I was a busy bee this weekend...but I was having computer issues and Jeff was JUST able to fix it, so I wasn't able to post till now!!!
Saturday I woke up bright and early and FINALLY canned the pickles I made a while back. I also pickled some banana peppers too. Produce is ready for the BBQ Sauce, just have to cook it, puree it and can it!!
The garden is still going strong!!! I now have TONS of cucumbers (and I've given some away!!) Two red bell peppers almost ready to pick. More banana peppers, more tomatoes, yellow squash and more! There is a lot of ears of corn growing, as well as at least one butternut squash and one acorn squash...I have one pretty large watermelon (about a foot long!) and two more growing. Some of the pie pumpkins have started to grow too!!
Canning is pretty easy, but it takes a lot of equipment, space, and time! Most recipes will have processing times, but the basic steps are:
1.) Wash the jars, lids, and bands with hot soapy water.
2.) Sanitize the jars, lids, bands either in the dish washer, or boil for 15 minutes.
3.) Bring a LARGE pot of water to boil, use a canning basket (I bought a whole canning kit with everything you need in it), or if one is not available, place some lids along the bottom.
*you don't want the jars to sit in contact with the bottom of the pot)
4.) Fill jars with recipe of choice. Remove air bubbles (run a knife along the inside edge of jar), wipe top of jar with a damp paper towel.
5.) Place the flat lid on the top of the jar. Lightly screw on the band - use your fingertips, once the jar starts to "spin" it is plenty tight!
6.) Place jars in boiling water (make sure there are enough jars - empty or full - so that the processing jars don't tip). The water may not boil, wait till it comes to a rolling boil and then complete next steps.
7.) Cover and process for time stated in recipe. Once time is up, remove pot from heat and let stand in the pot for 5 minutes.
8.) Remove cans from pot (do not dump the settled water into the pot, as this could disturb the canning process.)
9.) Set aside for 24 hours. Once 24 hours is up if lid does not "bounce back" when pressed on, the canning was successful.
10.) Store in a dark, cool space. (most are ok for up to a year!)
So a lot of steps, but still relatively easy. The longest part is waiting for the pot of water to boil!!! I'm willing to give lessons if anyone has a lot of produce that they need to use!!
You could also just follow a recipe and store it in your fridge without canning, but items have a short life span this way. I hope this helps!! : )