Archive for the ‘Canning’ Category

Berry Heady Stuff

In these holiday seasons, we are asked to give thanks. Thanks for the gifts our world has plied us with. Thanks for the faces we look into lovingly each day. Thanks for the staples our lives would be so lost without. Simply, we give thanks for the food on our plates, the guests at our table, and the sun in our face.

In our home we also give thanks for the bountiful harvest provided by the summer we’ve had this year. Cranberries from the bog. They will find a place of honor on this year’s Thanksgiving table, just one of the many sides we will enjoy with our roast turkey. Good Stuff!

Fresh, wild cranberries, washed

Forced through a coarse sieve and then a fine strainer


Make Believe Farms’ Jellied Wild Cranberry Sauce


3 pounds fresh cranberries washed. If foraged, washed repeatedly.

1 ½ cups water

4 ½ cups sugar


Allow the berries to drain well before adding to a stainless steel pot with the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for ten minutes. It is important to use stainless steel, glass, or another nonreactive pot. An aluminum, iron, or untreated one, may discolor, or mar the flavor of, your jelly.


Strain the berry juice through a fine strainer. You may force the pulp through with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Your yield should be around six cups. If much more, reserve the extra for juice drinks, if less, make up with a small amount of water. Combine the juice with the sugar in a high side nonreactive pot. Bring to a rolling boil. Cook at a boil for one minute. Remove from heat. At this point the jelly may be poured into silicone molds or cupcake tins. Glass bowls work well as a mold as well. The jelly may also be canned and stored for several months. Be sure to follow the canning method closely. Good Stuff!

Jellied wild cranberry sauce in jars


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Should be the very last of them, Fabulous!

Peeled fresh tomatoes

Yes we are still picking, blanching, peeling, and seeding. Sadly, however, this chore is no more. Now we deal with the legacy, frozen marinara, canned peeled tomatoes, … We freeze the marinara in sandwich bags, just enough for two or three. Meatballs change it up deliciously. Sometimes we do the daylong pot of Bolognese sauce. Always a crowd pleaser. Check the recipe blog for these and more recipes. Good Stuff!

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Wrapping up the tomatoes


Peel the tomatoes



Remove all seeds


Mid-October and we are still picking tomatoes. Season is pretty much over, however. We’ve quarts of tomatoes in the larder, tubs of marinara in the freezer, and bowls of soup and salsa in the fridge. First step is usually peel and seed. Core the tomatoes and cut a shallow x score in the bottom. Immerse in boiling water for one minute, then ice water for one minute. Softer, smaller fruits cook shorter and firmer, larger fruits, longer. If you are canning them, chill for a very short time and handle them as hot as you can bear. Check the recipe blog for a cream tomato soup. Good Stuff!

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Beach Plum Jelly

Beach plums prunus maritimis

Yet another champion performer this summer, the traditionally sparse beach plum harvest came around this year with fruit in every stand of plum trees in town. They are about the size of a cherry but do not have as much flesh as one, mostly pit. They make amazing jelly. Cook as for concord grapes with one cup less sugar than called for…and don’t get me started on the concord grapes! Good Stuff!

Cooking plum juice

sanitizing and preheating jars

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Back in the Saddle

assembled ingredients

simmer all for an hour

Mangoes keep forever… in a jar! My wife made us this out of sight chutney. Her determined, precise knife cuts make it particularly delightful. Just remember to stir often as the chutney simmers for an hour. Good Stuff!

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pickled pearl onions

Can you imagine? Farm fresh onions. Found ’em at Balsam Farms among other farmstands. Reds, yellows, and my wife’s particular favorites, pearls and marbles. We roasted some for dinner, cooked them whole in a hash with farm fresh fingerling potatoes. Roasted these dry for a very short time. Parcooked really, makes for easy peeling and efficient pickling. One fresh bayleaf and a couple peppercorns added to each jar, and into the fridge for a few weeks. Good Stuff!

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Mash it up, mon

Let drain gradually

Berry Season is coming to an end. What a lovely summer it’s been. Here is a comprehensive review of the jelly process. Berries washed, juiced by mashing with the potato masher. Let your wife do this, not the kids! We’ve tried many methods of juice extraction but have the best luck with gravity. Of course, if making jam, extraction is extraneous. Cook per instructions with your pectin. In our experience, only strawberries have not required pectin.

cooking juice, heating jars

Wash your jars well

canning operations

Sanitize in the boiling water bath soon before filling, that they may retain some of the heat. Wipe the jars well after filling. Careful, they are very hot. Pay special attention to the top of the jar where the lid fixes. Tighten the bands and cook in the canner as directed. Cool for up to twenty four hours before tightening bands again, checking the dimple in the lid. Innie, good! Outie, bad! Spread on toast! Good Stuff!

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