This Week In Canning – August 18, 2012

I may have to change the title to something like “this week in preserving” or “this week in preservation”.  Why?  Because the first thing I did was to freeze something rather than can it.

The decision was a spur of the moment at O’dark thirty and I was not in the mood to stay up later for that canner load.  So, I put the tomato juice in sandwich bags (which I will place inside a gallon sized freezer bag), labeled, and then froze them.  40 minutes of canning saved.

The juice was the by product of salsa.  The tomatoes were leaking juice on the cutting board.  In the spirit of “waste not want not” I got out a strainer and bowl and just dumped the juice in there.  After every other tomato, or so, I ran my hand or knife across the board to get all the other little stuff.  That usually resulted in more juice.  In the end I have 12 and 2/3 cups of juice; the equivalent of just over 3 quarts.  Not bad for something that I was not actually trying to make.

The salsa went along pretty well.  It was my first time every making it.  We do not eat a lot of it, but it looked relatively easy and quick to do.  I was right.  The resulting salsa should last over a year.  Almost two years if I try.  This may end up being one of those things that I only have to can every few years, like apple butter is.

I  cut up, measured, and bagged the amount needed to complete one recipe during the first day and the morning of canning.  I did 3 batches total, so 3 bags of pre-cut veggies. When it came time to cook the salsa, before canning, I just had to dump each bag into a pot and cook it.  I was able to cook one batch while the other was in the canner.

Pre-cutting did mean that I technically worked on the salsa for two or three days, but in short increments each day.  Doing it this way made it so much easier during the cooking and canning stage, as those are two very short steps – 10 and 15 minutes each respectively. It was also late by the time I got to the actual canning.  Those are the times where I like not having to think a lot. My kitchen was the cleanest it has ever  been at the end of a canning session.  I even had time to clear off the counter some and start this post.

Totals for the week: 22 pints of salsa, 12 and 2/3 cups of tomato juice