We got a lot of tomatoes from our garden this year, so I figured I'd try to can some of them. I talked to several friends who had done it, read books and felt like I could try it out. I borrowed a water-bath canner from our wonderful friends and set out one afternoon to can some tomatoes.
It took way longer than it should have (mostly due to me checking and double checking every little step to make sure I didn't mess things up), but I came away with two beautiful quart jars of tomatoes. I was so proud of myself. This was on Monday of last week.
That night, we decided on a whim to join some friends for apple picking. A family from church has 12 apple trees that were ready to pick and they invited us over to pick some apples and make apple cider. I thought we'd come home with a box of apples for pie making and a bit of cider. I WAAAAYYY underestimated. We worked several hours that night and made 13 gallons of apple cider using this family's cider press. AFTER making the cider, we still had 10 or so big boxes full of apples between the 3 families who picked apples that night. While the other wives and I were cider-making and talking, we decided that we could make some apple sauce and pie filling with all the extra apples. Having just successfully canned my tomatoes that day, I was totally on board with more canning.
So we made an afternoon of it. On Tuesday, we met at one house and we peeled, cut, cooked and canned apples. For five hours. ... Our 6 children ran around the house entertaining themselves while 3 beginner canners worked and worked and worked.
And after that tiring, long day we hadn't even canned any apple pie filling yet! Knowing that Mckay would fire me if I came home with only applesauce and no apple pie fixings, we planned to meet together again two days later for more canning. We all thought it would be best to take a mental health day in between canning days. After 5 more hours of canning on Thursday, we were exhausted but oh so proud of our hard work.
In all, we canned roughly 28 quarts of apple cider, 18 quarts of pie filling, and close to 30 jars (both big and small) of applesauce. Every single jar sealed and not one of them broke. I'm told that's rare among so many jars.
And after we were done with all our canning, there were still five boxes of apples leftover.
I took some home with me and made apple turnovers on Friday.
They were yummy.
By Saturday I had more ripe tomatoes so I canned two more jars.
And then I made two apple pies; One for us to eat and one for a friend who just had a baby.
And then I rested for a few days and tried to clean up the tsunami left behind in our kitchen.
We divided 80 or so jars between our three families, so here are my canning spoils from the week:
9 quarts of cider, 8 quarts of pie filling, 5 pints and 1 quart of applesauce, and 4 quarts of tomatoes.
Mckay said that our finished product picture should look like this:
because we still have apples leftover!!
And after taking this picture I found 3 more jars of applesauce on the counter. There are apples all over my house!!
In all seriousness, it was a super busy week, but a very rewarding week. I had a crash course in canning that will pay off hugely when we get to eat yummy food all winter. I'm not nearly as scared of canning as I was before and I'm happy that I learned a new skill. Maybe next near I'll try pressure canning.