This is a re-post from a previous year.
There are piles of laundry dumped in random places around my house, my husband’s brown bag lunches are strange combinations of leftovers found lurking in the fridge, my kids are eating Pirate’s Booty on a daily basis, and I have been staying up way too late with way too much produce. This can only mean one thing: Canning Season is here.
I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year. The produce is so abundant in September. Then I start ordering and picking and freezing and canning produce, and I can’t stop. Restraint is not in my vocabulary. Like most things in life, I go all-or-nothing, turning food preservation into some sort of ultra-endurance event.
So, as much as I sometimes hate the long nights and early mornings and endless parade of produce across my kitchen counter, for the most part I just feel crazy blessed to live in this part of the country where so many great farmers and fields are right around the corner. Seriously, what’s not to love about that?
Italian Prunes… or are they Plums?
I just ordered 60 pounds of prunes. We will eat some fresh and dry the rest using a food dehydrator. To dry, I just cut them in half, pop them open, toss the pit, fan out each half (see picture), and lay on the drying racks. Dried prunes (or plums, if you prefer) are so stinking sweet; we eat them like candy. Once they are dry, I just drop them into bags and store them in the freezer.
I think I might also make this recipe next week.
I currently have 550 pounds of tomatoes sitting out in my garage. This is the fourth year I have placed such a large order and split it five ways. Combining orders is a great way to get a discount; the produce markets I called were happy to give me a price cut (To the tune of .25 off per pound. That adds up fast!).
The guys loading the boxes into my van were laughing at me (This happens every year, too), “Ok, I’ve got to know, what in the world do you do with 26 boxes of tomatoes?!” My children, strapped into their carseats and surrounded by boxes of ripe tomatoes just take it all in stride. Apparently, crazy mommy to others is normal mommy to them.
So, here is what I plan to do with 26 boxes of tomatoes:
- Can Whole Tomatoes (use for bases in soups, stews, sauces, etc.) and Salsa
- Roasted Marinara Sauce (I use this for spaghetti, lasagna, pizza sauce, or a salsa base. The steps are simple, and the flavor is amazing.)
My friend Shelly asked if I wanted to pick peaches last Friday. I was packing for a beach camping trip, but her offer was too good to refuse. We picked peaches in the morning, and my little family hit the road that afternoon. When we walked back through the door on Sunday night our entire house smelled like sweet peaches. That’s way better than the oops-I-forgot-to-take-out-the-trash-before-we-left smell of years past.
On Monday night, I canned 21 quarts, using the Cold Pack Method (Step-by-Step Guide).
This afternoon I’m planning to make a Brown-Sugar Peach Pie with Coconut Streusel (Cooking Light). This is my favorite peach pie recipe. It only needs a single crust so it comes together quickly and easily. So good.
Check out our Recipe Index for some other great seasonal options. Peach season will start winding down soon. If you are planning to can or freeze peaches, make sure you look for freestone varieties, which just means the pit will separate easily from the fruit.
I stocked my chest freezer with Freezer Applesauce from Transparent Apples (early variety) and my shelves with Canned Applesauce (Step-by-Step Guide) from Gravenstein Apples (season is just wrapping up). Apple season will really kick into full swing over the next two months so you will have plenty of time to either freeze or can some applesauce.
We have also been eating loads of fresh corn, basil, potatoes, zucchini, onions, and cucumbers from the garden. Have I mentioned I love this time of year?
What’s happening in your garden or home this month?
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