Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roll Out Those Ball Jars!

A flurry of canning nearly destroyed my back last weekend.

It all began with the tomatillos.

They are the winners; the little stars of the HooCoo garden. MP and I couldn't be prouder.

They've shown up the tomatoes (lousy bunch of green losers who refuse to turn red. Yeah. You heard me.).

They've out-shined the green beans, who gave a good showing but are slowly succumbing to the blasted heat. (And that's my Grandma! You can't stop that woman from working when there's a job to be done!)

They left the beets in the dust--who apparently didn't feel like sprouting this year; or if they did, grew tired of the clay soil and gave up the dream of growing into their full potential.

They've soared above the zucchini--often hailed as the garden weed--but sorely disappointed us this year thanks to the squash vine borers who have, reportedly, had a heyday in our neck of the woods. (This photo was taken before they all turned yellow and fell over.)

They even outdid the green peppers and hot peppers and red peppers who have had a competitive run--not too shabby guys!

The potatoes and onions proved to be the strongest competitors, but in the end, those green fruits encased in papery lanterns have produced and produced and show no signs of slowing down.

Any body up for some salsa verde? Haven't you heard? Green is the new red (since our tomatoes refuse to show up to the party).

I'm not bitter or anything.

So last weekend I willfully ignored the sprawling tomato patch like a snubbed fourth grade girl and harvested a bucket of tomatillos, and then some green beans, a few Hot Portugal peppers, some jalapenos, and some onions.

First, I canned the green beans.

Then Mom showed up with some cucumbers from Grandma, and we canned some bread and butter pickles. While the pickles were, uh, pickling, we whipped up two different recipes of salsa verde and canned those.

Since Mom was still in town, "Make hay while the sun shines," right? I called my bulk produce hookup, Ms. Shabazz, and ordered a bushel of sweet corn. (And another for the MP who was supposed to be working that weekend but couldn't pass up a good deal!) Shabazz and I planned to meet up at the farmer's market the next day. But then she called back and wondered if I was interested in a box of canning tomatoes.

Yes! A thousand times yes!

Mom (while Emeline was sleeping or playing with Grandpa) and I got down to business and froze some corn, canned the rest and canned some pasta sauce. Besides the beets and some gifted salsa, here are the fruits of our labor:

Saturday night my back began to protest.

On Sunday, it went on strike. I limped around Sunday until I crashed that afternoon. On Monday I iced and stretched, iced and stretched. Who knew processing produce requires warm-up stretching?

But did I learn my lesson?


Later that day MP called, "You want some berries?"

Yes! A thousand times yes!

Answering in the affirmative is now a knee-jerk reaction if anyone questions whether or not I'd like some fresh produce.

By Tuesday, I returned to the kitchen I whipped up some mixed berry jam:

And canned it:
Then she asked if I wanted some apples.

Yes!...You know the rest.

Either this is superb networking or feeding some sort of addiction.

And then there were a few more tomatoes for salsa at the city market...

And I still have Ms. Shabazz on speed dial. Rumor has it she has more green beans and tomatoes. And since I'm already heading to the farmer's market on Saturday it would be no problem to pick up some more...

As they say, "There's no rest for the weary." When the harvest keeps rolling in, what's a girl to do but roll those Ball jars out?!


  1. WOW!!!! You make your momma proud, I just wish I could be there to join in the fun!!!

  2. I wish you were here too, Mom!! Love you!

  3. Good grief! You're on the BALL. Sorry, I couldn't resist. But, wow, you've been a busy lady. It all looks so delicious. Maybe someday I will tackle canning. Guess I didn't inherit that gene

  4. Who can resist a pun? Jess, I think you'd really enjoy canning! Once you get the hang of it, it's fun, super easy (and addicting!).