Hello. I have a new-found-canning addiction.
For our wedding, we were given a beautiful water bath canner, some miscellaneous (and essential) canning paraphernalia, and the amazing book Food in Jars. And a year later, during a vacation for our first anniversary, I started canning and drug The Gentleman right along with me.
Problem? Maybe yes, maybe no. I will say that The Gentleman and I finally agreed that not everything should go in pint jars because there are only two of us in this household and perhaps condiments might belong in half pints. It’s also a better “gifting size.”
I also must say, those wedding gift givers — we cannot be more thankful — and well played. The gift that gives back — smart, very smart (smiley face inserted here).
So, it started with a trip to our farmer’s market, one of the last of the season where the green beans were amazing. (Actually, this really started when The Gentleman went to a seafood preservation class while I was on a quick weekend trip to Seattle — different story we’ll come back to — where he pickled fish). We bought beans and jars and spices and lots of vinegar. And then we canned. And it was the most amazing project — complete with it’s little “pops”.
We are still waiting to try these because they needed to pickle for three weeks.
Perhaps it was the waiting period that lead to more canning, to canning something we could eat right now.
And the most amazing rhubarb jam (with earl grey tea and vanilla) fom our rhubarb plant. I’ve never tasted anything like this, and it elevates the bitter, leggy rhubarb into one classy, chic lady — without other fruit.
The Gentleman made a ham, and we had a big family dinner at the Grandparents’ house where we all got to sample these goodies. Really, amazing. Maybe today we’ll need to try the dilly beans, or maybe we’d better wait until the pickled fish is ready. The Gentleman made a beautiful storage place in our basement for our jars of goodies. We have started frequenting our local spice store as well as continuing to scan the bulk sections of the co-op. There is something so wonderful about making big batches of beautiful food that’s stored up for later — to share with guests or family or just to make a regular meal a bit special, reminiscent of summer light and growth and promise of more to come. I’m hooked.
If you’re at all interested in trying out canning or you’re an expert and would love to try some new recipes, I highly recommend Marissa McClellan’s book Food in Jars. The directions are accessible and the recipes have such a depth of flavor which made my first solo experience with canning surprisingly easy and turned our beautiful local foods into something magical. I’ve ordered her newest book Preserving by the Pint and can’t wait to dream about holiday gifts and goodies! She also has a lovely blog!