So this year I did a lot of canning- not as much freezing as I would have liked, but a buttload of canning for sure.

I wanted to try to preserve as much as I could so that I wouldn't have to 
a)spend the money at the grocery store and 
b)we could avoid the preservatives.

I started with tomatoes. My dad brought me a bunch when he was working on the bathroom and my mom and I made about 12 pints of diced tomatoes.

After my dad left, I went to the you-pick farm down the street and got 40+ pounds of tomatoes (20 cents a pound!).
About 1/2 of my 40 pounds.
First up was tomato sauce. I had to use the giant black pot (really the canner) below because I didn't have a large enough stock pot (HINT HINT MA).

Carmelizing the onions. A LOT of onions.
First step was to peel the tomatoes. I just submerge them in boiling water until the skin cracks like this:

Then I let them sit for a few minutes (while I load the next batch of tomatoes into the water) and then go at them with a paring knife. The skin comes right off.
You can use whatever recipe you like for the marinara.. I just found a random one online.
 I ended up with 10 quarts of the marinara.

After the marinara I attacked salsa. I love me some salsa.. John doesn't like it though so I didn't have to make that much.

My pantry- stocked up L to R: diced tomatoes (about 12 pints), tomato sauce (10 quarts), salsa (9 pints).



Diced tomatoes.

 I was going to stop at the tomatoes, but at the farmer's market a dude was selling concord grapes and I decided to get a bundle to try jelly.. it looks good! I can't wait to try it.
My 2-3/4 jars of jelly.
 Lastly, I decided to make John fruit cups. He eats a fruit cup everyday and I KNOW that the peaches in sugar syrup are NOT good for him. He gets migraines and has terrible teeth. The HFCS cannot help either of those.

For the fruit cups, I made apple pie filling (still soft and sugary) and apple sauce. Sure the apple pie filling has sugar in in it, but it is real sugar... nothing fake.

I got 110 of the 4 oz jelly jars for the fruit cups. These should last about 4 months until the spring time when fresh, local fruit will be available again!

Sanitizing all of the jars. It took about 3 loads.
 The apple pie filling was pretty easy. The apples are sliced, stuck in the jars and then you pour the hot sauce over them. Two batches got me about 85 4 oz jars.

The apple sauce is just the apples sliced

Steamed in a pot with about 1" of water until soft

And then put through the food mill.

I added a little cinnamon to some of the jars. No sugar required!!

For about 40 pounds of apples I got 85 4oz jars of apple pie filling and 20ish 4oz jars of apple sauce.
Honestly, none of this was too much work. I would peel or slice apples/tomatoes on Thursday or Friday after work while watching TV and then on Saturday I would just do up the batches. The part that takes the longest out of anything is the actual canning... only so many jars can fit in the canner and it takes 35 minutes (or a little less) to process each batch. 

Next year I plan on doing a little more and adding fresh peaches to the fruit cups!

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