Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

Gigi Blog bio picture
  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Blessed to be a mother to half a dozen girls & one boy. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King. Chicken and goat raiser.
    Lover of Jesus and all things pink and vintage. ♥

Homemade Hot Sauce {Canned}

The canning pots have not taken a break over the past week or so, nor has the pressure canner …

I had hoped to start school early (as the girls keep requested to crack open our books – Praise the Lord!) but these tomatoes keep ripening:)and they must not go to waste … so, we spend our morning, chopping, dicing and prepping for the next recipe. We are starting to mix school in with our canning – because one can work that way while homeschooling! I either read aloud to them while they cut up the tomatoes or we listen to an audiobook relating to the science topic we are starting to study.  Piano is getting practiced, books are being scheduled formally as “reading material” and even the math program had a workout today. I’m call this a soft launch to school.:)
Sadly, I fear the rest of my home is feeling neglected – but canning season will only last for so long. I will have all fall to clean up the inside – at least, that is what I keep telling myself…
As requested … I am going to post another recipe I have used this year in canning. We are loaded – and overloaded!- with an abundance of beautiful tomatoes! I have never had quite the bountiful harvest before and while it is daunting, it is also exciting to try out new recipes or ideas to use with tomatoes, instead of just canning diced, whole or sauce.

My husband LOVES hot sauce. I must admit, in the past, I considered it an insult when he would glance around the dinner table, fill his plate with the food I prepared and then pour hot sauce ALL.OVER.IT.

But I have learned a few things …

1) Hot sauce is actually very good for you!

2) It doesn’t really matter. If it makes him happy and helps his meal taste better, I will choose to not take it as an insult.

So this year, I enlisted the girls help and we made daddy his own hot sauce with our abundant tomato crop and our fabulously growing hot peppers.

 

Abby now has a year’s supply of it, canned away. We will also give a few jars out for Christmas (his dad is also a lover of hot sauce).

 

It was fairly simply to make – not much more work than creating salsa. Of course, we wore gloves while chopping up the peppers because those little hot peppers are awful if you touch your eyes or mouth by accident!

Hot Sauce Recipe

(adapted from www.pickyourown.org)

      • 8 cups (64 ounces) diced tomatoes  (we made the recipe x4)
      • hot peppers – enough to yield about 1½ cups seeded, chopped (we used banana peppers)
      • 4 cups distilled white vinegar
      • 2 teaspoons canning salt
      • 2 tablespoons whole mixed pickling spices

Cheesecloth (6″ by 6″) or a spice bag

 

Prepare your tomatoes by dicing them and putting them into a pot. No need to skin them -just cut them up and place them in a large pot. Next, prepare your lovely hot peppers. Careful – do wear gloves as they will burn your skin. Take out as many seeds as possible. Chop and place into the same pot as your tomatoes.

Now it is time to mix in your vinegar, canning salt and pickling spices.  Scoop out your spices and place them in a cheesecloth bag in the sauce. Mix together and simmer to a boil for 1/2 hour or so. I added some hot pepper flakes to the pickling spices, as well. Simmer long enough to ensure your tomatoes and peppers are soft.

After it has cooked long enough, it is time use your tomato press – or you may possibly use a stick blender or a food mill. I think it would work just the same and be less messy – but I have this lovely tomato press that I used for this recipe.
Ladle your sauce mixture through the press and it will squeeze out all the tomato juice, taking out the seeds and skins. This will also remove the seeds from the peppers, leaving you with a tomato-pepper sauce.

 

It is a messy job!

 

Return the strained sauce into the pot to simmer for another 20 minutes or so.

Now it is time to fill your clean mason jars with your hot sauce.

Fill your jars leaving a 1/4″ space from the top. {Do not overfill your jars or they will not seal.}
Wipe rims, place new canning lids on top and place into water bath. Process for 20 minutes.

 

Remove from water bath and allow to sit on the counter or table untouched overnight. Check the seals in the morning {if you are new to canning, email me and I can explain this more or you can just google this} and store away for future use.

Making your own food at home is so much more resourceful and satisfying than simply purchasing as a store.  Not only do you know what is exactly in your product, but you can make your hot sauce as hot or mild as you need it to be.

Who says being a “housewife” is dull? There is so much to do and learn – every day is a new adventure!

 

 

 

 

Homemade Tomato Sauce {the easy way}

 

“Ma and Laura picked the tomatoes…
There were enough ripe tomatoes to make almost a gallon of preserves.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder , The Long Winter

 

 

I am so grateful – we have an abundance of tomatoes and I do mean an abundance – flowing out of our garden. It is wonderful!

The girls  & I have been very busy working with all the lovely red, ripe (and sometimes green) tomatoes that we are picking … I am pretty sure we will not run out of tomato sauce at all until next year’s garden harvest. Nor will we run out of anything tomato related ….

This year, we are working on the following with our bountiful tomato harvest:

diced tomatoes
spaghetti sauce
pizza sauce
tomato soup
tomato salsa
HP sauce
hot sauce with tomatoes and banana peppers
and homemade ketchup

I am so grateful for an outdoor “kitchen” (I say that loosely because it is a patio by our back door – but it has a kitchen table, the bbq, a cooking plate to boil water and run the water bath canner with and a propane boiler for me to work with for large sauce pots, etc.) I cannot imagine how dirty and sticky my real, inside kitchen would be right now. In the future, I’d LOVE to have a wood burning stove outside for all my outdoor canning projects, but I am so grateful for the propane burner and hot plate that allow me to can outside while the girls play, run around and, of course, help their momma out with all the canning projects.

At the end of each canning session, you can simply hose off the patio and give it a good sweep. I leave all my canning ware (jars, salts, water bath pots, etc.) outside on the patio until canning season is over. It is very handy to not have to put the pots away in the basement or pantry each time. I also can hose out and wash and scrub the big sauce pots with the outside backyard hose as that is much easier than trying to fit the big pots into the kitchen sink.

 

This week, we finished up a huge massive lot of spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes, along with some pizza sauce. (I will share the pizza sauce recipe I used later this week.)

Here is the recipe for the spaghetti tomato sauce:

roughly 25 lbs of tomatoes (I simply filled my big huge pot with tomatoes that I diced – I am not big into measuring so I just estimated at this part as I was not able to weigh all the tomatoes)

 

1/2 cup chopped fresh onions
 3 Tablespoons of oregano
3  clove of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons dried or fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons dried pepper flakes
2 teaspoon salt (optional – I don’t usually salt my recipes)
1/4 cup lemon juice

Here’s my secret to making an easy tomato sauce. I do not peel my tomatoes- this saves a lot of work! As the tomatoes cook, the skins break down and I puree the sauce with a stick blender, leaving the sauce nice and thick with no trace of tomato skins. This, in turn, makes the sauce even more healthy as so many nutrients are lost when you peel the tomatoes. So if you can convince yourself to skip the skinning of tomato step, you will not only save yourself labour, but you will also boost the healthiness of your sauce or other canned tomato goods! In fact, eating tomato skins helps decrease the chance of strokes, heart attacks and cancer. That’s one big reason to leave the skins on your tomatoes, ladies.

Mix your diced tomatoes with peppers, onions and garlic in your large pot. Start cooking on a low heat and add your spices, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and lemon juice. Adjust the spices according to taste. Simmer on low for a few hours until sauce is thickened slightly. The longer you simmer, the thicker your sauce will be.

 

We simmered the sauce on low all day outside over a propane burner.

 

 

 

The girls helped dice up all the extra ingredients ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

… including fresh basil and oregano from the garden (so lovely!)…

Lots of stirring and simmering …

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, we diced up more tomatoes and water bathed them for future recipes {soups, sauces, etc.}.  We cold packed the diced tomatoes in warm, sterilized canning jars, adding a 1/4 teaspoons of salt to each jar and tablespoon of lemon juice. Just for the sake of writing down some instructions …. (assuming you know a bit about canning already, these instructions are very vague) ….

Wipe rims clean, seal lids and water bath the jars for 35 minutes. Start timing once the water in the water bath pot is actually boiling.  After the time is up, remove the jars from the hot water and allow them to cool, leaving them alone for 24 hours. Check seals to ensure the jars are sealed (the jar lid will be suctioned down tight).

 

By now, the sauce was ready for storing into the jars and lined up ready for the water bath.

 

Process in the water bath for 35 minutes.

 

When the day is over and you glance across your counter filled with glorious jars of red, beautiful spaghetti sauce, you will be feel tired and extremely fulfilled. At least, I did. There is truly nothing more satisfying than feeding your family food you’ve grown or canned and prepared with love.

 

 

P.S. We are not finished with our tomato crop so this means … pizza sauce, hot sauce … lots of tomato products… I am hoping to post those recipes soon, if that is of interest to you.

 

 

linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth

August 29, 2016 - 2:56 am

Rebecca - Yes please post more! I love your canning and herbal posts!

August 27, 2016 - 8:59 am

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Time for you to write the book Gillian – you have surpassed your Momma!! And I am so very proud of you …. Gillian’s Homestead Canning Methods!!

August 26, 2016 - 5:38 am

admin - I have learned from the best! I still think you should have a canning book or blog, mom … in your spare time… ;)

August 25, 2016 - 9:53 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - I also do not remove my tomato skins when canning them. :)

August 25, 2016 - 9:51 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - It’s great to see the girls helping Momma with the preserving!! What a great heritage you are giving them!! A true homesteading family, you are :) Love all the jars of tomato sauce! Good job, Gauthier Girls! xoxo

A bit of Rambling

For the past week or so, things have been so busy. Coming home from our camping trip at the beginning of the month, it feels like the to-do lists have not stopped. It is all work at home type projects so for that, I am grateful. You will not find me out running about off our little property often. I like my home and I enjoy doing work around it with my family and children.

We re-did the school room, which meant massive organizing of books and school related supplies …

I have been canning everything I can get my hands on, which then means the canning room downstairs in our 100 year old basement (not too pretty) needs refreshing and organizing … the meat birds are growing and needing a new pen … we signed up for a bulk ordering program and our first order arrived this week. This, too, means some more organizing and locating of storage bins for food (our first order was fairly small, but still, it needs some organizing).


{breakfast outside on a hot summer morning}

A little thing … I started a sour dough started and am praying I can follow through with it – just need a little determination.:)
Our garden is doing great – despite the drought-like conditions this summer in Ontario. We are struggling to keep it watered and I will secretly grateful, in some ways, to finish up the garden. In other ways, I am already excited to plan out next year’s garden as I would like to see MORE produce coming from our little plot of land.

Things we missed out on growing or needed more of:
garlic
we need more onions
more potatoes
corn
more carrots
pumpkins
zuchininni

I’m sure there is more but that is what I can think of right now.

Things we did great with:
despite having the horned tomato caterpillar to contend with ….
tomatoes
(we picked three bushels in one day! We will probably have more today, Lord willing)
Peppers
spinach
beans (next year, I will grow more)
squash (not quite ready but looking good)
potatoes
lettuce
turnip
herbs
cucumbers

We invested in some meat – 50 lbs of pork and 50 lbs of ground beef from a Mennonite farm so that meant the freezer(s) were to be organized, as well. I hope to make sausages this fall!

This weekend, my plans are to organize the canning room and can away all the tomatoes that we have harvested from the garden thus far.
I might just can them as diced tomatoes or I may make up a sauce to can since the kitchen herbs are so lovely to use right now. Salsa is on the agenda for next week.

We have canned/put up the following so far:

strawberry jam and mint jelly
cherries
{We still have a great variety of jams in the canning room so I did make many types of jam this year}
peaches
green beans
sweet corn
(frozen – as pressure canning on my wood cookstove for the required 1.5 hours did not sound appealing in this heat wave we have been experiencing)
tomatoes
dill pickles
bread and butter pickles
relish

{shucking 220 cobs of corn}

I’m tempted to try canning potatoes – is that odd? And maybe some stews and soups for the fall school days.

I am SO looking forward to apple season! It is such a delight to put up apple preserves, apple butter, apple sauce, apple pie filling and more for the winter months. And it makes your house smell so cozy and lovely! Although we do have our own little orchard, we tend to just eat all the apples as they ripen. However, every year, we have a friend who allows us to pick her apples and we had more than enough for last year’s supply. It was such a blessing!

And tonight, we are dedicating our sweet baby boy – it is a pleasant way to get together with loved ones and family to celebrate your baby and promise to raise him according to the Bible. There is no fancy formal dedication – just a grandpa praying over his grandson, but that stirs my heart plenty. I’m grateful for godly grandparents on both sides of our family. What a heritage. God is good – I know both sides of the family have had their struggles in their early years of Christianity and I am so very, very, very grateful that both sets of grandparents have stayed true to the Lord. Praise God!

How is your week going?

P.S. I have some cute pictures of Lazarus in his *adorable* dedication outfit – I shall work on posting that for this weekend … if I can stay up past the girls’ bedtime and not fall asleep myself.:)

August 24, 2016 - 10:47 pm

admin - Laura, I am going to have a lot of squash so I am thinking about canning it … we shall see how it goes. Thank you for your kind words.

August 24, 2016 - 10:46 pm

admin - Jen, I’d love to share some recipes. I will post some for you, although it sounds like you are doing a great job already. :)

August 23, 2016 - 8:48 am

amy - do your canned beans turn out mushy? We canned some this year to see if we’d like them, but since we like our beans a little on the crunchy side to eat…not a success as they were very soft. I guess I will use them in stews.

August 22, 2016 - 10:42 am

Najla - Hi Gillian, I work with Kim and was introduced to your blog by her. I enjoy reading it from time to time as it reminds of Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie. It is so refreshing and your photographs are beautiful!

August 20, 2016 - 7:41 am

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - You are going to be so blessed to have those wonderful canned goods during the winter months!! Good job, Abby Gillian and girls :) Btw, we will have lots and lots of purple plums ready in a couple of days. You are welcome to as many as you want … just you have to come and pick them :) Hurry because all the neighbours will be taking too them since the orchard home is unoccupied right now. Love Mom xo

August 19, 2016 - 10:13 pm

Jennifer Heemskerk - Gillian, I am so intrigued by your canning abilities. I would love to hear how you can apples or make apple preserves. We have an apple tree in our backyard and each year we make homemade apple juice and sauce- but the other options you mentioned sound scrumptious. Care to share your recipes? =)

August 19, 2016 - 7:54 pm

Laura - Canning is an awesome way to preserve food for the winter. My oldest daughter and I have canned winter squash in the past. It makes it really convenient to mash and use later. We have not canned potatoes, but a friend of mine has. Easy to make mashed potatoes. I have also heard that canning zucchini and yellow summer squash is possible. I guess it’s used in casseroles. My daughter (15 years old) and I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. You seem like a kindred spirit.

Canning Cucumbers {Bread & Butter}

It’s canning season!

What have you canned for your pantry already? There are so many fun recipes out there to try – or time-tested ones passed down from mothers and grandmothers.

This year, along with dill pickles, we added bread and butter pickles and a cucumber relish, to our canning to-do list. The girls helped me chop up the cucumbers and helped place them in the jars, along with placing the dill into the jars for the dill pickles. They helped ladle the dill brine into the jars and helped take care of baby Lazarus so he would not find the need to be upset during our canning session. All the girls have been so helpful – it is wonderful. I am truly blessed!

We just finished up and the pot is simmering away with the first batch of bread and butter in the water bath.

 

Canning is one of my favorite homemaking tasks. It does not have to be a chore at all. Allow your children to help if you are willing to have them be a little sticky. Turn on your favorite music and enjoy the smells of beautiful preserves and goods bubbling away in your kitchen. I once read you can get twice as much done if you sit while working in your kitchen. Since I have been pregnant so many times during canning season, my feet and legs are often so tired and sore that I have learned to sit while working. I also think sitting as much as you can, while prepping your work, is a key to not being too exhausted at the end of your canning session (I have the perfect chairs that are more like old fashioned high chairs for the little ones. They are the perfect height to sit on and still reach the counter or table for all that cutting, dicing and slicing.) All the while, I had my favorite music (big band music) playing on the record player, the rain was falling down around us, the children were helping and truly, … it was wonderful. I felt blessed.

 

 

 

 

Shall I share the bread and butter pickle recipe? It turned out lovely and it did not take as much time as I thought it would to prepare, especially with little hands helping mommy out.

This is the basic recipe- we, of course, doubled it.:)

Bread & Butter Pickles

4 lbs of cucumbers, sliced thinly
8 small onions, sliced
1/2 cup of canning salt.
Combine the salt, sliced cucumbers and onions together in a bowl. Cover with ice cubes and let it side for a minimum of 3 hours – ideally, overnight. After the time is up, drain, rinse and drain.

In a large pot, combine the following:

5 cups of sugar
4 cups of white vinegar
2 teaspoons of celery seed
2 tablespoons of mustard seed
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground tumeric
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

Bring the seasonings to a boil and then add in your cucumber mixture and bring back to a boil. Remove your mixture from the heat and being to ladle into clear mason jars. Fill the jars, leaving a 1/2″ headspace (do not overfill). Wipe the rims of the jars carefully to ensure a proper seal. Place the new canning lids on and process in your water bath canning of boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

{Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims}

August 20, 2016 - 10:25 pm

grandma Cardinal - yum bread and butter pickles, easy to make! x

My favorite!

August 16, 2016 - 8:26 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - They look delicious!!! What fun … to have the girls helping and to know that you grew these lovely cucumbers!! You will enjoy having all these pickles for the upcoming year. Good job, Gauthier Girls!! xo

“Lazer” Gauthier

There’s a little cutie pie helping out in the garden.

 

Lazarus {nicknamed “Lazer Lightning Gauthier” by our good friends at summer camp} is now crawling quickly, finding new discoveries in the house and yard and has popped his first tooth. He continues to be the delight of our mostly-all-girl family as we watch him grow and change. How much fun he is at this cute age!

 

He slept the whole night for the first time this week. That is always a bittersweet milestone … momma is happy for sleep but it means he is getting bigger and bigger … he loves to be held, cuddled and carried about like a little spider monkey on my hip. I just adore our little man. 

August 12, 2016 - 8:23 pm

admin - They were blue for a while … now changing to have green and brown and blue!

August 12, 2016 - 5:57 pm

Grandma Cardinal - Blue eyes?