as it was one I was curious about anyway. It’s now my favorite strawberry jam, one that I eat straight out of the jar with a spoon.
Cherries are my favorite fruit and even though it’s a royal pain to pit enough cherries to make a batch of jam, I’ve done it the last two summers. This is pretty much cherry pie in jam form. And since cherry pie is my favorite pie, this jam is a winner.
I took a jam canning class here in Charlottesville last month and the owner of Jam According to Daniel, a local jam company, taught the class and shared his master jam recipe and techniques with us. I took the class in an attempt to meet people, not because I needed to learn how to make jam. Ironically I didn’t make any new friends, but I did learn a new way to make jam. I also have a new addiction: Daniel’s fig jam. After taking the class, I tried his method with this cherry peach jam – and love the result. Now to get someone to give me some free figs…
This is the second jam I made with the Jam According to Daniel method, which uses no pectin and FAR less sugar than most jam recipes. The yield from the peaches isn’t as high as a regular jam recipe, but the tasty jam is worth the extra fruit.
My husband’s favorite jam is peach jam and every summer he is very concerned about the quantity of peach jam that I produce. I think I’ve made enough this year. He likes plain peach jam the best, but I’ve actually warmed him up to the Bourbon Vanilla Peach jam below as well.
This is my favorite of the peach jams I’ve made. A healthy dose of bourbon (Jack Daniels in my house) is added to this jam right before it’s poured into the jars and I think it adds a great layer of flavor to the finished jam.
Not pictured: Strawberry Jam – 27 Half Pints – Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
More to come as I complete more canning!