Canning Garden Fruits

In the past few weeks, I have canned peaches, tomatoes, and cucumbers from our garden. Last weekend, I made more tomato sauce with our garden tomatoes. I have made a total of about 15 jars of tomato sauce over the past month. I also canned about 40 peaches from our O’Henry peach tree last weekend. Here is a photo of the bottled tomato sauce, cucumber pickles, and peaches sitting on our kitchen shelf.

In general, low acid foods need to be canned using a pressure cooker. I canned the tomato sauce using a pressure cooker, because I put low acid vegetables in it including celery, onions, and carrots. High acid foods can be canned by boiling them in water. I canned the peaches and the cucumbers using the boiling water canning method. The recipe for the cucumber pickles called for a lot of added vinegar, which raised their acidity level enough to obviate the need to can them with a pressure cooker.

I have harvested about 150 tomatoes in the past month from only 3 of our tomato plants. The first picture is just the harvest from last weekend. The second picture shows some of our ripe tomatoes on the vines.

I gave several of our tomatoes away, and I canned the remainder. Canned fruits and vegetables are supposed to last for at least a year. Canning is not only a great way to preserve a large harvest for long period of time, but it also allows you to preserve recipes with very flavorful ingredients. Many store bought tomatoes and peaches are picked before they are ripe and do not fully sweeten or ripen sitting on a store shelf. Because I picked our tomatoes when they were fully ripe, our tomato sauce has a nice sweetness and flavor to it that I don’t think can be replicated using unripe tomatoes.

This is the first year I have canned home grown peaches. I grew up eating store bought canned peaches for breakfast, and I never liked those. But I decided to try canning some of our home grown peaches this year, because our O’Henry tree had nearly 100 peaches on it, and we couldn’t eat them all fresh before they spoiled. We first sliced and boiled the peaches in a medium syrup for a few minutes, bottled them with the syrup, and then processed the bottles in boiling water. I think the resulting product is tastier than the canned peaches I grew up eating. They are sweeter and have a better flavor and texture.

Here are some pictures of our O’Henry peach tree that I took before we picked the bulk of the fruit.

August 28 2010 10:24 pm | Cucumbers and Peaches/Nectarines and Tomatoes