November 2, 2014

Mushrooms & Butternut Squash

As you may or may not know, Pete has a 'mushroom yard'! He's completed his second season of growing Shiitake mushrooms and mmmm, they are good! The best way to eat them is fresh of course, but with the quantity that they put out, there's just NO WAY to keep up! We sell and give away quite a bit of them... I dehydrate LOTS too. One day Audrey asked, 'Is there any way to can them?' Hmmm, that got me to thinking.... why not? We buy them canned! So, checked out my first source 'Ball's Blue Book' and a few other books I have about stocking up. I went online and looked at a few mushroom sites and I went to YouTube and checked that out too....  AND THEN OUR ADVENTURE BEGAN! Yes, we did can some mushrooms!!

                                                       "CANNING  MUSHROOMS"

Clean dirt from mushrooms (we use a soft paintbrush to clean them). Trim stem ends. (I sliced them up in strips, ready to use, bite sized pieces). Put mushrooms in a saucepan, adding water to cover and bring to a boil, boiling for 5 minutes. ONLY PROCESS IN PINTS and HALF PINTS! Pack the jars hot, leaving 1 inch head space. Add 1/4 tsp. salt to each half pint and a 1/2 tsp. of salt to pints. Ladle boiling water over mushrooms, still leaving 1 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust the two piece lid and rings, and process the jars half pints AND pints for 45 minutes at 10 pounds in a pressure canner.    NOTE: Do not can wild mushrooms!  (THANK YOU, BALL BLUE BOOK!)

My new canning adventures didn't end there....   after a crazy, hectic summer I new find myself in November and staring out at the garden which is still NOT picked up for the winter! I have carrots, beets, kale and bok choy still growing well.... and a hug pile of butternut squash to figure out!

I'd been looking at the You Tube videos about canning squash and pumpkin... there has to be a way to do this!! I've always read NOT to can it because it is too dense... but this guy is peeling and cutting them into 1 inch cubes, parboiling for 2 minutes then hot packing them LOOSELY in quart jars. sealing them up and pressure canning them for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure! SEEMS DO-ABLE TO ME!!

Pete and I spent the day in the kitchen/living room cutting and peeling and packing jars! IT TAKES A LONG, LONG TIME to peel & cut squash... and butternut is one of the easiest to work with! We only brought in one milk crate of squash ... and there are MANY, MANY more out there!! We'll leave most of them whole and keep them in cold storage for the winter....

God bless my husband!! He took on the beets, digging them up and washing them... parboiling and then peeling them!! We canned up 18 pints of beets and I have 4 pints left over that wouldn't fit into the pressure canner, so they will become pickled beets and take a water bath!! After he was finished with the beets he helped me finish cutting the squash and we put up 14 quarts of squash!

By the end of the day.... it felt good to see the finished veggies!! Time to clean up and get ready to do it all again tomorrow!!! Except, it will be carrots instead of beets and more squash and maybe even the pumpkins....

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