Put up or Shut up

It’s officially canning season here at Harmony Valley Farms!

I’ve harvested almost 20 lbs. of tomatoes in the last two days, with no signs of slowing down.  It was time to break out the canning supplies and get right to it.  I decided to make a spaghetti sauce today with many of the ingredients coming out of my garden.  Though I have to give credit to the beautiful herbs to the organic farmstand down the street, I am truly envious of how they produce such quality herbs.  I paid a dollar for the huge bunches of cilantro, italian parsley and basil you see in one of the pictures.  The first picture shows some of the total harvest we are getting right now, most of it is either consumed here or given away.  But the rest is now being put up for the winter season, whatever that is in Southern California.










From this produce, as well as the locally grown herbs, I selected this assortment for canning today:










Hard to believe all that boils down to just this:











Notice the whitish precipitate over the finished product except where I wipe one can lid with my finger?  That is Ramona’s famous hard water leaving deposits on the outside of the containers during the canning process.  Typically what I do to remove this is to wait until the jars cool completely, then give them all a wipe with a cloth that has a vinegar solution on it.  Also, notice the separation of solids from the liquids; this is caused by not placing the tomatoes immediately in a hot saucepan during the preparation stage.  Its merely a cosmetic issue, it produces the same high quality canned goods; I usually just shake them up before using.

Here is the recipe I came up with today.

8 lbs. tomatoes

1/2 of a bell pepper

1/2 of a red onion

4 cloves garlic

handfuls of cilantro, basil and italian parsley

yields eight pints


4 thoughts on “Put up or Shut up

  1. I was going to ask about why your sauce separated, but you explained it! I’ve never had that happen and I’m pretty sure I skinned and pureed my sauce one day and cooked it the next. So when you use it, do you skim off the good stuff or mix the liquid back in?

  2. I use it all! You know, I canned today, making sure to immediately add the sliced tomatoes to a hot pan…the result? Separation again. I am not too worried about it, it is just what it is, all the nutrients are intact.

  3. We have a hard water problem as well. I add a 1/2 cup or so of distilled white vinegar to the water bath and that usually prevents the build up.

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