Thursday, March 17, 2011

Plan to Can

Sense of Home

Time to start thinking ahead to canning season.  What were last season's successes, failures, what should I can more of, or less.  This is a good time of year (at least for those of us in the northern reaches) to think about canning because you can see what is left on the shelves and know how many months it will be before there will be fresh fruits and vegetables ripening in the garden.  The above photo shows all, except for a few jars of plum juice (in the photo below), we have left from last year's canning season and a couple jars of pickles from the year before (best use those up in the next couple months).  I think we got the number of whole tomatoes and tomato sauce just right, we should have enough to take us to tomato season.  We have enough pickled jalapeños to take us into 2012, no need to can more this summer.  Apple sauce is about right as well, but I will run out of apple juice by mid-April and there are several months before there will be ripe apples on the trees.  We have too much jelly again, it is so much fun to try different jelly recipes, but the truth is we just don't eat that much jelly.  I should find ways to use it in recipes, such as jelly filled cookies or pastries, then share them at work so we don't eat them all.  I need to make more tomato salsa, I just opened the last jar this week, but we still have a few jars of peach salsa.  I have two jars of tomato soup and three jars of canned chicken soup left, that is about right, spring is nearly here, but the chicken stock was gone long ago.  Next fall I need to get more chickens, for making stock, we go through a lot of it.  I have been making small batches of stock as I need it, freezing a few jars, but it is so handy to have stock canned and ready to use at a moments notice.  The peaches, apricots, and cherries are holding up, but we are down to our last couple of containers of frozen berries so we will start to eat more of the canned fruit soon.

I also like to search out some new recipes to try before we hit the ultra-busy gardening and preserving season.  This year I plan to try my hand at pickled cauliflower, spiced crabapples, blackberries in Framboise, raspberry vinegar and tarragon wine vinegar to be used in making dressings, red onions in vinegar, and then there is that recipe for gingered zucchini marmalade (I will have to start giving away jellies).  I plan to can some items in smaller batches, this will make it more manageable for someone working full-time and we really don't need a lot of some foods since the children have grown and have homes and gardens of their own.