We finished off the Labor Day canning marathon with another 20 quarts of spaghetti sauce and 16 quarts of the best applesauce ever! (also squeezed in a 3.5 mile quick run at the park)
We are on the way to break our canning record for total jars – and varieties of food – canned in one weekend. Granted, we had a lot of help, as Anja & Duff and Zach & Rachel were around all weekend, and Jens and Grace stopped by on Saturday.
We used the burners on our kitchen stove, the side burner on the gas grill and the turkey fryer outside, as we just ran out of space in the kitchen during all this processing. In the middle of all this, we all went to Chambersburg to watch Lars and the Big Spring Midget Football varsity team win their first game of the season. Go Bulldogs!
Here is what we ended up with by Sunday night:
- 20 gallons of apple wine (30 pounds of sugar added)
- 38 quarts of canned apple cider
- 10 gallons of cider in gallon jugs in refrigerator
- 18 half pints of “Smokin Salsa”
- 15 half pints of “Mild Salsa”
- 20 quarts of Spaghetti Sauce
- 31 pints of apple/nectarine sauce
- 6 quarts of plain apple sauce
- 7 quarts of peaches
Here is our first version of the “Zesty Salsa” – which makes about 14 pints:
- 20 cups skinned, chopped tomatoes (we left seeds in, but may want to seed them)
- 10 cups seeded and chopped sweet bell peppers (we used red and green ones)
- 10 cups chopped sweet onions
- 4 cups chopped jalapeno peppers
- 9 cloves garlic – minced
- 4 Tablespoons dried cilantro
- 6 Tablespoons salt
- 2.5 cups cider vinegar
- optional teaspoon or so hot pepper sauce (we did not use any for this batch)
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then fill hot salsa into pint jars – adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Our cup measures were generous – and this batch made 14 pints. The salsa is bursting with flavor – not very hot, but slightly tart from the vinegar, may want to add some sugar to the next batch to reduce the tartness somewhat. This is the kind of salsa that you would add to melted cheese, or to mashed avocados for a dip (avocado, sour cream and salsa) or add to your chili.
For the last two weekends we have been working on harvesting, freezing and canning the rest of the corn. By the end of Sunday (August 29) we had frozen over 200 quarts of sweet corn – lost track of counting somewhere along the line. Had several friends stop by and pick corn for their own use plus we made 5 gallons of chicken corn soup, which we canned.
Jeff helped a friend butcher a beef – and came home with one of the hind quarters. He cut a lot of it into cubes for stew, had some ground into hamburg and used the bones and left over meat to make about 5 gallons of vegetable beef soup. Froze all the meat and canned the soup.
Continued working on tomatoes at the same time – made more spaghetti sauce, canned 12 quarts of plain tomato juice and made a batch (20 pints) of black bean-corn-tomato salsa. No end in sight yet for the tomato harvest – currently have two 5 gallon buckets of roma tomatoes in the refrigerator, ready to be processed.
Last week we also pulled out all the irrigation lines – (except those that are permanent in the blackberries) – and used the tractor with the bush hog to mow the corn stalks and the fields around the garden and corn patch – which made everything look a lot better.
The weather continues to be hot and dry and the water level in the pond is rather low. Lars started Middle School on Wednesday and we dropped Samantha off in Brooklyn on Friday for her senior year at Pratt. Midget football started a few weeks ago, and with Sam off in college we’ve got to drive Lars to practice three evenings a week (which kind of cuts into the weeding time). Zach and Rachel closed on their house in Ohio today, so they will be moving in a month.
Our corn in the house-side field is ripe! We had our annual “husking party”, where everyone pitched in with picking, husking, blanching, cutting and freezing. We started Friday afternoon and worked through Saturday afternoon – at the end we had frozen 129 (very full) QUARTS!, canned 7 quarts and 17 pints of corn. Friends and neighbors also picked corn for their own use – but we still have more on this field and will continue to work on in. Plus there is the second field of sweet corn on the pond side, which was planted three weeks later.
Also got some blackberries (from our old house), froze some, and made pies and tarts.
Here is my favorite Blackberry Pie recipe:
- 2 cups flour
- scant 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 sticks of butter
- 1 tablespoon of crisco
- approximately 1/4 cup cold water – enough to form a pie dough
- roll out two circles, place one in pie plate, use second to cover
For the filling:
- 6 cups freshly picked blackberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- mix above ingredients and pour into pie plate
- Cut 1 tablespoon butter into small pieces, dot on top of the mixed filling before covering with second half of dough, make slits into top crust
- make egg wash (I just use egg white, whipped) and brush it on top of the dough
Bake at 425 degree F for 40 minutes (really good with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream)