(Family Features) - From the White House to the house down the street, fresh produce from home gardens and farmers markets is more popular than ever. And along with the abundance of home grown goodness come new and easy ways to create and preserve delicious, wholesome food in your own kitchen.
Tomatoes are a natural for homemade sauces, salsas, chili mixes and even ketchup. With your tomatoes, Mrs. Wages seasoning mixes, vinegar and/or sugar, you're on your way to some of the best tasting sauces you've ever had. Serve fresh sauces right away or freeze or can them to be enjoyed later on.
Homemade pickles add zing to any meal - and they're a lot easier than you might think. With simple instructions and pickling spices, even beginners can make Bread and Butter, Dill, Polish Dill and Sweet Pickles from scratch. And there are plenty of other tasty fruits and vegetables that can be pickled, too.
To get you started, here are some recipes that bring fresh flavor from the garden to your table.
People everywhere are rediscovering home canning as a practical and enjoyable way to preserve garden produce at its finest. Almost every vegetable and fruit can be canned and enjoyed throughout the year.
Here are some tips on picking produce - either from your garden or the farmers market - for canning.
Snap Beans: Harvest when so crisp that they snap readily.
Corn: Try to complete canning within four hours of picking, before sugar is converted to starch. Kernels should be plump, milky and bright. If immature, corn will be watery and tasteless. If too mature, corn will be starchy and tasteless.
Greens: Use young, tender leaves of mustard, spinach, kale and collard greens. Kale is better if harvested after a frost.
Tomatoes: Select tomatoes that are firm and ripe but not overripe. They should be free of bruises, spots, decay, molds, cracks and growths. Otherwise, tomatoes may be low in acid - too low for safe canning.
Plums: They should be tree-ripened for best flavor, with deep color and a powdery bloom. Can quickly, if possible, since they become mushy very rapidly.
For canning tips, recipes and a variety of tomato sauces, salsa and pickle mixes, visit www.mrswages.com or call (800) 647-8170.
For more recipes, order the Mrs. Wages® Home Canning Guide. It provides step-by-step instructions for preserving your favorite garden produce. It features more than 120 tested recipes for favorites like crunchy pickles, pasta and pizza sauces, relishes and strawberry jam, and recipes for low-sugar and sugar-free preserves.
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