Friday, October 2, 2009

Harvest... Or 'Out of a Can'

Ah, harvest... a time to begin 'putting up' food for the long cold winter. I had high hopes for trying my hand at canning just one recipe this year. My plan was to pick lots of green tomatoes from the four tomato plants I had and make a big batch of green tomato relish - just like my mom used to make. The plants were loaded with blossoms which became lovely pale green tomatoes. And then I noticed the growing brown spots. My tomato plants had blight! It was with great disappointment that I destroyed the plants - tomatoes and all. No green tomato relish and no first-time canning experience this year. Thankfully, I don't have to depend on my harvest (or lack thereof) to feed the troops through the winter. And thank goodness for grocery store canned goods - they'll do in a pinch!

Speaking of canned goods, I was recently browsing some newly-purchased vintage cookbooks and found a chart that gives a conversion from can size to number of cups and ounces that the can contains. I don't know about you, but I have a few old cookbooks in which recipes call for a "No. 2" can or a "No. 1 can" of something or other. Of course I had no idea how much of that particular ingredient was needed - we just don't refer to canned goods by their can size anymore. Hope you find the chart as helpful as I do!

From the American Can Company cookbook
"Appetizing Recipes from Canned Foods"

Now, the pumpkin patch in our yard is coming along nicely. A week ago, I wanted to bake pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pie, but the pumpkins weren't quite as ready yet. So, a trip to the grocery store was in order and I bought what would be the equivalent of a No. 2 1/2 can of pumpkin (28 oz.). It was enough to make 12 muffins, one pie, and 8 spiced pumpkin waffles. All that sure whet my appetite for making pumpkin things... those ripening pumpkins on the vine better watch out - there may be baked goods in their future!

Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Chips

Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Sprinkled on Top

"Judge each day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy Harvest! Happy October!


Emily said...

The cupcakes look delicious!! Hopefully next year you can try canning...its sooooooo much fun!!! I love hearing the tops pop. I remember it from being a kid and my mom would make strawberry jam. This year I tried making peach freezer jam, which you don't have to do all the boiling steps. It was a lot of fun. Too bad your tomatoes didn't turn out, I bet you would have loved canning!!

Caryn said...

The size chart for the cans is very helpful--thank you :) I have run across the can numbers a few times in old cookbooks--especially church group or family collections.

And you really *did* have a first-year experience; unfortunately, it was not the one you were gearing up the taste buds for! My partner at work is also a farmer, and had to plow up thousands of dollars worth of tomatoes and potatoes :(

sumacsue said...

Hi. I canned three batches of green tomato relish over the weekend. Sorry you didn't get to have that experience. It's such a satisfying activity. But I can't imagine having to do like my great-grandma, and can all of the food my family needed to get through the winter. That would be so hard.

Miss CherryBubbles said...

Thank you all for your comments! I am hopeful that next year will work out better ;)

Caryn - glad the chart was helpful and so sorry to hear about your work partner's farm losses!

sumacsue - I can't imagine canning for my family to last through the winter either - who would have thought canning could be considered a survival skill ;)