Canned Tomatoes, Peaches, Pears, & Pickled Beets!

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Today my grandma taught me how to can my own tomatoes! I only wish I knew sooner how easy it could be! It is something she has been doing for decades – starting back when she lived on the prairies with no running water or refrigeration and grew her own food! What a concept! My gardening skills have a long way to go before I’m growing enough to make it through the whole year. Thank you Grammy for passing on your recipes!!

Canning your own produce is an awesome idea for so many reasons. For starters, you get the tastiest in-season produce, and you get it in bulk for cheaper. In addition, you know exactly what you will be adding and that you won’t be sprinkling any chemical preservatives or unnecessary ingredients in there. Plus you’ll be using glass instead of BPA-lined tin cans. And finally you get to enjoy something you made all year long! Or enjoy giving it away as a great gift idea!

Here’s what you need:

  • A friend or partner – “many hands make light work”
  • 20 lbs of fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • ~15 500mL or pint size mason jars
  • salt & sugar
  • canner (*Don’t have a canner? See tip below!)
  • pot for boiling water
  • large clean bowl for tomatoes
  • a clean sink

Here’s what you do:

  1. Set everything up so it’s ready to go before you begin
  2. Wash the mason jars in warm soapy water and put all except the outer ring of the lids into the dishwasher on rinse cycle. Do this right before you begin because you want the jars nice and warm when you add the tomatoes.
  3. Blanch the tomatoes, about 7 at a time (place into pot of boiling water for about a minute and then remove and place into sink full of ice cold water)
  4. Peel the skin off the tomatoes and core.
  5. Dice into bowl, juice and all, removing any bad bits as you go. Every once in a while, run your fingers through them and squeeze – this helps bring more seeds up to the surface (you’ll see why later).
  6. Remove jars from dishwasher and place on old dish cloth or paper towel on the counter. Fill about 3/4 full using hands (don’t worry about adding all the juice yet)
  7. Pour the last bit of juice left in the bowl through a strainer and discard the leftover seeds in the strainer. Use the juice to top up the mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch of room at the top of the jar.
  8. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp sugar to each jar. No need to mix.
  9. Dry the mouth of the jar with a paper towel.
  10. Place lids on and tighten all the way and then reverse as if you were going to open the jar, but just a smidgen. This will allow the jars to “breath” so they don’t explode.
  11. Put the jars into the canner and turn on the burner. Bring water to boil and then start the timer for 20 minutes.
  12. After timer goes off, turn off the burner and take lid off canner. Allow water to settle and then gently wipe the water off the top of the mason jars and carefully remove, placing on rack to cool. Leave the lids as they are, don’t tighten them.
  13. If you see clear liquid at the bottom of the jar and you hear the lid “pop” you know it has sealed properly.
  14. Once cooled, store in a dark place where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate.

 

*TIP: Don’t have a canner? If you want to try canning just a few things at a time, you can use a large pot, add water, and put the jars in on top of some extra mason jar lids so they don’t bump around and break in the pot. Or if you have a roaster with a tight lid that won’t let the steam out and some pieces of wood you could put on the bottom of it, you could place that over two of your burners and use as a canner that way. Or you could try the pickled beet recipe below which doesn’t require a canner at all!

 


If you want my grammy’s recipes for Canned Peaches, Pears, and Pickled Beets, continue reading below! Continue reading

So you don’t like taking vitamins?

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So you don’t like taking vitamins for general health?

Well you don’t have to! All the vitamins and minerals our bodies need can be found in the foods all around us, the only secret is that we have to eat them!! In fact, when they come from a food source they are even better absorbed than any other way (as long as our digestive tracks are working properly)!

If I were to try to make a list of all the best nutrient dense foods it would be endless because REAL food is REALLY good for us! So I have tried to condense it to the foods that contain some of the most essential nutrients we need and are often low on.

First, here are some simple ways to ensure we are getting what we need:

  1. Eat foods of a variety of CoLoUr. Meals should be vibrant – different colours provide different nutrients!
  2. Eat Dark Green Leafy Vegetables wherever we can. These are loaded veggies and it is hard to get enough of them on a daily basis!
  3. Eat nuts, seeds, legumes and a variety of whole grains. These are rich sources of nutrients and fiber and essential for our health.
  4. Use spices and herbs in cooking such as turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, sage, rosemary, and oregano to name a few. These are high in antioxidants among multiple other health benefits.
  5. Let the SUN find your skin – free of sunscreen – for around 15 minutes a day to get a daily Vitamin D dose. The amount of time varies depending on skin tone, the time of day and time of year among other things, but just don’t turn pink and that should be enough! A little bit of sunshine can go a long way for our health – especially here in Canada!
  6. Juicing a variety of raw vegetables and fruits is an excellent way to get a high dose of nutrients into our bodies.
  7. Finally, don’t forget about water! Our bodies need water more than anything else!

Below I have listed some Bonus Foods to help us get the most bang for our buck with the foods we eat. Just remember that too much of a good thing is not necessarily better, so like everything, enjoy in moderation!


 

Avocado: Omegas, potassium, Vitamins B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, phytonutrients, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, copper, Vitamin K

Bee Pollen: B vitamins, all 9 essential amino acids, lipids, polyphenols, flavonoids, leukotrienes, catechins, phenolic acids, carotenoid pigments, phytosterols, enzymes, coenzymes, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, inositol, rutin, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, manganese, iron, copper

Blackstrap Molasses: Magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, calcium, copper, selenium, choline, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B1

Dulse, Kelp and other Sea Vegetables (from unpolluted areas): Iodine, Vitamin B6, iron, potassium, sodium, protein, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C

Gelatin (grass-fed beef) or Bone broth: excellent source of collagen

Goji Berries: Vitamin A, selenium, copper, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, calcium, protein, antioxidants

Hemp Seeds: Protein, EFAs including omega 3, Vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc

Nutritional Yeast: Protein, B vitamins (we’re talking 1 TBSP has 240% your daily value of Vitamin B6), zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese

Red Cabbage: glucosinolates, polyphenols, glutamine, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B9, copper

Sardines: Protein, Vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, omega 3, Vitamin D, calcium, Vitamin B3, iodine, copper, choline, Vitamin B2

Sprouts: these have a high nutrient composition that varies depending on the sprout

Watercress, Kale: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, B vitamins, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, omega 3

.              .               .             .               .                .               .               .              .              .

Essential Fatty Acid sources: Salmon, sardines, walnuts, flax seed, chia seed, kale, brussel sprouts, mustard seeds, cauliflower

Probiotic sources: fermented foods, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh

Prebiotic sources: Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, apple cider vinegar (mother), onions, garlic, cabbage, leeks, jicama root, dandelion root, apples, oats, psyllium, legumes

 


♥   Eat well to shine from the inside out.   ♥

 


 

 

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27013064

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377380/#B2

http://file.scirp.org/pdf/FNS_2014061716305882.pdf

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10681-004-4811-6

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23088580/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/389172-dulse-nutrition/

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02859553

http://nutritiondata.self.com/

http://whfoods.com/foodstoc.php