We have had a summer with no summer. A friend I talked to today said yesterday it was 33 degrees early in the morning! And we’ve had highs of 50 for a week. Even for Minnesota, THAT’S chilly! But, surprisingly, our garden will give us plenty of food and produce to can.

Of course, we were happy that the sun came out this morning and it warmed up. So Will started work, once again, on our new storage building. The first quarter is now stacked nearly half full with cut, split firewood and that’s a gorgeous sight. (But we had a wood fire burning two days in a row. Just yesterday!)


I was a little nervous when he climbed up our long extension ladder with the chain saw, to cut off the tops of the two tallest poles. No, I was a LOT nervous. But he was very careful and the tops came off under control. Whew. Now tomorrow, we start nailing framing lumber on.

Readers’ Questions:

Smoking fish

I love fishing (especially trout) and I want to try smoking and then canning the big ones with the nice orange meat…Sure could use some info on both.

Carole-Anne Hopkins
Riverton, Wyoming

To smoke your trout, clean very fresh-caught fish, then soak in a brine made of 1 1/2 cups pickling salt and 1 gallon of fresh, cold water. Totally cover the fish; use a weighted clean plate to hold them under the brine. Leave in the brine overnight. In the morning, rinse and pat dry. Place fish in smoker or smoke house, hanging from wire hooks with the belly held open by dowels or clean, green twigs. You want to smoke, not hotter than 160 degrees, for two hours. (This lightly smoked fish to can is NOT cooked and shouldn’t be tasted!) Use hardwood, such as apple, thorn apple, or alder. Or you can use commercial chips such as mesquite, if you wish. My “smoker” was simply an old dryer case and I smoked using an electric hot plate, an old cast iron frying pan, and chips in it to create the smoke.

After the fish is smoked, you can cut it into 1-inch thick pieces and pack gently into wide mouth pint jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Process pints (don’t use quarts) for 110 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. (Consider altitude adjustments in pressure if you live at an altitude over 1,000; consult your canning book for directions.)

Enjoy your fish! Smoked trout is GREAT! — Jackie

Canning collard greens

This year we have lots of collard greens and can’t eat them fast enough. I have looked through my canning books, but cannot find anything on canning collard greens. Pressure canner or water bath, cooked or uncooked, please help!

Rose Wolfe
Fairbanks, Alaska

Collard greens are grouped in canning books under “greens.” This includes Swiss chard, kale, mustard, spinach, turnip, beet tops, poke, lamb’s quarter, and other wild greens. Briefly (but check your canning book for more information), wilt your greens, then pack hot into hot jars. Leave 1 inch of headspace. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to each pint and 1 tsp. to each quart, then fill jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace, with boiling water or cooking liquid. Process pints at 10 pounds pressure (unless you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet and must adjust your pressure to suit your altitude; consult your canning book) for 70 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes. — Jackie


  1. Jackie, Just wanted you to know how very much I enjoy your blogs, your writings and the pictures, I spread the news about Buffy, you see I’m 86 years old,and my fingers don’t always do what I tell them to do, I did’nt get a computer until I was 82,so don’t know a great deal about them, but I haved lived through a depression and I know a bit about being frugal,havent seen anything about saving the apple and peach peelings, my mother cooked and canned them and made fried pies, I still do, and my boys love ’em,—You are a wise and wonderful person, keep up the good work, I am still learning, perserveing, pickleing, drying, and canning. Have an upraised garden, also a spot about 3 foot wide and about the length of a car along side my carport(live in city limits) have veggies in containers also, I tell my friends, well I’ll see what Jackie says!

  2. Lyn,

    Yes, I removed the barrel part of the dryer and everything else but for the box housing. I then screwed on a few pieces of angle iron and layed several steel rods across them from which my meat and fish was hung. It worked great and the cost was zero, which I always love.


  3. Yikes! I feel woosie just LOOKING at Will perched atop that ladder! Your building sure is looking great!

    Your “smoker” has me intriguied… was the barrel removed from the interior of the dryer? Can you please tell us more about how you did it?

    As always thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge! I always appreciate it.

    Oh, I almost forgot- I grew some Kandy Korn variety of corn this year and the first picking is nothing short of tasty and wonderful! Thanks for the recommendation! Great corn! I beleive it will be a “regular” in the garden from now on!

Comments are closed.