Posts Tagged ‘canning’

I’m trying my best to squeeze in time to update my blogs. This is just a tiny start.

I’ve just uploaded a new farm video on a typical day on the farm. I hope you enjoy it.

Canning Apples, Baling Hay and an extra add on at the end

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It has been said that experience comes from learning from your mistakes and wisdom comes from learning from the mistakes of others. Today I learned two great lessons of what not to do. So let me share a word of wisdom with you.

I had about a peck (1/4 bushel) of ripe roma tomatoes that needed canning. I had found a recipe in the 2015 Ball Canning book for “Roasted Roma” so I thought, “That sounds good!”

The problem was, we don’t have a gas grill. Not to worry, the recipe said they could be roasted in the oven on broil…

What a mess! They didn’t roast – they cooked and turned into a mushy mess! Oh well, I finally got them peeled, but won’t try that again!

(By the way – there are no pictures because I was up to my elbows in tomato goo!)

Next the recipe called for 3 bulbs of roasted garlic. I LOVE roasted garlic, but I always roast it by peeling the cloves, drizzling with olive oil and wrapping in aluminum foil and roasting for about 30 minutes @ 350°. However this recipe said to drizzle the olive oil over the whole bulbs, then wrapping in foil and roasting…

Well, ok… let’s follow the recipe. Again – what a mess! Doing it this way necessitated squeezing each clove to extract the garlic “goodie” out. I had olive oil all over me, and it took “two-forevers” to get all the cloves squeezed out. And pictures? Forget it!

Anyway, I (sorta) proceeded with the recipe (I used roasted peppers from the freezer instead of fresh peppers) and added the onions. By the time everything had been added and cooked I really just had some chunky pasta sauce (which is what I renamed the recipe).

The “Roasted Romas” recipe called for processing the pint or quart jars for 85 minutes! I know that length of time was considering that the tomatoes would be mostly firm… they were anything BUT firm! It was sauce! But… I processed them for that amount of time. I knew it wouldn’t hurt anything – and might even thicken up the sauce.

After that I still had some regular tomatoes that needed canning so I thought, “Shoot! I May as well try another new recipe!” (Some days I’m just crazy like that…)

So I prepared the rest of the tomatoes using a “Chili Sauce” recipe. Simple and only needed to process 15 minutes. I used up the rest of my roasted peppers.

All in all not a bad day and I learned two very valuable lessons – and maybe you can learn something from my mess to save you time and effort in the future.

By the way – about roasting garlic – I love to roast it, mash it up and dehydrate it. Then I grind it up into a coarse powder. It is absolutely delicious!

And here’s a picture of the finished product. The quart jars are spaghetti sauce I canned yesterday. The pints are the (ahem) “Chunky Pasta Sauce” and the half pints are the chili sauce.

#farmstewardship at its best!


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A couple of weeks ago when I canned chicken, chicken stock and chicken soup I saved all the chicken bones to make chicken broth. I used the bones, onion, carrot and celery scraps, along with 3-4 bay leaves, some roasted garlic and salt and pepper. I let this simmer around 24 hours in the crock pot.


I strained it and let it sit in the fridge for a day or two to let the fat solidify so I could get it off. Since this would only make a few pints, I froze the broth until I had time to make beef broth.

This week I made beef broth exactly the same way I made the chicken, except using beef bones. Oh, and I added a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to help extract the marrow from the bones.


After about 24 hours I strained it


Then let sit to solidify the fat.


Yesterday I heated the beef broth in one pot and the chicken broth in another, filled pint jars, and since all meat broth cans at the same amount of time, I canned them at the same time, 20 minutes @ 11lb pressure.



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I’m finally getting around to sharing my recipe for chili with meat. It’s a busy time of year and every nook and cranny of time filled in with stuff to do, but this recipe is definitely worth doing!

First let me say that every canning recipe I share has been cross referenced with trusted canning authorities books and university websites. Follow the directions and they’ll be safe.

My favorite “go-to” books are the trusted “Ball Blue Books” and this book, which is where I found the basic chili recipe.

20150726_214442I often say that “a recipe is merely a suggestion” but when it comes to canning, I’m much more careful.

The chili recipe in the book says to brown your ground beef in the stockpot where you’re going to cook the chili and then drain the grease off, but I brown my meat separately. So – start with 5 lb ground beef (chuck or round – or even turkey) and cook thoroughly.

20150723_113916 When the meat is done, drain the grease off.

20150723_152835 (I doubled the recipe and browned about 10 lb of ground chuck.)

While the meat is cooking begin to cook onions, celery, garlic, sweet peppers, and jalapeno peppers in a small amount of olive oil. The amounts depend on whether you like your chili hot or mild.

Next add either canned tomatoes or fresh peeled tomatoes to pot (approx 2 qts-worth of tomatoes per “recipe”).

Add spices to taste – approx 1/4 cup chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp salt, cayenne powder or hot pepper flakes. Cook until tomatoes are well done, then add meat.

20150723_152854 The recipe call for cooking 20 minutes, but I simmer mine at least a couple of hours or longer if I have time.

Fill hot jars with chili, leaving 1″ headspace. Wipe rims with a papertowel dampened with white vinegar. Seal and process 90 minutes @11lb pressure (or the correct pressure for your altitude). Follow all basic canning directions for details.

1437965203268 I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but took this picture which included my next project – peaches!

My “double recipe” of chili yielded 13 quarts and 1 pint and a half jar (might have had a full quart if I hadn’t “taste-tested” quite so much! ☺)

This can be used “as-is” or add beans. It is a super-quick and delicious meal anytime you want chili. (It’s extra good with my home-made hot tamales. I’ll add directions for those soon).

If you have questions, please let me know.



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I bet I have a jillion pickle recipes – well, maybe not a jillion, but a hundred, anyway. My mother was an expert pickler (is that a word?) and I have all her recipes plus all the recipes in all the canning books I have (did I mention that I collect canning books?)

I have made 14 day pickles, 7 day pickles, crunchy green tomato pickles, bread and butter pickles, icicle pickles, no-name pickles and relishes of all kinds.

This year, however, I have been under a great time constraint due to a deadline for a writing assignment looming. So – I have had plenty of cucumbers to eat on, but no time to make pickles!

Today I decided to take a few hours to make pickles. A “few hours”? Yes, I cheated. And this is why (besides “time”).

Even though I have made all kinds of pickles, I’d never been able to get a dill pickle that was as good as good ole store-bought hamburger dills (which is what my husband loves on his burgers).

Last year I noticed these Ball Kosher Dill and Bread and Butter mixes at the grocery store.


So I decided to try the Dill mix and WOW! It was delicious! This year I also bought the Bread and Butter mix, and loved it as well. It is so quick and easy that it absolutely feels like cheating!

So – here’s today’s adventure.

First we picked cucumbers.


Then I scrubbed them and sliced a bowl full.



I missed getting a picture of the mixture, but just follow the directions on the label.

Next fill the jars, and waterbath for 15 minutes.




Next I decided to make some sweet pickle relish using the Bread and Butter mix (a recipe is merely a suggestion – right?)


I used cucumbers, an orange and a yellow bell pepper, and a purple onion. I chopped them, filled jars and waterbathed.


It’s pretty, whether it’s any good or not!

Next I did a turn of dill chunks and then threw all the extras in a bowl with all the leftover mix (dill and bread and butter together). That should be an interesting taste! HA!



All in all, not a bad job for 4 hours!


They’ll really be good this winter, too!

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I haven’t made any of these yet this year, but thought I’d post the recipe so you can be ready. Many folks have green tomatoes setting on now.

Green Tomato Pickles

(Sweet and Crunchy)

5-7 lbs green tomatoes

2 gal water

2-3 cups pickling lime

8 cups sugar (4 lb)

3 pt vinegar

1 tsp cloves (I like whole)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground all spice

1 tsp celery seed (ground or whole – depending on preference)

1 tsp ground mace

Choose green tomatoes that are about the size of a baseball. Wash, core and cut them in half top to bottom, then slice. This way they fit in the jar better. It’s easier to get them in large mouth jars, but regular jars work fine, too.

Soak the tomatoes in the lime and water in a crock or glass jar for 24 hours. The next day, drain them and soak in fresh water for 4 hours, changing the water every ½ hour.

Next, put them over into a Stainless Steel pot. Make a syrup of sugar, vinegar and spices. Bring the syrup to a boil, and then pour over the tomatoes in the SS pot. Let this stand over night (12-18 hours). The next morning, boil for 1 hour – until syrup is clear.

Seal in hot jars and waterbath for 15 minutes.

*NOTE* When processing pickles, to retain “crunchiness” let water come to a boil before putting jars into the canner. Start processing time from putting the jars into the canner. Make sure the water covers the jars by about 2 inches.

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While most folks were lazing at the lake, the beach or in the mountains on this Memorial Day, I had another project. A couple of weeks ago a local grocery store had potatoes on sale – 2) 10lb bags for $5.00! Of course I grabbed that up!

Last week I picked up a double pk of chuck roast at Sams, and today I canned beef and potatoes.

Last night I chunked up the roasts and put them in the crockpot with minced garlic, dried rosemary, sea salt and crushed peppercorn medley.

This morning I picked the fat out of the meat, strained the broth and removed as much of the liquid fat as possible. Then I peeled and cubed 10 lbs of the potatoes, put everything in an 8 qt pot and let them come to a boil.


I added a little more salt and pepper for the potatoes and restrained my desire to add lots and lots of onions! (I love onions in just about everything!) These jars of meat and potatoes will be mostly used for “starter” dishes. I’ll add a variety of vegetables for whatever I’m making.

I filled large mouth quart jars


Wiped the rims with a paper towel dampened with vinegar, then pressured them for 90 minutes @ 11 lbs of pressure (the correct amount for our altitude)


After the pressure came down, I opened the canner



And let them sit a few minutes before I took them out.

20150525_200439And there you have it – 7 beautiful jars of beef and potatoes!

Check back in a few days for “Potatoes on Sale – Part Two”. I have a completely different plan for the second bag of potatoes!

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