Aug 11, 2007

Canning Vegetables

Canning vegetables from the garden is always hard work, but the end products are usually better than you can buy in the grocery store. I've been busy canning pickles (27 quart jars) and corn relish (5 pints). I also froze fresh tomatoes that had been blanched so that the skin easily slid off. The whole tomatoes were then cored and packed in sandwich bags for the freezer.

The outdoor temps have been in the 90s, but indoor air conditioning now makes canning a relatively easy chore. I remember when both the indoor and outdoor temperatures were very hot and my Mother canned different vegetables and fruits. One year, she canned 82 pints of strawberry preserves because the berries were too small (or too close to rotting from too much rain) to sell. We kids had to stem box after box of them! Naturally, we enjoyed strawberry preserves on bread all year long--even as sandwiches in our packed lunches for school.

Mother canned pickles, corn, green beans, peaches, and especially tomato juice. One of our daughters borrowed her Grandmother's colander and wood paddle to make tomato juice. The paddle is rotated around and around inside the colander to push the cooked tomato pulp through, and leave the unwanted seeds inside the colander. Our daughter concluded the intensive effort was not worth it, considering the grocery store price for tomato juice and paste. However, homemade tomato juice definitely tastes better than store-bought juice.

Soap was also made by Mother and her mother and grandmother. Mother said the recipe for soap was printed on the side of the box of lye. One year her Dad didn't get around to killing a young hog during the cold butchering season. He had to wait until the next winter to butcher that hog. Mother remembers that the large hog was very fat, and they made a lot of soap from the buckets of lard. I imagine the soap recipe was much like that described by a lady born about the same time as my Mother.


Anonymous said...

I love these posts about fresh
vegetables and gardens. Few
people, I believe, realize how
easy it is to save lots of money
by having a small garden. One
year when I was in California, I
grew six tomato plants that
yielded several hundred tomatoes.
I had tomato sauce for about 1.5

It wasn't a lot of work -- the
sauce was made over the summer
at different times, as the
tomatoes ripened -- and I imagine
I saved at least $200-$300 bucks.


Anonymous said...

your soap making instructions are very informative. Thank you! I am going to add it to my collection of soap recipes here. By the way, do you have an online catalog or price list? I would love to have it please, if it's possible.