Posts Tagged ‘farmers’

Of course you can!


Check out the fabulous salsa recipe with chipotle chilies — http://www.bernardin.ca/

Canning steps for tomatoes and mixed tomato sauces — tomato and herb pasta sauce, salsa, tomato chutney, etc.  Review canning process on videos and canning jar websites before embarking on this multi-step process.  Start small and work up to production levels if you are new to canning and preserving food in glass jars.

* Grow fresh produce. Harvest or buy at farm market.

* Wash.  Cut out bad spots, stems and hulls. Remove tomato skins if you prefer.

* Wash the jars.  Acquire lids and rings to match jar mouth.

* Boil water and put in the empty jars and lids.

* Boil water to cover tomatoes packed in the jars.

* Place tomatoes in jars (wide mouth jars are easiest) and push out air spaces with knife or spatula.

* Don’t overfill jars.  Food inside the jar should stop at least  3/4 to 1 inch from top lip. This is called the jar “head space” needed for processing period when the contents will boil and expand.

* Add a little sea salt to each jar.  Cover tomatoes with boiling water just to 3/4 to 1 inch from top lip.  Adjust tomatoes in the jar so there are no air bubbles and hot water is below the head space.  The hot water will spread the salt through the food.  If you are making sauces or salsa, the salt and other seasonings would have been added during cooking.

* With a clean tea towel, dip it in boiling water and wipe the edge of the jar, inside and out, until the entire top area of the jar and the head space area inside and out is perfectly free of food smears, seeds, etc.  Re-wipe the jar top edge with boiling water on another area of the tea towel.  With tongs, fetch a flat lid from the boiling water bath and place on top of jar.  Holding the jar with your other hand, screw on the ring until it is secure, but not overly tight.

* Place all the filled and sealed jars in a large pot about 1/3 filled with boiling water (a crab pot, kettle, soup pot, etc).  The appropriate pot will hold about 6 to 8 quart jars.  Add boiling water until the jar tops are just covered.  Adjust heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  This is called the “boiling water bath” or “hot water processing”.  This is not steam processing in a pressure cooker used for all other vegetables.  Tomatoes are unique that their acid content is high enough to ensure that hot water boiling is sufficient to safely preserve the food contents.

* Please review the canning process on videos and canning websites provided by jar manufacturers.  If you don’t feel comfortable canning, freeze the mixtures.  It’s best to approach canning like changing a tire.  Get someone who knows how to do it to show you.

* Foods preserved in glass are lovely to look at, fun to eat and don’t rot when the electricity fails.

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Time to sign up for your fresh vegetables for the next growing season of 2013.

National database of CSA farmers

Local Harvest explains that “Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.”

Here are links to maps and lists that specify locations of  producers in the DC-MD-VA area.

Maryland

Montgomery County, MD

USDA resources on CSA

The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet

DC Urban farmers — let them know they can come out and be a “Crop Mob” on the Agricultural zone farms.

http://www.dc-urban-gardeners.com/composting/

Crop mobs are city dwellers who come out and do chores on local farms as volunteers. For more on the crop mob scene — here is their blog:

http://cropmob.org/  

Maryland Farmers Market listed by county

Montgomery County list.

These folks are our food allies. Give them your business and talk to others about the issues local farmers face.  Diminishing land near urban centers and water scarcity are just two of many challenges.  Support local farmers and you’ll always have food growing nearby.

Fresh Farm Markets DC (“DC” means Maryland, Delaware and Virginia as well as the District  of Columbia).  Patronize these  farmers and producers who are the allies of cooks and curators of fine food.

Why buy from local farmers when the mega-mart offers bargain food and it’s wrapped in see through plastic?  Read the short answers here, but think about the long answer.  Do you know who grows your food?  Have you talked to the person who picked your dinner from the coop or field?




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