Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's a canning frenzy over here

The jetlag from our recent trip to Europe had us up early in the morning for our first few days back, and what better to do with that extra morning energy than go to the market? Early September seems to be tomato season around here, and there were giant bins of tomatoes at the market. We picked up a bushel of roma tomoates (52 pounds!) for 16 bucks and felt quite pleased about it, but as the SO was walking them home on his bike a guy stopped him to say you could get a bushel of tomatoes for ten dollars elsewhere. So cheap! I don't feel sad about paying 16 bucks for these lovely tomatoes at all, especially considering how much we pay for sad and lifeless tomatoes here in Canada in the winter.

Tomato based things are pretty labor intensive to can. We did two batches of tomato sauce over two days, and it takes a good afternoon for the sauce to slowly simmer and reduce enough until it's thick enough to can. We also made ketchup (a looooong time to reduce for that), and salsa, which didn't have to cook very long but involved a lot of prep work (scalding the tomatoes to remove the skins, and then de-seeding them).

But, those cans of salsa look pretty awesome, don't they?

We also ended up with a lot of cucumbers this week from a friend's CSA share. The SO, who is extremely picky about both mustard and pickles, found a recipe online for mustard pickles that appealed to him, and he tried these out. Unfortunately, he used a bit more (actually, a lot more!) horseradish than the recipe called for, so these may end up being pickles of death. We opted to keep them in the fridge rather than processing them, and every time I open the fridge now I get a whiff of horseradish.

After a long weekend of canning, my favorite part is labeling the lids and arranging all the nice jars of stuff in the cupboards. I'm a bit of a hoarder and find it very comforting to have a stockpile of stuff around, so the sight of this cupboard full of sauces and jams and pickles makes me very happy. I'm not sure that it's quite enough to last us through the long Montreal winter, but it's a good start.

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