Monday, August 24, 2009

Let the canning begin.

Here are my first two forays into canning this year. As anyone in Missouri knows the tomato harvest is down a bit this year so this is all I have gotten this far.

I found a neat trick through Mother Earth news about getting the skins off of tomatoes. I have tried the blanch/cold water technique, and although effective, is a little more work than I like to do.

The unofficial mantra around the farm is "Work smart, not hard". That doesn't mean that hard work never occurs, we just try to limit it.

The trick is to freeze the tomatoes first. Then when you have a good amount ( pictured is 4 gallon freezer bags full) take them out of the freezer and as they thaw the skins kind of pop off. A little trim around the top and you are ready to can.

Pack in Hot, sterilized jars, leaving a half/quarter inch head space. wipe the rim off the jar off , add a flat lid, screw on the ring part, and hot water bath for 10 minutes. High acid foods ,like tomatoes, don't need to be pressure canned.

I also tried my hand at basil pesto. Our Friends Darian and Sarah gave us a jar last year and it was really good. You can put pesto on/in lots of stuff so I planted 3 basil plants this year so that I could try my hand at it. Here is the recipe I used
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
I mixed sweet,spicy globe,and Thai basil. Also I used walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts. We have a walnut tree in our backyard and I am hoping I can get enough to make another batch in the fall. pesto is supper easy to make and you just freeze it until you need it.

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