As in Canning!  We bought ourselves a Pressure Canner from the States, and it arrived this week. So today was canning day, though I’m not really sure why it’s called canning, because you use jars!

Anyway, the first thing I decided to process, was some home made Baked Beans that I made this morning.  I think I could have frozen them, but as we had the jars and the canner, it seemed logical.  Here is the wonderful canner in all it’s glory, it’s a Mirro Canner, 8qrt, for pressure cooking, 4qrt for canning.

You can’t see the ‘jiggler’, which is the weight that sits on top of the little spike in the middle of the lid, because I forgot to put it on when I took the pic!  Anyway, it’s called a ‘jiggler’ as that is what it does.  It has 5lb, 10lb and 15lb settings, and you put whichever one you want on the lid, then when it’s at the right pressure, the little weight thingy jiggles about and makes a noise, then you lower the heat, until it only jiggles every 2 or 3 minutes.  You time the canning process from there. Most things seem to take about 20 minutes at 10lb.

SO….having put the cooked beans in the jars, into the canner they went, I processed them for about 15 minutes, as they were already cooked and I didn’t want them to be mush, and here they are when they were done.

Don’t they look wonderful?  They taste divine, and I used tomatoes from the allotment rather than the tinned ones the recipe suggested, so all in all, a good use of our harvest I think. I’ll put the recipe for the beans up another time, but it’s dead easy and really good.

Next on the list, were the several pounds of tomatoes that Adrian brought back from the lottie.  You can do these two different ways, either by peeling them and cooking them, then into the jars and process, or cold packed, which is what I chose to do.  You wash the tomatoes, and then squash them into the jars so the juice comes out, and you have a tightly packed jar.  THAT is so very satisfying, I can’t tell you how much fun it was.  Even if I did end up completely covered in tomatoe juice and pips. LOL

Result?  Here they are, all that yummy goodness stored up for use in the winter in stews and soups, passatta, all sorts.

It’s not difficult to can food, but I have a couple of books that are INVALUABLE to us in preserving our produce.  The First one, is Keeping The Harvest, and has recipes for all sorts of things, charts of timings, clear and simple instructions, for freezing, drying, curing in brine, jams etc.  It’s a lovely book, and can be found on the wonderful Amazon.

The other one is VERY useful as well, and is divided up by fruit and veg types, it’s called How To Store Your Garden Produce, also available from Amzon, and this one also has clear descriptions of how to clamp things, which is basically burying certain veg in the ground to keep it fesh.  There are recipes for jams, and wines as well.  I have had both of these books by my side all day.

As I write, I have some purple french beans, and some gorgeous Italian Plum tomatoes in the canner, Adrian brought them home about 1/2 and hour ago, and they are happily bubbling away.

Many of you already know, that Sundays are usually baking days as well.  I TRIED to resisit doing any today, but I couldn’t, some things just HAVE to be done, so here is a pic of the Capuccino Tray Bake I made while the tomatoes were processing.

I think I also told you we were getting a dehydrator, well that has also arrived, and so far we’ve dried some bananas, which turned out very well and I have them on my brekkie every day, some herbs, Basil, Thyme and sage, and some tomatoes as well.  The toms can be sprayed with water and left to rest then sprayed again, and then you can use them in salads in the winter, just like fresh ones!  HOW fab is that?

Adrian also brought home a pile of apples from our tree, they are Discovery eating apples and have done very well this year.  Here’s the haul he brought today.

They will be cored and put in the dryer to dry overnight, and voila, dried apple slices!  It is SO good to be storing all this food.  Previously we’ve had to use it, freeze it or mostly sell or give it away it because we couldn’t keep it fresh for too long. NOW we can keep virtually everything for at least a year, marvellous isn’t it?  AND we don’t have to rely on just the freezer either, which is always a biot worrying should the electrcity fail for any length of time.

So that was my day today, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy doing these simple things, but all too soon the weekend is over, and it’s back to the office tomorrow.  Still, I can spend ALL week looking forward to next weekends joys can’t I?  Meanwhile, of for tea, Bacon, eggs (from our hens), Sausages (made by us last week) tomatoes, (from the lottie) and bread and butter, also home made! DEEP JOY.