Last Vegetable Standing

squash growing into chain link fence

Blue Hubbard Squash: This squash choose to grow on the fence, and is the last vegetable standing (or clinging) in the garden.

Bex makes hats. Lots of beautiful hats. Bex may be grandly addicted to making hats. I see this as a good thing, and hundreds of other people who will be warm this winter will definitely agree.

I can food. I can lots of food. I think I may be grandly addicted to canning food. I see this as a good thing. My range is very limited, only Attila and I will eat this food.

On Saturday I canned six half litres of Green Tomato Mincemeat and three half litres of Sweet Green Tomato Relish. Last night I thought, there, done for the season!

jars of mincemeat and relish

Saturday’s canning session yielded six jars of Green Tomato Mincemeat, and three jars of Sweet Green Tomato Relish

This morning when Attila and I talked about the meals I would be cooking early in the week, I realized that the tomatoes I had been chopping and stewing and adding to a mason jar in the fridge, would not get used. Not wanting to risk losing the lovely tomatoes, and waste all my hard work chopping and stewing them, I decided to can them. So I prepared my jars, heated the tomatoes, added a 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid to each jar, ladled in the tomatoes, and soon had two half litre jars of organic tomatoes to go into the steam canner.

But, that wasn’t enough for me. I had some sugar syrup left from my latest attempt at fermenting our own apple cider vinegar. Not wanting to waste this little bit of syrup, it seemed like a good idea to can apple slices, and use it as the liquid in the canning jars. Four Northern Spy apples were peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced into a bath of ascorbic acid and water. The slices were too big to fit easily into the jars, so the apples were chopped. The water was drained from the chopped apples, and they were added to the sugar syrup in a saucepan. After being boiled for five minutes they were ladled into two half litre jars, which were soon ready to go into the steam canner.

The apples needed to be processed for 20 minutes. The tomatoes needed to be processed for 35 minutes. I processed both the apples and the tomatoes for 35 minutes.

jars of tomatoes and apples

Two jars of organic tomatoes and two jars of Northern Spy Apples.

But I was in for a very big surprise! When I took the lid off the canner, I discovered that the protective cardboard packing had been lodged in it. The steam canner had cooked it too! I was worried about the effect that would have on the canned goods, but the seals all popped, although it did take a lot longer than usual for them to do so. It was a success, but these jars will go into the fridge to be eaten over the next week or so. As Attila pointed out, I won’t ever do that again! Not only will I always check now, there is no longer any packaging to discover.

soaking wet piece of cardboard

Freshly steam canned packaging.

If we like the apples, I will can a lot more in this way, a perfect snack. However, in future they will be packed in water only, no syrup.

Worldly

Weather

3°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Sunday 21 October 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 2.5°C
Dew point: -6.0°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: WNW 10 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”
Niels Bohr
1885 – 1962

I am working on it!

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6 Responses to Last Vegetable Standing

  1. WendyNC says:

    What’s odd is that there was still packaging in there despite your recent canning marathons. I am truly in awe of the volume of food you’ve preserved in these last few weeks.

  2. Teri says:

    Love the humor of your title, and the clingy blue hubbard squash! 😀

  3. I’ve never forgotten the beauty of jars of colorful, canned fruits and vegetables! Memories of the ‘good old days’ on the farm!

  4. Wendy, well, it was my carelessness! The sheet of cardboard protected the interior of the lid from the sharp edges of the trivet, which was stored in the lid in the box. I unpacked the box, setting the lid aside, then placed it on the canner without realizing that although the trivet had been removed, I had not removed the packing. Pretty silly! Now there won’t be any packing to forget, lol.
    Now that you mention it, there is a lot of food on the canning shelves! Luckily it has all sealed well and most of it will be consumed over the winter, and what isn’t will last for quite a while in the jars, probably years, but I hope it is eaten before that. This year is the gauge, I’ll know better next September just how many jars of tomatoes, applesauce, red pepper sauce, mincemeat and relish to can. I am enjoying myself!

  5. Teri, I’ve had my eye on this enterprising squash all summer! I made Attila promise that if it began to compromise the fence, it would get cut down, but it behaved with perfect civility.

  6. Diane, such wonderful memories. It is hard work, but so satisfying. With this new steam canner I am looking forward to foraging for delectables, as I can now can just a few jars at a time.