Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ball Complete book of Home Preserving

I've been looking over several books on Canning and home food preserving available through my library. One I think I may end up buying is Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, 400 delicious and creative recipes for today. I'll probaby go for an older edition because I can get a used older edition for about $5 rather than $22 for a new one. I know newer is more up to date--but money is money.

I'm going to have a boat load of tomatoes this year and I'm excited about that. I used a little bit of 10/10/10 fertilizer when I first tilled the ground this spring and I put a handful or so of lime in each hole where I planted a tomato--to prevent blossom end rot. I have been faithfully watering the plants-- I water by hand with a water wand on my hose because that directs the water to the soil not just the leaves. I also mulched using pinestraw--which is something that you just do in the south--everything is mulched here except maybe succulents. I did pull the mulch a bit away from the plants to discourage slugs. I have used sevin dust on my plants I think just twice when they were younger--at this point they seem to be relatively pest free and so large that a pest wouldn't do that much damage anyhow--so I don't need to do a thing to treat them. They are LOADED with fruit. Some is ripening now, but not all. I plan to put in a 2nd crop of tomatoes soon-- you can grow tomatoes well into fall here, especially if you cover them a little when it gets nippy. I may purchase one set of 3 'wall o waters' and try to extend that season to close to Christmas. We'll see.

Anyhow I want to can my tomatoes and I like the Ball Book as a general reference for this. I plan to can them with seasonings, and with less salt--because of my hypertension. I'm going to do cajun tomatoes, italian tomatoes and mexican tomatoes. I may do some sauce as well--but if I have just canned tomatoes I can make sauce from that when I need it.

I have a small chest freezer--which is usually nearly full with meats or cheeses that I buy on sale--generally I try to get it at least 1/2 price. I doubt I'll freeze many veggies just not enough space. I do want to have them in the pantry though and I love that I can control the amount of salt I put in them, and keep the price beneath store prices. :) Canning tomatoes is not a difficult process, you just have to follow the directions and keep things clean enough. You don't need a pressure cooker unless you plan to add other veggies. The Ball book has great directions and lots of recipes, I know I can't 'experiment' much with canning--it has to be 'safe' and I trust Ball to have thoroughly tested the safety of the recipes whereas I don't know that I can trust recipes found on the internet quite so much.

Can't wait to see all those nice jars lined up on the shelf!

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