I promise I have not accumulated yet another hobby. Canning isn’t so much a hobby as it is a life skill. I’ve wanted to can for quite some time and after falling headlong into farmers’ markets(now that could become a hobby!), and seeing such great deals on fresh produce, I decided it was time to try my hand at it.
What started out as this(sans peppers, they are for something else):
Is now this:
Let’s talk about what I’ve learned, shall we?
I’ve learned that only certain produce can be canned in a waterbath, and since I’m a chicken I won’t be getting a pressure canner for a while, so that means I’m limited to things like tomatoes, pickles, and certain fruits. But that didn’t stop me from jumping in ‘half-hog’.
The tomato sauce is orange because I didn’t remove the skins before pureeing them. Oops. I actually had read about blanching them and placing them in ice water to get the skins to just slide right off but I wound up following a different recipe which called for straining after pureeing. Which of course didn’t work, so there are bits of skin in there. No biggie. I was also advised to just keep letting it boil down for it to turn red, but then I probably would have been left with a spoonful, since I only started with 9 tomatoes which resulted in just the two jars. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to tasting it, but based on the overall consistency I might be better off calling it a soup rather than a sauce. Oh well, live and learn.
Now on to the pickles. Who doesn’t love pickles!? Well, other than Mr. BeanKnit.. ;) But I adore them. Once I got into
trolling browsing the various local farmers’ markets, I realized what great deals there are to be had and decided I could save money by canning my own pickles. For a little less than the price of a commercially made jar(at least where I live), I could get 4 times as much! So I picked up 6 lbs of kirby cucumbers and got started. It was much simpler than the tomato soup/sauce and I even had a few extra spears to make refrigerator pickles. I knew I should have gotten that 5th jar! ;) I have to wait a few weeks for the flavors to really kick in, and that’s going to be the hardest part, perhaps.
I also learned there is some truth to the old adage, “A watched pot never boils.”. This is especially true when prepping a 21-qt canning pot. Between traveling to the markets and the canning process itself, I was able to get in some knitting. I put some serious rows on the toe-up socks I’ve been working on, but I’m almost done, so look for an FO shot in the next post, as well as a finished Eileen back.