Kris and I grow a vegetable garden every year, but some summers are more productive than others. This summer has been the most productive that I can recall.

We were swimming in berries from the end of May until the end of July. We had so many berries that we eventually gave up. Can you imagine? Not eating fresh berries that sit there, ready to be picked? We didn’t let them all go to waste, of course. Kris canned some of them. I’ve been enjoying toast and freezer jam every morning since we returned from San Francisco.

We were picking snow peas for just as long, eating them fresh off the vine. Eventually we gave up on those, too, and just let them wither. (We planted our fall pea crop a couple weeks ago; I have little one-inch sprouts.)

Kris and Craig masterminded a tomato-growing extravaganza: they ordered seeds together, and each are testing certain varieties. Kris has eight plants (plus just as many volunteers scattered throughout the yard), and she’s been harvesting the fruit like mad. She’s made tomato soup, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, and, of course, many batches of the Best Salsa Ever. Her tomato map hangs from the fridge, and she’s circled her favorite varieties (Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Yellow Pear, Bloody Butcher, Dr. Wyche’s Yellow, and maybe Caspian Pink).

Our neighbors have given us apples and pears, and soon we’ll pick grapes from across the street. From our garden, we’ve picked cucumbers and green beans and zucchini and corn.

It’s a veritable cornucopia.

What to do with all this food? (Especially since I’m allergic to many vegetables?) Can it, of course.

Kris has been canning like crazy — sometimes with Tiffany’s help — and last night, she set out the fruits of her labor:

Here’s a list of everything that she’s canned:

  • 3 kinds of bread ‘n’ butter pickles
  • sweet pickles
  • pickled zucchini
  • pickled green beans
  • pickled cherry tomatoes
  • preserved grape leaves (experimental)
  • pears
  • almond pears
  • pear pie filling
  • mixed berry pie filling
  • apple cranberry conserve
  • apple elderberry conserve
  • pear syrup
  • tomato soup
  • marinara sauce

Later she realized that she’d forgotten a box of jars downstairs. “And don’t forget that we’ve given some away, too,” she told me. She’s also making some (gnat-infested) berry liqueur, which is fermenting on a shelf in the library.

Of course, all of this canning is nothing compared to some people

9 Replies to “Canning Season”

  1. Amy Jo says:

    We’ve also been canning like crazy this year. I finally told Paul that he had to take some tomatoes to school to give away. I can’t imagine that we can eat anymore tomato sauce, tomato broth, or salsa than what I have already canned or frozen. We spent the holiday weekend making roasted tomato salsa, raspberry jam (from our fall berries), tomato sauce, pear sauce, and two different types of pickles (Paul made super garlicky dills and I made more bread and butter). I made a kick-ass pear sauce–roasted the pears in a 500 degree oven with a little bit of brown sugar and some bourbon. Wowsa–I can’t wait to eat this over ice cream.

    We’ll all be fat and happy this winter, except for poor JD, who is allergic to vegetables.

  2. Blogeois says:

    Wow! Those pears look to die for! Amy Jo has a great oven idea that I just might have to try sometime this fall.

  3. mrs darling says:

    I need tomatoes. I didnt pant a garden this year and I need to do salsa and ketchup. Does anybody have any extra tomatoes? Ill gladly come get them from you? I planted two patio pots and so far Ive gotten only one red tomato! I’m growing desperate!

  4. Ruth Swartz says:

    Wow that all looks so good! Everything looks like it’s done to perfection.

  5. lee says:

    Ah, summer.

    You eat what you can; and what you can’t, you can.

    The sight of those pickled green beans is making my mouth water.

  6. kel says:

    i stumbled across your blog in a googling attempt to find some old friends with the same names as yours and your wife’s. anyway, i’m curious if you have any idea how much $ you’ve put into your garden upfront.

  7. Nikchick says:

    Oooh, I’ve been canning, too.


    I’ve done blackberry jam, cherry-berry jam, spiced/pickled beets, spiced red wine peaches, garlic dill pickles, spiced peaches in syrup and some peach salsa. Not a ton of stuff, but enough for us and with apples and pears coming in I might yet make some more.

    Note to Amy Jo: post your kick-ass pear sauce as a recipe, please! 🙂

  8. Dave says:

    You should send /s/yrtec a bill for advertising on your site. Along with the pudamatic people who seem to own the site/URL.

  9. Amy Jo says:

    I’ve had a number of requests for the Pear Bourbon sauce recipe. Well, I didn’t work from a recipe but here is what I did.

    I filled a large poasting pan with:

    Ripe bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters (To prevent/slow down browning, I put the pears in a 1 to 4 lemon juice/water solution while waiting to put them in the oven). I used enough pears to make one layer in the pan.

    Brown sugar (to taste; I began with a couple of tablesoons and ended up using about a half cup in total)

    Bourbon (to taste; I began with a couple of tablespoons)

    Lemon juice (a couple of tablespoons)

    Roast pear mixture in a 500 degree oven until pears are soft and beginning to carmelize, stirring every 15 minutes. Taste from time to time to make sure that the pears are sweet enough. If not, add more brown sugar. If you want a stronger bourbon flavor, add more bourbon too.

    When the pears are soft and most of the liquid, but not all, has evaporated, remove from oven and mash pears with a potato masher. If you want a smoother sauce, run it through a food mill. I finished the sauce with another couple of tablespoons of bourbon.

    You can either freeze or can this sauce, like you apple sauce.

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