Tomato Canning Time

Early August is that time when gardens here in Ohio are producing like crazy, if we're lucky, and have a bounty of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and green beans. There's also corn, peppers, blackberries... the list goes on. We eat as much as we can... and we can can what we can't. :)

Alternatives for food preservation include dehydration and freezing, but I've always thought canning was more satisfying. It's a nice feeling to hear those lids go pop-pop-pop on the counter, and the glass jars full of colorful foods gleam like jewels.

I got started canning in the early 2000s, when we visited my husband's Aunt Betty and Uncle Ralph. They owned a large acreage in the hills of rural SE Ohio and grew a big garden. This time of year, they would have an old door propped flat on a couple of sawhorses, filled with ripening tomatoes in all shapes and sizes. They sent us home with grocery bags full of them, along with green beans and cucumbers, and I promised not to let any go to waste. Thus inspired by old-fashioned rural life, I learned to can. I'm now the proud owner of a 22-quart pressure canner, a water-bath canner, and a ridiculous collection of glass jars.

I say it's ridiculous mainly because I don't use them much anymore except for drinking glasses or leftovers storage. But I mean to. My own garden this year is giving me lots of cucumbers, and I swear I am going to make some pickles.

Some of the items I've canned include corn, green beans, and potatoes with the pressure canner. With the water-bath canner, I've done applesauce, grape jam, tomatoes, pickled jalapenos and cucumbers.

I also highly recommend zucchini relish, which I think is the very best thing to do with the piles of zucchini that accumulate this time of year. It's just like sweet pickle relish, and maybe even better!

Recipe Here:

What's your favorite thing to can? Or, what is your favorite home-canned-food memory?


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