Harvest Season Vacation

Harvest Season Vacation

My vacation this year was taken primarily in the kitchen over a hot stove. Pressure canning!  Doesn’t sound like a dream vacation does it?  It didn’t sound that way to me, but the reality is very far from the experience.  I love canning, I love harvest season, I love spending time in my kitchen, I love good fresh food, and I loved having Attila around and about the place, sometimes helping me, sometimes off puttering in the garden or the garage.  Most of all I love to get my teeth into an activity, tackle it, and accomplish a goal.

Here are a few pictures of my canning adventure.

canning assembly line in kitchen
This is the canning assembly line in the kitchen. There were no meals cooked during the canning days, all available space was used for at least 12 hours each day, and usually deep into the night.
Jars of Tomatoe Red Pepper Sauce
The first 23 jars of Tomato Red Pepper Sauce cooling on the table. Pressure canned jars need to sit undisturbed for 24 to 48 hours, before moving them into storage.
tomato puree
Cooking the tomato puree, in the 16 quart pot. The smaller pot was used for boiling water to sterilize the jars, rings, lids, attachments, for canning.
jars of tomatoes on kitchen counter
The results of the canning marathon! 12 Litre jars of Tomato Puree. And there is my All American Pressure Canner, resting after all its hard work.
dehydrating tomato skins and seeds
After making tomato puree with the food mill, the skins and seeds were spread on silicon sheets and placed in a 200F oven for an hour or so, this was done several times.
Jar of powdered tomatoes, with three layers.
The dehydrated tomato skins and seeds. Multiple methods of dehydration were used and can be seen in the layers in the jar. The bottom layer was air-dried, then put in the blender to create the light coloured tomato powder. The middle layer, a little darker in colour, was baked briefly in shallow baking pans, then powdered. The darkest layer, the top layer, was baked on silicon sheets in the oven, then powdered.
large pot of applesauce
The apple puree in a 15 quart stock pot. The half bushel of apples had the blossom ends and stems cut out, were quartered, boiled till soft, then put through the food mill. This was a lot of applesauce, and the pot was almost too heavy for me to lift myself.
jar with apple skins and seeds and botto of apple cider vinegar
The skins and seeds, taken from the food mill and placed in a 1 1/2 litre mason jar. To this I added 2 tablespoons of sugar dissolved in water, 2 tablespoons of
apple cider vinegar, and water to cover all of the skins and seeds, which almost filled the jar. It is sitting a dark cupboard for two weeks now, with a coffee filter covering it, held down by the screw top lid. This may or may not yield apple cider vinegar.
9 jars of applesauce
The applesauce made from 1/2 bushel of Paulared apples. The jars were pressure canned, and they all sealed as they should.
comsumers mason jar
I have been canning for decades. This was one of my first set of canning jars, a Consumers Mason jar. I have only a few of these now. I don’t remember where the others ended up, probably given as gifts, filled with some canned delight.
Atlas Mason jar
This Atlas mason jar is one I acquired somewhere, no idea where. It is an American Quart, rather than a litre.
Douglas Mason jar.
I have five or six of the Douglas Mason jars in my collection.
Dominion Mason jar.
The Dominion Mason jar, I have a few of these as well. I originally had a dozen each of the Consumers Mason, Douglas Mason, and Dominion Mason jars. I don’t remember ever having broken a jar, so I suspect I gave the missing jars away, filled with food.
different varieties of tomatoes on a plate
In the summer of 2018 we grew four varieties of tomatoes.
Upper Left: big round Pink Girl
Upper Right: one short oblong Health Kick tomato
Middle: elongated tomatoes, San Marino
Bottom: Amish Paste tomatoes
I would not grow the Pink Girl tomatoes again, they were nice but not outstanding and took a long time to ripen. The others were very nice tasting, and were wonderful for canning.
The beat up chest freezer.
And finally, the poor old thing!  This is the little second hand chest freezer I bought years ago. It was only meant to be a temporary solution to keeping frozen foods at Mist Cottage before we moved here. But when we sold the Country House, the buyers wanted our bigger, new freezer, so we had to let it go. Now this is the main freezer. It is not energy efficient, and it is very beat up, that is why I got if for a song. It works, but it doesn’t provide as much storage as we need. That is why I am canning and not freezing during this harvest season.



Date: 1:00 PM EDT Monday 10 September 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 12.6°C
Dew point: 11.4°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: ENE 10 km/h
Visibility: 13 km

It was less than a week ago the humidex was hitting 40C! Look at that high today 13C! The weather people say warmer weather is on the way. That will give the garden a chance to yield lots of produce before the first frost hits.


“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970


  1. Bex

    Oh Maggie, the auto-fill is on again! Yay! Thank you. I figure I have only so many miles left in my typing fingers so I hate to waste any of that time if I can help it by filling in boxes! LOL. Anyway, I love your canning operation there. I see “Mist Cottage Canning” as a business endeavor… I love red pepper sauce, much more than tomato sauce. Love your old mason jars, too. You could start at Etsy store with just your own things! But I know you don’t want to part with them. I have never canned anything in my life. And now I can’t stand up for more than 5-10 mins. at a time so that’s out for me. Way too much kitchen work. The kitchen and I “agree to disagree” on almost everything these days.

  2. Bex

    P.S. Do you ever make “salsa” – I’ve become addicted to it (the kind I find on amazon (? brand ?) is so good. I need to order more. I use it for almost everything, it really livens up almost any food.

  3. Teri, the amygdalin has to be exposed to digestive juices to turn into cyanide. They only stay in the concoction for two weeks, and will be exposed to apple cider by the end of the two weeks. Then they are separated from the cider and disccarded. Then the cider is left to turn into vinegar. How much of the amygdalin escapes into the apple cider is unknown. Some of the seeds are borken, so there might be some amygdalin in the cider, but I doubt there are significant amounts. I’ll be on the lookout for more detailed info on the subject.

  4. Bex, Mist Cottage Canning is such an appealing idea and name. Lots of work though, when I think that I an only produce 12 litres in 12 hours!

    Salsa! Yes, it is on my wish list for canning. I suggested it to Attila, who eats a lot of salsa, and he isn’t satisfied with the recipe he has been using. The plan is to make small batches of salsa by different recipes until one stands out, then use that recipe for canning salsa. You can buy flavour mixes to can salsa, but they contain chemicals and I don’t want to go there. That salsa you are buying looks amazing!!!

    PS Glad to hear logging in is no longer a misery!

  5. Teri, just a further note on amygdalin. I’ve been poking around looking for studies about it related to apple cider vinegar, nothing official out there. What I found interesting is that in many countries it is used as a cancer treatment, using apricot pits mostly, which are much higher in amygdalin than apple seeds. Also, tiny amounts of cyanide can be handled by the human body, it is excreted in the urine. So I’ve decided not to worry about the amygdalin in my batch of apple cider vinegar, and in my apple sauce. Thanks for bringing this up, it has been very interesting!




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