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Squirreling Away for Winter

September 3rd, 2010

I had great plans of writing a post about making zucchini bread including my recipe, but I was up late filling the pantry with all kinds of goodies for winter. I feel like it’s a better use of energy when I can a bunch of things in one evening. Then I only have to fire up the canner every so often. I’m not canning as much this year since I’m trying to focus more on growing throughout the winter and I grew a lot potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash that don’t need preserved.

I ended up with: 28 pints of crushed tomatoes, 5 quarts of sauerkraut, 5 pints of bread & butter pickles, and 3 pints of fire roasted red peppers. I also started a batch of watermelon rind pickles, we’ll see how those turn out. I think all I have left to can is some tomato soup, ketchup, and perhaps a batch of green tomato pickles.

What’s your favorite home canned item?

22 Comments to “Squirreling Away for Winter”
  1. Shannon on September 3, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I am planning a long weekend of tomato canning. I actually don’t can anything else except maybe jam. I keep my sauerkraut, cortido, and salsa raw in the fridge. My heart beats for a root cellar, though.

    Any recommendations on the easiest form of canned tomatoes?

    Reply to Shannon's comment

    • Susy on September 3, 2010 at 8:36 am

      I know what you mean, I usually keep my kraut in the fridge too, but it’s filled with fermented pickles so I had to can this. I can’t wait to have a proper root cellar to keep things like kraut & pickles in jars without canning. When it gets closer to winter our basement is cold enough since it’s not heated, but it’s still not quite there yet so I had to can the kraut. We’ll be eating this for New Years and it’s cooked with ribs so I don’t mind canning it.

      I think canned crushed tomatoes are easiest, that’s all I do. I simply peel (and I never dunk in cold water, just into hot then on to the counter), then I cut into chunks, heal to boiling, fill hot jars leaving 3/4 -1 inch of head space, lid and water bath pints for 35 minutes quarts for 40 min. When time is up, turn off heat to canner, remove lid, and let jars sit in canner for 5 minutes, then remove. This helps reduce the risk of bubble ups that push tomatoes out of the jars. I find I have better luck with pints for tomatoes, I get a quart every now and then that won’t seal because tomatoes kind of puff up during canning and push out the lids, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a pint not seal.

      Here’s my post about how I can crushed tomatoes:

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Shannon on September 3, 2010 at 11:25 am

        I only have quarts and don’t really want to go purchase pints. Do you have a time recommendation for quarts vs. pints?

        I will definitely be using your method :) Thanks!

        to Shannon's comment

      • Susy on September 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm

        Process quarts for 45 minutes, turn off canner, remove lid, and let them sit in there for 5 minutes or so before removing, maybe a bit longer for quarts, helps prevent boilups.

        to Susy's comment

  2. kristin @ going country on September 3, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Pears. Which I will not have this year. Boo.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on September 3, 2010 at 8:37 am

      We only got a few pears this year, they’re drying it the attic right now. Not nearly as many as we sometimes get. That’s the beauty of growing your own and local living, sometimes you don’t get the things you want/love, but that makes you appreciate them all the more when you do get them.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Sense of Home on September 3, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I love home canned tomatoes, the sauce I make is SO much better than store bought. I also love my homemade and canned apple juice, it tastes so fresh. I could not choose between these two. Apples from our parents are in short supply this year though, so I will be asking around.


    Reply to Sense of Home's comment

  4. Beegirl on September 3, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Up to 26 pints of tomatoes and still have a table full. That isn’t counting the 13 pints I had to toss because I did them wrong (long story). I wanted to pickle yellow beans, but didn’t get to them. Cukes were a mess this year ~ fungus?? Dried a half gallon of black beans. Not bad for a 1/4 of a row! Carrots will stay in the ground all winter, shredded zuchs, blueberries, and peaches in the freezer, potatoes (white, red, and sweet) will keep in the basement ~ with a few squash. Beets are next. Ate my only apple~ it was delicious!! : ))

    Happy storing to you ~ my fellow squirrel!!

    Reply to Beegirl's comment

    • Susy on September 3, 2010 at 9:14 am

      Oh No, bad tomatoes – what a loss. At least it wasn’t last year when you didn’t have extras b/c of the blight!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. aimee on September 3, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I can about a gazilion tomatos. I will do 60 quarts of stewed tomatos, 60 quarts tomato soup, 40 pints tomato sauce, 50 pints chilli sauce. It sounds like a lot, however I am trying to stock up for a family of 7, we eat a lot of food! :)

    I will also do grape juice, apple and pears, the amount depends on what I can glen off others. :)

    Reply to aimee's comment

  6. aimee on September 3, 2010 at 10:44 am

    glen=glean :)

    Reply to aimee's comment

  7. Jennelle on September 3, 2010 at 11:01 am

    It’s that time of year! I had my can-marathon last weekend, and put up 15 pints of tomatoes, 4 pints of pasta sauce, 5 pints of pickles, and a whole canner o’ various jams. My mom asked me if I thought I came out ahead money-wise, and I said of course. $10 for a box of canning tomatoes (I still have about 6 big tomatoes left) plus a couple bucks in lids. Plus whatever electric I used (and I worry about this, since the stove is a big power-hog) canning all day long. Sometime toward the end of the month, I’m going to do a bunch of quarts of apple sauce and probably some more jam.

    Reply to Jennelle's comment

  8. Jaspenelle on September 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Oh My Goodness. I have kitchen envy. You have a lovely kitchen… Envy aside, 28 pints of tomatoes? I can barely grow enough to last us through the summer, how many vines do you grow!? (I grow 6, two cherry, two black krim & two Italian, it is what I have room for.) You are inspiring me to hit the farmers market this weekend…

    Reply to Jaspenelle's comment

    • Susy on September 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm

      Thanks. It was actually a cheap builder’s kitchen with cheap oak cabinets. We routed the edges of the cabinet doors & drawers, added moulding we made with the same router bit to the bottom and tops of the cabinets, painted them black and added new hardware (in the shapes of forks, spoons and knives), and new hinges. It cost a total of about $75 for the entire redo and it looks so much better, somewhere I have a photo of what it looked like before. Here’s a photo from before:

      I have about 30 vines here in my gardens, although since it’s shady they’re less productive than sunny garden tomatoes, I’d say I get about half usual yield. My mom planted about 20 plants in her garden that I also get tomatoes from. It looks like finally I won’t have to buy tomatoes this year for canning. And we’ve been eating the beefsteaks each day for lunch and dinner.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Kim on September 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    All the talk of tomatoes is making me miss them even more than before. No one was successful with them this year in Oklahoma. Last year we were building our house and I didn’t have time to can so we gave them away as fast as they grew.
    My favorite? Strawberry jam. Made lots of it this year. Love it! Love your kitchen too!

    Reply to Kim's comment

  10. Chris on September 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Favorite home-canned item…. Fig preserves, hands down.

    Reply to Chris's comment

  11. MAYBELLINE on September 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    plum jam/jelly

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  12. Melanie on September 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

    All your finished jars look like jewels in a case :-) I feel the same way about spending an evening or a day flying through several canning projects.

    It’s hard to say what my favorite is – each is wonderful in its own way. I’m looking forward to trying one of the new (to me) things I canned this week – plums with cinnamon in a honey syrup (recipe from Food in Jars).

    If I had to choose, though, I’d have to say that my reigning favorites are my grandmothers canned cherries. When we were all kids, there might be cake and cookies available for dessert, but if we knew there were jars of cherries in the root cellar, we’d beg to open those instead!

    Reply to Melanie's comment

    • Susy on September 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Canned cherries sound delish!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. Kaytee on September 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    I was just thinking the other day about how I would love to make some tomato soup, but couldn’t find any recipes. Now I will be using yours. Thanks!

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

    • Susy on September 5, 2010 at 9:37 pm

      You’ll love this tomato soup I think, I tried all kinds of recipes before settling on this one. It’s particularly good when heated up with chicken stock and of course adding a little dollop of butter in the bowl is so good. I usually use a pint of chicken stock and a pint of whey in mine when heating it up. Sometimes I add oregano, a good dose of olive oil and a crushed garlic clove as well and of course a good grating of romano. It’s also great with coconut milk and some curry spices. If I’m feeling a cold coming on I often crush a few garlic cloves into a bowl, let sit for 15 min, then add hot soup (made with chicken stock) a good helping of crushed oregano and eat it several times a day. Often I’m able to ward off the cold before it gets bad or even sets in.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Kaytee on September 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm

        I’ll have to keep those serving suggestions in mind. I enjoy tomato soup, but it does get boring when it’s just condensed soup and milk. I figured making fresh soup would help, but those suggestions take it to another level. Thanks again!

        to Kaytee's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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