Thursday, 30 August 2012

Knitting and Canning

A two -part post today.

First up, Stash bash (sometimes known as using what I have to make what I need), and Fiber Arts Friday.

 I have had this ball of yarn (two of them actually) in my yarn stash for a little over two years.  It's wool, which I love, but it is scratchier than what I usually work with.  Which means I didn't want to use it for something worn right next to the skin.
Then I found this hat in this book.  It is lined with fleece, but I happen to have a lovely piece of flannel in my fabric stash that will do just the trick for lining this.

I mentioned yesterday that my current knitting project was being transferred to the "secret nightime knitting" category, so I needed a daytime (when the kids are around) knitting project to work on.  And, I happen to need a new winter hat since mine is all stretched out and yucky looking.  Perfect.
This is how far I got.  Why so little, you may ask?  I was canning...which leads us to part two:

Tomato juice and hot sauce.

I forgot to take a picture of yesterday's tomato harvest.  It was ridiculous.  Now that we are back from holidays, my neighbours and friends have stopped coming over to help themselves to tomatoes.  I guess it makes them feel awkward...must figure out a way to remedy that.  Anyways, I filled a huge basket to the point that I was worried the handles would break off coming into the house.  I froze a bag full of cherry tomatoes, and then I made a third batch of tomato juice.
 The background first.  My tomatoes are extremely juicy.  "My guy" at the farmer's market asked me if I would like him to start me a variety of heirloom tomatoes this year as a customer had bought several kinds and only wanted a few of each.  So of course I jumped all over that one.  I ordered 8 plum, 4 brandywine, and 8 "surprise me" -two cell packs with a mixed variety of things I could try.  The problem, you see, is he forgot to label anything when he planted them, so I didn't know exactly what I was getting by the time they got to me.  He did assure me that there were some plum tomatoes in the batch.  Well, turns out I have about 18 plants of really juicy tomatoes that all look alike...which is not helpful for any kind of sauces as they take hours to simmer down.  They are great for juice though.  Basically, I fill my biggest pot with chopped up tomatoes, squish them with my potato masher, and bring them to a boil.  Keep mashing and stirring until they have quite fallen apart.
 Put them through a food mill, put the juice back into the pot, and bring it back to the boil.  Meanwhile, sterilize your jars.  Add one tablespoon of bottled lemon juice and one teaspoon of course salt to each quart jar...
Ladle in your juice, and put them in the hot water bath for 15 minutes.  I looked on the internet for the time and found everything from 10 minutes to 45 minutes.  Because I am using heirloom tomatoes, I figure the acidity is still high enough to warrant the shorter cooking time.

This used maybe half my I made some hot sauce for the hubba...
 8 cups chopped tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups jalapenos/hot peppers, sliced in half (clearly I used more than 1 1/2 cups, but someone like his food hot!).  Peel, seeds, and all.
 Dump those in a pot with 2 tbsp pickling spices and 2 cups vinegar.  Mash them a bit, bring to a boil and cook about 15 minutes until everything is soft.  Pull out the peppers with a pair of tongs and set aside.  Put everything else through the food mill.  Put on your safety glasses for this next step.  Sounds ridiculous, I know, but just trust me on this will you?  Hot jalapeno juice in your eye is not going to be comfortable.  Lesson learned.  Now that your peppers are soft, it is easy peasy to get the seeds out.  I used a spoon to scoop out the "guts" of the jalapenos, and just squeezed the seeds out of the chili peppers.  Put the peppers in the blender/ food processor with a bit of the juice that came through the food mill and process until smooth.  Put that puree back in the pot with the rest of the juice from the food mill (discard all the peelings and spices) and 1 cup sugar and 1 tbsp canning salt.  Bring to boil and then reduce until the consistency of hot sauce (kind of like a thinner version of ketchup?).  This will take a long time if you have juicy tomatoes.  Those yellow ones in there are plum style so it helped a bit, but just be patient.  I'm told it is worth it.
Bottle it up in half pint jars and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.  My husband said it was "beyond awesome".  Quite a compliment coming from him as he loves his store bought hot sauces.  Hot, sweet, starts hot on the tongue and then goes down your throat.  That's what he told me anyways...I don't eat hot sauce.

Line up your jars, and admire your bounty!  I'll link this one up to Carnival of Home Preserving on Friday and barn hop on Monday.


  1. Oh my gosh, that is so my world right now! So many tomatoes... I finally cleaned off the counter yesterday, and I loathe to see when it looks like out there today. I also have a heirloom tomato situation. Somehow I ended up with mostly yellow tomatoes, and they require hours of simmering...

  2. Oooh, lovely things happening here. The hat looks wonderful! And all that deliciousness in your jars...hmm..

  3. Wow, that is a lot of canning! My mom did beans yesterday, and salsa last week, so I totally understand the lack of knitting time!

  4. Two things I love, knitting and canning : ) swoon.... I love the Subway hat, very cute!! Love your stash bashing this week!

  5. That hat is so cute!

    The sauce looks amazing! My mouth is watering now.

    Thanks for sharing this at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

  6. Beautiful hat. ♥ Mmmm...your tomatoes and peppers look great!

  7. ooooh, I love homemade salsa! I can just smell the canning process taking place. Not a big fan of the tomato smell (my mother made way too much canned tomatoes) but LOVE the canned salsa.

    That hat will be super sassy

  8. Canned fruits and veg always make me think of my Grama. She would have her fruit cellar full of canned goods by the end of September every year. She very seldom bought anything in a can from a store. Your jars of goodness are equally appealing. Have fun knitting the hat, it looks quite cute. Knitting from the stash is always rewarding.