How To Peel A Lot Of Tomatoes Fast

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If you’re like me, you are in the thick of canning season. Over the past three weeks or so I’ve gotten something like 240 pounds of tomatoes turned into sauce, chopped tomatoes, salsa, various relishes, savory jams, etc. So it’s fair to say I’ve peeled many, many tomatoes. At this point, I think I’ve honed the [Continue Reading...]

Tomato Canning Quick Reference Guide

Tomato Canning Guide

When I was canning up tomatoes this past weekend, and I was sick, so I kept double checking things and kinda getting hazy about what the hell I was doing. Moral of the story: do not attempt to can 100 pounds of tomatoes while sick. But as I was shuffling back and forth to my [Continue Reading...]

{Reader Question} What Foods Should I Preserve?

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My wife and I are newer to the preserving game and are super pumped on it. Last year we preserved a lot of food but it wasn’t really conducive to living off of. We canned mostly jams, jellies, some pickled veggies (cauli, beans, asparagus, etc) and then did a lot of peaches! What I hope [Continue Reading...]

Can-o-Rama 2013

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This past weekend was pretty much dedicated to canning. Homebrew Husband and I did this last year (see: Can-o-Rama 2012). Dedicating a solid weekend to putting up staple foods like pickles and tomatoes can be a bit of a whirlwind, but it feels fantastic to take the pantry from nearly-bare to nearly-full in 48 hours. [Continue Reading...]

Plum Jamtini Cocktail – Pass The Ice, Pass The Shaker!

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My friend Theresa is the Co-Executive Producer of Growing A Greener World, a fantastic TV show about all things gardening. She’s also a wicked good urban homesteader, master canner, great writer (check out her personal blog), and a super nice person. Theresa knows I have a soft spot for combining jam with booze (strawberry jam margarita, anyone?), so [Continue Reading...]

How Not To Die From Botulism: What Home Canners Need To Know About The World’s Most Deadly Toxin

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You may have seen this article. A Seattle man recently contracted botulism from his improperly canned elk meat and is lucky to be alive. His description of how he canned the elk is like a checklist for everything you never, ever do when canning food. I love to see so many new people taking up home [Continue Reading...]

Stop Throwing Away Free Tomato Sauce

Making Thick Tomato Sauce From Tomato Skins (3)

It has come to my attention that many people are unwittingly throwing away free tomato sauce when they preserve their summer tomatoes. Here’s the thing: like all fruit, the skin of tomato is where much of the natural pectin resides. Pectin is the starch that gives jams their thickness and good tomato sauce its natural, [Continue Reading...]

How To Martha-Up Your Jam Labels For Nearly Free In About 5 Minutes

Avery Label Options For Canning Jar Labels (7)

The pile of canned tomatoes and pickles and jams on my dining room table is begging to be put safely away in the pantry. The only problem: I like to Martha-up my jam with cute labels. Although I have, in the past, recommended inexpensive cut-out labels for jam jars, many readers have enlightened me to [Continue Reading...]

Can-o-Rama 2012

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It’s 1:43 AM Monday as I write this. The past 56 hours have been a Can-o-rama from “where’s-my-coffee?” to way-past-dusk that has precluded the writing of any witty or useful blog posts. I’m eating good cheese with a spoon, too tired even to drink the well-deserved pour of wine next to me. I got nothin’, [Continue Reading...]

How To Make Pectin-Free Jam: Ditch The Box and Increase The Creativity In Your Preserves

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Do you need pectin to make jam? I used to think so. I followed the recipe on the inside of the pectin box slavishly for 7 years before I broke free of the pectin bonds. Every year, my strawberry jam tasted exactly like the strawberry jam of everyone else who wore the Sure-Jell shackles. The [Continue Reading...]

Create Your Own Signature Jam By Mixing and Matching Flavors

Apricot Jam with Lime, Ginger and Tequila

It’s unofficial Preserve Week here at Northwest Edible Life. I know because my floor is sticky with canning syrup and my refrigerator smells like pickle brine. It’s hard for me to think of anything else but putting food by right now, so I’m going to be talking jams and pickles all week long. I hope [Continue Reading...]

By Popular Demand: Pressure Canning Planning Sheets For Low Acid Foods

Pressure Canning Planning Sheet

A few of my readers mentioned that a planning sheet for low-acid foods to go with last week’s Canning Planning Sheet would be pretty useful. Ask and ye shall receive, Gentle Readers! You’ll find this on the downloadables page paired up as a two-page PDF with the (Water Bath) Canning Planning Sheet, so if you want both you [Continue Reading...]