Archive for the ‘Canning’ Category

Homemade Ketchup

October 19, 2011

First step to making ketchup...

“I would really like to make ketchup with you guys.”

While relaxing at the cottage this summer, that’s what our friend Carina posed to Cari and I.  At that point, we had hoped that the bounty of our garden would at least provide some of the tomatoes that went into the ketchup, but since our garden proved a bit of a bust this year that didn’t happen.  Not to mention the fact that to yield seven pints of ketchup, we had to start with 24 lbs of tomatoes.

24 lbs!  To put it in perspective, that’s about how much an 18-month-old would weigh (yes, we’re parents and have to make those kinds of comparisons).  Thankfully we live in an Italian neighbourhood, and many of the local vegetable markets sell bushels of tomatoes.  We were actually able to get approximately 50 lbs for $18.  Not bad!  We went on to use the leftover tomatoes to make oven-roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato soup.


Mowgli’s Own: Our 2nd Annual Big Batch of Pickles

September 6, 2010


After making a whopping 30lbs worth of pickles last year, we celebrated the anniversary of that event with… another huge batch! In the end we timed it perfectly as we are just polishing off the last two jars from last year now. And yes, we gave a lot of the jars last year away – so we didn’t eat *quite* that many all on our own!

We scaled back a bit this year and stuck with about 20lbs, purchased at vegetable markets in the Bloor West Village area. Our initial plan was to go to Whittamores Farm for a pick-your-own, much like we had for raspberries and strawberries, but in the end we got the exact same price per pound at vegetable markets – with a fraction of the travel time and no work on our part. Score!


Roadside Cherry Jam

July 11, 2010

Roadside Cherries
As Cari wrote in her post about our strawberry jam, we’re determined to make enough jam this summer to last us the year.  We hadn’t considered cherry jam, but after visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake during the height of Ontario cherry season we decided the $8 2L basket of sour cherries was worth it.

Of course, we didn’t know how tart cherries would bode in jam form, but the 6 1/4 cups of sugar sure helped!  This jam turned out very well, spreads easily on toast and is delicious.

Roadside Cherry Jam

Here’s the recipe:


Strawberry Day

July 5, 2010

Last fall, Adam and I created an apple day event with some friends. We ventured to an orchard for some pick-your-own apples, and returned home with a massive supply to create apple butter, apple preserves, and of course, apple pie. It was a great day.

Now that it’s officially summer (the 34°C temps outside tell me so), we invited some friends out to a pick-your-own strawberry farm, and followed it up by an afternoon of jam making. MmmMm, jam. Adam and I have a goal of making enough jam this summer to last us all year long.

We made two types of jam – one with no sugar using Pomona’s Pectin, and one standard “Old Fashioned” recipe, which used 5+ cups of sugar. Guess which one came out tastier?

I definitely want to try Pomona’s Pectin again – it allows for making jam with little or no sugar. That said, I think no sugar with these particular strawberries created a too tart jam. A bit too tart for me, at least, though it’s still a nice jam.

The sweet jam cooked for quite awhile, creating a bit of a caramelized flavour in the end, which was quite nice. Very sweet and yummy. Perfect for a morning slice of toast.

We also had one of Ms. Wat’s famous pies! Thanks, Emily!


Next: Raspberry Day!

All Things Apple

October 11, 2009

Photo by the Magical Emily Wat

Yesterday was a great day. We spent the day with lots and lots of apples: First at an orchard where we picked them, and later at home when we turned them into tasty tasty treats.

Our friends with much better cameras than ours got some really great shots at the orchard – thanks Emily and Ankle! The orchard was great fun – something we hope to make an annual tradition. We last went two years ago and while we really enjoyed it, we found ourselves inundated with massive amounts of apples.. far too many to eat or even make into pies. Now that we’re into canning, we decided to invite everyone back to our place after to pool our apple hauls and make apple butter and apple preserves. We also tried  our hand at making some hard cider. More on that in a month or so, when we know if it worked out!

Thanks to everyone who participated – the apple butter in particular is amazingly tasty – and made for a really yummy breakfast.

Mowlgi’s Tomato Sauce

September 29, 2009
A small fraction of our tomatoes.

A small fraction of our tomatoes.

A bit more canning lately to use up the last of our garden tomatoes. We sadly pulled up our tomato plants on Sunday… they were just looking far too sad though they did produce a lot of really yummy (though small) tomatoes this year.

We ended up making a full batch of 6 x 500mL jars of salsa (with the awesome label), and a small batch of tomato sauce. Bernardin said the recipe below would make 6 x 500mL jars, but we only got three and a bit. Of course, it was likely partially our fault, as we let it boil a bit too much. It was a bit sad to see a full 10lbs of tomatoes only make three jars, but at least it’s tasty tasty sauce, which made an amazing pizza base.


Señor Miller’s Homegrown Tomato Salsa

September 10, 2009
Señor Miller's Homegrown Tomato Salsa

Señor Miller

First, let me preface this post by saying that no matter how awesome this salsa recipe turns out, the highlight of the post will always be the last photo at the end of the post. Adam and I are totally and unapologetically dorks, and the photo at the end of this post proves that beyond all else. So there.

Now, onto salsa and the homegrown tomatoes.


Mowgli’s Own: A huge haul of pickles!

August 31, 2009
Mowgli's Own Garlicy Dill Pickles

Mowgli's Own Garlicy Dill Pickles

Ever wonder what happens when you ask for a special deal on pickling cucumbers at a farmer’s market at the end of the day? What happens is they offer you all that they have left for $20, and your partner immediately jumps in and says “SURE!”. Little do you know you’ve just bought yourself 30.5lbs of cucumbers (at a damn good price, of course) and 6+ hours of labour* the following day. But in the end, you get:

26 x 1 L jars

4 x 500 mL jars

1 x 750 mL jars

And enough pickles to last you at least a year, and lots of nice gifts for friends and family in coming months. Here’s to hoping this batch is just as tasty as our last!

More pictures will likely be linked to later, as our amazing photographer friend Emily joined us for our insane day of pickling, and took some really great photos documenting the process.

Curious what 28.75 L of pickles looks like?

28.75 L of pickles!

28.75 L of pickles!

*I don’t think it would normally take that long, but our pot for water bath canning only fits 4 of the liter size jars at once… so lots and lots of batches were necessary.

Pickles revisited

August 29, 2009

Remember how I said earlier that we would soon blog more as we were itching to get back into the kitchen?

Today at St Lawrence Market we bought 30lbs of pickling cucumbers. 30lbs! We bought them out as and end of day special, so all that for $20! Only 66 cents per pound. We have lots more pickles in our future!

More tomorrow…

Zesty Peach Barbecue Sauce

August 7, 2009
Mmmmm, peaches

Mmmmm, peaches

Peaches are in season! We got two baskets full at the grocery store on a whim with the intent on canning, and today was the day.  We’d actually hoped to make two recipes, but started a bit too late so we only got through one: Zesty Peach Barbecue Sauce.

We’ll probably let the flavours meld for a bit before we really dig in, but on the first taste test I think I can say it’s yummy. It’s got a nice kick, and all sorts of  interesting flavours going on. Mmmm.

A few quick questions for fellow canners (if any happen to stop by):

  1. Anyone else find many recipes overestimate the amount you’ll end up with? The recipe below says it makes about 8 x 250 mL jars. We used 500 mL instead, assuming that would mean we’d get 4. Nope – we got 3, and then threw in another 125 mL for the remainder. So in all, the recipe fell 375mL short – and that’s pretty typical for this cookbook (The Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving – which seems like a good starter book). Anyone else find this too? Are other cookbooks more reliable for quantities?
  2. We have a giant pot we use for our water bath canning:
  3. Giant pot on the stove

    Giant pot on the stove

    Trouble is, it still doesn’t seem quite big enough! Even just using the 500 mL jars, it always boils over. The inch or so needed for the rack at the bottom, plus the jars themselves, plus the extra water to cover fills it up right to the top – so when it boils… it often boils over. Is there a better pot we should use? Could we leave out the bottom rack, or will the jars break?

And finally – the recipe: