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sfprankster's (mis)adventures with Cosmetically Challenged Tomatoes, Apples and Strawberries - Page 2

post #21 of 37

Man, all that looks great! I had big intentions of putting up my roma tomatoes this year. Unfortunately, between training, racing, two kids, work, and the rain, the garden got away from me and became a very nice weed weed bed. 




I posted this question over in the canning section, unfortunately I haven't gotten an answer. I'm hoping that maybe you, with all your canning prowess, might be able to help me out.


I'm going to make some spicy Italian venison meatballs. I have limited space in my freezer (it's full of a pig we had slaughtered in the spring), so I'm wanting to can them. Do you see any problem with canning them in a pre-made (store bought) spaghetti sauce? I know it's a little extra work to re-can the sauce, but it would save some room in the pantry.


Thanks for any and all advice.

post #22 of 37
Thread Starter 
I've never been one to use pre-made sauces. Personally, I wouldn't want to spoil the flavors of the venison meatballs with a store bought sauce. Too much sugar, salt and preservatives for my blood.

Besides, it's too easy to run an immersion blender through fresh, chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc, to make a simple sauce. You're going to need to use a pressure canner with the meatballs. Just using a water bath won't work. I believe it's 90 minutes at 10 psi in 2" of water in the pressure canner. It's been a few years since I've used a pressure canner, so you may want to do a google search for recipes.
post #23 of 37
Thread Starter 

Running from May-October, today was the final day of our local farmer's market(Felton, CA). There are still many markets nearby that continue year round. This one is conveniently located on my way into work. Having more than enough tomatoes already canned and in the pantry. We took this opportunity to preserve another 20 lbs of cosmetically challenged, organic, dry farmed Early Girl Tomatoes from one of our favorite local farms, Live Earth Farm, located in southern Santa Cruz county.


On those cold winter days(upper 40's/low 50's here jaw-dropping.gif ), opening a jar of canned tomatoes/sauce and making soup to warm the insides, will take a few minutes and contain the great flavors of summer. 



Round four of the tomato preservation project... :tongue:


This time around, we canned the tomatoes as sauce with the help of an immersion blender.





Looks like canned tomatoes/sauce are going into gift baskets for friends and family this holiday season.

Edited by sfprankster - 10/28/15 at 12:57pm
post #24 of 37
Thread Starter 

Another round of sfprankster's Food Preservation Project



More cosmetically challenged Apples (Pippin and Gala) :cool:



During a visit to one of our local apple farms, we picked up a split, half bushel of Pippin(14 lbs) and Gala(6 lbs) apples. No plans for long term storage this time around, as most will be used for our Thanksgiving dinner in apple pies and in an apple/cranberry chutney.







Peeled, sliced and swimming in a bath of acidulated water(filtered water and fresh squeezed lemon juice)...





After another test run of my new toy... 


post #25 of 37
Thread Starter 

Continued from another round of sfprankster's Food Preservation Project(posted above)





Apple Pie-Test Run




Since we had so many apples, a practice apple pie was in order. I'm not the baker in the sfprankster household or at work, all credit for the apple pie must go my gf. I am only the official taste tester/peeler/slicer/etc. whip.gif 





Sorry, no images of the pie crust being made, I was on apple peeling/slicing duty during that step... :icon_eek: 






We now return to our regularly scheduled programming, already in progress... :rolleyes:




Using a 10" x 3" springform pan(go big or go home) lined with parchment paper... :tongue:


... press the pie crust into the pan...


...fill with 3-4 lbs of sliced apples(yes, that is the roughly the correct amount)...


...mixed with cinnamon, split and scraped vanilla bean, fresh squeezed lemon juice, sugar to taste...


...and a little cornstarch to thicken the juices...


...fairly straightforward and easy so far... 241.png






...add a crumbly topping as desired...

 into the middle rack of the oven @ 356 until bubbly and the crust is a golden brown...


...with this size pie, the crust can cook quickly and adding a tent of foil will keep the crust from being burnt and overdone... 






...cooling before I pick off some of the crumbly topping as a sample... :icon_redface:





Served a la mode with vanilla bean ice cream...






As always, we're roughin' it in the Santa Cruz mountains, sfprankster style... bluesbros.gif

post #26 of 37

That's a nice Rational oven you have there is it a convection or combi? and as always your posts are the most entertaining and well laid out. And very good looking apple pie.

post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 




The Rationale oven does it all. Takes a computer science degree to understand all of its functions. In the image, it's all on manual settings(humidity, temperature, time, fan speed).



Most of my recipe settings are on an 8gb flash drive. Plug it in, select your item to be cooked and walk away. 

Edited by sfprankster - 11/5/15 at 10:40am
post #28 of 37

A grocery store that I built is about to open and the rational sales rep/chef was there doing training when I was onsite Tuesday. If I was thinking I would have stopped and asked him some questions because those ovens look amazing. If I ever get enough room and money I will be adding one to my equipment collection. 

post #29 of 37
Thread Starter 

It's something like a 3-4 hour course just to learn the basics. :icon_eek:



Once you figure it out, you can make anything, even smoked items.

post #30 of 37

Ok thats a combi oven...very expensive... I went to the Alto-Shaam factory a couple months ago (they make combi ovens as well) their chefs did all kind of cooking for us in those, they are awesome

post #31 of 37
Thread Starter 

We saved a few $$$ by purchasing a floor demo.


But yeah, it wasn't cheap. :icon_eek:

post #32 of 37
Thread Starter 

Cool, cloudy and beginning to rain in the Santa Cruz mountains today...

 rain smiley, animated smiley, animation smiley, rain smiley





No better time to pop open some of our canned heirloom tomatoes for a quick tomato soup and a pastrami melt...


post #33 of 37
Thread Starter 

Testing another jar of our canned tomatoes. This time around, the early girl tomatoes we canned as a sauce.





Ham and Chard Pasta


Digging in the freezer again... :redface: I found a hunk of picnic shoulder ham... :tongue:


Been awhile since we have eaten ham, I figured I could make a pasta for our dinner... :439:


...browned the ham and onions...


...stems from the chard...


...crumbled Italian spices...


...some chopped garlic all into the pot in a little evoo...





...the organic chard leaves, cleaned and cut into 1" strips, and our early girl tomato sauce waiting to join the party...






...simmering the sauce to marry and intensify the flavors...





...another party into the pool... :cool:






...add the pasta, cooked al dente...


...a little grated parmigiano reggiano...






...give it a good stir...





Served with fresh garlic rubbed, toasted sourdough and butter... 






Once again, we're roughing it, here in the Santa Cruz mountains, sfprankster style... :yahoo:

post #34 of 37

Wow that pasta looks good!



post #35 of 37

roughing it looks good to me.

post #36 of 37
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by 4PoGo7 View Post

Wow that pasta looks good!






I grew up watching/helping my grandmother make pasta. No recipes, nothing ever measured, always a little pinch of this, dash of that style of cooking. So I followed the same path and use what's fresh and locally available. Living in California has its advantages, we have a fresh and abundant produce selection year round. :icon_mrgreen:



Originally Posted by muralboy View Post

roughing it looks good to me.




People pay good money to come to the Santa Cruz mountains and camp :icon_eek: . We just choose to do it on a permanent basis and on our terms.  :banana_smiley: 

post #37 of 37
That pasta looks awesome, So does the pastrami melt!

It's amazing what kind of blems you can get for a steal most of the time especially if you're not a stranger to the local farms and markets.

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