Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Summer of Canning - First Try!

After two years of farmers market shopping through the summer and fall, and then trying to find local produce through the grocery stores through the freezing winters of Toronto, I decided that it was time to try canning on for size.
Thanks to my lovely friend living back home, beside her old dairy farm, she and her family had an abundance of tomatoes grown in her own backyard. As well as lovely farmers markets near her house from the neighbouring farms. She invited me up for a visit and my first ever canning experience!

After all the sanitizing of equipment, jars, lids and rings - the jars ended up in the oven at 200 degrees to stay nice and toasty!

We started with Salsa with tomatoes from her garden, some peppers from my garden and the rest of the ingredients sourced either at farmers markets or from local produce at the grocery store.

Salsa Recipe
5 lbs tomatoes (~15 medium tomatoes)
4 mild green chilies or 1 can green chillies (drained)
2 – 6 hot chillies (fresh or dried)
1.5 cups chopped Spanish onions
1.5 cups chopped gr. Pepper
1 cup chopped red pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 can tomato paste (5.5 oz or 156ml)
1 cup white vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt
2 tsp paprika
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Start processing tomatoes by blanching them.
    • Wash the tomatoes. 
    • Cut an X in the base of the tomato and remove the stem base. 
    • Drop them 3 or 4 at a time (depending on size of tomatoes, dont crowd the pot) into the boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the skins start to fall off but the flesh is still firm
    • Remove the tomatoes from boiling water and quickly submerge them into ice water to cool.
    • Once the tomatoes are cool gently remove the skins, cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Chop the flesh of the tomatoes and place them in your COOL pot.
    • Continue until you have processed all your tomatoes
  2. Chop all other ingredients and mix into the tomatoes
  3. Simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesnt burn
  4. Remove from the heat when it reaches the consistency you want
  5. Start filling your hot jars, wipe rims, top with new lids (boiled for at least 5 mins) and clean rings
  6. Process the jars in your hot water canning pot for 20mins
Learning Experiences
* We didnt seed our tomatoes, but regretted it later. Although we ended up with what we called 'salsa juice' which was the pint of extra liquid that we skimmed off the top of the salsa so it would thicken faster. It ended up being a great braising liquid for a roast, and then a great stew base!

** We couldnt find any so chose some small cherry hots

We had 100% success with our seals - which is what I was the most concerned about. PING!!
The salsa is delish! And just spicy enough!

Spicy Red Pepper Jelly (recipe from epicurious)

We doubled this recipe so that we would both have 5 jars each. The flavour is delicious, however it did not become jelly as we had hoped. I'm looking forward to pouring it over baked brie anyway!

Although a LONG day of washing, chopping, canning and PINGs. We ended up with 10.5 jars of red pepper jelly and 14 jars of salsa. After this I'm hooked!

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