We have a large vegetable garden, as well as several fruit trees and two papershell pecan trees. We were blessed to have a wonderful harvest last year.
We can and freeze our abundant produce. For canning, we use a pressure canner or water bath. We blanch the vegetables for freezing, and we add ascorbic acid to the fruits we choose to freeze. We also use some of the fruit to make jelly, jam and preserves.
Our favorite pea for freezing is Red Rippler. It’s delicious, and it has 18 to 20 peas per pod. What a harvest! We’ve been told the Red Rippler is a cross between Purple Hull and Crowder peas.
Two Favorite Canning Recipes
One of our favorite fruit recipes is Strawberry Fig Jam. To make it, you put 3 cups of chopped figs in a large saucepan, and add 3 cups of sugar, a large package of flavored Jello (we use strawberry, but you can use whatever flavor you like) and 1/4 cup of water. Cook it over medium heat, stirring until all the ingredients are dissolved. When it reaches a boil, cook for 5 more minutes. Pour the mixture into clean, sterilized jars and seal with rings and lids that have also been sterilized. This recipe makes about 3-1/2 pints. It’s so good, it never lasts long.
We also make a lot of Microwave Bread and Butter Pickles. The recipe calls for 1 cucumber, sliced into 1/4-inch slices; 1 medium onion, sliced thin; 1 cup sugar; 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar; 1 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed; 1/4 teaspoon celery seed; and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric. The directions say: Sterilize jars, lids and rings. Layer all ingredients, in order listed, in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring twice. Ladle mixture into jars; seal. Cool and store.
Since this pickles recipe is a family favorite, we go through a lot of them, so I triple the recipe. I also triple the cooking time, and I stir the mixture twice for each 7 to 8 minutes of cooking.
We truly enjoy all of our preserved produce year-round.
Read more about home canning in Stories of Food Preservation Methods.