Thursday, June 18, 2009

Beginning to stir

The heading of my latest list is, in case you can't see: Things I'm Going to Can This Year.


This should come as no great surprise to those who've been reading my blog since last canning season. They know that for the months of August, September, and October, canning was the topic of this blog, and that was that.

You must understand. Last year was The Year I Learned to Can. I'd never done it before. I approached the challenge with appropriately maniacal fervor. Yes, for three months of last year, my kitchen was a cannery. My stove became a jam-splattered mosaic. My countertops were chopping blocks and cooling racks. My dining room table became a Can Labeling Checkpoint, lined with proud brigades of jars awaiting their long winter repose in the cellar. My husband became temporarily confused and distant, tentatively venturing onto the first floor of our house only occasionally, waving away the clouds of fruit flies to calmly address his wife. (Having been married only three months, he must've wondered what in the hell he'd gotten himself into, with me.)

For the sake of my marriage, my home, and my friends, this year will be a less fanatical canning encounter. For one thing, I have a job. That helps. For another, well... let's just say there's about forty half-pints of jam still in my cellar, and I'll leave it at that.

This year, I am planning it out (evidence above). I hope to have two or three weekend-long canning parties with myself, and bang out a couple after-work batches of pickles, and call it a summer. So, there are lists taking shape. There is the rummaging, the dragging out of canning books and recipes I used last year. And oh yes, the sweet dreams of that pair of tongs in my hand...

Last night at Barnes & Noble, I just happened to find myself in the cookbook section (right), and just happened to find myself staring deeply at the canning section, and just happened to pick up Well Preserved. I opened the front cover and couldn't put it down. The layout is just beautiful, the photos, and the recipes are the sort of unfussy-but-interesting ones I love. Strawberry Mint Jam, for instance. Cranberry Ketchup.

Strawberry picking season begins next week, and I can hardly wait. Canning is joy, and I can scarcely wait to hold those tongs and fills those jars with their bright innards.

The fruit flies and jam splatters can wait, though.


Blue is Bleu said...

I so want to make jam this year! But I'm afraid my hubs will eat it all within the first week... the man loves his jam and preserves lol!

Kristina said...

Ha-- would you like some of mine? I have more jam than I know what to do with. This year I'm being smarter-- making only strawberry, which is both mine and my hubs' favorite.

Lisa-Marie said...

Having made jam every year with my Nana when I was little, I decided last year that I would start doing so again (admittedly not with your fervor)! It's something I really enjoy doing, but in the UK, it isn't so precise. You do the thing with canning baths,and exact times, where as most people in the UK just put the jars in the oven to keep them warm, fill them and let them cool.

THis year I'm going to branch out, I'm thinking kiwi and strawberry, and banana loaf-ish flavours!

ChristyACB said...

That green tomato chutney sounds good!

I too, unfortunately, have loads of jars of jam left too. That is my favorite canning...jams.

This year I'm seriously upping the tomatoes and corn, including my marinara sauce we all love so. And I'm hoping for late fall carrots and beets.

Good luck and I hope you post pictures !

Amanda Nicole said...

I've never done any canning before, so I'm looking forward to your inspirational and educational posts!

Kristina said...

Lisa-Marie-- every canning book I've ever read expressly warns against using an oven to can! If "most people" in the UK do it, and no one dies, though, it can't be all bad.

Christy-- Yes, that green tomato chutney was a winner. The recipe is in a book called Stocking Up-- it calls for dried currants, but all I could find was craisins and it came out terrifically. I'm upping tomatoes this year, too.

Amanda-- Get yourself a good canning book (the Ball Blue Book is a good one) and you're all set! I'll likely post some how-to stuff as things progress, though. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, just reading this makes me want to can everything!

Karen said...

great post! i'm still a little afraid of canning ... hm another good book is Putting Food By.

Kristina said...

Karen-- I've heard about Putting Food By, it's something of a classic, isn't it? One to put on my list.

katherine mary said...

rockin! i love list making!! feel free to send jam this way... ;)

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