Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Preserving the Fruits of Our Labours


It's underway, the big harvest and the slow steady drive to preserve as much of our own produce as possible to feed us over the coming months when there will be less growing on either the hillside or in the polytunnel.

First off the block was a big batch of cherry tomatoes, all ripe and ready at the same time and although I confess I popped quite a few straight into my mouth while I picked from the plants in the polytunnel, enough ended up back at the house to be mixed with the pathetically sized onions of the onion harvest, damn those pesky bunnies, and some of the homegrown garlic to be turned into eleven jars of lovely tomatoey goodness.


Did you notice in the top picture the two jars on the righthand side of the top row were slightly at an angle, when I checked to see why this was it was after taking the photo, it was because the 'poppy' top of the jar underneath them had not depressed meaning a vacuum had not been achieved.  Food will only store well this way if you have created a true vacuum in the jars.

I preserve my sauces simply, after making the sauce the usual way and leaving to simmer for as long as it takes for your vegetables to be how you like them simply bring the pan back to the boil.  Turn off the heat and leave it to sit while you get your warmed  sterile jars out of the oven.  Putting hot sauce into hot jars and then putting the lid straight on, means that once the contents and the jars start to cool down a good vacuum is created meaning these jars will keep for a long time with no deterioration of the contents.


They fitted neatly into the cupboard .....


... where as you can see from this shot we still have a few jars of last years tomato based sauce left.

We had that jar of sauce that did not 'pop' last night for our tea.  Just the sauce with some pasta for me and a couple of Venison sausages cut up and added to Lovely Hubby's, tasty filling and very satisfying since virtually everything in it was grown by me in the polytunnel and raised beds which were built and filled with soil by Lovely Hubby.

Teamwork at it's best !!

Edited to add - only store your food this way if you are confident about what you are doing.  It has always worked for me and the method I use I am very happy with.  If you are unsure however, it is very simple to simply bag up or pour your sauces into freezer-proof boxes, and store them in the freezer instead.  All these methods were covered in the course I did a couple of years ago, when I qualified at Level Two of Food Safety and Hygiene (Catering Standard).

Sue xx


19 comments:

  1. You have to eat a few tomatoes as you go - to keep up your strength! Nice stock of sauce for the winter.

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  2. When we visit DS for a few days we take all the cherry tomatoes with us as we know, by the time we return, loads more will be ready. They and the beans are the only vegetables not to let us down this year!

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  3. Did you buy the jars you've used or are they recycled? When I read up on preserving stuff there's an awful lot about using a water bath and proper Kilner type jars and dire warnings about bacteria. Your way sounds very easy.
    xx

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    1. They are jars that we bought with other sauces in that have the 'pop up' button in the centre of the lid. Once the 'pop' goes back down as the sauce cools you know you will have a good result with your sauces for keeping.

      I stock up on more of the jars whenever they have an offer on the sauces in them. That way I am getting the bought sauce (usually a curry) and then a jar I can use over and over for £1.

      I do use proper Kilner jars too sometimes but still following the way I have described for doing it. I don't have a canner or anything similar and have never felt the need to buy one. I think the food industry want to make it sound as complicated as they can so that you don't do it for yourself and carry on buying their products.

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  4. Did you leave the skins on? I leave them on when I use Roma's for salsa....makes it much easier, with the added plus of the fiber and vitamins. So far I've frozen 18 pints of tomato puree for the winter. The bugs ate all my zuchinni plants.... Janet

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    1. Yes, all the skins are left on, it's so much easier that way isn't it, and the skin is so good for you, much needed fibre.

      Naughty bugs :-(

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    2. It is much easier.....and I can't imagine having to peel all those tiny tomatoes :)

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  5. Oh, my....reminds me of the days back on the farm when we spent all summer canning and freezing stuff.

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  6. What a celebration. I love to look at my jars like a trophy but alas they must be kept in cool darkness so i cant put them on display.

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    1. Yes, mine are kept in the cupboard. It was only open for the photograph :-)

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  7. Having only a small garden and tiny greenhouses we don't have many tomato plants but we look as though we might have enough fruit for a few jars of sauce and seeing yours I can't wait to get bottling. Love fresh home made tomato and garlic sauce, it's the best

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  8. That looks like yummy sauce - recipe??? It's always very satisfying to see a row of home made preserves all nicely labelled :)

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    1. A recipe is really not needed, simply put your veggies, tomatoes, chillies, onions, whatever you have a glut of either bought in or homegrown in a pan with a couple of tins of tomatoes and whatever flavourings you like chilli flakes, garlic, black pepper etc bring to the boil, simmer for however long it takes to become a lovely luscious pot full and then bring back to the boil just before you bottle it into hot jars straight from the oven.

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  9. I would not recommend this method of preserving it needs to processed either with a hot water bath or pressure canning to remove the risk of Botulism,

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    1. Well I've been successfully doing it THIS way for the last seven years and we are still here, and the food is still perfectly fresh when we open the jars!! You are, however, very welcome to do what you want to do your way using canners or pressure cookers ...... and post about it on your own blog.

      I blog about what I do, I am not telling other people what to do or asking that they copy me, simply saying WHAT I DO. My blog posts are not lessons in doing things merely a diary of what I do and when I do it.

      Your regular negative comments are quite frankly becoming very annoying, happening as often as they have just recently. If you have an agenda just say so!!

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  10. Very satisfying to see your jars in the cupboard and to know you have so many meals sorted.

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  11. Well I have just made 9 jars of my tomato sauce (well actually Jamie Olivers "full of veg" tomato sauce recipe from the internet. But Sue, I was only inspired by seeing your blog which got me going into making stuff and preserving it in jars. I will continue to do this and it is a shame that SOME people need to be so negative about stuff that you post. Why do they follow you if they don't approve. (only saying) I am now going to look at preserving loads more veg in this way as I have run out of freezer space. We have an allotment and I planted way too many courgettes!! Have you any recipes for cabbages as I have loads of these waiting to be picked and we cant eat them as fast as they are ready. :) Keep up the good work. Catherine.

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    1. They would have had a point if I was just using ordinary jam jar lids, not reaching thigh temperatures and didn't know what I was doing. I do try to be careful to make it obvious that on my blog, which is after all my diary, that I am merely showing what I do, not necessarily saying 'this is the definitive way to do things'.

      If anyone is in any doubt about things Google will throw up any information you need.

      I don't mind people pointing things out to me and discussing other ways or better ways of doing things, it's all a learning curve after all. But Dawn's comment was made after a few other comments from her that all had very negative slant to them, noticed not just by me but pointed out to me by a couple of readers of the blog and friends.

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  12. Lots of good tips here about preserving food in jars.

    http://www.kilnerjar.co.uk/making-your-first-preserve

    My method is the same as using the Kilner preserve jars, hence not needing the water bath. You need to use this if you use normal jam jar lids without the poppy up middle.

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