Questions about Ketchup

Misc.-TomatoesHere’s a straight-forward question about picking the right tomatoes for fresh-made ketchup from Paula:

I will be trying my hand at making ketchup this year.  What type of fresh tomatoes do you suggest?

When canning tomato products such as ketchup I prefer Roma or similar meatier tomatoes – they have less juice and make a thicker product.

Happy canning,

Shirley

Think Twice Before You “Tweak”

0512 Homepage Photo - Shirley CampNo, that headline isn’t advice to over-enthusiastic youngsters when they hit the dance floor – it’s just a little common sense to the home canner who is wondering if they can just add an extra ingredient to their next batch when they’re canning in the kitchen.

The short answer is “no” – the longer answer is “know when it’s time to add your creativity and still keep the food safe for consumption.”

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The litmus test for tomato acidity

3.08-Left-Inset-ImageThere are many varieties of tomatoes available for us to choose from – heirlooms to the newer hybrid varieties. Over the years, the acidity level of tomatoes has been researched, and data collected resulted in the United States Department of Agriculture issuing a statement in 1976 that certain varieties of tomatoes were considered low acid foods and that they must be processed as low acid foods. Since that time, recommendations are to add acid to all tomato products being processed at home.

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Pickle Problems? Shirley Has Answers.

CucumbersI get great questions about canning and, specifically, about pickles.  Susie wrote in the other day:

I process about 90lbs of dill pickles each summer.  I discovered Mrs Wages pickle mix a few years ago and love it!  I’ve tried several of the Wages mixes.
One in particular I’d like help with is the pickled mixed veggies.  I’ve tried twice and both times the carrots and cauliflower turn out so mushy!  I want them crisp like when you buy them in the store.  What am I doing wrong?
Also, when I have extra dill pickle brine, I put up several pints of dill carrot sticks. They are so yummy!!!
I look forward to hearing from you!
Susie

Here’s what I sent back to her via email: Continue reading