If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Time Canning and Freezing

The produce from the garden is beginning to make its way to the house now.  Is there really anything much better than eating the foods one has grown?  We have been pampering some plants since way back earlier this year.  You may have read about our trying to get a jump on things when we were Pushing Spring.  Or you might have seen the update when I posted Vegetable Garden.  The time of rewards has begun and we are eating fresh food almost every day.

The added benefit of having these fresh vegetables, is that, generally, we also get enough to can or freeze and eat long after the sweltering days of summer have passed.  To make things even sweeter, Mike's brother, Jim, went to a vegetable auction last week where some Mennonites had boxed and sold their vegetables.  Jim came back home with a truck-load of veggies with the intentions of starting a little produce stand for him and his grandsons to operate.  Let's just say that idea is a work in progress and not mention how Jim persuaded my favorite sister-in-law, JoAnn, to sit at the stand.  Then, he deserted her to go do some sort of tractor work - disking, or cutting hay or something.  I also won't mention that the weather was near-ninety-degrees last Saturday.  Nor will I mention that the vegetable stand wasn't really all that busy and JoAnn was just sitting there sweating for quite a while.  And of course I won't mention what she said just before or maybe during or maybe right after they packed up the veggies and hauled them to the house.  What I will elaborate on is how generous JoAnn and Jim were with the left-over veggies after they called the produce stand closed for the day. 

Jim came over with a box of squash, a box of cucumbers, and a box of green beans.  The vegetables were all picture-perfect and uniform in their natural beauty.  They were just the right stage of ripeness.  They were clean.  It was a wonderful gift!  So, Mike and I set to work prepping the veggies for canning and freezing.  While Mike broke the green beans, I began washing and slicing the squash.  We put the beans in jars and put them into the pressure canner.  One peck of raw green beans produced five quarts of processed beans.  A half-bushel of squash produced eight quart bags of frozen squash.  So, we will have squash for casseroles or simply cooked with some onion and butter even after the weather is cold. 

I called JoAnn to ask her what to do with a whole big box of cucumbers and she giggled a bit and suggested we make some pickles.  Mike thought that was a great idea and said he liked his mother's sweet pickles.  I also thought making some sweet pickle relish was a good idea because we eat quite a bit of that.  Thus began the adventure into making pickles! 

I found what looked like a simple recipe for sweet pickle relish and I had all the ingredients.  So that is where I started. 
You can find the sweet pickle relish recipe HERE.

You can read about my sweet pickle adventure and get my adapted recipe HERE.  Add to that post that I had to mop the kitchen floor not just once, but twice to get it where my feet weren't sticking!