I am considering myself really lucky today because one of my very favorite people is guest blogging on The Vintage Mom. Stefanie is one amazing woman. I haven’t known her for a very long time, but since we have met, I have enjoyed every part of our friendship. She works at Eckerton Hill Farm but has been around the world and back in the last few years. Among many other things, she is a fabulous story teller. I love listening… Today she is sharing one of those stories…
Summer is around the corner, and I can almost taste the juicy heirloom tomato that will nestle among basil and fresh mozzarella on my dinner plate come July. We’re approaching that all-too fleeting moment in the year to enjoy the summer’s bounty of cucumbers, berries, melons and zucchini from a local source; and when it comes, the best course of action – apart from devouring as much as you physically can – is to seal those tastes into a jar..
The process of canning was always so intimidating to me, until I received a wonderful canning cookbook from my dear cousin Beth. The book is called “Canning for a New Generation,” and what I love about it is that it breaks down a complicated and multi-phase process into simple steps. For instance, the “All Purpose Tomato Sauce” recipe involves stewing roma tomatoes, onion and garlic, pouring the sauce into jars and processing them in a hot water bath. This is the basic process of canning: removing the germs from the food and the air from the jars holding said food, so that that it can be preserved through the winter and beyond. Simple as that.
When I began canning our farm’s heirloom tomatoes last summer, I started with this recipe as the base, and then experimented by adding a splash of cooking wine, herbs like basil, oregano and bay leaves, and a variety of seasoning peppers to give the sauce that extra kick.
In my view, the one and only criteria for canning is to use ingredients that are strictly seasonal. Fruits and vegetables picked at peak ripeness will not only yield the most delicious canned recipes, but they also pack the most nutrient content, which will come as a healthy boost to our immune systems when we reintroduce them into our diets come winter.
Remember: canning is easier than you think, and once you understand the basic process, you can preserve just about anything your little heart can dream up.
Friends, the time to can has officially begun. Snatch up the market’s plenty and seal it tight into an old glass mason jar.
Your February self will thank you.
Stefanie is a graduate of Brown University. After college, a job on a cheese farm in Colorado, and a stint in NYC working in the business world, she found herself at Eckerton Hill Farm after meeting farmer Tim Stark. Since then, she has traveled, backpacking in Asia, and become an integral part of Eckerton’s team! /p>