Canning is another one of those things that, if you’d asked me a couple years ago, I never expected to do. Just another addition to the long list of “crazy” things I’ve started doing since I started caring about food.
Trying my hand at canning first seemed like something worth exploring when one of my summer school co-workers mentioned to me that she canned regularly. We talked briefly about getting together so she could show me, but it never worked out.
I didn’t think much about canning for the next couple months. Summer was rather busy and there was something about canning that made me want someone to show me how to do it rather than try to figure it out on my own. Then I met Cynthia, my new local blogger friend. We met at a coffee shop on Monday and on Wednesday she called and asked if I’d like to come over and do some canning. Would I?! We had a great time and I came home with a bunch of recipes from Savvy Julie.
And that, my friends, was the beginning of the end. I was hooked. I went out first thing on Thursday and bought some canning supplies. I emailed a friend to borrow her canner, since I’m still searching for one I like. Friday, Cynthia and I met at the coffee shop again so she could give me my canned goods from Wednesday, plus an extra canning book she’d bought (You Can Can from Better Homes & Gardens). Saturday, Brian and I bought out the farmer’s market (seriously, we bought almost all of one farm’s green beans).
Then, we got to work.
- Spiced Peach Butter from Savvy Eats
- Pickled Green Beans (from You Can Can)
- Pear & Ginger Preserves from Savvy Eats
- Summer Squash Pickles from Savvy Eats
Still on the to-do list:
- tomato-basil preserves (I need to find some low-sugar pectin, which is proving more difficult than expected)
- all sorts of apple things after Brian and I go apple picking (date to be determined): I’m thinking apple rings, apple sauce, apple butter, etc.
A couple canning tips I gathered through a weekend of experience:
- I realize a lot of people probably can alone. I found it very useful to have Brian around, however. It’s nice to have someone to hold the jars while you fill them, or help with the prep (trimming 3 lbs of green beans or chopping 4 lbs of pears is work). For the record, this is 3 lbs of green beans:
- The whole point of canning (at least in my mind) is buying stuff in season and making it last all winter. Farmer’s market prices for the items we needed were awesome this weekend. Make the most of it.
- The hardest part of canning is the ingredient prep (see #1). The actual act of canning isn’t that bad. But keep in mind that boiling water is hot.
- Think Christmas presents, people. It makes it even more worth it.
Anyone have favorite canning recipes they want to share?