Here is my last batch of salsa for this year. I'm hoping it's enough to make it through a full year - I shall have to monitor salsa intake to make sure no one has gone over their daily limits.
I would have liked to make more but it was not meant to be. I learned a lesson this year - do not wait until September to buy your canning lids. Lots of little sizes were available, but none for my big quart jars. Luckily, I had some left from last year and I borrowed some from new jars I bought this year because all I had was big quart jars and I need something smaller...
for jam! It's my first year doing jam and it is very, very exciting to me!
Here is my strawberry jam. It is so very delicious - strawberries picked from my garden and sweetened with honey. I've realized I've become a bit of a jam snob. Heather spoiled me with her tasty homemade jam and now I find store bought doesn't cut it. There was one passable jam that was fruit juice sweetened, but I'm finding other jams in this world are too sugary sweet for me. It was no surprise why when I read some canning recipes and saw how much sugar went into them! That was one reason why I hadn't yet tackled jam, but thanks to Heather, I found a low sugar recipe that doesn't overwhelm the flavour of the fruit. I also did blackberry jam with the blackberries from our bushes but no photo exists. You will have to trust me.
I also wanted to do peach jam, but we are so enjoying the box of peaches from our tree that taking a big chunk of them to mash up seemed so wrong. Then we stumbled across a huge stack of 29 cent/lb juice peaches at a local packing house and I ended up buying as much as I could carry out. Seemed sad to leave them to spoil, just because they weren't "perfect" enough to sell. Most got chopped up for smoothies but one box became jam.
By mid afternoon, I was finished canning and the only thing left to do was let it cool. L and I went outside to play some games, but mostly I spent my free time laying on a blanket, staring at this:
How lucky I felt to be laying in the grass, enjoying the warm weather that I will miss so much in a month or so. If I could have, I would have had a little siesta, then and there. But that wasn't in my sons plans. He was collecting tomatoes...
There are my beauties. I've know these tomatoes since their plants were tiny seeds in my hand. I should know what kinds they are, but I don't. It's a sad story. I started out so organized, seeds planted in their tiny starter cells with a little map drawn up, labelling what seed was in what cell. We watered them, we talked to them, we sent them happy growing vibes. Then, one sad day, I was carrying the tray back to the window sill and it buckled and fell to the ground. I sunk to my knees and quietly sobbed, not because of the dirt spread out all over my kitchen floor, but for all the tiny newly sprouted seeds revealed in the dirt spread out all over my kitchen floor. Then my hero, my husband, rushed into the room wearing a white shirt and tan coloured breeches, and put the little seedlings back into cells. Happily, they became small plants which turned into huge tomato bearing plants, but my map of who's who was completely thrown off. But it all turned out okay. And these lovelies became crushed tomatoes for winter soups and sauces.
I'm not done with dealing with food yet. Oh no. Not by a long shot. Canning, yes. Done. 100% done for the year. But Amanda came by with a little delivery for me...