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June 23, 2010

CANNING AT THE URBAN HOMESTEAD

Posted by Anais Dervaes

So ya'll geared up and excited over the canning season?    Do I hear a "Yes We Can!"  Never canned before?   Then, hopefully, my last post helped tip you over the fence.

The canning season here on the urban homestead has started with gusto!   Though I have to admit I got a bit too enthusiastic and that caused the pickled garlic to turn a out of this world green/turquoise - not to mention turning me slightly red with embarrassment!  Not to mention a bout with excessive mutterings to my self.    You know that little joke you did as kids?  Where you told the other person to point to their heads and say the abbreviation for 'mountain.'"  Ha, well, here's my "MT" story!

You see, I over confidently thought, "I'll get a jump on things.  Peel the garlic tonight and pickle them in the morn."

Yeah, well my brain must have been slightly cooked (due to all that time spent over the hot water canner that day) because one thing you know (or should know) that if you expose food to light you get oxidation.  As I said, my brain cells must have evaporated along with the steam because I just learned that prepping ahead of time-- well doesn't always work out in the long run.

Though I have been assured that the garlic is safe to eat, every time I look at the funky looking green garlic I'll remember NOT to do that ever again.  Kinda bummed that I won't be looking at pearly white garlic in the pantry.  A little voice instead my head keeps telling me "you garlic is green, your garlic IS GREEN, your GARLIC IS GREEN!"  I know, I know.  Am I not tortured enough just seeing it?   No pearly whites for me. Sniff.

What canning calamities have you experienced, encountered - care to commiserate?

Here's what we've been up to for the last couple days and we aren't done yet!   Up next: dilly carrots, more apple butter and pickled beets.

Oh, and just remember-- lots of the goods you see in the pics (wire harvest basket, scale, canning book/kit )are all sold on our online store where you can stock up on goods and supplies for your urban homestead.  Your patronage helps keep this site going and growing!   Thank you for your support.

Kitchen ready for canning action

Jars all washed

Rims hanging at the ready

Summer squash

All cut up

Pickled squash

Red rose petals

Rose petal syrup

Jalapenos

Jalapeno jelly

Elephant Garlic

Peeling garlic the night before which WASN'T a GOOD idea at the time because...

Adding vinegar solution and then....

The garlic turned GREEN. Sniff

A days worth of canning efforts

Apples

Apple butter

Apple butter

Care to share what you've been canning these days?


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69 Comments: "CANNING AT THE URBAN HOMESTEAD" »

  1. I have been canning my dried beans in the pressure cooker. You don't have to cook or soak them. You put them in a jar, cover it with warm water, and go to town. They come out incredible and it is our family's newest fast food. The greatest thing is that 2/3c. of beans makes a pint of cooked beans. I am totally sold on that. Unfortunately, I live in cold upstate NY, so we are just starting our growing season. I have a week until strawberries will be totally ready and 3 until it's raspberries and blueberries for me. I wish we had a longer growing season, but I cannot give up my snow or my apples and pears. :) Have a wonderful canning day!

    • @Shoshana, Hi Shoshana, Can you describe to me how you can the beans. Do you put the dried beans in a jar of water and then can it in the pressure canner? I never thought of doing that! This also would mean that I could cook beans from the dry stage in my pressure cooker without having to soak and wait so long???

  2. I have followed the Dervaes family for some time. We finally decided to take the plunge and started our first big garden. My wife and daughter canned our first vegetables the other day!!!! 12 jars of pickles using what we think is her grandmonthers recipe. She has tried to get it from her but she is not giving in so we found the closest recipe we could find and used that. There is still something missing and they are a little salty but still delicious. Question why does the garlic turn green???Thanks for the inspiration!!

  3. first and most important.. can you share the rose petal syrup recipe?

    also, why did the garlic turn green? I have never canned garlic. Do you just chop it or crush it the same as you would fresh garlic?

  4. okay, I just saw the link on why it turned green.. it is pretty though. Kinda festive! ; )

  5. I canned for the first time last year. I fell in love with it. This year I am planning to can much more of the harvest and that berry season is almost here. Thanks for the tip about the garlic. I will make sure mine is mature before I can it lest I have blue/green garlic too. This year I am planning to make pickles and can the rest of the goodies that are available to me in the PNW. The maritime climate provides us with the best tasting berries as well as very unusual ones we can forage (e.g. salmon berries, salol berries, wild huckle berries yum!. I also just found out there is a type maple that I can tap to make syrup and they are native to this area. Early next spring I will be making wild maple syrup as well. If you haven't guessed it I live near a forest. lol Thanks for the information you provide on the website it is useful and inspiring at the same time.

    • @Deanna: Just wanted to point out though the garlic was mature I just shouldn't have peeled them the night before exposing them to the air. Maple syrup - YUM Lucky you. Wow and all those berries too!
      Happy canning and thanks for the positive comments.

  6. We're canning jam here in WI. Strawberries are almost done and raspberries are just starting to ripen. :-)

  7. Hello! We're in full swing, now aren't we all? Much of our early summer produce gets frozen, late summer bounty gets canned, so I haven't done a whole lot this year so far other than sour cherries and mint jelly.

    I have written a canning tutorial (for beginners) for my readers- maybe yours will find it helpful as well. Lots of folks are getting on the canning bandwagon- whoohoo! Here's the link...

    http://thyhandhathprovided.blo.....ethod.html

    Your photos are gorgeous. Is there a reason you can your garlic instead of just curing and hanging it? Just curious:-). Also, do you have a canned green salsa recipe you love? [email protected]

    Thanks and can on!

    • @Thy Hand: Thanks for providing the canning tutorial - nice job! We do have a few hung garlic heads too. Just that we LOVE pickled garlic. I made the green salsa from the Ball Canning Book. It was fine, but do any ya'll have any suggestion?

  8. I concur with Sierra Mama - may we have the recipe for rose petal syrup? Also, does it matter what type of roses used?
    Our family also cans, freezes and dries whatever we can. I have been canning for at least 25 years, my mother canned and so did my grandmothers - I guess it runs in the family. I do have a question - for the last 2 years our dill pickles turn soft and are hot/spicy even though we use the same pickling spice and recipe that we have used in years past. I asked my aunt who has canned for 50+ years and she said she is having the same trouble even though she had never had it in the past. Does anyone have a good pickle recipe they care to share? I won't be canning for quite some time as our unusually rainy and cooler temperatures have put the vegies and fruit behind schedule but I am looking forward to another year of "putting aside."
    Kj

    • @Kj: Sure. I had wanted to put a link under the photo but for some reason the caption option won't let me ... either that or I have still yet to figure it out! hehe
      Here's a link to rose petal recipes http://suzette.typepad.com/the....._reci.html
      I like to use red fragrant roses - pretty color!
      As for the dill pickles, can you believe I have not yet done Dill Pickles! Any our readers can help? Suggestions wanted!

  9. P.S. Forgot to mention that the way we preserve our garlic is by roasting it, then puree it, and place in 1/2 pint jars and freeze - mmmmm!
    Kj

  10. I can't wait to can this year! How are you storing your rims? Looks interesting and way better than my tupperware box! Love your blog, BTW!

  11. I think the garlic is pretty is a funky sorta way! :-) Hey, as long as it's still yummy (and good/healthy) to eat, enjoy the variety!

  12. Ive put up quite a few 1/2 pints of Blackberry and Mixed Berry Jam, pint jars of peach sauce, and have been drying strawberries. Pretty soon, I'll be blanching and freezing green beans, I hope!

  13. Eh, mistakes happen to the best of us. On a particularly busy day recently I invited a friend over to can strawberry jam. My head really wasn't with me and I didn't measure the berries, misread the pectin amount, and ended up with strawberry syrup. Tasty as it was, I really wanted jam so the next day I popped open all the jars, reboiled, added the correct amount of pectin, and recanned.

    • @Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen): Yep, that's a fact. Hope our newbie canners read your comment - canning should be fun! Not to mention, fixable too. Or you could have had some really tasty ice cream topping. ;)

  14. Hello, for more helpful infomation you can visit this site, http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_home.html

    I use a canning book called So Easy To Preserve, it's put out by the University of Georgia.
    Hope that helps...

  15. Can anyone recommend a page or a book with recipes for canning. Especially for vegetables.

  16. I love canning and have preserved many things over the years! However, I have no confidence in my creations and have rarely eaten what I've canned. Last year I made a beautiful salsa and displayed it proudly in my kitchen. Never ate a bit of it! How crazy is that?! I'm always concerned that the food will not have been processed properly to keep away from botulism. How can I be sure?!

    I canned our pumpkins one year using my handy "Squeez-o" food mill. This tool made the BEST pumpkin "meat" for canning, free of liquid, seed and rind. It's the best tool for canning.

    • @Stacy: I admit the "B" word scared me too when I first started. If you keep things clean, follow the recipe and heat to the canned goods at a high temperature you should be fine. Just to be sure, it's good to use up canned goods within a year. Before using any of our canned goods I always check the seal - make sure the seal hasn't "popped" It's also good to 1. Eye the food - does it look funky? 2. Smell - does it smell funky.
      And if you are still not sure, the faster you eat up your canned goods the better. You can store canned goods in the fridge for up to 3-4 months.

  17. I never thought of pickling summer squash/zucchini! Now I have another idea of what to do with them when they come on all at once! Years ago, I used to take the ones that grew too large and made zucchini "milk" by running them through a blender (fresh- uncooked). I'd freeze that in small quantities and use it in place of milk in my baking recipes. Wonder if the zucchini "milk" could be canned also?

    • @Stacy: Us too! But once we tried the squash pickles we were hooked! Now they are our favorite canned goods. Wow, that's pretty cool. Never thought of that. That's certainly a good way to use up those "whales"

  18. I've put up some pickled beets earlier this spring and some strawberry honey jam. I went ahead and placed my order for the tomatoes this Saturday. I told my husband to set me up outside as we have a flat burner stove and it takes FOREVER for that canner to come to a boil. We'll go ahead and do it on the propane burner instead.

    I think your garlic is pretty, but I can understand why you'd be upset. Things like that happen to me all the time. :)

    • @Paula: Thankfully I am over being upset . Can't let things like that get at you for too long, besides, there's too much work to do! LOL Yeah, I know how that is. We held a canning class at a school that didn't have a stove and use one of those electric camping stoves. Oh my! It took longer to boil the water than to make the jam. ;o

  19. I also had a canning mishap and will never forget it (although I find the color in your garlic rather rustic and I love it!).

    I work full time about 30 minutes from home so I have to can in "batches". I made salsa - had to use my big black canner to cook it because it made so much (which is a relatively thin pot)! I had refrigerated it overnight and was going to can it the next night. The next night, I had it warming on the stove and it was just really ready to put in the jars. About that time someone knocked on my front door. My lazy husband refused to answer the door and I ran to the door in a flurry. Ughh! A salesman! Before I could get back to the kitchen my entire pot of salsa scorched! It was all RUINED and I had to dump it out and start again. It was very disheartening. But, I will never leave a pot of salsa cooking again!

    I also love seeing the pickled squash/zucchini. Those are beatiful! Definitely need to try that this year! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

    • @JeannaMO: Oh man, that is disheartening canning story! There should be a warning sign we could hang up in the kitchen - "CANNING DO NOT DISTURB (for anything other than an emergency!) LOL Hopefully not being able to enjoy your homemade salsa helped your husband realize that!
      Have a good canning season too!

      • Blake: I've done lots of hands-on gardening wproshoks in other cities and will continue to do so if the opportunities present themselves and the match is right. Too tricky to organize a venue myself though since I am coming from Canada and can't bring anything with plants, soil, seeds over the border. So in those cases I must work with a garden store, etc that can offer up the needed supplies. P.S. I am ALWAYS open to San Francisco love that city!

  20. @Stacy - The only way you can know 100% that your food is safe is by following the tested and proven guidelines from the National Center for Home Food Preservation (http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/), having your pressure canner tested (your local Extension office will do this) and by using a tested recipe (without making any changes). Otherwise you really just don't know. But follow the rules and you don't have to worry!

    We are just waiting on our tomatoes to come in and ripen up, and hopefully we will get to can some spaghetti sauce and salsa this year. :)

  21. P.S. Anais - The green in the garlic should fade. It may take a while, but eventually most of it should go away. Of course, by that point you may have eaten it all anyway. :)

  22. Have not started canning yet,had a lot of troble with snails, slug and pill bug eating everything I put out this year. Chickens have cleaned most of them up. However I have turned garlic green. I made some cold bye-bye (an oxamal I make for colds) and left it sitting on the counter instead of placeing all that fresh yummy good stuff in the frig right away. The garlic turned everything in the mix a funky color. It was a lesson well learned as I did not think it was ediable I through it out and started over. Good luck canning!!!!

    • @Jennifer: Hmmm, we should start the "green garlic club!" ;) I guess if it was something like peeling apples or potatoes we'd easily realize that they would start to discolor in hours.
      Sorry to hear about your garden woes. Yeah for chickens getting those darn bugs. This year we are trying to stay a step (er steps) ahead of the harlequin bugs and blight (thanks to our cool June)

  23. Oh my! The fun we have while canning. So now you just tell everyone, you are experimenting with a new idea! ;) Afterall, most great recipes happen by accident!! I grew up helping my mom can and now I carry on the tradition. It feels so good to know what's in those jars and what I'm eating. Keep up the great work!
    A tip I picked up and have been using, especially since I have to keep a j-o-b, I cook my tomato sauce down with crockpots. I keep it on low, keep the lid slightly off (it won't cook down otherwise) and it will cook down. I have let it cook overnight and canned the next morning or cook while I have been at work and then canned when I got home. If it isn't quite where I want it, it only takes a short time simmering on the stove to get it there.

    • @Buffalomary: I know, I know, what adventures we have in the kitchen! LOL Good point. Could say it's "exclusive urban homestead garlic" or something like that. Good idea about the tomatoes, thanks for the tip. Because you are right there are just some days we can't complete the canning process. Just this morning I was reading about the two day jam method.
      Amen to that. Like I say canning is "food security at its best!"

    • I remember as a kid, cainnng was so scary to me. We had to stay out of the kitchen because the pressure cooker might explode. I didn't realize until I was in my 30s that you can also cold bath can and not even use a pressure cooker! My mom did over 900 jars of various things one year. We were eating canned plums (essentially prunes) forever. I think she had over 200 quarts. But almost all of the food was free and with a family of 7 it was a gihugic savings. As I recall she did mostly fruit and pickles. Her bread and butter pickles are the best in the world. I really should start cainnng. But to do that I need something to can, so I guess a bigger garden should come first, eh?

  24. We don't have one yet, but this year I'm going to attempt to find a good recipe for canned salsa verde that uses green tomatoes. If I have success, you'll probably hear me whoop out there on the west coast:-).

  25. Thanks Anais,
    Medicine making is in high gear here, somehow the bugs do not seem too interested in them. I finally have flowers on veggies, so looking forward to fresh food that has a flavor!!!

    • @Jennifer: That's what I like about herbs too - bugs don't particularly care for them. What types of medicines are you making. I've been fascinated with herbs since I was little. So always interested in learning more about their medicinal uses. Happy harvesting!

      • 25.1.1

        @Anais,
        You have to try the Zuchinni "fruit snacks" They are awesome... I'm sure you could sub some sort of fruit syrup instead of the kool aid... but here's how I make 'em

        Zucchini "Fruit Snacks"

        Weird and AWESOME! Really, it's unbelievable! Try it. It's great with the big overgrown zukes too!

        8 1/2 Cups zucchini cut into 1 " pieces
        2 cups sugar
        3 cups water
        2 packets of fruit flavored Kool Aid

        Boil gently together for 25 minutes, strain & drain (you can save the liquid for another batch but it will need another packet of kool aid added for extra flavor boost.) Don't overcook em.

        put the little chunks on a dehydrator for 12-14 hrs at 125F

        peel em off the tray and toss them with a little fine sugar or half powdered sugar and cornstarch to chill the stickiness if you want... YUM!

  26. Jennifer:
    I would be interested in what "medicine" you are making too. I make my own too but am always interested in what others have learned.

    Anais: Thank you for the link for the rose syrup.
    We don't grow zucchini but our neighbor does and shares with us. I would like to try your zuke pics....our neighbor also gives us the large ones which we feed to our chickens...Really, you have never canned dill pickles? Love the pictures of your canning and kitchen, please keep them coming and thank you so much for sharing with us - it is really nice to know there are "kindred spirits" out there.
    Kj

    • @Kj: Sure. I love using rose syrup to flavor lemonade. Nope, never made dill pickles because we haven't grown the pickling type of cukes (our clients like the heirloom lemon and salad cukes); however, this year Justin planted a few! Last year wasn't such a good year for cucumbers, hopefully this year is a better one.

      Oh and your welcome, appreciate the comments.

  27. Good morning Anais and KJ,
    I just started a lactucas cordual, I mix three parts lactucas with one part valarian/skullcap tincture for a sleep aid. Have made some Digestive Fire cordual. Going to harvest some mugwort to dry and make some some oil mixed with arnica for brusies and joint pain, the St. John's Wort is ready to be turned into oil (three months of waiting for it to be done). St. John's oil with EO of lavender makes the best sunburn oil. Oh and feverfew rosemary cordual for headaches. Hopfully the Elderberry in the park near by will have lots of berrys year for my favorit ELDERBERRY CORDUAL!!!!! YUMMY!!! I think I may be a bit obsessed with the herbs in my yard????

    • @Jennifer: You are quite the herbalista! That's so neat, love it when folks grow their own pharmacy - and you can NEVER had enough herbs! Your DIGESTIVE FIRE cordual sounds interesting. Our family has a history of digestive issues so always on the lookout for good remedies. Do you sell your herbal goods? Herbs are such a great "cottage industry"

  28. Jennifer:
    Thank you so much for sharing! Your corduals sound very interesting. I have not heard of lactucus, but will check it out. May I ask how you make your feverfew/rosemary mix? Feverfew grows basically as a weed for us here, so I have plenty of fresh herb to work with. I have tried unsuccessfully for 2 years to get the st. john's wort to grow - any suggestions?
    Anais: I hope you get enough cukes to play with for pickling - yeah for Justin! They don't grow well for us here, I think our soil is lacking what they need - our little farm used to be an orchard from the early 1900's to the 50's-60's and then pasture - lemon cukes did real well for us, but my family didn't like them :(

  29. We made a little mistake!!:) We accidentally doubled the recipe for our pickles so there is double the salt content. Can we empty them out and recan them using the correct amount?

  30. Great Job thanks for the pictures. I know that was a lot of work but, it must feel great at the end to look at all those full jars on the counter.

    Have a Great Day!!
    Frank

    • @Frank: You are right, though the work may be hard at the time - it's PURPOSEFUL work and one that you can look on as a JOB WELL DONE. Have a great day and weekend too.

  31. We are starting to can Cherries today. Jelly, Pie Filling and Juice. We are also starting to pick our Currants, Gooseberries and Jostaberries. Those we make a mixed Jelly with. Now we are anxiously awaiting for the veggies in the garden!
    Thank you for sharing the recipes. We are going to try the Rose Petal Syrup. We have a TON of rosebushes here. We do make smellies with them, but the Syrup looks too good to pass up!
    Happy Gardening and Canning,
    Audra

    • @Audra: Rose syrup is one of the those things, when added to desserts or drinks will have folks asking "this stuff is GOOD, whatcha got in there?" ;) Happy canning too!

  32. Anais,
    I did have a small body care business until the ressesion hit. Dying to make some lotion for myself. I will try and send you the digestion fire with the reciep if you don't mind, then you can try it and if you like it you can make some up for yourself. Frim believer in herbal wisdom being shared with anyone who wants it.

    KJ,
    Feverfew grows like a weed here as well. I have had migrains since I was eight and since migrains are classified as a blood disorder feverfew is perfect for me. I simple soak equal parts feverfew and rosemary in brandy for one month, strain out herbs and add honey. Your suppose to add equal parts honey but I find it too sweat that way. Let your tastebuds deside. You could add hawthorn berrys that would be great. Have fun and let me know how it works out.

    • @Jennifer: Wow, wish you were my neighbor. You and I could go to town with herbs. That would be lovely. Appreciate your sharing. Have a wonderful weekend. Many blessings.

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