What is the point of knowing a skill and keeping it all to yourself? Today I taught a salsa making class for the Driftless Folk School and it was a blast and a half. Though the class only had 2 students, a couple from Madison area, we managed to make two kinds of salsa and a chutney—that may not seem like a lot but with all the processing we had to do it took all day!
Because it was a class not a personal canning project I decided to use recipes rather than just wing it like I usually do. Tomato canning can be scary because of botulism fears so when in doubt always follow a recipe. I’ve been experimenting lately with different kinds of tomatoes and acids. The tomatoes I used in my class were a mixture of heirlooms from our garden, some Amish paste from actual Amish people, and a neat little variety from the farmers market that originated in Iraq. Combined they created a super flavorful and powerful blend. For acid we used white vinegar simply because it was the cheapest thing to buy for class. I’ve been putting lemon juice into some of my home creations and it is definitely noticeable when you are eating it later so I recommend using it for spaghetti sauces because it adds a cool dimension that seems fancy and purposeful.
Overall I think think my class was a success. I wish more people had been there but there is always next time. I love teaching and I love canning and I love eating salsa so today was a great day for Annie!
During the growing season I packed away a couple hundred jars of fruits, vegetables, veggie stocks, salsas, jams, apple sauces, and various other edibles. Those jars combined with potatoes and squash we harvested, which hide under my bed where temperatures are cooler, have made it significantly easier for me to live cheaply and luxuriously this winter. As I slowly use my stores of food I have been making note of which foods I have enjoyed and which I could do without.
Canned Peaches: In light syrup, heavy syrup, and honey. All have been amazing.
Corn: Plain with no salt. It was pressure canned. Still perfectly sweet!
Apple cider: At some point we couldn’t eat or drink any more apples and so canned apple cider was born!
Peach salsa: Delicate, spicy, and still crisp. Also, its very pretty.
Dilly Beans: My first canning project! Everything in the jar is perfectly dilly!
Dilly Carrots: Crispy, unique, and addictive
Dill Pickles: Super spicy, crispy, and celery seedy
Unsweetened Apple Sauce: Smooth and sweet and fantastic!
Yukon Potatoes: stored in a paper bag, under my bed. Yummmmm.
Garlic: stored wonderfully and it nice and spicy!
Butternut and Acorn squash: Yummmmmmmm! Keeping well in a box under my bed!
Marinara Sauce: Sweet and thick! Perfect!
Tomato Sauce: Garlic, spicy, and way better than store bought.
Dried Apples: SO GOOD. Sweet and crunchy and freaking awesome.
Honey! We got about a dozen quarts from one hive and it is really unique tasting and perfect for tea and baking
Pickled Beets: Good to the last one. And then beyond because the onions and garlic inside are great too.
Dried Lemon Balm: Still delicious. Makes a nice soothing cup of tea!
Less than Awesome:
Sweet Pickles: These would probably be awesome if I liked cloves
Octobers’ Salsa: It’s gross. Tomatoes were overripe.
Green Salsa: Very unflavorful. Better with fresh garlic and onions added in.
Summer Ferment: It wasn’t done fermenting when we canned it and now it this weird gross, salty mix
Cinnamon Apple Sauce: One time I burnt some apple sauce and thought adding cinnamon would cover up the burnt taste. It didn’t.
Peach jam: Far too sweet. And not in a sweeeeeeet man kind of way.
Red potatoes: They didn’t store well and instead grew impressive sprouts.
“Smokey” Marinara: Another burnt thing that got canned. I am learning my lesson about this…
Whatever they are orange squash: I think they are actually just under ripe acorn squash. Obviously then they are not delicious.
Tags: canned foods, canned peaches, canning, dilly beans, food preservation, good food, honey, pickling, potatoes, salsa, squash, tomato sauce, winter storage
Right now we are in peak harvest time for tomatoes and my goddess to we ever have a glut of these beauties! This morning I got to use the food mill for the first time to make tomato sauce. We have a beautiful hand crank mill and it works like a dream. I was finding that I didn’t like how watery it was when I was using the attachment for making sauce so I decided to use the one for salsa. It has bigger holes so you get a slightly chunkier sauce. It looks great! We have also been making salsas and soups with the tomatoes.
Last summer the farm had a late blight and they didn’t get as big of a harvest as this year. The main differences in care have been tying the plants, periodic fertilizing with some manure water from our horses on the roots, and more regular watering. It certainly would seem that all the hard work paid off.