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Fall is for canning.

Fall is always a busy time of year. I think I have canned everything but the kitchen sink. I was counting jars the other day and have went through over 400. I am still not done. I have tomatoes ripening on my dining room table, small potatoes in buckets throughout the kitchen, 16 pints of chicken, and 10 qts of stew meat to can.

Most canning books have the same basic instructions. If you use an older resource, make sure you double check it to the new standards. One example is raw packet tomatoes. Old rule was 40 minutes in boiling water bath and it is now 85 minutes, so to prevent bacteria growth. It is also recommended adding lemon juice to tomatoes to increase acidity. The new strains of tomatoes are low acid and may have a higher incident in spoilage. I only grow heirlooms but stuck with adding the lemon juice to make sure I was safe. It didn’t change the flavor of the tomatoes. I have utilized a number of resources in my canning, but my four favorite and well used sources are listed below in the reference list. Jackie Clay’s book was been an invaluable asset. I used it for my meats, tomatoes, beans, corn, and canned whole meals in a jar using her book. I did get my Strawberry Jalapeno Jam recipe (its awesome!!) from www.allrecipes.com .

I have picked up a couple tricks of the trade from various people. When canning meat, use a vinegar based solution to wipe the jar rims before putting on the lids. It removes the animal fat from the rim so to make a better seal. When making jam or jelly, add ½ tsp of butter or margarine to the mix to prevent foam. It also works to prevent foaming on other boiling things too. I used it when I was making tomato soup with success. My newest canning gadget was a magnetic lid grabber. I made fun of it at first, but found it to be invaluable. It is quick, easy and prevented my fingers from getting burned.

I gave up on peeling my tomatoes and just run them through the food processor to get the texture I need. Leaving the peels on not only cuts down on the time, but adds nutrients. It also leaves the seeds, but no one have seemed to mind. The peels also added a little more color to my tomato preserves, which are awesome on toast with a bit of peanut butter. Tomato preserve recipe was my Grandma Edna’s. My cousin and I took her recipes after she passed away and published a cookbook so all the family can share them.

Tomato Preserves

2 lbs tomatoes (4 c. chopped)
1 lemon sliced into thin rounds
6 ½ c. sugar
1 box Sure Jell
1 tsp. margarine

Cook tomatoes with lemon slices. Add Sure Jell and margarine. Cook until it reaches a full rolling boil (cannot be stirred down). Add sugar. Boil 1 minute. Pour into jars and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Yields: 8 cups

Bibliography: 

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. 2006. Robert
Rose Inc.

Borella, Anne. The How To Book: Canning, Freezing and
Drying.
  1976. The Benjamin Company.

Clay, Jackie. Growing and Canning Your Own Food.
2012. Backwoods Home.

Niles, Malisa. From the Loving Kitchen of Edna Mae
O’Banion
. 2009. Heritage Cookbooks.

Preserving Summer’s Bounty. 1995. Rodale Press.