A good friend of mine was reading my blog in the summer and noticed on my to-do list that I wanted to learn how to can. Next thing you know she is sending me an e-mail that she signed us up for a canning seminar. Woo hoo.
For the past 3 or 4 years I have been talking about wanting to learn how to can. Like many thirty-somethings I was introduced to canning by my grandmother. Every year my grandmother would make jam, preserve peaches and pears and pickle (preserve) beets and my favorite, bread and butter pickles. I’m sure she did other things, but these are the foods that I remember most.
Growing up there was nothing better than having grandma’s peaches for dessert on a cold winter night or sneaking a bread and butter pickle (or 4) from the table before a big family meal (all of my cousins and I would do this and inevitably you’d hear your name being called from the kitchen to leave the pickles alone – good times).
The seminar was sponsored by Fresh City Farms, hosted by Patagonia (yes an outdoor clothing store) and led by Janet Nezon of Rainbow Plate. Janet was amazing and took us through canning step by step. I had heard from friends that canning is really easy, but I had no idea just how easy.
Janet shared a lot of information in a short time, including 2 fundamental tips for successful canning.
- Clean and sterilize all of your canning gear first
- Find a recipe from a trusted and reliable source and then follow it to the T. She mentioned on a few occasions that canning is not the time for experimentation (with the exception of sugar and salt quantities which are more for taste). One of the books that Janet recommended was Food in Jars – Preserving in Small Batches. I have a feeling that I’ll be picking it up soon.
She also dispelled the myth that you have to can and preserve in large batches. I had no idea that canning and preserving in small batches was possible. I had always thought you needed bushels of fruits and vegetables to can. Preserving and canning two or three jars at a time seems downright easy.
I had a really good time and can’t wait to try my first canning project.