Here in Florida I am lucky to have a fresh garden most of the year, summer being the leanest because of the heat.
So, canning usually happens when I have excess to harvest. I like to do small batches as they can be done quickly when you only have an hour.
But being from the North, I sure miss my New York and New Jersey tomatoes and peaches. So this year I decided to bring them back from New York after our trip there. I bought them from my favorite market in Oneonta, Annutto's Farm Stand.
I bought one box (1/2 bushel) of peaches and 2 boxes of Roma tomatoes (25 lbs each). They lasted 3 days without refrigeration while we drove home to Florida.
When I got home after 4 weeks away, I had a harvest of hot peppers waiting for me here. So I made hot sauce to can while I was at it.
Although canning is so satisfying to the soul , it is work and one should plan on hours spent if buying bulk or if your garden produces bulk.
Here's what I "put-up":
19 pints Lite Raw Pack Peaches
4 pints Cinnamon Peaches, 2 with a hot pepper added to test!
8 pints Seasoned Tomato Sauce (with garlic, oil, onion and salt and pepper only)
14 pints Stewed Tomatoes
6 6 oz. jars of Hot Pepper Sauce made with Cubanelles, Pasillas, Serrano, Fish, Bulgarian and Ancho peppers and vinegar.
I did it in batches over the weekend, spending 2-3 hours at a time, total time about 8 hours.
Canning is easy and not to be afraid of, success is a given if the basic principles are followed:
- Cleanliness is #1 priority.
- Get a basic book on caning like the Ball 'Blue Book Guide to Preserving"canning Book and READ it first.
- Get a canner with a rack and the tool kit. Makes easy work of canning!
- Start with small batches to learn.
- High acid foods like fruits (tomatoes are a fruit) can be canned in a hot water bath.
- Low acid foods like most veggies and meats have to be canned in a pressure canner.
- Clean your jars and lids with soap and water even if new.
- Sterilize jars and keep hot untill ready to fill.
- Leave correct space in top of jar, called "headspace".
- Remove air from jar and clean edge of jar with damp CLEAN dishcloth before putting on seals and lids handtight.
- Process for required time for the recipe, usually 10-25 minutes, keeping 2 inches water over jars.
- Cool and wait for that magic POP which lets you know you have a good seal!
- After cooled, check for seal by pressing center of lid (should no longer give).
- If any jars have not sealed, just put into frig and use those first. I have canned many times and have always had good seals.
The Canning Kit