Not According To Plan

Canning season is at its peak right now, at least for us. The last two weekends have been spent canning, and this weekend is much the same.

The plan was to can a little salsa with our fresh tomatoes, pickle beans and onions, and process the frozen tomatoes with the tomato mill. This would be the first time using the mill for tomatoes, as we have been using it frequently to grind meat for homemade sausage, but not used it for milling tomatoes. We bought it for milling tomatoes, so we are looking forward to trying that out.

But such was not to be.

This week our local grocery store advertised red shepherd peppers sold by the half bushel. I wanted to can peppers, using the pressure canner, for winter soups. The weekend plan changed to canning the peppers, and then do some pickling.

The store did not have the red peppers when we visited on Thursday. We went back on Friday, still no peppers. We went back on Saturday morning, still no peppers. But, there was one bushel of Roma tomatoes that were beautiful, ripe and firm, the sign said San Marzano, the box said Roma. We could not resist them, into the cart they went. There was one half bushel of green peppers left for sale, we snapped those up as well. While we were in the produce department I asked the fellow if the red peppers were coming in. He said they were hoped for at 11:00 a.m. that morning, we could come back. We did go back, and bought two half bushels.

So, the decision was made on Saturday, after shopping, to can the most perishable produce first. That meant the tomatoes had to come first.

Yesterday we processed about a third of the bushel of tomatoes, to make salsa. We started around noon, and finished at around 5:00 p.m. 24 jars of salsa were canned.

Three of the canned jars of salsa did not seal. What a disappointment! I put new lids on them early this morning and canned them again. Two of the three did not seal. I am going to run them through the canner again today, but use reusable Tattler lids on them, and increase the head space. They are so much easier to store on the shelf, rather than the refrigerator or freezer.

I’ve never had new metal lids fail on me before. Lid quality has greatly deteriorated since the pandemic, I use Bernardin lids. I had some older Bernardin lids, purchased in 2019, and all of them sealed, but the newer ones are not as reliable. We will have to deal with that for a while, hopefully customer feedback will inspire Bernardin to practise better quality control.

As we work through our canning projects, jar management comes into play. I am changing the way I store my empty jars. As the food is consumed, and the jars washed and dried, a clean used lid and ring are placed on the jar, and it is stored upside down in the box. This makes it very easy to discern clean jars, ready for use by removing the clean used lid.

The other change I am making is with the canning jar boxes. I have always split the plastic wrapping down the centre. This makes it difficult to remove jars in the back corners. The split plastic is being taped shut again with packing tape, and the plastic is cut along three sides of the box, leaving an easy to handle flap. To prevent the plastic from falling off the box, it is held with packing tape around the three open sides. I converted the opening on the last old jar box this morning, yay!

Today we have more than half of the tomatoes to can. The tomatoes will be cleaned, the stems removed, quartered, heated to soften, then run through the tomato mill. We ended up with a 16 quart stock pot filled to the brim with softened quartered tomatoes. The resulting tomato sauce will be canned in quarts in the steam canner. The skins and seeds will be dehydrated for tomato powder. I am hoping we can get the rest of the tomatoes processed today, as they are at their peak quality.

That leaves a bushel of red shepherd peppers, and a half bushel of green peppers to process. Hopefully we will manage to can all of the red peppers tomorrow. That is the plan. Well, you know how plans go!



Updated on Sun, Sep 3 at 11:15 AM
Wind 10 SW km/h
Humidity 69 %
Visibility 23 km
Sunrise 6:32 AM
Wind gust 15 km/h
Pressure 101.2 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 7:40 PM


“Medicine has devolved from something holy to just the harvesting of human suffering for profit. When one stands back far enough and views its entirety, it’s quite the horror show.”
A Friend on Facebook 30 Aug 2023

This has been our experience, and it does not reflect the excellent work of some health care workers on the ground, the ones who do their best working for a wage, they aren’t the individuals harvesting misery for profit.

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Yum. Homemade salsa is so good. The cousin of a friend of mine is sharing some of the tomatoes from his garden with 5 of us in my building. He said this summer had been one of the best for his tomatoes.


Hi Maggie. He’s the cousin of a dear departed friend of mine. She used to always say what a great gardener he was. But he’s also very generous to share with us which is wonderful. 🙂