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Canning Party

June 18, 2012

Saturday I had the great pleasure of enjoying the company of two good friends over a massive pile of food, empty jars, and water bath canners.  Discovering that you are not alone in an unusual hobby, but actually even surrounded by people who are discovering an interest in it just as you are, brings immense satisfaction.  Together, we did more than twelve hours of canning work and churned out about five or six separate recipes.  I alone brought home about forty-four pints of food.

The other wonderful thing about a “canning party” is that people were meant to do such things in the midst of community.  Beyond the simple fact that many hands make for light work, it also can take tedious tasks and make them enjoyable when you can banter with friends.  For most of human history, groups of people gathered together to process a harvest.  Getting together with friends had a timeless quality to it that was truly wonderful.  And even though I sincerely love canning, when you are processing that much food it is serious work.

In this pleasant company, I took my first stab at pickles and discovered that they are just about one of the easiest things to make and can on the entire planet.  We kept the pickles simple.  We put about three cloves of garlic and a small handful of fresh dill in the bottom of each quart jar.  We then packed in cut up pickling cucumbers in circles or wedges or whole.  Then, we mixed up a large batch using the recipe of 3 cups of distilled water, 2 cups of white vinegar, and 1/4 c of pickling salt.  We brought this to a boil, poured it into the prepared jars, wiped the rims and added the lids and rings.  Then, the jars went into the water bath canner for fifteen minutes and they were done.  Before they even went into the canner, they had started to transform into that lovely green pickle color.  Now, two days later they are looking gorgeous. I will give them a few weeks before I pop open a jar to taste them, but for now I am satisfied with their looks.  Oh, and did I mention one friend did pickled jalapenos as well?

Between the three of us, we also made mango salsa, regular salsa, blueberry syrup, orange marmalade and spaghetti sauce.  And the next night I canned up some pineapple I’d gotten a good deal on.  Orange marmalade was the first item I’ve tried canning that I think might be worth just buying.  Removing all the white from the orange peels was very challenging and nearly wore me out.  It doesn’t help that I made two batches of it, I am sure.

I promise to post recipes and instructions soon.  Unfortunately, my camera wasn’t working so I didn’t get process pictures.  Everything turned out very well, though, and so far it all tastes delicious.  The canning party idea was definitely a good one, and I highly recommend it.

My cabinets are all starting to look like a pantry from the 1960s, or a bizarre, home-made grocery store.  Between the canning we did on Saturday and all the other canning I’ve been doing, we are exploding with delicious jars of home-made food.  This makes me very happy.  First of all, if a hurricane hits, we will not get scurvy.  Between all the pineapples, tomatoes, salsas, etc., we will certainly not be vitamin deficient.  Secondly, I have managed to acquire all of this produce so far in season, locally sourced and at seriously good prices.  Now that tomatoes are no longer locally in season, I can rest in the knowledge of the pints upon pints of crushed and diced tomatoes, the several quarts of spaghetti sauce, and the salsa I have in stock to tide me over until the fall tomato season.  This stocking of “canned” goods ensures that we are always eating food with the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price.

I just love seeing all those jars…

From → canning, Food

  1. So Beautiful! I’m very glad you found some friends who want to discover with you! all my friends want are jars of whatever I make – and like you, marmalade is labor intensive and that’s why I only make it in Nano-Canning portions………just too darn much work!!

    • Yes, I feel truly blessed by my dear friends! I have my fair share of those that think I’m crazy, or just want to eat the proceeds, too, though. 🙂 Once or twice I’ve heard, “But, you can just buy it…”

  2. Wendy permalink

    I’ve been cutting up strawberries and freezing them four cups to every bag. That way when I have time to make jam, all I have to do is thaw the pre-measured fruit and follow the recipe. We’re going to drive to eastern WA when the peaches are ripe and buy a few cases to put away also.

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