Canning is something I have always wanted to learn how to do. I was always fascinated by shots in movies and even old photos of row upon row of glass mason jars, stuffed to the gills with fresh foods and saved away, topped with squares of pretty cloth and given as gifts, and generally filling an important place in peoples hearts, homes, and tummies.
Nobody in my family ever canned. This wasn't something that happened regularly or a tradition that could be really handed down in my family. But since deep down I have fantasies about one day living in a giant old farmhouse with a cellar built just for holding all of grandma's peach preserves and green beans, I want to learn. And this year I made up my mind that I was absolutely going to do it!
Step 1 was acquiring the equipment. A big canning pot had somehow made its way into the home of my childhood (I had no idea that's what it was until recently because obviously that was never how it was used!) and later into the home of my in-laws, so I repo'd it. Then I made a trip down to the store and got an "intro to canning" kit with a nice, flexible little rack for lifting out the fully processed jars, a wide-mouthed funnel, a few extra lids for when I inevitably messed one up, and several dozen glass jars.
Step 2 (which was actually done about the same time as step 1) was acquiring the produce to can. I figured the safes and easiest thing to make starting out was pickles, so when we were picking out the plants for the garden, I got a small flat of pickling cucumbers. Jeff built a funky little cage for the cukes to grow up, and I'm incredibly glad he did because it made picking the 5 million cucumbers we got much easier.
Step 3 was to find a recipe. I actually had a couple of recipes for pickles that had come from my mom's recipe box. Where she got them, I'm still not sure. I think at one point she tried this same adventure but then had kids and a life and it wasn't a trend that continued. I'm hoping this is something I can continue to do so that I can teach it to my kids if they ever want to learn. Anywho, I also decided that, while I was at it, I would make some more of my salsa. If I ever perfect a homemade tomato sauce, that also might make it into the mix. That can be my project for winter when I don't have any more fresh stuff and I'm itching to practice my canning techniques!
Step 4 is to get my butt in gear and actually do it! More about that is coming. Are you excited about joining me on my adventure through the world of canning? I hope so!