Canning chili, pickling green tomatoes

Today I started my day off by thinking it would be a good day to do some canning.  Yes, the day before erev Rosh Hashana I know that sounds like a bad idea, but I had about nine pounds of fresh ground meat in the fridge, and rather than put it into the freezer, I figured I’d prepare a huge amount of chili and it would be all ready for a busy day.  So one child soaked five pounds of different beans, another cooked up the meat.  It was a really good idea, since I planned to do it first thing in the day, when I had nothing else planned and nowhere else to go – the glitch was that by noon, I ran out of steam and didn’t feel like dealing with it, all day long. 

The problem with starting a project like this is, you have to finish it, unless you have lots of available fridge space for a couple of days. Something that I have absolutely none of now, right before the holiday.  So at 10 pm, when I got my second wind, I started canning the chili (I had to go out for the evening or I would have started at 8 pm instead).  It takes 90 minutes to process the chili, and that doesn’t include the time preparing the jars, filling the jars, getting the canner up to pressure so you can begin the 90 minutes….so here I sit after midnight, waiting for it to finish.  One thing I’m very grateful for is that new weighted gauge I told you I bought.  This is my first time using it, and it makes a huge difference.  Usually with a pressure canner that has a dial gauge, you need to stay in the room where it is for the entire processing time, to keep an eye on the pressure so it stays steady.  If I go out of the kitchen, it’s only for a couple of minutes, and then I go right back to look at the gauge.  But with a weighted gauge, it makes a noise when it’s holding the pressure, so it’s based on sound, not sight.  That means I can be on the computer, out of direct view though still very close, and it’s safe.  What a pleasure!

While I was waiting, I’ve made up 4 half gallons and 2 quarts of pickled sour green tomatoes.  I told my kids earlier in the evening to pick all of the tomatoes that are green and we’ll do something with them.  That was an assignment they really, really enjoyed.  Usually we don’t have enough ripening all at once for them to be able to pick a lot at once.  Anyway, have you ever tasted pickled green tomatoes?  Yum, yum, yum.  I don’t care for vinegar pickles, or any pickled veggies for that matter (and yes, that includes all those things I made a couple of weeks ago).  But real sour pickles, or sour tomatoes – I can’t get enough!  Until now, I’ve only bought them once in a while, so if this is a successful experiment, it will be a really nice treat. 

These are going to be fermenting for the next few days, and then I’ll heat process most of them after that so that they won’t need to stay refrigerated.  Right now they’re lined up on the kitchen counter, looking very attractive.  The kids will enjoy seeing them when they wake up in the morning (which at this rate is going to be before I’ll be able to drag myself out of bed :)).


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