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 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.
More Canning & Preserving Resources:
- Blue Ribbon Preserves: secret of award-winning jams, jellies, marmalades and more
- Canning and Preserving without Sugar
- Fermented Vegetables: creative recipes for fermenting vegetables and herbs in krauts, kimchis, brined pickles, chutneys, relishes, and pastes.
- Homestead Blessings: The Art of Canning (DVD)
- The Jam and Marmalade Bible
- The Joy of Pickling: 200 flavor-packed recipes for all kinds of produce from garden to market
- Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces
- The Put ‘em Up! Preserving Answer Book: 399 solutions to all your questions: canning, freezing, drying, fermenting and making infusions.
- Putting Up: A year-round guide to canning in the Southern tradition
- Wisdom for Home Preservers: 500 tips for pickling, canning, curing, smoking and more.