Monday, February 05, 2007

Using the harvest, part 1

Woot! My new canning storage area in the basement is up!

I put this on DH's "Honey Do!" list to be created since I purchased my 23 quart pressure canner/cooker way back in July 2006. Although I had a rack that held 8 jars deep I did not have the width to see what jars were behind others. If I wanted a certain jar I had to move many others to get to it... not convenient at all. I also had zero space to store the jars once they were emptied until they were to be used again, so a corner of my kitchen had a box full of jars needing to be moved somewhere. However all these problems have been solved with one little purchase and Saturday assembly - DH and DS found it to be a good project for a frigid winter day.

Finally, I can show you canned goods that I have left from last years harvest, minus some tomato based pasta sauces and apple sauce or butter (I haven't decided yet) that I intend to make with the fruits stored away in my freezer. I still have broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, greens , and some corn in the freezer that we have been chowing on. Fortunately I can get to this easily now also, previously the rack I had canned goods on made my time getting to and using the freezer in our basement difficult.

Foods on my shelf - - - -
Yearly favorites (links to my previous blog entry about these foods):

Onion curry relish, piccalilly: a dutch pennslvania treat, caraway pickled beets, dilly green beans, dilly cauliflower, dilled cauliflower carrot red pepper mix, bread and butter pickles (stevia sweet), "sushi" ginger carrot cucumber pickles (stevia sweet), salsa, strawberry rhubarb very low sugar (stevia sweet) jam, low sugar orange marmalade, apple sauce, apple butter, pear butter, pumpkin butter, and diced apples (just the whole fruit in a light lemon juice and stevia sweetened water) and cinnamon that reminds me of diced pears, zucchini relish (my purple ribbon county fair winner).

The pressure canner gave me the ability to can russet and red kinebec potatoes, green beans, corn and sweet potatoes. Previously I used a cold storage for these (which I still did for some), but it is so much nicer now to have these veggies ready to open a jar and go.

New in 2006:
  • Plum Sauce (made with 2# purchased plums from a farmer's market I went to), nicely seasoned with oriental five spice powder ....kind of like a sweet and sour sauce, but definitely made with fruit. I sweetened mine with stevia. The recipe I based it off of came from the book Summer in a Jar.
  • Avjar (link to recipe)- Balkan red pepper relish, a recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan. Although she doesn't can it I used the same canning time that animal meat takes (1.5 hours under 10 pounds pressure). My thinking was that if the time and pressure can allow animal meat to be preserved then surely it kill the bacteria in this sauce. I opened a jar of it after four months and it had a wonderful consistency and was very good.... just as good as when I made it fresh and refrigerated it.
  • Cranberry Chutney (link to the recipe) - I found this recipe in a book called Gifts from the kitchen. I made mine sugar free (using stevia instead) and added apple sauce to measure the quantity of the sugar originally called for. I added this to a sandwich using sliced seitan to resemble some of the after thanksgiving sandwiches I have seen in recipes.... yum. I also used it on crackers and soy cream cheese as well as toast one morning that I wanted to finish up the last of it from the jar. This recipe will make it to the yearly list. I did use marked down cranberries from the grocery store (2 / $1). My recipe says this chutney can be made using frozen cranberries also, I stocked up on that sale so I could make it again if I want but I will most likely use the remaining cranberries in smoothies.
  • Stevia sweet apple pie filling - our tree gave us nice abundance this year. I adjusted a recipe from our state extension office family hotline. They actually emailed me the recipe I requested (sugar free apple pie filling) and canning requirements. I made mine sugar free however it does use apple juice so it is not watered down sweetness. The family LOVES this recipe. It is a fast dessert to take some of this, sprinkle it with granola and top it with some soy yogurt or ice cream for a fast dessert.
  • Sweet corn relish - this is delightfully different from Chesman's book, but pretty yummy to dress up a taco salad or wrap. It adds a sweet and sour type flavor combo.
  • Legumes and home canned soups.... Money saver and time saver. This has been my favorite use. Canned convenience soups can be so expensive. The fact that I can use my own veggies (sometimes I purchase them) and organic legumes makes the whole hassle of learning how to can like this worth it.
A garden / preserving resource I added to my side bar is author Andrea Chesman. I love her canning book called Summer in a Jar because of the small batch recipes (one quart or pint at a time). Another one is the Ball Blue Book, it is the canning "bible" if there is one and I use it as a reference on low acid and other food times, but I rarely use these recipes. It is nice because it includes dehydrating and freezing preservation also.

While I am on the topic of garden produce and canning I also will let you know of low-acid soups and legumes I have pressure canned and LOVE.
  • Dori's COOP Black Bean Soup (link to recipe)
  • Sicilean Style Spilt Pea Soup (Bryanna's Fiber for Life Cookbook)
  • White Chik'n Chili (my own recipe, but inspired by a Taste of Home magazine recipe)
  • Basic white navy beans, black beans, black eyed peas ... (not seasoned, just to open and use), and some seasoned ready to use TVP chunks, ground taco TVP meet, and Louisana style red beans to serve over rice.
This is long enough for now, but since I have access to my preserved food I am totally inspired to use it, which I definitely did. If I mentioned a "my own recipe" food here and you would like me to post the recipe, let me know and I will.

Part 2 using the harvest (coming soon)
It will include pictures of :
Dori's canned potato mash with Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy
Stuffed Mushrooms with bread crumbs from the freezer
Bryanna's Fiber for Life Quick Chili with more garden harvest vegetables


David said...

Looking forward to part two. Some neat ideas already. Thank you for sharing.

Susan said...

Wow! This is impressive! Canning is a lot of work; course it's worth it when you get to re-visit those wonderful tastes.

Susan from Food "Blogga"

Emmy said...

What an informative and great post. Your new canning storage area looks great. That sure is some tasty food you've canned.

Ruthie said...

Dori --

YOU ARE AWESOME, girl! :) Those jars of deliciousness are soo beautiful! And sugar free! With stevia! Awesome once again. Guess what: we have the same canner! I have never used mine for canning, but I use it to cook up 5 pounds of beans at a time. I do hope to use it for canning soon. :) I just wish your pictures were bigger!

Your shelves look like the free one I scored. Hee hee! It's always been my dream to have canning shelves for home preserved garden goodness. You're now my inspiration. I had no idea how cool you were. ;-)


erica said...

You are a canning goddess!

erica said...

Oh yeah, I watched a show about the history of canning last night, it was fascinating to me, but to my boyfriend, not so much (we don't watch the superbowl, thank goodness).

Mikaela said...

Wow... you are amazing, Dori :) The shelves look great and show off your fantastic preservation skills beautifully. Yay for building shelves and organizing!

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Oh yum! I miss my canning days--we don't have room in our current house--but I used to have a gas burner outside that I'd can on in the summer so I wouldn't heat up the kitchen too much--it was fun!

Vivacious Vegan said...

You never cease to amaze me! WOW!! I'm thoroughly impressed. Forget the spring cleaning, everyone's doing winter cleaning/organizing.

Dori said...

*blushes* a canning goddess!
Glad you all are interested. If I can encourage other bloggers into canning, then I will get to be inspired back.

In my previous post I mentioned Sharon Lovejoy and added her link to my sidebar. Within two days she e-mailed me personally to comment on my comments and lead me into a connection with another gardener close to me. That is personable!

Yes, VV it is time for organization....what else there to do when it is below zero (-18) outside.

Midwest Vegan said...

Your shelves look beautiful. I haven't canned in years but, after reading your post, I'm thinking of pulling out the canner this year.

Carrie™ said...

Dori! Look at how busy you've been. Your husband and son did a great job at setting up the storage area for you. All of the jars look spectacular.

madeinalaska said...

Nice team work guys!
I agree w/ everyone you are amazing!

TC said...

Love the pantry! Looks wonderful. Prince Charming has been after me to put my shelf in the basement and get a few more to set up a pantry of my own. After seeing yours, I may just do that.

bazu said...

Ok, I had a really long comment that failed to show up... so either Blogger ate it, or it's going to show up again at some point.

Either way, I'm really impressed by your canning, (all the way back to your summer posts) and it inspires me to think about doing it for the first time this summer.

laura jesser said...

Wow, you are a very prolific canner. I enjoy seeing your collection, and only wish that I could make my own canned foods! Perhaps someday...

Jennifer C. said...

Dori, your husband is such a nice guy to build those fantastic shelves for you! And you have filled them with some amazing yumminess! Your family is so lucky!

Pixie said...

That is the coolest thing. You have my dream setup, definitely. Wow, it all looks so amazing. Thank you for sharing that cranberry chutney recipe. I love cranberries. I will have to try this one out. Again, it all looks amazing. How nice to see the fruit of both your labors so nicely laid out.

Nicki Baker said...

Thanks for the comment. You're prob right - the neighbor probably has some issue and wants to take it out on the rest of us. Maybe she just doesn't like to see people happy. Speaking of happy, I'd be happy if I could come over and eat some of the stuff you've made lately lol :)

theONLYtania said...

Wow, that shelving is awesome.. I can't believe how many things you've canned. That must save you a ton of money as well!

Dori said...

Only Tania...Canning = an investment for sure, but through this winter it is really paying for itself.... money saver, yes indeed. But it does take some professional (the blue book kind or an extension office) of knowledge so you don't kill your self with bad bacteria, oh and proper storage space is a big plus. :).

Celine said...

I wish I had the patience for canning things. it looks absolutely brilliant!

mare said...


I for one would be thrilled with your stevia apple pie filling recipe - in fact I'd be really happy if you did a series on using stevia in baking... In addition, I love soup and never learned to make small quantities of anything; would you share your knowledge of how to go about home canning soups sometime when you have a chance?

And have to second the canning godess comment: Potatoes? Who knew!!