I am going to make a series of small batch items - and with them record the recipe source, ingredients required to make minimum batch and the date processed. That way in the middle of the Winter, when I taste what I have "put up," I will be able to flag the successes and replicate them next Summer.
I scoured the local hardware stores and finally settled on the supplies that I needed. My dad loaned me his giant enamel water bath canner (looks like a stock pot with a jar rack inside), so I only needed jars, labels and the Ball Utensil Set, which includes a Funnel, Magnetic Wand, Bubble Remover & Rubberized Jar Tongs. The set is perfect and the magnetic wand is genius!
I started with canning tomatoes. I bought my first peck of tomatoes at the farmer's market and after reading a few different canning and preserving books, I settled on this recipe for "Raw-Packed Tomatoes with No Added Liquid" from the Ball website. I did not add any salt, which was optional.
It all went off without a hitch and the jars look gorgeous. In case you are curious, these are the steps in a nutshell:
- Wash tomatoes, core & cut "X" at base
- Blanch in hot water to loosen skin; remove skin
- Sterilize quart jars (I used dishwasher); Simmer lids in water
- Fill jars with tomatoes and add lemon juice
- Help tomatoes to settle with bubble remover tool
- Wipe any residue off jar rim and use magnetic wand (to keep lid sterile) to place lid onto jar
- Place in water bath and process according to instructions for approx 85 minutes