Hebrews 4:16

Let us then come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Harvest Tales ( and recipes)

It's not the typical fall weather, 40 degrees in October, yikes! But.. the leaves are off the trees and the kids are having a blast raking them up and jumping in. I'll let them do that while I share some yummy recipes.

It has been a great year in my garden. Each year I learn something new about how to make my garden more fruitful, how to keep the weeds under control or perhaps a new way of preserving what I get out of my garden.

I am not, by admission, a fan of canning. Oh, yes.. I did say that. However, this year I have found much more enjoyment in this act of domestication and frugality. :) So, without sounding as if I am bragging I do want to share some of the accomplishments as a result of God's blessing and my willingness to receive of that blessing!

I was able to put up peaches, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato soup, pickeled beets, zucchini relish, dill cucumer relish, dill pickles, peach jam, grape jelly,apple juice, sliced apples and applesauce. I was able to freeze lots of green beens, corn, zucchini and green peppers. I still have 2 bushels of apples left from our tree that I hope to make some apple pie filling with and set that aside too. This has been my most abundant year of preserving (I do not have any space left in my fruit cellar)and I have come such a long way. The food actually either tastes edible or the cans are truly sealed. ha!ha! Our first year in attempting to can produced mushy dill pickles and green beans I was too afraid to eat.

Below is the tomato soup recipe I used and it is absolutely awesome. Perhaps a bit too late for those of you who can, but save it for next year.. .it is a winner.

I was given a new cookbook for my birthday this summer by my mom. :) Thanks Mom! As I sifted through the pages I found a recipe for Homemade Tomato Soup that can be canned. Before I go any farther, I want to share that this is from the Gooseberry Patch Summer in the Country cookbook. You can find that book and many others on their website at www.goosberrypatch.com.

Homemade Tomato Soup
from Helen Braley - Plymouth, ME.

1 peck or 15 lbs. of ripe tomatoes 1 1/4 c. flour
4 onions, chopped 1 c. sugar
6-8 whole cloves 7 t. salt
4 t. celery salt 1 t. pepper
3 bay leaves 12 1 pt. canning jars & lids,
1 c. margarine ( I used butter) sterilized

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large soup kettle; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer for one hour. Remove from heat; run mixture through a food mill. Process until smooth. Pour mixture back into kettle; add margarine, stir until melted. Revove 4 cups mixture to blender; add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth; pour back into kettle. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Spoon soup into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Wipe rims; secure with lids and ringsl Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes; set jars on a towel to cool. Check for seals. Makes 12 jars.

Here is a recipe for Apple Pie Filling:
18 c. peeled apples slices
3 Tb. lemon juice
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. cornstarch
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
10 c. water

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice; set aside. In a Dutch oven over med. heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add water; bring to a boil. Boil for 2 min., stirring constantly. Add apples; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until the apples ar tender, about 6-8 ninutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Ladle into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 in. headspace. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 1/2 hours. Seal and freeze; store up to 12 months.
Yield: 5 1/2 qts. ( enought for about 5 9 in. pies.)

Just a quick tip that I feel is the most important suggestion I could ever give to anyone who puts their food up or anyone thinking about it. If you do not have a saucemaker... GET ONE! Next to my canner and my boiling pot it is the single most important tool I have for preparing to preserve food. I get the work done in less than half the time it would take otherwise. I reccommend the Back To Basics Food Strainer and Sauce Maker.
You can see it on this website, http://www.focuselectrics.com/finditem.cfm?itemid=3134.
I know you can also find it at Farm and Fleet for around $40. When we bought one, around 10 years ago I paid $20. I would still consider it worth it for the extra $20.

Ok.. that's all I have to share on canning today!

Blessings to you!

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