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Jackie Clay

The corn that nearly froze is getting ripe!

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Remember that big 29 degree freeze we had that I had to run sprinklers in the icy garden to save the vegetables? Well, the first of that corn is ripe. Yes, the plants got freeze-burned leaves, but they lived and the corn is slowly ripening. My pantry is pretty skimpy in the corn department, so I planted lots and had high hopes. But lately, I’ve been living on a wing and a prayer, waiting and waiting for those corn ears to fatten up.

Yes! They are. And here’s the proof.

I’ve been busy this weekend, canning the seven chickens we butchered, making tomato sauce and more blackberry jam. Harvest and canning are in full swing here now. I usually love the race, but I got a whanger of a cold from David. So it’s NOT so fun! I do feel better, but my right eye hurts like heck. I guess I pulled a muscle or something, coughing? Oh well, as long as I’m headed in the right direction. The corn should be ready to start canning tomorrow or the next day. Yeah!

Readers’ Questions:

Canning broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots

I want to can broccoli, cauliflower and carrots together, that’s what is ripe now. I found that frozen broccoli and cauliflower becomes really mushy when cooked for roasts etc. I don’t like that taste. Do you have a recipe or any idea what to try. Thanks so much.

Dureen Hopkins
Backus, Minnesota

I don’t think you’d like the broccoli, cauliflower, carrot mix canned. The broccoli and cauliflower both get “mushy” and strong tasting when canned. In fact, broccoli is the one thing I just don’t can. I dehydrate it or use it fresh. The cauliflower, I pickle and use fresh. When you want to use these vegetables with your roast, I’d suggest just simmering or steaming them just before your roast is done, instead of roasting them with your meat. It just turns out better that way. The carrots can join the roast, along with the potatoes and onions, about an hour before the roast is due to be done. Then you have those tender, juicy, browned vegetables to serve with your meat. Mmmmm — Jackie

Salting foods

On that note, do you have any experience with salting as a preservation technique? We had lots of green beans this year, and we were thinking of trying salting some to see if we like them. (And if we don’t, no big loss. We have plenty put up other ways.) The directions we found said to use a special crock. Maybe if I win the lottery I can spend $150 for a little jug, but not now. Do you know how this can be done without using a special crock? It was basically four parts split beans to one part salt by weight.

Also, I saw some info that claimed that salted meat would stay edible for two years in a basement, but my wife and I are doubtful. It seems like the amount of salt needed to preserve meat for so long would degrade the quality of the meat to the point you wouldn’t want to eat it. I’d love to hear some first-hand information on it.

Sam Wise
Salisbury, Maryland

I, personally, don’t like salted vegetables and would only salt meat in desperate straits. (I also tend to have high blood pressure, so I watch my salt intake as much as I can.) You can use a food grade plastic bucket to salt your beans in, if you still want to give it a try. That way you won’t be out big $$$ to buy a crock if you don’t like the end product. I much prefer to either can or dehydrate my vegetables; it tastes much better, is cheaper (salt isn’t cheap any more!) and they are better for you, too. — Jackie

Minted pears

I am canning pears and wanted to make a few jars of minted pears, but I don’t have any peppermint oil. I do have some wonderful chocolate mint growing in my garden though. I picked some and put a few sprigs in each pint jar of pears and canned them in a water bath for 25 minutes. Then I got to wondering… will the mint cause it to have to be canned for longer? I put a 500 mg. capsule of Vit. C in the syrup water. Will it be acid enough? Will they be okay?

Colleen Fluetsch
Roseburg, Oregon

Generally spices, such as your mint, aren’t used in enough quantity to require pressure canning. I assume you canned your pears in a syrup, so you wouldn’t need to worry about making the product acid enough; the fruit will do that. There really isn’t much to mint; just dehydrate a few springs and see what you have left! — Jackie

Refurbishing a wood cook stove

Can you rework a burnt out wood cook stove to cook in? I have a friend who has one and I need to know if it can be refurbished for cooking.

Brenda Jarrell
Varnville, South Carolina

Most wood cook stoves can be saved, but it depends on what is burned out. Is it the sheet metal between the firebox and the oven? Or is it the grates? The top? Most times, you can find replacement grates around, in old stoves in someone’s barn or field, if you really look. Other times, a good metal fabrication shop can make replacement parts for you. Or the local blacksmith shop can weld plate steel between the firebox and oven. Have someone who works with steel take a look at the stove to see what is really involved. — Jackie

2 Responses to “The corn that nearly froze is getting ripe!”

  1. Lyn Says:

    Jackie- I hope you are feeling better!
    Your corn looks beautiful! I’d been wondering how the corn freeze turned out! I wish I could pluck an ear from you cart right through tha computer screen! LOL! What variety did you plant- it is so large- mine seldom get that big. I hope you will talk more about what you do to get the corn ready for canning – I haven’t tackled that veggie yet! I never seem to have enough to make canning it worthwhile!

  2. jackie clay Says:

    Lyn,

    My corn this year was Kandy Korn, Bodacious and Quickie. The corn in the picture was Kandy Korn. It’s kind of late, but seems to do okay here in most years.

    To get it ready to can, I just shuck it, cut it off the cob, pack it into jars, add a tsp of salt and pour boiling water over it. It’s then sealed and pressure canned for 55 minutes for pints. That’s it. Easy and quick. I got 8 pints and a half out of two baskets of corn. Now if the rest will continue ripening!!!!!

    Jackie

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