Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cucumber Relish, Pear Butter, and Principe Borghese

The first ripe Principe Borghese tomatoes of the season!  I think I'll grow these next year instead of cherry tomatoes. The plants are more compact and the tomatoes seem to ripen sooner.

This past Sunday, I spent 4 hours at the Community Can event downtown.  The event is put on by NEAT (the Northern Environment Action Team).  Peavey Mart and Canadian Tire donated mason jars and the Co-op donated a week's worth of produce that would have otherwise been thrown away.  Some members of the community donated mason jars, beans, and crab apples, too.  Volunteers come to the event to spend the day sorting, prepping, and canning the produce and the resulting canned goods are donated to one of the food banks in town.  The Nawican Friendship Center allowed NEAT to use their kitchen for the event.

In total, about 10 people participated.  I was surprised there wasn't a better turnout, as the event was well advertised, but that number seemed to work well.  Three of us spent several hours sorting through produce and then peeling, chopping, and pitting it so it could be passed along to the more experienced canners, who were working in the kitchen.  We finished the prep work by 1:00pm, but the people working in the kitchen stayed to do the actual canning until late afternoon.  At the end of the day, 216 jars of food were canned, including stewed tomatoes, pickled veggies (cauliflower, asparagus, and beans), bread and butter pickles, apple sauce and jam (peach and plum).

At home, I made 7 jars of pear butter (a variation on peach butter, outlined in the Bernardin book) on the weekend and 5 jars of cucumber relish yesterday.  Both were time consuming for different reasons, but the end product looks good!  The next things I plan to can (pickled garlic and hot dilly beans) should be a little more straight forward than the fruit butter and the relish. 

And for the record, I will be using a food processor to chop if I ever make relish again!!

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