We had a bumper crop of lilacs this year. My neighbor commented that his trees were so full of blossoms that he couldn't see the leaves. My small lilac tree was loaded, too, so it seemed like a good year to experiment with eating some of the flowers. One of my closest friends has made candied lilacs for her daughter's birthday for years by brushing the delicate blooms with egg white and and sprinkling them with superfine sugar, but I didn't think that would have as much appeal for my boys. They generally prefer volume to intricacy. [Read more…]
To can food at home, you combine canning safe glass jars, lids with rubber gaskets, food that's safe for canning and the right heat processing. Home canning allows you to preserve almost any food – even entire meals – but you need to follow the rules. I do the bulk of my home canning during harvest season, but can fire up the canner any time of year. One trick I've taken advantage of is to toss whole fruit (like tomatoes) or fruit puree into the freezer, and then finish processing when the weather has cooled. In this post I’ll discuss how to can food at home safely, basic equipment for home canning, canning tips and recipes.
This recipe for pickled cherry tomatoes came about as a way of preserving the huge harvest of cherry tomatoes we had last year. The cherry tomatoes and an assortment of vegetables are cold packed and covered in hot brine. Vinegar lowers the pH, making it safe for water bath canning. Added salt and sugar tie up free water, inhibiting bacteria growth. Our neighbor (who loves pickled foods) can eat a whole jar in one sitting. [Read more…]
I made up a batch of these green tomato pickles to use up some of the unripe tomatoes knocked off the vines during our recent hail storm. We picked all the storm damaged fruit, and trimmed off the spoiled bits, saving the undamaged parts for preserving. I found a number of green tomato recipes, but pickled green tomatoes seemed most likely to appeal to my family. (The crew groaned out loud at the green tomato mincemeat recipe.) We like dill pickles, so why not dilly tomatoes? [Read more…]
A lot of us are trying to stretch our food budgets by growing our own or purchasing in bulk. Many are also joining CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, which provide them with produce (and sometimes other items) throughout the growing season. To take full advantage of local food sources, we need to find ways to store food after harvest. This post will give you a brief overview of different home food preservation methods, and direct you to addition resources. Then you can decide which methods works best for you.