October 4, 2020

A Bit of Last-Minute Canning


We decided about a month ago that we weren't going to do any canning this fall. 
Nope, none. No time--especially not with trying to sell our house and pack. 
Just no.
Then we harvested 4 buckets of apples from our apple tree. 
Wormy apples, most of them, but good tasting despite that.
Then before frost hit, we harvested tomatoes galore--bins and bowls and strainers full. Also, 4 buckets of green tomatoes. Plus onions, peppers (sweet and hot), cucumbers.
I just couldn't stand to see all that produce go to waste!
I made some comments about giving it away, but deep down, I didn't want to! My kids had worked so hard on their gardens this year and we were blessed with this abundant harvest. 
I just had to do something with it.

So. We had already packed all of our empty bottles, and some of the canning equipment, like the Vittorio strainer for applesauce. 
Moms to the rescue! I knew my mom still had her Vittorio strainer, and bless her heart, she also had bottles that she just gave to me! 
I had stocked up on lids last year, which was a good thing, since they are very scarce this fall.
So last week we did our homeschool Monday through Wednesday, then we were off to Grandma's Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday was applesauce day! 
It was so fun to can with my mom! It was actually the first time I've been able to do that.
She has a pretty slick setup for canning in her new house, let me tell you.
25 quarts of applesauce, done!

Then Friday we went down to my mother-in-law's to take care of the rest.
She had offered to just do it for us, but we couldn't let her do that.
We came bearing all of our tomatoes, onions, and peppers, several spices, and various other assorted canning things we could round up.
I think we all underestimated the sheer amount of tomatoes we had to process.
She kept pulling bottles out of her garage--by the time all was said and done, we had used up every last bottle on her shelf, except for the extra small half-pint sizes.
We did 28 quarts of regular red salsa on Friday.
Saturday we did 14 quarts + 7 pints of green tomato pickles.
Since we can't even open those for 3 weeks, we won't know how we like them until after the move.
We finished up the day Saturday with 21 pints of salsa verde, also using the green tomatoes.
In addition, I have a big batch of barbecue sauce that I need to finish up here at home tomorrow, and get it canned. It was way to vinegary for my taste, but we ran out of bottles, so I didn't finish working on it. We will have to pull a box of pint jars out of storage to put the BBQ sauce into!

It's ironic that we made so much salsa this year, since I haven't made it for several years.
I hadn't found a recipe I liked, so it seemed a waste of time.
I am happy to report we all tried the salsa--both varieties--and liked them.
That's a relief!

So after I can BBQ sauce tomorrow, then I'll really be done. For real, this time.
No, I mean it.
Second wave of packing up starts this week! 
We are a little more than 2 weeks out from moving truck.

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