It is that time of year where the garden is starting to really produce if you have kept it watered. I don’t know what the hot weather this week will do, let’s all hope for some rain.
We are having a food preservation workshop on July 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; lunch will be provided. Come and learn the proper food preservation techniques for pressure and waterbath canning, and drying. This class will be taught by Karen Blakeslee, Rapid Response Coordinator and Food Scientist from K-State and has a fee of $25. Reservations are required at 341-3220, minimum of 10 and maximum of 20 people, RSVP and fees are due by July 6. Class will be held at the West Campus of Presbyterian Church 1702 W. 15th Ave. Lunch will be provided.
The common garden tomato is botanically classified as a fruit. Actually it is a berry, but many people think of it as a vegetable. The Supreme Court in 1893 ruled that tomatoes are a vegetable. The modern tomato originated in the southern regions of the Andes Mountain, the coastal deserts of Peru, and Ecuador and parts of Central Mexico. By the time Europeans arrived in the New World, tomatoes were already widely cultivated by the Aztecs as far north as Mexico. The Aztec word tomatl is a term that roughly translates as “plump fruit.” In the early 16th century, Spanish explorers changed tomatl to tomate.
Tomatoes are low in calories and a good source of Vitamins A and C. The flavor, texture, and cooking characteristics of tomatoes depend on the variety, growing method, local environment, and handling techniques used during and after harvest.
Proper techniques and recipes need to be followed when preserving your home grown tomatoes and other foods. Sort tomatoes, discarding any that are spoiled. Do not can overripe tomatoes. Wash the tomatoes in clean water. Dip the clean tomatoes is boiling water long enough to crack the skins (about 1 minutes). Then dip them in cold water and the skins should come off easily.
Because the acidity of tomatoes can vary with variety and degree of ripeness, acidification (the addition of lemon juice or other acid) of home processed tomato products is essential. To ensure adequate acidity in tomato products add 2 tablespoons of commercially bottled lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of powdered citric acid per quart. Citric acid, also called sour salt, is found in the spice section at the grocery store or home canning section.
Only tested recipes can be canned safely at home. Salsas and other tomato recipes are usually mixtures of acidic and non-acidic ingredients, so the final acidity may vary depending on the proportions of ingredients. The specific recipe and sometimes the preparation method, will determine whether a tomato product can be processed in a boiling water bath canner or will require processing in a pressure canner. The processing method must be scientifically determined for each recipe.
Don’t forget to get your RSVP in July 6 for the Home Canning Workshop Call the Extension Office at 341-3220 to make your reservation today.
vegetable juice blend
Quantity: An average of 22 pounds of tomatoes is needed per canner load of 7 quarts. Not more than 3 cups of other vegetables may be added for each 22 pounds of tomatoes.
Procedure: Crush and simmer tomatoes as for making tomato juice. Add no more than 3 cups of any combination of finely chopped celery, onions, carrots, and peppers for each 22 pounds of tomatoes. Simmer mixture 20 minutes. Press hot cooked tomatoes and vegetables through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars (See acidification directions). Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired. Reheat tomato-vegetable juice blend to boiling and fill immediately into jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process. Recommended process times are for 1000 ft above sea level is 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts.(Acidification is still required for the pressure canning options; follow all steps in the Procedures above for any of the processing options.)
Peach Apple Salsa
6 cups (2-1/4 pounds) chopped Roma tomatoes (about 3 pounds tomatoes as purchased)
2-1/2 cups diced yellow onions (about 1 pound or 2 large as purchased)
2 cups chopped green bell peppers (about 1½ large peppers as purchased)
10 cups (3-1/2 pounds) chopped hard, unripe peaches (about 9 medium peaches or 4½ pounds as purchased peaches)
2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples (about 2 large apples as purchased)
4 tablespoons mixed pickling spice
1 tablespoon canning salt
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3-3/4 cups (1-1/4 pound) packed light brown sugar
2-1/4 cups cider vinegar (5 percent)
Yield: About 7 pint jars
Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.
1. Wash and rinse pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.
Place pickling spice on a clean, double-layered, 6-inch-square piece of 100 percent cheesecloth. Bring corners together and tie with a clean string. (Or use a purchased muslin spice bag).
Wash and peel tomatoes (place washed tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute, immediately place in cold water, and slip off skins). Chop into ½-inch pieces. Peel, wash and dice onions into ¼-inch pieces. Wash, core, and seed bell peppers; chop into quarter-inch pieces. Combine chopped tomatoes, onions and peppers in an 8- or 10- quart Dutch oven or saucepot.
Wash, peel and pit peaches; cut into halves and soak for 10 minutes in an ascorbic acid solution (1500 mg in half gallon water). Wash, peel and core apples; cut into halves and soak for 10 minutes in ascorbic acid solution. Quickly chop peaches and apples into half-inch cubes to prevent browning. Add chopped peaches and apples to the saucepot with the vegetables.
Add the pickling spice bag to the saucepot; stir in the salt, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and vinegar. Bring to boiling, stirring gently to mix ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove spice bag from pan and discard.
With a slotted spoon, fill salsa solids into hot, clean pint jars, leaving 1¼-inch headspace (about ¾ pound solids in each jar). Cover with cooking liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.
Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes for 1000 feet above sea level. Lyon County is 1150 feet above sea level. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.
Serving Suggestion: Serve as a side with or spooned on top of grilled pork chops or any grilled meat.
Rhonda Gordon is the Family and Consumer Sciences agent for K-State Research and Extension in Lyon County. For more information on this column, nutrition, food safety, parenting, financial management, health and safety email Rhonda at firstname.lastname@example.org call the Lyon County Extension Office at 620-341-3220.