Canning Day

Mom (standing with hands on hips, a bit overwhelmed):  What am I going to do with all of these vegetables?

Five-year-old Preservation Expert:  Mommy, there is a lot of stuff here.

Mom (hands still on hips, a bit more overwhelmed):  Yeah.  Got it.  I’m still trying to figure out what to make with all of it.

Five-year-old Preservation Expert (with a look of absolute clarity):  I know!  I think we need to have a canning day!  Like, a whole day when all we do is can and freeze stuff for winter.

And so continues a day in the life with a very young child that just gets it.  Of course.  Why wouldn’t we put some of this food by for when the bounty is less?  Sometimes it takes youth to open our eyes to what is right in front of us.  Wonderful suggestion my darling girl.

Here is a walk through our day of food preservation…

{A wonderful new idea I got from this magazine.  What a fabulous idea!}

{Salsa, salsa and more salsa}

{Got to love hot pink fingers for a day.}

{I struck gold this week!  I found my grandfather’s recipe box in the back of my parents’ pantry.  It contains all of his old canning recipes, including his bread and butter pickles, my favorite of all his canning greats.}

Putting Food By: Pesto

“Would you say your pesto is the besto?” ~Friends

Each and every time I watched Friends in college, snuggled up on the couch with my roomies, and heard Phoebe say this line, I roared with laughter.  Well, let’s face it, I pretty much laughed like crazy any time I watched that show.  But looking back, the funniest part is when I was in college, I had no idea what pesto even was!

Now that I have discovered the wonderful world of pesto, I definitely would not say my pesto is the besto, but by golly it is pretty darn tasty.  I love, love, love making pesto in giant batches and freezing it for use in the winter months.  It helps to bring that lovely basil taste that reminds me so much of summer to the table when the heat is on and the snow is falling outside.

The particular batch I made this weekend had toasted walnuts, basil, swiss chard, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt.  But the great thing about pesto is you can use a wide variety of nuts and/or greens and the pesto will turn out great.

When I freeze my pesto, I put it in 8oz, freezer safe, glass jelly jars.  I fill each jar to 1 inch from the top (to allow for expansion in the freezer).  It freezes beautifully this way, defrosts easily and allows for easy preparation when you pop it out of the freezer at a later date.

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Some of our favorite home preservation books are:

Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg and Beatrice Vaughan

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (There are some great canning recipes scattered throughout the piece.)

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader

Putting Food By: Pickled Beets

 

Despite the extreme heat we have had the past several days, our beets seem to be absolutely thriving.  In fact, they seem to be the only thing in our garden these days that are not being absolutely devoured by Japanese beetles.  Ug.

But enough of the negative and on to the positive…these beets.  Yum.  We pulled up our first round of beets this week and we were thrilled to find they had filled out nicely beneath the thick layer of soil.  My favorite way to eat beets is to pickle them, so I used a very easy pickling recipe from Putting Food By (listed below with a link), and before I knew it we had jars full of tart and scrumptious pickled beets.

 

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Some of our favorite home preservation books are:

Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg and Beatrice Vaughan

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (There are some great canning recipes scattered throughout the piece.)

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader