Is something organic if it is shipped across the country? What about the fuel that is used and how that affects our environment, not to mention the freshness of the food and a myriad of other factors. Over the last few years i have been reading everything i can get my hands on to help me answer these and other questions so sit back, relax and explore where my quest has taken me thus far.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Put 'em up!"

by: Sherri Brooks Vinton
Yeah....I said it, what are you gonna do about it??? J/K, I am referring to the canning term for when you put your canned food "up" into the pantry. Yes! I am learning the wonderful world of canning, it's amazing, fun and completely interesting too. I traded a soap making lesson for a canning lesson last summer with a woman who has been growing her veggies and canning them for many, many years. It was super fun and a skill that I have long wanted to possess.

So I have not graduated to very complicated canning, I am still floating about in the land of fruit jams but I have made some very tasty ones I must say. So far I have accomplished both cherry and blueberry jams and my most recent conquest was something called "monkey butter" which has bananas, pineapple and coconut in it.

By: Ball (the jar people)
If you have never canned but would like to learn, buy the Ball Blue book, it seems to be THE guide to have. I am not going to write about how to can, I am just a beginner myself and don't know all the answers but I have found great resources, some of them being real live people and not just the internet. The books are great, try to find a class or something so you can really see first hand how to sanitize everything properly and really learn the proper way to handle this. The book will possibly scare the be-jesus out of you which is why I recommend pairing it with a class.

Right now I am following recipes exactly as they are written to ensure that they are balanced and will seal properly. Thankfully there are a million great recipes out there so it's not too difficult!

One ingredient I decided to invest in was low or no sugar needed pectin. There are nice recipes inside the label which I found easy to follow and use. In fact my cherry and my blueberry recipes both came from this bottle.

This year I hope to dive into canning tomato sauces and salsas, I will report back with my experiences and thoughts on the process. As an aside, if you don't actually want to go through the whole preserving process you can always follow any of the recipes then refrigerate your item and eat it in a reasonable amount of time. I have done that too (because sometimes I just can't wait to try my creation!) Another fun thing to do is pickling I have pickled both green beans and carrots and really enjoyed them, they are bright and a great compliment to many dishes, or on their own.

The biggest problem i have at this moment is space, i just have no space for all my little experiments which is terrible! haha. I dream of having a big sexy bright and sunny kitchen and a pantry that will make others just drool!

Dreaming of a new kitchen....

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