Fall is a canners favourite time of year. I think this is partially due to the fact that in the north, where we have four definite seasons, we know the growing season is coming to a close.
Although squash, pears and apples are coming out and showing their fall colours we are still getting the last, still delicious peaches, strawberries, raspberries and corn.
Canning and freezing do not have to be costly or time consuming, nor do they mean for you to make 20 jars of jam when four will be just perfect for your family.
All jam needs are sterilized jars, fruit and sugar. My secret is two parts fruit to one part sugar. Clean the fruit, remove pits or stems then squish or chop and sprinkle with sugar. Let this mixture stand until the sugar is melted. This will happen with the aid of the acids in the fruit. This little trick will also help dissolve the sugar so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, simmer and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Pour into jars and lid. The jam will be hot enough to seal the jars; you will hear a popping sound. If not, put the jam in the fridge and enjoy that way.
Today I had about four cups of heirloom tomatoes of varying sizes, all with little blemishes. I washed them well, removed the little tops and cut them into chunks. I then tossed them with good olive oil, a smashed clove of garlic, salt, pepper and fresh basil leaves. This took less than five minutes. In the oven they went at 375°F for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. I let them cool and placed them in a freezer bag. They will be such a treat in stews, soups or a chunky pasta sauce!
Once you get started you will find how very easy and fast canning and freezing can be. It is so much fun and there really is nothing finer than to open up and jar or defrost summer in the dead of winter.
Chef Joanna Sable is the President and Chief Canner at Bumpercrop. www.thebumbercrop.com.