I do so love preserving the harvest. It is one of my favorite things and reminds me that my favorite season is on its way. The ping of the jars sealing is music to my ears. Sadly, this year I don't have a garden. I have a cherry tomato plant and a cucumber vine on my front porch and two cedar bins full of herbs that I brought from my old house. Nothing to speak of and certainly nothing to can.
What I do have is a husband who regularly calls on the Hutterite colonies as part of his job. They are always willing to sell their produce at very low prices. Low prices because they want the same in return from Paul. Either way we get some lovely food from them. Pickling cucumber are one of my favorite. Last year my dills were a soggy mess. The flavor was great, the texture not so much. This year I found the book Canning For A New Generation, (which I love and have subsequently ordered from Chapters) and the book told me to cut off the blossom end of the cucumbers so they don't get soft. Who knew? Probably all of you reading this blog, that is who. So I took that advice and a recipe from that book and made the Long fermented Kosher Dill recipe. They are in the basement in a crock and the results have yet to be determined. The process was easy peasy and I have been known to buy dill pickles from restaurants if I find a good one.
Organic fruit is another thing in abundance this year. At Costco anyway. I bought strawberries and blueberries. I froze 9 cups of blueberries and made blueberry jam and some muffins as well. The low sugar recipe from the book Back to Basics was so good. I am not a sugar fan (as you can tell by my love for all things salty) and these muffins were so good. 3T sugar for the entire batch.
I used Pamona's Pectin for the first time for the jam. Unfortunately I didn't mash up the strawberries enough so the jam kind of separated. After the jar is opened and it is mixed up it tastes fine. For the blueberry jam I used the food processor instead of a potato masher and got excellent results. As I mentioned before I got rhubarb from a neighbor and made 6 jars of jam and 3 larger jars of maple stewed rhubarb.
I tried my hand at a teeny tiny batch of sauerkraut, again from the Canning For A New Generation book. It will be ready in a day or two. I can't wait to try that out. I am new to fermenting food so time will tell. I'll need to get some Mennonite Farmers Sausage to go with it.
And this is the reality of a day in the kitchen putting food by. Not pretty but totally worth every bit of work.