Posts Tagged ‘canning’


It must be fall for sure.  I could see my breath when hanging up the laundry and it was 9 already!!  Another sure sign of fall was the half bushel of apples sitting in the summer kitchen.

Ella is such a good helper this year.  She was able to work the apple peeler and peeled nearly all the apples.  I had to do a few by hand because they were too large/soft for the peeler.  Any one interested in making apple sauce, apple butter or apple pie, I would strongly suggest getting a peeler like mine.  It makes using apples a breeze.  The get peeled, cored and sliced all at once.  I just cut them into pieces the size I need.

Apple sauce is a great ‘first’ for the beginning canner.  Not in the least because it’s done when it’s cool  🙂

Peel, core and slice as many apples as you want.  I used 1/2 bushel of Honey Crisp apples.  I often use Cortlands or Empires.  I like my sauce to have some body.  If you like a very smooth sauce then try MacIntosh.

Put the apple slices in a large pot (or pots) and add enough water to cover the bottom about 1/2 inch.  Leave the pot uncovered and simmer over low until it is ‘sauced’ as much as you like.  Depending on the apples you chose, I sometimes find I need to mash the apples to help them along.  You can also do the applesauce in a crockpot.  I rarely do it this way because it takes so long.

After the apples have cooked for a while.  Give them a taste and see if you need some sugar.  I use brown sugar because it has more taste.  The Honey Crisp were so sweet they didn’t need any sugar, even for my sweet tooth.  I also add some cinnamon, but that can be left out too.

Sterilize your jars, I use pint jars because that’s the size that works for my family.  Fill jars with hot applesauce, leaving 1/2 inch of head space.   Put on lids (that were in boiled water for 5 min) and process in boiling water for 15 mins (20 for qt jars).

Peaches are nearly as easy.  I didn’t make any this year, but I’ll share my recipe anyway.

Scald peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Cool quickly in cold water and peel off skin.  Either slice or halve the peaches (as you wish).  Meanwhile, have your choice of syrup ready.  I do it ‘old school’ and use a heavy syrup just like when I was a kid.  Here’s a chart so you can choose yourself:

Light:      5 3/4 c water and 1 1/2 c sugar

Medium:     5 1/4 c water and 2 1/4 c sugar

Heavy:      5 c water and 3 1/4 c sugar

Boil sugar and water together.  Add peaches and boil again for 3 minutes.  Pack into hot, clean jars.  Add additional syrup to cover.  Leave 1/2 inch headroom.   Process in boiling water for 20 minutes (pints) or 25 minutes (quarts).

A delicious bit of summer in the middle of winter.

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We tried a new recipe this week.  It uses tube buns so it’s not something I’ll make often.  But it’s something easy to whip up on short notice.  It could be made with homemade biscuits too.

Pizza Pop-Ups

makes 10

1 tube of 10 flaky rolls (Pillsbury)

1/2 c tomato sauce

1 c chopped pepperoni



1 T onion                                                1 T Parmesan

1/2 c mozzarella

Mix everything (except rolls) together.  Split rolls in half and flatten a little bit.  Put into greased muffin pan.  Divide the mixture among the 10 shells.  Top with the remaining pieces of dough.  Try to press and seal.

Bake 350F for 15-20 minutes

The next recipe comes from our friend Bev.  She married Colin’s best friend from Centralia Keith.  They met online too.  It’s funny how similar Bev and I are, we even share a birthday.  This is one of Colin’s favourite meals, he’s even been known to request this one.

Chicken and Dumplings

2 1/2-3 lb chicken pieces, I tend to use thighs

1 c flour                                       2 t salt

1t paprika                                   1/8 t pepper

2 T oil                                           1 T butter

1 10oz can cream of chicken soup            1 1/2 c milk

Mix dry ingredients.  Coat chicken with seasoned flour.  Brown in oil/butter.  Drain skillet.  Stir in soup and milk.  Add chicken back to skillet.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

20 minutes before chicken is finished, mix together:

1 c flour                                                 3 t bk powder

1/2 t salt                                               1/2 t parsley

1/2 t sage                                              1 1/2 T oil

2/3 c milk

Drop batter by spoonful, making sure to place them on TOP of the chicken and not into the broth.  Cover and simmer for the remaining 15 minutes.  DO NOT LIFT LID UNTIL TIME IS DONE.

This next recipe is very special to me.  It’s one of the very few recipes I have that I know my Great Grandma used to make.  I have her old cook book but who knows which ones she used.  This Fruit Relish was made every year and my Grandma still makes it, and now I do too.   Not too many people make fruit relish at home, but up here is seems to be more popular.  Up here they tend to call it Chili Sauce, which I find confusing because I think chili sauce is more like ketchup in consistency (like Heinz Chili Sauce).  Where as my Fruit Relish still has all its parts visible.  Start this recipe early in the morning.  You don’t have to babysit it, but it takes a while.

Fruit Relish

recipe says 8 qts, but it seems to change every year

24 large tomatoes, you want tomatoes to be the majority of the ingredients

6 peaches                                            6 pears

6 apples                                                6 onions

2 red and green peppers               1/2 c pickling spice

2 T salt                                                  3 c white sugar

4 c vinegar

Peel and dice everything.  You want the pieces no larger than 1/2 inch.  Tie the pickling spice into a cheesecloth bag.  Mix ALL the ingredients into a large pan/pot.  Let stand for 3 hours.  Then simmer, uncovered, until thick.  My recipe says 2 hours, but I have never had it ready that quickly.  I simmer over a fairly low temperature that way I don’t have to worry about sticking and burning.  You want it thick but with plenty of liquid to fill the jars -hope that makes sense.

Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-1/4 inch headroom.  Seal and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.

How to Peel Fruits Easily:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Put in a few fruit you want to peel, sometimes it’s easier if you cut a X in the bottom.  Let sit in the water a few seconds then carefully lift out and set aside for a couple of minutes.  If you are not cooking the fruit, put it into a cold water bath to stop the cooking.  If you are using the fruit for something like fruit relish, the cold water is unnecessary.

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The Petawawa Farmers’ Market continues to go well.  We have 3 more Fridays to go.  We have some new producers.  One Mom has 4 kids, well one is not quite 1.  Ella loves having others to play with and they usually play in the Mom’s mini van which means I don’t have to worry about Ella and strangers or the road.  My friend Lindsey often comes by with her little ones.  Ella loves playing with her little girl (she’s 3).  They are so cute, they run around being birds or wander around holding hands.

I’ve got more Christmas knitting done.  Two pairs of men sized socks.  These are made with Patons Decor yarn, it’s nearly a chunky size.  Two of the men I knit for have size 11 feet, so I’m not using thin wool and little needles.  I’m not sure fancy, fine socks would really suit them any way.  They are more the thick sock kind of guy.

Finally got a chance to get my fruit relish made.  It’s a tricky timing thing, especially up here.  I need to have tomatoes, peaches, pears, and apples all ripe at the same time.  It wasn’t so hard when we lived in Bowmanville.  We’d just head to the St. Jacob’s market and pick up everything we need.  It’s my Great Grandma’s recipe.  It’s great with all kinds of meat and I like it with eggs.  This year I had one jar break in the hot water bath.  At least it didn’t come apart until I got it out of the water and on the counter.

This wasn’t technically the weekend, but I thought I’d share how farmers remove dead freezers.  Colin and Dad were actually able to get the freezer out of the summer kitchen without destroying anything, the back door came off its hinges but that was planned.

Since marrying Colin I’ve learned a lot about farming and a lot about farmers.  One of the first things I learned was that farmers aren’t happy doing things around the house unless they can get a tractor/front-end loader involved   🙂

It’s amazing how much bigger the summer kitchen looks.  The new 22.5 ft freezer is so much shorter (width) that Colin was able to turn the utility shelf (on Colin’s right) so it’s against the wall.  That makes for so much more walking space.  If we could ever figure out where to put the freezer in the middle of the room we could have a party -well, not really but you know what I mean.  Here Colin’s sweeping up, it’s amazing what accumulates behind/under a freezer over 60 years.  I’m surprised he didn’t find any mummified mice.

Having the new freezer will make getting ready for OVFC delivery day a breeze.  We’re sorting the freezers out tomorrow and Sunday (after delivery day) I may even defrost one of the other freezers.  I can’t wait to get everything organized.  I hate not being able to find things.  Also, it’s hard when people come to the farm to buy pork.  I have to dig through and try to remember where everything is ‘piled’.  Not very professional, not to mention that I can’t reach the bottom of the freezers  🙂

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