Here's a picture of my canning set up. My outdoor sink is over to the left, just out of the picture. I still need a table to work on. It would make things a whole lot easier than setting things on the ground,but honestly? I'm happy to have what I do. It's hands down better than the single burner I've been using since I started canning. I think it was around 2oo9. I'd have to ask kymber or look back on my posts to be sure though.
Notice the tin on the side, front and back of the stove? I was having a problem with the wind blowing the flames around and even blowing the fire out. So Mars cut some of the old tin he saved from the old barn and solved the wind problem for me!!
After I get the tomato's ready to peel I set myself up with a couple of buckets. One for the tomato skins, one for the cores ( for the chickens) and one for the finished tomato's. Get the jars in the water bath to sterilize them and the tomato's and other ingredients in the pot to warm up. Gather up the lids and rings and the utensils I'm going to need. After that I fill the jars and get them in the canner. While they are processing I'll grab some dehydrator trays and lay out the tomato skins to dry and take them out to the barn. I've put the dryer in the barn since we don't have room in the trailer for them. Besides, they blow hot air and I sure don't need that in the house. This picture is just one batch of tomato skins ready to be put in a jar. So far I've filled 4 quart jars with the skins. No more buying tomato paste or sauce this year! (Hey Sandy? I told you I could find a use for those pans! lol) I need to come up with some new ways to put up tomato's.
Those 30 plants have lots of green tomato's about to get ripe and I don't want to waste a single one.
The cayenne peppers are going crazy. I actually had to pick a whole bunch of them because they were weighing down the plant. I'm guessing there was almost a pound of peppers from the two plants. This was just the first round though. There are little peppers and blooms all over them.
I actually had 9 trays to dry and there are tons more almost ready to pick. This is what I ended up with.
As soon as I have time I'll grind these up for the kitchen. What I need to figure out is what I'm going to do with the gazillion that are still on the plants! Anyone have any suggestions about what I can do with some of them? You can only use so much dried pepper and pickled peppers. I've been thinking about maybe putting some in olive oil to make a sort of hot pepper oil. It would sure be yummy to saute some veggies in for a "kick". Of course this is just a theory since I've never made a pepper oil with cayenne peppers. There's a first time for everything though!
I almost forgot! I also put up 9 pints of hot cucumber relish. It really came out yummy. A friend of mine had told me about her relish and how much they enjoyed it. I just had to try it. I cut up equal parts of cucumber, onion, and peppers. She used bread and butter spices in hers but I went the other direction and made it like a hot dill relish. It turned out really really good!
The actual canning part of canning is easy. But folks don't tell you it's the prep work that takes forever. Every time I see someone post what they've canned or put up I remind myself just what sort of work actually went into it.
So anyway....that's what I've been up to this week. I'm sure there are some things I'm missing but I've been working all day every day to get things put up. I'm trying not to get behind. So far so good but....