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.