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Getting produce in season and preserving it for the following year is the most frugal way to cut your food budget and increase your pantry. These 6 fall canning recipes are what we're putting up on our homestead right now and the perfect time for you to do so as well, before prices rise and winter sets in.
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Our fall is unusually warm here in the Pacific Northwest, we had an 80 degree day here on October. It's been a great for our tomatoes due to the hot dry weather and lack of rain, who usually succumb to blight and rot, or just plain not ripening.
Reader Question of the Week: I'm using spelt flour and it's not rising like regular flour. How do I bake with it?
Answer: Spelt is an ancient flour. It's not gluten free, but it is a primitive flour grown in Biblical times. It has a lower gluten count and higher protein count than regular wheat. Spelt likes to spread out instead of up. When using spelt, add 2 to 4 Tablespoons to every cup when converting a regular recipe. You have to go by the look and touch of your dough. Don't over knead your spelt. Knead for 4 minutes, let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then knead again for another 4 minutes. I will preheat my oven to 425 degrees and put bread in at that temperature for 4 minutes and then turn the oven down. That bump of high heat will make it rise upwards instead of out.
We re-purposed a metal framed canvas canopies for our off-grid greenhouse. This is the first year I've had a true crop of tomatoes and peppers. I love being able to grow my own food and grocery shopping from my own back yard.sign up here!
If your seasons are different than mine you may have had your first snow already. But for us the tomatoes are coming on strong. If an early snow is threatening your tomatoes, here's a post on different ways Ripen Green Tomatoes from Jill at the Prairie Homestead.
Putting up food for the winter months is a Depression Era Practice (welcome to all the new listeners from our most popular Podcast ever Building a Depression Era Pantry-Frugal Tips and Recipes) and very important. We do a lot of home food preservation here on our homestead. The only food my grandparents had to eat was what they put up and something my dad has passed down to me. It's our way of life here in the summer and fall.
Right now we just finished putting up fresh shelled beans.
1. October shelled beans. This is an heirloom bean that's been in our family for close to a hundred years. It's usually ready to harvest in October. They can be used a dried bean, but we prefer to can some of them to use when water and time is scarce. If you want more info on when beans are ready to be picked as a dried bean you can learn that here.
I prefer pole beans because I get a larger crop from a pole bean compared to bush beans. They're more prolific and worth the effort of putting up something for them to climb. The bean gets about 6 inches long and is really fat. The pod that we use once shelled is quite large. I believe it's related to a Scarlet Runner or Cranberry bean. I use them as a pinto bean, but they're almost 2 to 3 times larger than a pinto. It's a white bean with burgundy streaks running through it.
I can shelled beans because we are on our own well and when the power goes out, I don't have running water. Dried beans require water to soak and cook. Plus, I don't have to plan ahead when I want to cook beans if they're canned. Anyone else not always have dinner planned out in advance?
I use the raw pack method for canning fresh shelled beans. Pressure canner required.
Are you new to putting up food at home? I've got the Ultimate Home Food Preservation Guide with over 80+ recipes, tutorials, and equipment recommendations for FREE here.
2. Fresh Vegetable Salsa I was extremely excited to make salsa this year with all of the ingredients from our garden (except for the vinegar and lime juice). Plant your garlic now in October for next years salsa! You can read how to plant your own garlic here. Salsa is safe to waterbath can as long as you follow a canning recipe that uses enough acid to make it safe. I used this Salsa Canning recipe from Diane the Canning Diva one of my co-hosts at Survival Mom Radio. This recipe uses lime juice which is my new favorite citrus right now. I also liked that this recipe doesn't call for tomato paste or sauce and uses FRESH veggies.
Remember to not alter ratios in canning recipes. You can swap out the peppers, but not the amount.
Now we do his and hers recipes at our house because my husband likes his salsa and pickles hot, hot, hot and I do not. His jars have his initial on top and mine have an M. I love that home canning allows us to make it to our own tastes and preferences.
3. Tomato Sauce. This is the first year I've had enough tomatoes to make and can my own tomato sauce. It takes quite a bit of tomatoes to make your own sauce. We grew paste tomatoes for making sauce as they have less water and don't require as much reduction time when making sauce. I made 12 jars of tomato sauce last week, which required two pots. One jar didn't seal so I needed to use it right away and decided to make spaghetti.
We'd foraged some edible chantrelle mushrooms and I'd also grown spaghetti squash. Our whole meal was from things we'd grown or foraged ourselves. It was a pretty cool feeling you guys! When I make tomato sauce I usually don't season it so I can use it for a variety of different dishes. I sometimes add basil, but otherwise, I leave the sauce plain. My husband is always sceptible until he tastes new dishes. They both declared the homemade spaghetti sauce (from the tomato sauce) was the best spaghetti we'd ever had. Seriously.
Here's my tomato sauce recipe with both water bath and pressure canning instructions!
4. Pickled Garlic This recipe is from my neighbor is a long time canner and phenomonal cook and we were thrilled when she shared this recipe with us. My husband canned 12 jars of pickled garlic himself this year while I was at work. He did variations with some mustard seeds and peppers. This is the basic recipe we use for pickled garlic.
5. Apple pie filling We have 75 pounds of apples we're putting up right now. In fact I've got 9 Ways to Preserve Apples at home for you right here. But a definite we always do is apple pie filling. Anyone else notice that apple prices go up in the middle of winter during the holidays? I can up apple pie filling so during the holidays I can make a homemade pie from scratch super quick.
I also use apple pie filling to make this from scratch French Apple Pie Dump Cake. No stirring required!
I'm up to my neck in fall produce and canning, so I'm going to be freezing my apple pie filling in quart size Mason jars. Apples are normally an excellent storage crop, but they need to be kept cool. I don't have a garage or root cellar and the fridge is full. With these 80 degree days, my apples need to be preserved quickly…. I take my regular apple pie recipe, quadruple it, mix up the apple, sugar, spices, and thickener and dump it into Mason jars and pop it in the freezer.
6. Applesauce. I love applesauce, let me count the ways, on top of pancakes, biscuits, in place of syrup, as homemade fruit leather, and as a substitute for fat source in my baking. When I make applesauce I don't cut or peel my apples. I put my apples in whole into the stock pot with about an inch of water. Put the lid on and allow apples to steam for about 20 minutes until they're falling apart. Then I put them through the sieve and the skin and seeds are caught in the sieve and not in the sauce. I add a bit of cinnamon and sometimes a small bit of sugar. Usually about a 1/4 cup of sugar to 12 cups of applesauce if they're tart.
My favorite apples for sauce and pies are Gravenstein, however my parent's tree had a light crop and we didn't have enough for me to grab. When I make Gravensteins I don't add any spices or sugar. This is the beauty of making things at home, you control the ingredients, the taste, and texture.
This year I had a seal fail on one run of applesauce and that went right into the fridge. I made a large batch of this Double Chocolate Zucchini bread with applesauce in place of the oil because we're so warm this year, I still have fresh zucchini coming on!
Looking for more ways to save money by preserving your food at home? I've got the Ultimate Home Food Preservation Guide packed with equipment recommendations, recipes, and tutorials. Grab your FREE copy here.
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.