For the love of vegetables …!

pasta-sauceThis weekend, I received a great question from one of my blog readers, Mercy. She asks the following: “I love the pasta seasonings from Mrs. Wages.  I would like to add vegetables to my sauce before I can it. This is the only way I can get my husband to eat vegetables.   How can I do this?  We went to the farmers market this weekend and we bought an abundance of nice tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and bell peppers.”

The short answer is this: You can add your veggies to your sauce, but you can’t can it.

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Preserving Chowder? Don’t Can It!

ChowderWe all love a warm, hearty soup or chowder on a blustery winter’s day. But one reader wrote in earlier this week asking about canning some chowder for later.

Q: “I have two questions: Can I pressure can a chowder recipe using evaporated milk? How do I pressure can Lemon Curd made with eggs?”

A: Unfortunately, neither food is safe for pressure canning.  You can freeze chowder – but don’t can it.

If you’re interested in preserving lemon curd, you’ll find recipes for it on the National Center for Home Food Preservation – but be sure to follow the directions for ingredients and boils water bath canning to the letter. Here’s a link to a .pdf providing instructions for preparing and preserving lemon curd.

Can You Can Soup in a Hot Water Bath Canner?

Thanks to Linda who wrote in with a question about canning tomato veggie soup concentrate. Linda writes:

I make and tomato vegetable soup. I roasted carrots, celery, onion, garlic, green beans until browned (about 30 min.) then add tomato chunks on top and roast another 30min.  Then I blend all until smooth. I use this as my concentrate and when ready to use I add broth or milk to thin it and add extra flavor.  My question is can this concentrate be canned in a boiling water canner?

This is one of those times when you have to look at the ingredients you’re canning very closely. Many of the veggies listed in Linda’s recipe are low acid, so the water bath method of canning cannot be used.

My suggestion is to freeze the soup to preserve it.

Hope that helps. Thanks for asking.

If you have a question about canning, feel free to ask me through my “Ask Shirley” page.

Seven easy tips to cooking with pumpkin

Pumpkin-Cooking-Tips-Featured-Blogger-PicRight now the pumpkins and winter squash are ripe and ready.  Pumpkin and winter squash are a rich source of Vitamin A as well as fiber. Other nutrients you get from pumpkin include potassium, folic acid, copper, iron, and riboflavin.  One cup of cooked solidly packed pumpkin/squash has only about 80 calories!

While it is much easier to use canned pumpkin, you can use fresh pumpkin and squash that you have cooked and pureed for your favorite recipes. There are several varieties of winter squash available including butternut, Hubbard, turban, buttercup, acorn, banana, mammoth, sweet dumpling, and the pumpkin.

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