PRESERVING PRODUCE FOR FUTURE USEIf your garden is bountiful, preserve produce for future use. The most popular way is freezing.
FREEZING TOMATOESStewed - preparation: Remove stem ends, peel and quarter ripe tomatoes. Cover and cook until tender (10 to 20 minutes). Place pan containing tomatoes in cold water to cool. Pack in containers. Seal and freeze immediately.
Juice - preparation: Wash and trim firm, vine-ripened tomatoes. Cut into quarters or eighths. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Press through a sieve. If desired, add 1 tablespoon salt to each quart of juice for seasoning. Cool and pour into containers. Freeze immediately.
FREEZING PEPPERSWash and freeze whole jalapenos. For other peppers, cut into small pieces and freeze. Package all in airtight containers or freezer bags.
FREEZING SQUASHPreparation: Use young summer squash with small seeds and tender rinds. Wash and cut into -inch slices. Heat in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool, drain, package and freeze immediately.
If your freezer is full, preserve produce by canning.
CANNING TOMATOESA boiling water bath is needed for canning tomatoes.
Wash and sort fresh, firm, vine-ripened tomatoes. Put in wire basket, dip in boiling water minute or until skins crack. Plunge into cold water immediately. Remove the skins and core. Leave whole or cut into halves or quarters. Add teaspoon salt to each pint or 1 teaspoon salt to each quart. Salt is for taste only so it may be left out if you prefer.
Pack tomatoes to inch of top of jar, pressing gently to fill spaces. Do not add water.
Close the jars with lids and metal rings. Process in boiling water bath (pints-35 minutes; quarts - 45 minutes). Start timing when water in water bath returns to a boil.
Remove jars and cool. When cool, remove metal rings and check sealing before storing.
Separation of tomatoes and liquid is very common. It does not affect the product. Shake the jar or stir to mix before using. This is sometimes called floating fruit.
For canning other vegetables such as squash, a presser canner is necessary.
CANNING SQUASHSummer squash has a soft skin. Wash, but do not peel, the squash. Trim ends. Cut squash into -inch slices or half or quarter to make pieces of uniform size.
Pack raw squash tightly into clean jars to 1 inch of the top of the jar. Fill jar with boiling water to inch of the top of the jar. Close and process at 10 pounds of pressure (pints -- 25 minutes; quarts -- 30 minutes; pints in pressure saucepan -- 45 minutes).
And for those jalapeno peppers, you may pickle them to enjoy all year.