Post#2, Northern Hemisphere, Zone 6, NE Ohio.
Topic: The very beginning of the Harvest, Canning 101.
We had several storms rip through, and other than flattening the corn, the garden just keeps growing. For the record, this is the earliest we've
harvested, so without sounding some doom porn, I think it's a bit odd that veggies are ready to process this early in the season. Regardless, the
work needs done.
The corn is healing itself, and growing back towards the sun. It may take a bit longer to harvest corn, but, hey, that's just the way Mother Nature
The Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Cucumbers needed picked.
Going through the garden, the first of the cherry tomatoes are coming on, as well as hot peppers and green peppers.
I found a few Habaneros and Jalapenos to sample. (WARNING: NEVER eat an Habanero off the vine. Just shoot yourself in the face with Mace instead.
Those suckers are HOT, HOT, HOT, in their natural state. It's WORSE than Mace, Pepper Spray, or anything mankind has invented! Sure, you recover,
eventually, but chomping a whole fresh Habanero renders you incapacitated, crying, and gasping for breath for several minutes. The burn resolves
about 45 minutes later. Nice punch for those spice lovers.)
I picked 1 head of cabbage, and it was made into 23 (call it two dozen) cabbage rolls, which were packaged into ziploc bags, and frozen, 6 per bag for
four future meals, YMMV, depending on how many mouths there are to feed. There was also a bag of green beans picked, which worked out to 12 pints, in
short, 6 quarts. These are the first pickings, and VERY early in the season. Since this thread is based upon survival, we tend to process
EVERYTHING, and having an early picking, we are processing things early. Nothing goes to waste.
My mother (a 67 year old senior) processed the cabbage and green beans. I still have 5 quarts of green beans left from last year, so I got the
cucumbers and the other stuff. At this moment in time, we are sharing the workload between two different households, and sharing the results.
My dill pickle recipe is renowned around these parts, and I have 3 quarts left from last year, but I usually take a quart to parties and seasonal
family gatherings. The major consumption is attributed to the kids. I am going to make cucumbers into dill pickles.
So let's do some canning!
I guesstimated 14 quarts from the pile of produce. That's two batches of 7 quarts in the pressure cooker, and if I was short, well, the second
canning would wind up short. You get a bit of flexibility here, because shooting for under leaves you fresh veggies to munch on. Regardless, I
fetched 14 jars out of storage, and washed them up.
Since I'm also a Homebrewer
, sanitation is imperative, and I rinse all my jars in a
Once your jars are clean, you count out the same number of rings and lids. These are started to boil before you start chopping veggies up.
You boil the rings and lids mostly to soften the rubber seal. Once you tighten the lids, before putting them in the pressure canner, they have pretty
much become sealed. The heat of pressure cooking cooks the veggies, creates pressure inside the jar, and once cooled, creates a vacuum seal that will
last for years. (We usually don't keep anything over 3 years old. If not eaten, it gets dumped for compost.)
Back to Pickle Making....
A sinkful of cucumbers. Soon they will be packed into jars. After cleaning and slicing. they go into a stock pot, to wait to be stuffed into jars.
To make pickles, you need a brine. Basically, vinegar, water, and canning salt. The ratio of vinegar to water is 1:4, and 1/4 cup canning salt. For
my batch, I mixed 8 cups of water to 2 cups of vinegar, and added 1/2 cup of canning salt in a stock pot, and brought it to a boil while the lids were
cooking, and while I was cutting up cucumbers. The brine is used to fill the jars with liquid, 1/2 inch below the rim, before the lids and rings are
For my recipe I add 1 tsp canning salt to an empty jar, 1/2 teaspoon dill seed, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. I then pack the jars with cucumbers,
and then add 1 teaspoon of dill weed to the top before adding the brine.
Here are the first 8 full jars ready for brine, and once they are topped off with brine, I'll add the lids (which are HOT) and tighten the rings.
There's a 1/2 jar that I will be adding to.
Continued in the next post......