This summer I did some canning. Nothing too impressive, but at the time it was a bit daunting as I hadn't canned anything in a couple of years, and I had never done any serious canning entirely on my own. Mom had always been there if I had questions, or more often we were doing it together. (note to single girls: now is a really good time to master somewhat tricky tasks like canning, don't wait!!)
Also, I was a bit nervous about canning in a kitchen without real running water, and keeping my little woodstove hot enough. But, read on and you will see that everything turned out, there was no need to worry!
I was able to buy two bushels of organic tomatoes from the local Mennonite community (much thanks to my mother-in-law for arranging it) So spent a good deal of one week this summer putting up tomato sauce. I just did plain sauce, as I always season the sauce as I am cooking the dish (chili powder for Mexican dishes, basil, garlic, olive oil, etc for Italian)
Jordan had obtained boxes and boxes of glass canning jars from a job last year that he and I cleaned and saved for our upcoming household. The first step was to get these out of storage. Of course they were dirty and spider-webby again. But, plenty of boiling water and scrubbing soon fixed that. All clean and sparkling!
Next I brought in the tomatoes from where they were laid out on newspaper on the porch, one pot-full at a time, to wash, remove the stem end, and chop into large pieces for the blender.
The tomatoes go into my wonderful Blendtec. By doing the 'whole juice' setting, I was able to skip peeling and de-seeding the tomatoes, as they were all pureed quite fine enough. I was a little afraid there would still be tiny bits of tough cooked peel at the end, but it was not a problem at all, quite smooth.
Juice goes on the stove, and cooks down until thick.
When thick enough, the sauce was ladled into my jars with a teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of vitamin C powder. (I read the C would up the acidity of the mix, and ensure no spoilage, so I thought it wouldn't hurt...)
I didn't get pictures of my canner, but they had to be processed 11 minutes at a certain pressure. Getting them up to pressure sometimes too a little longer than I would have liked, but once it was hot enough it was very hard to keep it from getting much too hot. Each time I had to set it to the back of the stove. But, over all canning on a woodstove was quite do-able, and only takes a bit more watching than normal.
At the end of the week, I ended up with 40 pints of sauce. Not a huge amount I admit, but quite a nice stock for a two-person household! :) I was very pleased with the texture and taste at the end, and hope to do more just the same way next summer!