Yes We Can

One cooking project I’ve been scared to tackle is canning and preserving. A  year or two ago, I asked for a set of canning supplies for Christmas, received them, and promptly relegated them into the closet in my house where things go to be ignored, nestled cozily alongside an accordion binder of old tax returns and paperwork from the vet.

I did it!

I decided to get over my fear of messing up and give it a shot, and guess what? It’s not so difficult, after all.  I made some quick garlic pickles and a batch of strawberry jalapeno jam, and now I’m ready for more. Of course, I turned to some trusty library resources to show me the way:

Dare to Cook – Canning Basics (DVD) – Chef Tom doesn’t have the on-screen charisma of your favorite Food Network star, but what he lacks in panache he makes up for in know-how.  Watching this DVD is what finally convinced me that I could do this, and that my fear of giving all my loved ones botulism was unfounded, as long as I followed the clear and simple instructions.

Canning for a New Generation: Bold Fresh Flavors for a Modern Pantry – Almost every review you read of this book says something along the lines of: “If you think caning is just for oldsters, think again!”  It’s true that this book includes lots of contemporary twists on classic recipes and quite a few things you won’t find in other canning books, but it also has good practical advice and recipes for ideas on how to use the jams, sauces, relishes, and condiments you’ll be preserving.

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving – I loved that this had a large number and variety of recipes, and small batch is just right for a beginner like me. It helped me feel like even if I messed something up, I wasn’t wasting a ton of ingredients.  There are lots of recipes in this book for sauces and jams that you don’t have to process and can, so if you are scared of pectin and want to get those skills down pat first, try this one out.

Strawberry Jam Print. Click through for the artist's portfolio.

Strawberry Jam Print. Click through for the artist’s portfolio.

More Canning & Preserving Resources:



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7 responses to “Yes We Can

  1. Great resources; I’ll ned to share them with my mom! In the last couple of years we’ve made several batches of strawberry balsamic jam, and we’ve done a pepper jelly. We’ve been looking for some other options, too.

  2. hey Ginny – I enjoyed reading your post. Its encouraging, especially when I think about the adults in my childhood who were masters of canning and preserving and baking and quilting and hunting and fishing and butchery and meat-smoking, etc. Not to romanticize—but by the same token many folks have passed on while a few of us in the descending generations who didn’t learn some of the old arts might like to learn. And “small-batch” anything seems more doable!

  3. I recently tried canning myself, and have had very good luck with apple butter and grape jam. YUMMY! You should try the Betty Crocker recipes.

  4. Pingback: August 2015 Recap | Eleventh Stack

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