Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Prep Work For Canning

Well, I've been able to confirm that some of my paste tomatoes have contracted Early Blight and I'm going to have to yank them out of there.  I'll be making a trip over to Ohio to purchase some additional canning tomatoes since I can get them for $5.00 a bushel there.  Really, I'm not sure why I take up so much garden space on tomatoes since it's easier to buy them all at once.  I do have certain varieties that I prefer, but that's just me being stubborn I guess.

Since I don't have enough paste tomatoes to can a full load right now, I've been washing, coring and quartering them as they ripen, then sticking them in the freezer until I'm ready.  This will speed things up considerably when I go to can.  All I will have to do is dump the frozen paste tomatoes into a big pot and cook them down (no need to remove the skins on paste tomatoes because you'll run it through a sieve later.)  This method also works well for your diced tomatoes too, because freezing the tomato whole will cause the skins to slip off nicely and in my opinion this is a little easier than blanching them in small batches.

I almost have enough banana peppers to make my Hot Pepper Mustard.  Oh, it's so good!  We are addicted to it and go through it quickly, using it to glaze a ham, on sandwiches or as a dipping mustard with our homemade venison summer sausage.  I like to make up a lot of half-pints to give as Christmas gifts too.

This prep-work also makes it so quick and easy to whip up a batch of mustard.  I pre-measure my four quarts of chopped peppers in to one-gallon Ziploc bags.

While I'm on the subject of hot peppers, let me give you a few words of wisdom on chopping them up, if you've never done it before.  These are things I learned the hard way!

1)  Always wear gloves.  Be very careful of what you touch with the gloves (i.e. the handles on the sink) and wash those things off thoroughly before you go back later and touch them with bare hands.  There is nothing worse than rubbing your eyes with so much as a hint of hot pepper oil on your fingers.  It hurt so badly I thought my contact lens was going to melt into my eyeball!

2)  This was a weird one I found out the hard way too.  All those hot pepper seeds and veins you toss into the sink will give off caustic vapors when you go to spray the sink down with water.  Dispose of them all before you go to rinse out the sink.  The vapors off of them will burn your eyes and lungs.  It's horrible!

Other than that, I love hot peppers.  :)

Now guess what I have planned for these glossy green beauties...

I am going to make homemade jalapeno poppers!  These are Mucho Nacho Jalapeno peppers.  This was the sole reason I grew them.  I also have another recipe for stuffing them and wrapping them with bacon then cooking them on the grill.  The poppers can be made up ahead of time and stored in the freezer to enjoy later.  I will be preserving most of them this way.  I'll share those recipes too as I make them and have pictures.  :)

We purchased a 20 pound propane tank this week for my canning so I wouldn't run out.  I'm still trying to find the correct adapter/hose for my Coleman camp stove, but I think I can buy extra parts to make the one I have work.  I bought the small canisters of propane for it last year and that is not very economical.

This post is linked to Barn Hop #22


  1. I don't grow a garden because I just live too close to the farmers market for me to be able to justify all that work. The pro's do a much better job of growing it than I could.

    I love the popper idea! Waiting for the recipe!

  2. Yeah, sometimes you have to be a glutton for punishment to take on a garden. So much you can't control. I'm just glad I have Ohio farmers to fall back on!

  3. Poppers! me too!!! Will you blanch them first? I tried a recipe and they were not blanched.. still a bit crunchy/raw after frying. One commenter said she blanched hers first, I will try that. I grew a mild jalepeno from rare seeds. LOVE IT! Each year, we change what we grow and how much. That is one fun aspect of a garden. The rest, like that one eggplant I want.. off to market we go :). I love my farmers!

  4. Thanks Tracey, for the tip on blanching them! I have a couple versions to test and I'll be sharing those that turn out the best. :)

  5. You know...I'm completely fed up with my garden this year. I think I am throwing in the towel. Next year, I will really have to be committed to growing (and keeping up with) the veggies. The weeds have been horrendous!

    I am jealous of how much you are able to can and how much produce you've gotten from your garden.

    Maybe next year, but it's too late in the season for me.

    *completely frustrated*

    Have a great trip to o-HI-o! I will be thinking of ya! (I am in NE Ohio)

  6. Well, howdy neighbor! ;) I think gardening has been hard on most folks this year with all the weather extremes...if it's not flooding, it's been drought and heat. :P Mulch has been my best friend this year. First time I've not had a huge bed of weeds!

  7. Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings

    The most recent edition – http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/2012/06/carnival-of-home-preserving-13-come.html – open until Thursday 6/7.