Canning Your Summer Harvest



With a national trend toward “back-to-the-land” homesteading, many Americans are growing their own food in their backyards. But what to do with this ample harvest when more food is grown than can be eaten in a single season?  When you run out of neighbors to give it to, canning your extra homegrown produce is the perfect way to enjoy your garden’s bounty all year long.

Mast General Store is here to offer some handy tools to help make your canning process fun and easy. A wonderful resource guide for the new and experienced home preserver alike is The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader.  This classic primer introduces the basic techniques for not only canning, but pickling, drying, freezing, and preserving as well. With step-by-step illustrations, informative charts and tips, and also a generous helping of delicious recipes (150 to be exact!), you’ll enjoy learning how to save a summer day batch by tasty batch.

canning_workshop_61.jpgApple picking season is right around the corner, and our Apple Peeler/Corer Machine by Harold Import Company will help process these prolific fruits in a jiffy.  It works well for preparing a bushel of apples to cook down into a smooth apple sauce (or maybe even apple butter). The Apple Peeler/Corer Machine features a suction mount that grips any surface securely.

The Canning Food Press and Pestle from Mirro also proves a very useful tool for canning preparation. There’s no need to hassle with peeling your produce because the press removes seeds and skins together, making it super simple to process your fruits and vegetables. You’ll be churning out jelly, sauces, and salsas in no time. Just whirl away with the pestle, just like Grandma used to!

A workhorse in the canner’s kitchen is the Colombian Home Canner with Jar Rack. This steel water bath canner heats quickly and easily and holds seven one quart jars at once. It’s safe to use with gas and electric stoves alike – just throw it in the dishwasher when you’re done.  This Home Canner is excellent for canning acidic produce like peaches, tomatoes, and apples.

Remember! Sterilize your jar in boiling water first. Once you've filled the jar with your fresh picked ingredients, seal them the Tattler Reusable Wide Mouth Lids to help make the last steps of your canning project safe and easy – year after year. Next, you’ll boil the jar once again. Proper canning necessitates this second heating process so that the jar is tightly sealed and no air or tiny organisms can get inside. Hot water canning and a nice, tight seal kill any undesirables that may be present and also destroy naturally occurring enzymes that cause food to spoil. Finish up your canning project with the Norpro Canning Jar Lifter to remove the jars quickly and easily from the boiling water so they can cool more quickly. Listen for the telltale “ping!”that lets you know the jar is sealed.

Home canning is a life skill well worth developing. Best yet, you can enjoy the tasty fruits of your labor long after your backyard garden treats are out of season. Canned garden delicacies also make an inexpensive, yet personal, gift for friends and family. To get you started, we offer a recipe from the NC State Agriculture Cooperative Extension – enjoy!

canning_workshop_43.jpgTomato and Green Chili Salsa

3 cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
3 cups seeded, chopped long green chili peppers
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups vinegar (5 percent acidity)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
2 teaspoons oregano leaves, optional
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Procedure: Wear rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling chilies. If you don't wear gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, and heat, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner: 15 minutes at 0 to 1,000 feet altitude; 20 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 feet; 25 minutes above 6,000 feet.

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