2014 Canning Season Recipes

2014 Canning Season - so far, we've made salsa, spaghetti sauce, pickles and pickled green beans, freezer green beans, and sandhill plum jelly!  Recipes included in the post! | RaisingArrows.netThis year, we were blessed with abundant produce that was free or nearly free to us.  We had a small garden and very generous landlords.

I’ve admitted in the past that I am not a gardener.  I like to blame it on my sensory issues – there is nothing about playing in the dirt that intrigues me.  However, I REALLY like having fresh produce that WE grew.  So fun!  This year, we grew peas, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, corn, green beans, and there are cantaloupe on the vine as we speak.

As for our generous landlords – they are an older couple who plant WAY more than they could ever eat (as in 60 tomato plants!).  They have sent tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and green beans our way in bucket-fulls!  And I am sure not going to waste it!

Tomatoes!

And then, to top it off, this has been a stellar year for the sandhill (or wild) plum!  These little beauties grow roadside and are usually free for the picking by whomever makes it there first!

sandhill plums

As promised last week in my Pregnancy Update, here are the recipes we’ve been using this canning season.

Sandhill Plum Jelly – Apparently, I’m one of the few sites out there with this recipe because this time of year, I get a lot of hits on this post.

2014 Canning Season - sandhill plum jelly, spaghetti sauce, pickled green beans, and more! | RaisingArrows.net

I mention in my plum jelly post how I was running my pulp through mesh with a spoon.  Well, thankfully, I found my sieve!  This isn’t the cleanest job in the world, but that tart jelly is oh so worth it!

Freezer Green Beans – Early on, we froze our green beans.  This is a nice, simple process that yields beautiful, bags full of bright green veggies!

1.  Wash your beans.
2.  Trim the stems off your beans and cut them in half.
3.  Blanch the beans in boiling water for 1 minute.
4.  Dunk in ice water for 1 minute.
5.  Pat dry (we used paper towels).
6.  Bag in “meal sized” freezer bags.  For our family, this means full 1 gallon bags, but that may be too much for your family.  Adjust accordingly.

Pickled Green Beans – As the season wore on, and the landlords had more and more and more green beans, my kids begged for pickled green beans instead of freezing them.  Now for some of you, the idea of pickled green beans seems pretty “out there”, but you really ought to try it!

You can use any pickle recipe, but this one is very similar to what we use for our pickled okra (when we have it) and has been a favorite for a very long time.  It includes dill, garlic and red pepper flakes, and ends up quite yummy.  By the way, if you ever want to hear my “angry okra” story, fell free to read all about it HERE.

Cucumber Pickles – We didn’t end up with very many cucumbers, so what we did end up with became pickles that went straight into our refrigerator.  When you do this, you really need to let them set in the refrigerator unopened for about a week (more would be ideal) to get the full flavor.  It was all we could do to wait a week, and they were gobbled up all in one setting!  The recipe we used came from Sheri Graham.

Salsa – When the tomatoes first started rolling in, we did up huge batches of our favorite salsa.

Fresh & Tasty Homemade Salsa - nothing like it! | RaisingArrows.net

This is a very chunky salsa with some surprising ingredients like balsamic vinegar and soy sauce!  The acid content in the salsa was plenty high enough to be able to water bath it (the only kind of canning I do), so we ended up doing about 3 gallons.

Later, we moved on to a less chunky salsa that we found HERE.  However, I don’t think either salsa is really going to be hot enough.  I need to put more heat in them next time.

Spaghetti Sauce – I had never canned spaghetti sauce, and frankly, we don’t use the stuff.  For years, we have simply used tomato sauce with spices in it.  That’s it.  However, I thought it would be nice to have some real homemade sauce for our italian meals, so I dug around for a recipe and came up with THIS ONE.

Canned spaghetti sauce

It was VERY tasty, but by the time we had done up a dozen quarts (plus the salsa we had already done), my kids (and myself) were sick of tomatoes.  I happened to mention on Facebook how we were all tired of peeling and seeding tomatoes, and my Facebook blew up with people chiming in saying they didn’t peel or de-seed their tomatoes and I shouldn’t either!  I was astounded.  I was under the impression this was a RULE.  So, when the landlords called and asked if I wanted yet another round of tomatoes, I exasperated my children by saying Yes…because I really wanted to try this little experiment!

Well, the truth is, I will be trying this little experiment later today.  HERE is the recipe I’m going to use. Now, I know the woman in the post freezes hers, but I will be adding some tomato paste (to thicken) and lemon juice (to up the acid content) and water bath them for 20 minutes.  I will also probably run them through the Vita-Mix…just in case people are pulling my leg about having the skins and seeds in there being ok.

Once I’m through the last of the tomatoes and the sandhill plums, we will be finished until apple season…which also looks like a bumper crop.  We buy seconds at a local orchard and turn them into all sorts of yummy treats!  We’ll be freezing slices for pie, making applesauce to can, making apple butter (probably in the crock pot), and maybe even some apple pie filling!

Until then, the rest of the tomatoes on the vine will be picked green and fried.

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19 thoughts on “2014 Canning Season Recipes

  1. Looks like fun around your place. I love the canning season but it seems we are in a constant state of canning ring and clean up chaos! I’t always thankful later in the year.

  2. I’ve canned sauce for years-except this one, I’m 7 months pregnant and on crutches. :(
    Anyway, I don’t like seeds and skins so I run all my tomatoes through one of the hand crank food mills sold at Lehman’s Non Electric. That’s how I do everything-apples, tomatoes, pumpkin, peaches for jam etc.. You should look it up on line. It’s so worth the month if you continue to do a lot of canning and you could use it for your wild plum jam too. It’s fast and makes a smooth consistency. Have fun!

  3. WOW!!! I have my grandmothers canning supplies..but I have never done this on my own…so I have been really hesitant…but with your blog now…and the recipes I have pulled off from your blog..here goes…..

  4. You know, I have NEVER canned a thing before this year! This year I was able to pick a ton of yellow plums and some apricots. I dehydrated the apricots and with the plums I made my first batch of plum jelly. The plums sure do not like to release the fruit from the pits, do they? I had no Foley food mill or anything so I just split the skin with a knife and then put my hand with the plum down in the pot and squeezed. I literally wrung the innards out of it, so that all that was left in my hand was the skin and pit. Not the fastest or easiest way to do it, but I made do with what I had. I wasn’t keen on the 20 cups of sugar that was “required” to make my 11 cups of plum puree set up with the regular old fashioned pectin I had onhand. So, being the complete newbie to canning that I am, I decided to dump in a little lemon juice and extra pectin, and only use 4 cups of sugar. Shockingly, it worked perfectly. Beginners luck I’m sure! The resulting jam is the most amazingly delicious combination of sweet and sour and I just want to sit and eat a jar of it with a spoon… I’m not going to for real but I can’t deny entertaining the thought! ;) And it set up just perfect too. I discovered that if I mix sliced strawberries with a spoonful of the sour plum jam, and served them over shortcake, it’s positively heavenly.
    I’m going to come back here next year for these recipes! Now that I’ve canned one thing, I want to try more things next year! :)

  5. Love * love * love pickled green beans! I make them spicy and boy do my kiddos love them. We eat the whole quart the day we open them.

  6. You can freeze tomatoes whole as long as they are perfectly dry. Just drop them into a freezer bag, seal, and freeze. Then you can wait till everyone will appreciate the extra heat in the house to make your sauce. [This method will break the tomatoes down some and give them a stewed texture, so it isn't best for ''chunky'' recipes.] When you want to make spaghetti sauce thaw the proper number of tomatoes for your recipe. If you want them peeled simply give them a quick dip in boiling water to split the skins or thaw partially on the counter top which will also split the skins [I suppose you could also thaw them in a microwave, i you're in a hurry, but I've never tried it] and then squeeze; the peels slip right off. My mother and I have used this method for years. It works great for small gardens because you can harvest each tomato at peak ripeness and let them wait until you have enough for a batch of sauce. It works great for large gardens too because you don’t have to rush to get it all done before the tomatoes go bad and you can wait for a cool day to process them instead of heating up the house for several hours when it was already too hot anyway. Plus, it gives you the option of having peeled tomatoes without needing an extra pot full of boiling water.

  7. I get tired of processing so much food at once! I read you can – and have since started to – freeze tomatoes WHOLE. I just wash them and take the stems off. When you thaw them, the peel slips right off! I dump then in the crock pot with the rest of my sauce ingredients (olive oil, onion, spices, tomato paste) and it cooks right down, If you want it smoother you can always use an immersion blender.

  8. OH MY Goodness!! Those were wild plums. I haven’t seen wild plums since I was, well a lot younger. I wish I could send you my address and have you send me some seeds, or a cutting from the bush. That brings back a flood of memories, stomping off through the pasture to pick the plums, making sure we kept the bright red ones for jelly (I like them when they are still a little yellow, they have pucker power), and then my Daddy (he’s in Heaven 13 years now) making jelly. I have a similar recipe, my Daddy’s. Thank you so much for sharing, and including pictures.

  9. Just got 60 # of canning tomatoes and going to use the recipes you suggested to make tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce. I tried this last year, and after letting it reduce FOR HOURS, I still ended up with tomato juice (which I used, so no biggy). BUT, your recipe, adding tomato paste, that is awesome! I also just read a lady who posted on a different site that to cut down on her reduction time, she places a colander in the middle of her stewed tomatoes, right there in the pot. The liquid is the only thing that will seep into the colander. She then scoops it out with a ladle and saves it for tomato juice. This may seem like a no brainer to experienced canners, but I thought it was genius! I would have never thought of that. Basically using a colander in reverse. Anyway, just wanted to share. Thank you for the recipes.