Welcome to February everyone! Did anyone else think January lasted forever this year?
Last fall was crazy busy for us, thanks to lots of fun family weekends and an awesome trip to Malaysia. Usually we spend a couple weekends in August and September harvesting our small garden and canning the bounty, mostly tomatoes. Since we had limited time last year, we ended up freezing most of our tomatoes to be canned at a later date.
Canning is such a fall activity to me, I was disappointed to not get to do as much as I wanted to. There is something about filling the house with the smell of roasting, fresh tomato sauce as the weather begins to turn and the days start to get shorter. However, the silver lining of canning in the winter is that it added crazy amounts of moisture to the air in our house, something that was desperately needed.
This past fall we were also lucky enough to get additional tomatoes from my parents. Our chest freezer ended up literally packed to the brim with at least 60 pounds of tomatoes. We finally had time to take care of some of these tomatoes the last weekend of January. We found a recipe for pizza sauce and loaded up our roaster with tomatoes, onions, and spices.
We let it slow cook for about 24 hours before we sent it through this fancy doodad that I call a tomato squisher.
Then we roasted the sauce until it reduced to the thickness we were looking for, and voila! We ended up with 5 pints of homemade Pizza sauce. We do not have a pressure canner, so we do water bath canning. In the fall and summer we would typically get the water boiling outside. Since it is the middle of winter here in Minnesota, we did it inside on the stove. It helped warm up the house, and most importantly it added some much needed moisture to the air.
Why is Canning So Awesome?
I’m not a health nut by any means, but one of my favorite parts of canning is getting to control what is going into my food. I know when I make pasta sauce, pizza sauce, canned tomatoes, etc., that there isn’t added sugars or salt. It just tastes fresh, like real tomatoes. It is amazing to be able to pull out our canned tomatoes and get that fresh taste year round.
Canning can also be frugal. You can usually find second hand canning equipment, plus jars and rings. If you can food from your own garden, it can be a low cost alternative to buying tomato sauce and canned tomatoes from the store.
Most importantly, to me at least, it is satisfying to go from growing plants all the way to having a finished product stored on our shelf. This fall I want to write a lot more about canning and all the great benefits of it. Stay tuned!
Canning in the winter gets me so excited to get ready to plant our garden this spring. May is only 4 months away – it is going to get here fast. Plus, planning will need to start well before the planting happens.
Food safety is absolutely paramount. I make sure to use canning recipes from reputable sources so I know that they will be safe to eat. The Ball website is one of my favorites, trustworthy with lots of recipes to browse.
Do any of you can?