I’ve had a goal list prepared for this winter for a long time. Make jam. Make salsa. Cross country ski. Sleepover with Cat and Andrea. Go play on playground. Starts seeds for the summer. Read Aristotle. And so on. It’s an eclectic collection.
I’m getting there. Having vast swaths of time available to myself for a few months before I head back south to Waterton, I’ve been relishing the opportunity to wake up in the morning and ask myself what it is I really want to do. My lists help remind me of my priorities, as there is often that little voice in the back of my head telling me I would rather sleep in and eat chips. I continue to learn that the more times I overcome this inertia and do the things I actually love doing, the easier it becomes. I learn this every day.
I know what makes me happy. Learning new skills, cooking, and garden goodness all fit the bill, so spending an afternoon chopping veggies, listening to CBC and learning how to can from my ever-patient and organized Mum made for a wonderful day.
Mum’s garden-goodness salsa
20 large tomatoes, skinned, quartered, and mashed
4 large onions, chopped
4 carrots, cut coarsely
3 green peppers
5 hot peppers
1/2 cup parsley, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
*bottled lemon juice
Bring all ingredients except lemon juice to a boi in large saucepan; simmer until mixture is desired consistency (let several inches boil down). If mixture is too course, blend some in a blender or food processor. Pour into clean, sterilized jars, adding lemon juice (1tbsp/pint, 2tbsp/quart) to each jar mid-fill. *Lemon juice is added to increase acidity. Stir in gently. If using 1-pint jars, fill to 1/4 inch from top, for 1-quart jars, fill to 1/2 inch from top.Seal jars. Salsa may be pressured by either boiling water bath or pressure canner.
How-to can/preserve (taught by mum in Hay Lakes)
canner & rack
jars & rims
clean dish cloth
jar lifter & tongs
wooden cutting board covered with thick tea towel
wide mouth funnel
Set jars in rack in canner. Under tap, fill each jar in the canner with hot water. Fill canner with hot water until rims of jars are just covered. Set on high heat. Once water starts to boil, reduce heat to just maintain boil for ~10-30 minutes.
Make sure contents are prepared and almost ready to go.
When your delicious contents are nearly ready, boil lids in saucepan for 5 minutes. Place them in the saucepan in sets of two, tops of the lids facing outward (so they don’t stick).
Turn heat off on canner. Lift rack up on to the rim of the canner.
Use jar lifter to remove first jar and tip water back into canner. Set the jar on the cutting board with towel over it. Using funnel, fill jar. Check the recipe to find out how far to fill from top. Dip clean dish cloth in hot water and wipe rim of jar. use tongs to grab a lid from the saucepan and set on jar. Screw on rim lid.
If boiling water bath is required, use jar lifter to replace jars in canner. Resubmerge rack. Make sure jars are covered with ~1inch of water. Boil.
Boiling water bath altitude chart:
0-1000 ft – 35 minutes
1-3000 ft – 40 minutes
3-6000 ft – 45 minutes
6-8000 ft – 50 minutes
(Edmonton: 2192 ft)
Transfer jars to cutting board again, being careful not to tip or tilt jars. Wait for pop-pop-popping and you know they’re sealed! Let cool overnight before moving.