Picking Fresh for Salsa and Tomato Sauce

Sweet Peppers all Grown with Organic Methods
It seems like a luxury to pick fresh, organic produce for homemade canning recipes today.  That's just the way things were when Grandma was preserving the summer's harvest.

Our Cherokee Purple tomatoes courtesy Sow True Seed went into a batch of salsa, along with peppers and herbs from our little garden.

Purple Beauty Sweet Pepper with other Sweet Peppers
I used another recipe from So Easy to Preserve.  It was nice that the cookbook allows substitutions of equal amounts of milder peppers for hot ones. So, our salsa included a good amount of our sweet bell peppers, along with just a few spicy ones.  It's the perfect, slightly spicy, full-flavored sauce for us.  The two main varieties of peppers we had grown were Big Red, which apparently grew green for us, and Purple Beauty, which made a few gorgeous eggplant-colored fruits that were green inside.

The tomatoes seemed so plentiful just a couple of days later that I decided to preserve some tomato sauce. What seemed like several pounds of tomatoes cooked down to just three pints of moderately thick sauce.  I used a Ball Canning recipe for that.  It was fun using the antique colander and pestle from my husband's grandparents for straining the sauce.  Wonder why they were all made from aluminum instead of stainless steel?  

Now that I own a new pressure canner, I want to try it out on green beans.  Trouble is, the husband and kids keep eating them as fast as we can pick.

Next week:  a guest photo essay from the garden