Check out Urban Farm School in the premiere edition of Urban Farm Magazine, pages 28, 29, and 31 We’re also in the August edition of Northbank Magazine, pages 22-24 both available August 25! Enough of that, let’s talk canning!
We’re in high canning and preservation season, a much anticipated season, an opportunity to celebrate the bounty of the garden and save it for the year to come. For many, canning and preservation is a time of anxiety and frustration. Urban Farm School offers Canning Consultations for those looking for extra help this time of year; we come to you at your convenience, walk you through the steps in your own kitchen, discuss safety, answer your questions, and quell your canning fears. Check out Consultations/Tutorials for more information.
The tomatoes are coming in by the bushel, Stupice, Manitoba, Garden Peach and I am jubilant about the bounty that is before me – salsas, tomato soup, tomato sauce and juice, spaghetti sauce, and all other great things tomatoes add to our dreary winter lives. Garden tomatoes are one of those wonderful things that bring summer with them the moment you open the jar.
As you begin canning tomatoes this year keep in mind that many of the new varieties and those bought at commercial grocery stores and farm stands no longer have a high enough acid content to make them safe when preserving. Never fear! there is a simple solution: add lemon juice! When canning tomatoes add 2 TBL of BOTTLED lemon juice per quart/ 1TBL of lemon juice per pint to raise the acidity. Using bottled lemon juice is critical as it has a tested and stable acidity content whereas fresh lemons’ acidity varies.
Salsa is a different matter in the world of tomatoes. Throwing pepper, onions, and tomatoes together for the evening doesn’t mean it is safe to preserve. It is crititcal to use an approved recipe with balanced amounts of peppers, onions, and tomatoes WITH an acid, vinegar or lemon/lime juice to preserve a safe product. Listed below is an approved (and delicious!) recipe from WSU Extension:
4 C. peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
2 C. seeded, chopped long green chiles
1/2 C. seeded, chopped jalapeno peppers
3/4 C. chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 C. vinegar (5% acidity)
1 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
1 TBL. oregano leaves (optional)
1 TBL. fresh cilantro (optional)
1 1/2 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust rings and lids. Boiling waterbath can 15 minutes at 0-1,000ft elevation.
When canning anything remember to follow an approved recipe, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/ has great recipes that have tested as does WSU Extension, http://clark.wsu.edu/family/factsheets.html. WSU also has a “Food Safety” Hotline for all your canning, freezing, and food safety questions, 397-6060 ext. 5366, Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.
Have a great canning summer and bring on the tomatoes!