Keep summer going all year long by canning and preserving all of those tomatoes and peaches

Keep summer going all year long by canning and preserving all of those tomatoes and peaches

Preserve summertime in a jar

Cathi Litzenberger offers some tasty suggestions for preserving all of those tomatoes and peaches this summer

It is canning season and home gardeners, farmers’ markets and gardening centres have an excess of fruits and vegetables to be eaten fresh, canned or frozen for later use.

Most people have their favourite pickling recipes, so today I’m offering recipes that are a little out of the ordinary, yet simple to make and great for gifts.

Fresh or Canned Salsa

8-10 tomatoes

2 large onions

1 green pepper

2 jalapeno peppers (or to taste)

1 bunch of cilantro (optional)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice

1 head fresh garlic, or 3 Tbsp. minced garlic (or to taste)

Splash of olive oil (only for fresh salsa, not canned)

Dice tomatoes, onions, green pepper and jalapenos. Combine in a large bowl.  Chop cilantro and add to mixture. Add salt, pepper, lemon or lime juice and garlic. Mix well. Add olive oil to fresh salsa

n Canning: Prepare 6 pint jars. Ladle salsa into jar, leaving 1/4-inch head space, and fix lids and rings. Jars can be placed in hot water bath canner for 35 minutes or salsa can be stored in refrigerator 3-4 weeks fresh.

Canning will cause a change in colour, and will create a layer of liquid at the bottom of each jar. Adding tomato paste, or cooking the salsa for a long while before canning, would lesson the amount of liquid created during canning.

Peach Chutney

4 lbs. firm ripe peaches

1-1⁄2 cups golden raisins

1 large onion, minced

1 yellow bell pepper, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1⁄2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

2 cups cider vinegar

3 cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 tsp. crushed dried red pepper flakes

Wash peaches and place in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately submerge in ice water. Remove peelings and pits, being sure to remove any of the “red” from the middle. Dice into small chunks.

Combine all ingredients in large pot and bring to simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 1 hour. While simmering, prepare glass jars, lids and rings. Ladle hot chutney into jars leaving 1/4” headspace. Wipe rims and place seals on top and screw on rings. Process in water bath for 10 minutes.

Easy Zucchini Relish

12 cups shredded zucchini

4 cups chopped onion

5 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1-1/2 teaspoons celery seed

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

5 cups white sugar

1 red bell pepper, chopped

14 half pint canning jars with lids and rings

Toss zucchini and onion with salt in large bowl. Refrigerate overnight to drain. Rinse vegetables with cold water; drain well.

Mix dry mustard, celery seed, nutmeg and black pepper in a bowl.

Heat vinegar, sugar, spice mix, zucchini mixture and red bell pepper in a large pot over medium heat. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the vegetables into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings. Place jars into canner and add more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil and process for 25 minutes.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

20 ripe tomatoes

2 onions, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup Burgundy wine

1/4 cup tomato paste

Wash and remove any blemishes from tomatoes. Quarter or chop tomatoes and place in a large dutch oven or stainless steel pot over medium heat. When tomatoes are cooked; put through a food mill or sieve to remove the skins and most of the seeds.

Return tomatoes to pot and add onion, bell peppers, carrot, celery and garlic.  Stir in  basil, bay leaves and wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 2 hours. Stir in tomato paste and simmer an additional 2 hours. Discard bay leaf.

Place in clean, sterile jars and process in water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.