Kopp's Crops is a family-run business specializing in maple syrup, honey and fresh vegetables. We are located 45 miles north of Minneapolis in Bradford Township on our 65 acre farm.

*Now Selling at the Cambridge-Isanti Farmers Market!*

Local Orders: For pickup in Isanti, Cambridge, Brooklyn Park or Arden Hills, please email koppscrops@gmail.com or call 763-772-7057 to place your order and arrange payment & pickup. Available products are listed in the shopping cart below.

Outside the Twin Cities: Please use the online shopping cart below. USPS shipping charges will be calculated at checkout.



For questions, please email us at koppscrops@gmail.com

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Doing the Can-Can

Sorry, folks… we know it’s been a long time since we posted.  But right now everything in the garden is going gangbusters, and we’re working night and day to get it all picked and sold, frozen, canned, dried or given away.  Nothing hurts a farmer’s soul worse than perfectly good vegetables going to waste.  So this month, we’ve been doing the can-can.  Can we can it all?  Yes, we can.  And can.  And can.  Our houseguests last week (Michelle’s parents) even got conned into canning with us! 

We started off our canning marathon with green beans.  We grow stringless varieties called Bush Lake Blue and Slenderette so we don’t actually have to “string” them.  We just break off the tough stem end and break them into inch-long pieces so they fit in the jars better.  Green beans are a low-acid vegetable, so they have to be pressure-canned in a canner that can process jars under 10 lbs of pressure, to make sure all botulism spores are killed (it takes 240 degree heat to kill them, not just the 212 degrees of normal boiling water).  We hot-pack our beans, meaning we heat the beans before they go into the jars, then fill them to 1” below the rim with boiling water.  A teaspoon of salt, a lid with the seal softened in hot water, and a canning ring screwed on “finger tight” to keep the lid in place during processing, and we’re ready to carefully place the jars in the canner.  After ten minutes of off-gassing the steam inside the canner, we can put a weight on the canner to start bringing it up to pressure.  The beans’ twenty-five minute timer starts when the dial shows we’ve gotten to 10 lbs of pressure.

You could say we’re going in ascending order of messiness, because yesterday we tackled sweet corn. Naturally, the kernels have to be cut off the cob before they can be put in the jar, and it’s not a neat process. (Note to selves: next time, sweep up errant corn kernels from the floor before picking up the 22-month-old from daycare. “Yummy! Corn!” She was too fast to stop.) We also pressure-can the corn, but we “cold-pack”the jars with raw kernels before adding our boiling water. It increases the processing time, but we think it gives us crispier kernels when we open the jars in winter.

 

Finally, today was tomato juice day.  A motorized juicer made short work of a table full of tomatoes – way faster than our old hand-cranked food mill.  Tomatoes have higher acid, and since acid kills the spores that produce the botulism toxin, we can safely hot water bath our juice by submerging the jars in a huge pot of boiling water for 40 minutes.  It’s a lot faster than pressure-canning because we don’t have to wait for all the pressure to release before taking out the jars and starting the next batch.   But over the decades, tomato varieties have been bred to a lower level of acidity, so we add some lemon juice to each jar just to be safe; there’s no reason to take chances!

It has been said that there is no sweeter summer sound than the laughter of children, the waves of the ocean, the chirp of crickets or <insert your favorite summer sound here>.  For us, it’s that little metallic “tink!” that a jar makes when its lid seals completely, as if to say “You can relax now – it worked!”