Friday, September 26, 2008

Oooh, saucy!

First off, my kitchen helper, the able and handsome Tristan:

"I am King of the Omnivores. There is nothing I won't eat!"

T is excellent at cleaning up anything dropped on the floor.

The other week, I made chili sauce with ingredients mostly from my garden. I ended up with something like eight kinds of tomato in the sauce. The recipe is from an old Bernardin canning book I have. I've been trying to find the recipe online so I don't have to type it out. No luck yet.

Anyhoo, here is the sauce before being boiled down for 2-1/2 hours:

And voila, here it is next to my mother's canner, which is almost as old as me (i.e. past 40!)

And here we have the finished product:

Chili sauce was probably one of the first things I ever canned, some 20 years ago. I love canning stuff, although I stick to recipes that require water bath, as opposed to pressure, canning. I used to be afraid of my Mum's pressure cooker, never mind a pressure canner!

This year I've so far "put up" two kinds of pickled beets, chili sauce, "Garden Patch" salsa, Mexican tomatillo salsa, pickled hot peppers, and strawberry jam. There's more to come. I want to make some salsa verde tomorrow with the pounds of tomatillos I have in my fridge (they did really well in the garden this year.) I also intend to make some chutney, more beets, and more salsa of some variety.

I get a thrill out of growing things, then putting them in jars and eating them throughout the winter. I'm channelling my inner pioneer. And the stuff is always vastly superior to the mass-produced crapola you get at the grocery store. If you follow basic hygiene and safety rules, it's surprisingly easy to do your own canning. Stick to water bath canning and tested recipes. Bernardin has a very good site.

I also intend to buy their excellent book, the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today. It's packed with yummy ideas. No, I don't work for Bernardin BUT about ten years ago I did some packaging design for them when I freelanced at a studio in Oakville, Ontario. They still use some of my work, which makes me smile every time I see it on the store shelves!

Now back to your regularly scheduled foodstuffs...


  1. Anonymous1:36 pm

    OOOooooooo this is just SO EXCELLENT!!! I so so sooooo envy your life ;))

    the picture of the canned salsa is BEAUTIFUL! what a sense of accomplishment you must have after all that. ...from seed to preserved food.

    And how COOL that you have your mother's canning thing :)

    Nice stove! and there's the floors to die for again ;) ...AND I love how T's eyes match his fur. He's such a lovely boy.

    Ok back to reality ...

  2. Oh come now, you get to live in Mexico!! :) I'm envious myself.

    I have so much of my Mum's stuff. Even after rehoming/donating tons of it, I still have tons. The only child inheritance! I don't mind.I was definitely NOT crushed when I finally gave away her 40+ year-old Electrolux vacuum.

    Tristan's eye and fur colour (and deep chest and wrinkles) show his Vizsla half. His propensity for digging in my office trash can and recycle shows his Lab half! I'm not sure which half is responsible for murdering squirrels...

  3. I'm so glad you posted this link! And my water bath canner looks exactly like yours!

  4. But Shellmo, I bet you don't have spots of rust on your lifter thingy! :)


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!