Backyard Orchard News
The University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources is a vast and mighty organization that touches on everything from African "killer bee" invasions to leaf scorch on almond trees to, well, canning and preserving. What's even better is that they compile all of this information into easy to read, downloadable, FREE publications with pictures, diagrams, and easy to follow graphs that help illustrate how easy it is to create safe preserved food for your home.
You can search though the entire list here. But we've compiled a short list of links to some of our favorites.
Apples: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Cantaloupe: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Egg Basics for the Consumer: Packaging, Storage, and Nutritional Information
Garlic: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, & Enjoy
Nuts: Safe Methods for Home Gardeners to Harvest, Store, and Enjoy
Olives: Safe Methods for Home Pickling
Oranges: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Peppers: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, & Enjoy
Safe Methods of Canning Vegetables
Strawberries: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Tomatoes: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
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We're really lucky here in Los Angeles County. Most farmers markets across the country only recently opened for business for the year, running on a tight seasonal harvest schedule. Here in LA? We harvest year-round and our farmers markets are open from January to December.
"Putting up" is a constant activity here - pickling Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and cabbage in December; hot packing carrots and beets at their peak flavor in January; freezing persimmon puree and juicing pomegranates in November; and let's not forget all the winter citrus heading into marmalades, getting juiced, or flavoring myriad liqueurs and beers.
That said, things do tend to pick up a bit when May rolls into view. The first of the stone fruits - sour plums and cherries - hit the tables in mid-May. And let's not forget mulberries, though how could we when so many trees dot our neighborhoods, sometimes providing a free harvest. And now, we're just starting to see peaches and plums. It's going to be a busy summer. The colder-than-usual winter we had this year gave all the stone fruit trees plenty of rest time and now are producing some record setting fruit harvests.
To get you started, here's a super simple recipe from The National Center for Home Food Preservation. Happy summer!
Plum Jam (without added pectin)
- 2 quarts chopped tart plums (about 4 pounds)
- 6 cups sugar
- 1½ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
Yield: About 8 half-pint jars
Procedure: Sterilize canning jars. Combine all ingredients; bring slowly to boiling, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to, or almost to, the jellying point (which is 8°F above the boiling point of water, or 220°F at sea level). Stir constantly to prevent sticking or burning. (See Testing Jelly Without Added Pectin.)
Pour hot jam into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner - five minutes if you are at 0-1000 feet, 10 for 1001-6000 feet./h2>/span>/span>/h2>
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