Putting summer in a jar

July 17, 2010 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

By Camille Armantrout

The summer squash is upon us along with tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and basil.  There’s so much food that we can no longer keep up by simply turning it into meals.  No two people can eat ten pounds of potatoes, ten pounds of tomatoes, and five pounds each of cucumbers and summer squash each week!

We fully intend to eat all of our summer harvests, we just can’t eat it all now.  So we are shifting gears into canning mode.  Bob ordered a pressure canner at the same time Jeremy and Jennie expressed a desire to get some canning experience. Now, that’s a win-win if I ever heard of one.

It’s been years since we canned.  I gave away my old canning equipment in 1997, after we sold our house and before we moved to Belize.  Now that we’re settled here in N.C., I’m really excited about getting back into the canning groove.  Today, Bob and I sorted out a couple of closets so we can use them to store canned goods.

Tomato sauce will surely be one of our first canning projects.  We’ve got so many tomatoes coming in the door that we’ve taken to popping them whole into the freezer inside the back door before they even reach the kitchen.  We took the biggest one over to the scale before freezing it, a great white which weighed more than two pounds!  At some point, we’ll thaw and process them in our new canner.

Jennie suggested peaches, but I’m afraid they will be out of season by the time we’ve given the new canner a trial run.  Besides, I eat them too quick.  Bob brought $10 worth of peaches home from the farmers market on Thursday and by I’m afraid I only have nine left two days later.  I just can’t be trusted around fresh peaches.

I tell them about the tomato tsunami going on at our house.  Jeremy doesn’t like tomatoes but loves spaghetti sauce.  We agree to turn tomatoes into sauce.  Peppers are just now coming on and Bob has already harvested plenty of onions and garlic.

But back to the zucchini and the yellow squash.  Despite numerous opportunities to sauté them in a little coconut oil with onions, garlic and peppers, we are losing ground. Another good way to use summer squash is to make ratatouille.  Sautéed onions, garlic, squash and eggplant go great with pesto and pasta but the eggplant isn’t quite ripe yet.

With the tomatoes already in the freezer, waiting for our little canning party, I realized that I could do the same thing with the squash.  It only took me about twenty minutes to chop and freeze three quarts of summer squash Now, when ratatouille season rolls around, I’ve already got a head start.

Between the canner and our freezer, we won’t have any trouble keeping up with the garden and our CSA’s and we’ll be eating summer sunshine out of a jar come December!

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Entry filed under: Camille Armantrout, Commentary, Sustainable Food. Tags: .

Cooking it right Peaches now and later

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