Canning Time

Strawberry jam and dill beans.

Little jars, big jars, lots of variety, and most importantly, lots of quantity. We’ve been working hard to preserve everything as it ripens from our garden. Eating fresh picked vegetables grown from seed in your own garden is the ultimate reward for the labour, stress, and time invested in growing them. But saving bits of this joy for the dark days of winter is a joy we discovered last year. We’re looking forward to those moments in winter when we open up a jar of our own tomatoes that we grew and preserved.

Pickled beets and salsa

When we went to our first pickling party last year, and later had our own big tomato preserving day, we realized how important canning is. The simple act of spending more time with our food has opened our eyes, and deepened our respect for one the most basic human needs–nourishment. It may be scary to take your food accountability into your own hands, sometimes “ignorance is bliss” seems to do fine for people, but not for us.

Zucchini relish and Ketchup

The mention of canning conjures up images of long days slaving over boiling pots, but growing your own food for preserving brings with it a nice pace. We don’t have three bushels of ripe Roma tomatoes at one time, so we might do a small batch of sauce, and then some ketchup a few days later. It’s actually made it simpler. We also do all of our canning outside to keep the steam out of the house, and when we’re done, we keep the equipment handy and ready for when something else ripens.

Peaches and, you guessed it, dill pickles.

If you’re interested in canning, it’s easy to get started. Chances are you have some pots, and one might be deep enough to cover some quart jars to process them. If you’re looking for a great book, Ashley English’s Canning and Preserving has been indespensible when it comes to canning. It has the theory to give you confidence and great recipes and tips.

Another great resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation, a U.S. site that has tons of free information and recipes. We first learned of it from Well Preserved, run by a Toronto couple that have been helpful in a bind. We’ll tweet a question on twitter and they’re back at us in a few minutes with loads of info. It’s nice to be a part of a community that just wants others to can.

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