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They call it Labor Day weekend for a reason, right?

My plan for the weekend didn’t start out so darn crazy, but it sure ended up that way.  Because I was so sick last weekend, I was behind on everything around the house, and I had some canning to make up for.


39 quarts of organic peaches
8 pints of dilly beans
15 half pints of raspberry jam
8 half pints of blackberry jam
5 half pints of dill relish
3 out of 4 discs that I watched of season 5 of The Closer (library)
8 loaves of whole wheat bread (not pictured)

Our fruit CSA came in and this time it was peaches – 40 pounds of them.  Man, I hate canning peaches.  Like hate it.  But, we don’t get to choose what the fruit delivery is, so that’s that.  Next delivery will either be apples or pears (yay!).

Then, Jack and I went “urban harvesting” – gleaning – around the neighborhood, and got about 40 pounds of apples, 15 pounds of plums, and 10 pounds of blackberries.  The blackberries are at the end of their season, so they needed immediate attention; they were much too mushy to freeze.  Usually I prefer freezer jam, but a) I was out of freezer jam pectin and b) we’re going to be defrosting the freezer shortly, and I didn’t want to have to find space for one more thing.  So, enter a quick jam.  I used the recipe for Quick Raspberry Jam from Put Em Up.  And it was so easy, and I already had everything out, that I decided to make some with actual raspberries that I had in my freezer.

My pickling cucumbers in the garden were getting large, and needed picking as well.  I made some pickles, and I also made five half pints of dill relish from Ball Blue Book of Preserving.  I loved it (so did my friend Kat who was my official taste tester), but Troy thought it was too vinegary.  What does that guy know anyway?

Then Jack and I were at the farmer’s market, and this nice little old lady was selling green beans that were beautiful!  I bought a “Macy’s bag” (that is an official measurement) amount of dilly beans using the dilly bean recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, but I am nervous about how they’re going to turn out.  The recipe called for them to be boiled in the brine, and I just get the feeling that they’ll be mushy.  The original Ball Blue Book calls for a raw pack (putting uncooked beans in the jars and pouring hot brine over them), so I’m definitely going to try that next time.

Things that await me this week?  The plums and the apples.  Oh, and the pickling cucumbers are getting huge again in the garden.  Of course all summer nothing has been growing, but now that I’m working late each night and am canning everything in sight, they choose to ripen.  Naturally.

How about you guys?  What are you canning up these days?

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22 comments on “They call it Labor Day weekend for a reason, right?”

  1. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one preserving this weekend! I guess it’s that time of year right? I was processing pounds and pounds of tomatoes from our yard- I froze diced tomatoes, whole peeled tomaotes, and cooked/pureed tomato sauce.

    For me, I’m too much of a beginner to risk preserving them on the shelf instead of the freezer, but I should try it sometime.

    Love your blog!

    • We’re at least 3 weeks off before any tomato canning gets started. Last year I think I was canning tomatoes in October because we had such a late season last year (and this year).

      Did you know you can freeze tomatoes whole? Then when you defrost them, the skin slips right off and you can add them to recipes. They won’t be a firm consistency, but they’re perfection for soups, stews, etc.

  2. When you can applesauce and you use your food mill do you use the screen that comes with it? We are already rolling in apples and I am hoping to find an easy and not terribly expensive means of putting them up.

    • I use the screen that comes with it. It gets clogged a little bit faster, but it works. I do have the roma tomato screen that I might try out this year, but we like our applesauce non-chunky.

  3. Wow! That’s quite a project you got done there. So many cans, I couldn’t imagine.

  4. You are amazing!! I used to can a good bit but not much any more. I LOVE, love strawberry freezer jam and your post was just what I need to be reminded of how easily I can make that – even though we are in our camper!!
    Hope you have a productive week – which you WILL!! and not get sick again!

  5. I am impressed! That’s a lot of canning. Right now, bananas are in the dehydrator, and more are sitting here waiting for me. They were on special this week for 39 cents/pound. I picked 100 lbs of pears last week and need to do something with them–edhydrate some, pearsauce, and pear preserves.

    I like canning pears because I love to eat them in the winter!

    • Wow, I wish I had access to 100 pounds of pears! Pears are the first thing we run out of every single year; they are the whole family’s favorite.

      I like canning pears too because I can sit while I peel them! ;-D

  6. Ball makes a product called Pickle Crisp. It’s about four bucks for a container but it lasts us several harvests. You add about a 1/4 tsp. per jar of whatever you want to keep firm. We’ve successfully used it in our pickles, our dilly beans and our potatoes (I have a pressure canner). I also add a bit to our regular canned beans and it keeps them nice and firm, even with the pressure canning. It’s great stuff and keeps things from getting too mushy. I buy mine at the Lowe’s Hardware store but I have seen it at WalMart and Ace.

  7. Sarah – did you raw pack or hot pack your peaches? I canned peaches this weekend for the first time, using raw pack, and I am curious to find out how other canners put up their peaches.

    • I’ve always done a raw pack, but tried something in-between this time because I always get so much “fruit float”.

      I don’t know how people are able to can everything on normal stoves; I simply don’t have enough burners! I use my huge crockpot set on high for the syrup, and just add the peaches to that to “soak” for a bit. It’s like a “warm” pack. I still got fruit float this time, but I simply don’t have the stove space to boil the peaches to blanch and have my canner going.

  8. Everything looks so yummy! Haven’t canned anything since making blueberry jam a few weeks ago. Made 12 half-pints of blueberry and 12 pints of a mixture of blueberry and frozen blackberries/strawberries from earlier this summer. It turned out DELISH but I over compensated on the pectin and it’s a little thick. Oh well. It’s still yummy!! I’m so jealous of your “urban” picking!

  9. I have been canning in spurts over the summer, we had a huge crop of cucumbers this summer so I made 18 pints of bread and butter pickles from my family recipe, then my parents bought us 25 lbs of peaches, so another weekend I made about 20 1/2 pints of peach jam, a huge peach cobbler and had some left over for freezing and eating. We went berry picking at an organic berry farm another weekend and made 20 1/2 pints of blackberry jam, cherries were on sale so I tried my hand at cherry orange marmalade, and my mom had figs coming out of her ears so we also made fig & thyme jam which is perfect with brie and pork. I have ambissions for making apple butter, spiced pear chutney, and cranberry, juniper, rosemary sauce this fall. I got the canning bug this summer when my dad found his mom’s old pressure canner and said I could have it. It’s not safe for pressure canning, but it works great as a water bath canner.

  10. Wow! Those are beautiful! I canned a few quarts of peaches and yeah, they weren’t my favorite either. They didn’t peel like they should and I stood over them forever removing the peel with a paring knife. I’m working on one canning project per week mostly canning up “meals in a jar” but I’ve done some jam as well. Dilly Beans sound lovely. I’ll have to give those a try.