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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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