Tag Archives: canning

What I did over my summer vacation, part one

What I did over my summer vacation…

When you are retired, there is no real “vacation,” as any work you do is of your choosing. “Summer vacation” is a misnomer, but it sounds good, and I want to write about this season that just passed.

We spent a large portion of our summer on a house addition project. We added a master bathroom, bringing the total number of bathrooms in our house to two. Yay! While we had a fabulous contractor who built the “shell” of the building for us, we did the demolition and all the finish work ourselves. While “ourselves” consists of about 80% my husband and 20% me, the work still consumed a large portion of our summer. We are thrilled with the results.


Yep, we did all this tile and glass block work…and my husband built the vanity from a table we got on Craigslist.

I also trained for and ran my first-ever 5K!  Because if you aren’t going to do your first 5K at 50, when are you going to do it?

When you undertake a home remodeling project and a new running regime during the prime growing season, your garden (indeed, your whole yard) turns into a weedy overgrown mess. At least our vegetable garden has its water on a timer, or everything would have died of thirst. As it was, more things died than should have and others were largely ignored. Pests multiplied, blossom end rot took over before I got on it with my liquid bone meal. And weeds? Did I mention them? Despite the neglect, we had some good crops and have been eating quite well from the garden this summer — tomatoes, green beans, peppers, broccoli, greens, and even one lonely egglplant.

Preserving-wise, I managed the following:
— salsa
— pizza sauce
— dilly beans
— Marionberry pie filling
— Marionberry jam
— Dried apple rings
— Albacore tuna canning with a wonderful Master Food Preserver friend


A productive season!  Stay tuned for “part two” of my summer vacation….



Easy canned salsa

Whenever I get two pounds of romas from the garden, I can a tiny batch of salsa. This is a simple recipe because you whiz it all in the food processor, cook it down, and water-bath can it. If you are not familiar with water bath canning, please consult the Ball canning book or an extension service website. I won’t go into the particulars here, but I don’t want you to get botulism! Do NOT, under any circumstances, omit the vinegar and salt. That would make this recipe very unsafe for canning. And don’t add any extra veggies. You need a lot of acid to make it safe. If you DO fool around with the recipe, don’t can it — just eat it from the fridge.

This makes about 4 half-pints.

Beyond hot salsa, slightly adapted from Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving

2 lbs tomatoes
1 large onion
4 large cloves garlic
4-5 seeded jalepeno peppers
2 small hot dried chiles, seeded
1/4 c cider vinegar
1-2 t dried Mexican oregano
1 t pickling salt

1. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, and peppers in food processor. Process til smooth. Transfer to large pan.

2. Add vinegar, oregano and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, until salsa is thickened (15-30 mins).

3. Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal. Process 20 mins in boiling water bath.