Monday, September 28, 2009

Canning Across America

Yesterday I pulled 12 more pumpkins (can't wait to make more pumpkin ravioli and soup!), a half dozen ice-box watermelons, more green/yellow/red peppers, several handfuls of grape toms, and the end of the tomatoes... There might be a FEW more to pull from the garden, but thankfully the toms are coming to an end.

Don't get me WRONG I have thoroughly enjoyed the countless recipes and canning concoctions this year, and for the first time (because of the economy) I have canned more than ever! I'll have some awesome new recipes to share shortly too!

I also had a friend pass along something she heard on the Splendid Table on NPR this weekend - What a PERFECT site for me, and for the current canning trend. So if you've wanted to try canning, but were afraid to, check out Canning Across America. Maybe you'll be inspired to put up next years harvest!!!
Well folks, time to get back to preserving the fall harvest. The cool weather this week signals the seasons crops may be coming to a close...

Friday, September 25, 2009


Hi All!

I realized that I have been lax in posting these past two weeks... I promise to get something up shortly. I have been busy with the fall harvest canning - Apples, peaches, more berries, pumpkins, watermelon, and more tomatoes!!! I have come across some great ways to prepare and preserve some of these gems that I will share later this weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tomato Canning Event This Weekend

Have you ever wanted to can your own tomatoes? Think "summer in a jar" in January sounds tasty? Maybe you would like to try a hand at canning but you are worried about food safety - What if I feed my family something I canned that makes them sick? Maybe you've had grandma's old canning jars forgotten, tucked into the basement just waiting to be used. Have no fear, for the next two Sundays at the Pittsfield Grange you will have the learning opportunity of a lifetime learning to can tomatoes - Actually I consider being taught to can by my grandparents as the "opportunity of a lifetime", however they're not available this weekend!

This introductory tomato canning workshop at the Grange is perfect for folks who have never canned before or are looking for a refresher course. Participants will discuss canning methods, food safety, and equipment, then have a hands-on lesson canning fresh tomatoes.

Tomato Canning Extravaganza!
Pittsfield Grange
3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor
Sept. 13th & Sept 20th, 2-5 pm

Suggested donation $5; free for members of the Grange

Participants are encouraged to bring 2 dry quarts of tomatoes and either one quart or two pint-sized canning jars with NEW lids and rings to take home some "fruits of their labor". Hint: You might also bring an extra jar or two, just in case there is extra 'maters!

RSVP for the Pittsfield Grange "Learn to can Tomatoes" event here!

Photo by Flickr user galant.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bumper Crop of Tomatoes?

I'll have to admit, I'm running out of energy to can, preserve or even eat tomatoes. I've made everything from Bloody Mary Mix, tomato soup, pizza sauce, marina sauce, and even sun-dried tomatoes. My family has eaten fresh 'maters over pasta, on sandwiches and on pizza... I'm beginning to feel like the Forest Gump of tomatoes! So the other day after coming back from the garden with yet another LARGE bag laden with the ripest, juiciest fruits I though - What now?! Even my family has begun to whine "Again?" So what's a girl to do?

It just so happens, I am an "experimental cooker". I'm not going to say that my cooking doesn't provide some "interesting" or not-to-be-repeated meals, but almost always I come up with a real hum-dinger of a recipe. In fact typically I'll try repeating it, only I have forgotten the "recipe". (Recipe is a vague term since it's really just my throwing in a pinch of this and a dash of that!) Yesterday after bringing yet another bag of tomatoes home though, I began to dream up a new recipe - Maybe it was the Rachel Ray coming out in me, but the first step was to see what pantry staples I had on hand!
I'll admit, this was a fun, easy recipe to put together AND to eat, and yes I did write it down!

Rustic Italian Tomatoes & Beef
1 lb lean ground beef
1 shallot - chopped
6-8 medium tomatoes, cored, quartered and seeded, with the skins on
1/2 green, red or yellow pepper, sliced into small chunks
2 Tbs. Italian "season" mix
2 Tbs. Olive oil
1 Package (cup) instant tomato soup mix

Saute the shallot and beef together until the meat is cooked through, then drain the beef. (I actually drain it then gently blot with a paper towel.) Add the peppers and tomatoes to the pan. (I used yellow and red tomatoes and red and green peppers for lots of color!) next add your olive oil. Mix the cup of soup mix as directed and pour into the pan. Simmer on medium-low in a covered pan until the tomatoes are limp but not mushy.

I served the dish over whole wheat elbow noodles, however this would be great served over bow tie, twists or other "substantially" shaped pasta - It should look like a nice, hearty meal!
Photo by Flickr user Eric Begin.