All the peppers are coming in right now so I decided to string up some of our Habanero peppers for them to dry. Just another method of food preservation.
It’s pretty easy to do. I threaded a large embroidery needle with embroidery floss (red because it goes so well with the orange peppers). I doubled it over and tied a big knot in the end. Then I threaded each pepper through the stem leaving a bit of room between each. When I got all the peppers threaded on, I cut the needle off and tied the two strands together forming a loop. I hung my string of peppers by that loop. Now all I have to do is wait for them to dry.
You could easily do this with any hot pepper. I have some cayenne peppers that I might do this to also. Maybe ghost peppers too…
We’ve had lots of tomatoes (the ones that survived the carnage) and they all come at the same time. They’re pretty much done for the season, but we’re just finishing up processing everything. So in addition to canning some for later use, I made a ton of pasta sauce to freeze. I would’ve canned it but I couldn’t resist using my own recipe, not a tested, canning-approved recipe.
I used a similar recipe to the black king pasta sauce but with a mix of all the different types of tomatoes. Mainly black kings, early girls, and beefsteak. I also threw in a few banana peppers.
Then I poured 2 cups each into freezer bags and froze them flat. Freezing them flat makes them take up less room in the freezer and I figured about 2 cups will be a good amount for a meal for my little family.
I figure when we actually eat these sauces, we can toss in any vegetables we have on hand. Eggplant, carrots, mushrooms (fine, not actually a vegetable), squash, beans, corn (yea, a grain), and whatever else we have. I’d even give something like boiled spinach a try mixed with the pasta and sauce. We could also throw in leftover meat of practically any kind. Pasta sauce as a leftover catch-all.
We’ve just started getting what looks like it will be a huge harvest of figs. We plan on freezing some for later use. We can use them in smoothies or just eat them frozen. In order for us not to have a giant clump of figs frozen together we laid the pieces of fig out on a baking sheet and froze them that way.
Once they were frozen we put them into a freezer bag for storage. You can use this technique for freezing any produce. We’re also planning to make fig jam and dehydrating some figs. Maybe we can use them to make granola poppers.
I went to a canning and food preserving class that our extension service offered and I learned we did a lot of things wrong when canning our first few things. First, I learned you shouldn’t use random blogs as directions of how to can. So ignore most of this linked post. You should be careful where you get your recipes. Ball jars have a pretty extensive site as well as many extension services. You don’t get to be creative with these recipes. I think it’s easier to can individual ingredients such as raw tomatoes and then make pasta sauce with that jar after I open it and add anything I want. I also learned that we are at an elevation of 1026 feet above sea level at my house. And most canning recipes call for more processing time at elevations above 1000 feet. So um…yea, take a class. or go to your extension service and get info (mine had lots of pamphlets). Or learn from someone who took a class in the past couple of years (recommendations are constantly updated). Sorry, Granny doesn’t always know best.
BTW, why is it called canning when you’re putting food into jars?
This time of year there are just so many cucumbers from the garden. It’s a good thing these pickles are so yummy. I didn’t think I liked bread and butter pickles until I had these fresh homemade ones. I love these! We used a spice mix we bought in the grocery store and the recipe on the box. They turned out great.
To can the pickles for longer storage you need to first sterilize the jars by washing them well in hot water and soap. Then, pack the jars tightly with the recipe and leave 1-2 inch headspace at the top. Next, you take a non-metal utensil and remove air bubbles by poking it all around the inside of the jar. After that, you put on the lid and ring and put into a pot on the stove filled with water. You want to make sure you have at least an inch of water over the top of the jars. If you don’t you can turn them on their side but you can’t fit as many jars in one pot that way.
Once the water starts boiling set a timer for 15 minutes and keep the water boiling. After your 15 minutes are up, you’re done. Carefully remove the jars and let them cool down. Once they have cooled down, you can label them (date and what’s inside).