Adventures in Canning

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This was definitely a new adventure. I've never canned anything before, well, unless you count the canned cakes I made for my 30th, but other foods that require a water bath or a pressure canning system...yeah, no. A good place to start canning is either with jams or salsa. We opted the salsa route. Sorry to ruin the surprise for a few of you, but part of the Christmas present will be a jar of Don's salsa. This is where I'll talk about how we did it. First of all, I need to tell you that we were inspired by Jacki's salsa advice. The pictures are quite details and I very nearly followed the steps exactly, including making oatmeal for William. LOL!

First up, here are the roma tomatoes and the jalapeno peppers. I bought 3 dozen tomatoes to make 12. We ended up only getting 9 out of the bunch, so note to self for next time. I can't include the rest of the recipe because well, I know it is Don's secret and heck, I don't even know it. I do know he uses salt because I saw that much. Anyway, make your salsa and put it on the stove to be hot for when you fill your jars. Here's Don making the salsa.

See how efficient things are? He has the bowl full of ingredients next to the Ninja blender. Awesome!
Next, sterilize all your stuff. Above is our dishwasher where we have washed the jars and left them in there in the "hot" to dry. We added the lids and rings to a pot of water to boil as well.
Also, have your canning pot boiling with water during this process.
Now fill your jars. EVERYTHING IS HOT!! No, don't take this warning lightly. That is (*&(%$@ HOT! We used tongs and towels. Plus, Don's fingers aren't as much of a sissy as mine are. Also, we used Jacki's tip for putting down an old dish cloth to help with clean up. This was an awesome idea!
Put on the lids and screw on the rings. (They are hot too!) Add them to your boiling pot of water to get them to "seal." We allotted 35 minutes, starting with a 15 minute time to check the water level. After the first 15 minutes, a couple of eager jars were already popping. It was really exciting!!

After they dry, we will add the labels that I purchased from Paper Source. But first, we must come up with a name for the salsa!

Estimated cost:

  • 36 tomatoes - $5, I think
  • 12 jalapenos - $1
  • Dozen 1/2 pint jars - $9
  • Labels - $5

For $20 we will easily have 9 gifts. Had we known, we could've bought a few extra tomatoes and gotten the full dozen. But not too shabby, 'eh? Off to go and buy some more jars and ingredients for salsa!! Soon, you will see a post about Apple Pie in a Jar. I'm so giddy, I feel a thousand kinds of domesticated and fancy! I want to run and can everything now!

Those of you following along, yes, there is a theme for our gift: Sugar and Spice. I even bought these spoons to go with the apple pie! :) There you have it. Canning so simple that I'm beyond thrilled to can some goods for Tesla. If you want some of your own supplies to try canning, check out ABC Distributing. I'm thinking of getting that set just for fun because I like having tools that make life easier. Take out your apron, get some fresh ingredients and go nuts with canning!

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