It’s canning season

The stack of boxes grows - these jars are now all filled with canned goods from my kitchen!
The stack of boxes grows – these jars are now all filled with canned goods from my kitchen!

It’s canning season and this has definitely been my biggest year of canning by far- ever. I think this is as a result of a few factors…  first my yield of tomatoes and produce has been outstanding in my garden, allowing me the option to try lots of different recipes and methods for canning different things. Seven kinds of tomato sauce! Ketchup! Jams both savory and sweet! Fruit mustard! I think there is an element of luck with every gardener and this just happened to be a lucky year for me – I do think there is some skill involved but I don’t want to claim too much victory because like everyone, bad things happen in my garden some years too and I end up with a handful of produce and disappointment for all the work that went into the garden when some mold or blight or bug or pest took over.

Second I happened to be on maternity leave and therefore theoretically have a little bit more time at home.
Never have I had the flexibility to do all of these fun recipe trials or volume, so while it has made my kitchen unbearably hot this summer, it has been a lot of fun. I also feel really good about stocking my pantry and have been able to put together some nice gifts for others.

  • Housewarming for my friend Susan? Check.
  • Teacher gifts at my kids’ school? Check.
  • Interesting hostess gift? Check.
  • Prep for Christmas with the in-laws? Check.
  • Even a nice gift for the doctor who will be delivering my baby… Check.

Below are some photos of the never-ending events of canning outcomes, all accomplished a few jars at a time, as well as a list of what I’ve canned! Each and every item calls to mind for me some things I can make with it.. and that makes me happy.

  • Onion jam (on a cheese board, with foie gras, in salad dressing, on a sandwich, etc)
  • Tomato jam (especially for fried egg sandwiches)
  • Apricot jam
  • Apricot mustard (cook on cedar plank salmon, put on a turkey avocado sandwich, serve with grilled sausage or kielbasa)
  • Sushi ginger
  • Berry lavender jelly (made with blackberries and blueberries)
  • Fig-pecan jam with port
  • Spiced pear-apple butter (with vanilla ice cream and  a glass of Sauterne)
  • Pickled radishes – 2 kinds (add to salads, burgers, tuna melts)
  • Tomato sauces, all of which I could eat straight out of the jar, but they find their way onto pizza, pasta and sausage sandwiches in our house: Roasted tomato sauce, Spicy roasted tomato sauce, Sicilian spaghetti sauce, Whole peeled tomatoes with basil, Tomato sauce with thyme and onion, Ultimate tomato sauce for pasta (with bacon fat), Sauce for pasta and pizza
  • Enchilada sauce (made with Hatch, New Mexico chili powder and as at home on an enchilada as it is on fried eggs with toast, and bacon)
  • Spicy Ketchup
  • Spicy dilly green beans (for bloody Mary’s)
  • Bread and butter zucchini refrigerator pickles (for burgers… Especially with the spicy ketchup and apricot mustard)
  • Peaches and plums jam (mmm, toast and jam, on buttered croissants)
  • Cipollini (cipolline onions pickled in balsamic and herbs) (ahh, memories of Tuscany and long, late lunches)
  • White beans (dry beans that have been cooked and canned – images of white bean dip with rosemary, lemon and garlic come to mind, as well as escarole and beans with garlic)

Still to come:

  • French onion soup (with a nice  hunk of Gruyere and a baguette, this becomes Christmas gifts in December)
  • Tuna in olive oil (Nicoise salad)
  • Green tomato pickles (Well, what do YOU do with all those un-ripened tomatoes at the end of your garden season?  I mean, you can only eat fried green tomatoes so many times, right? I can eat these right out of the jar.)