Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Setting Things Up

It has taken a couple of years, frankly, for us to get up to speed on the whole canning thing.  Our first couple of attempts at fruit jams failed, which put an early damper on our experiments.  But, after taking in some more information, after a few more trials and tests, we are up and running and loving the results.

Our pantry is quickly filling up with a colorful variety of jars that contain summer produce in tasty forms.  The first wave was early fruit, and includes blueberry syrup, apricot jam (apricots from a neighbors tree), blackberry jam (from a phenomenal thornless bush growing at the farm), plum jam (a bag of mystery plums left at the church, which yielded a ridiculous product), and recently added to the collection: jalapeño jelly.

Tomatoes are our most recent obsession.  They are now ripe and plentiful, and I regularly bring home several pounds from the church garden.  We are canning these in a variety of ways, including cooking down for tomato sauce, mixing in with other garden goodness for homemade salsa, and chopping and packing just as they are (minus skins and seeds).

There is a strange happiness that arises when one looks into a pantry full of food that is set up for the winter months, food that you have put work into harvesting, food that you know.  This is a skill that many in my generation and younger are rediscovering and taking great pride in.  It can be as easy as buying fresh local fruits or vegetables when they are cheap and available and turning them into tasty products that you can enjoy all year long.  For some great recipes and advice on canning, don't forget to check out the PickYourOwn website, which is full of good information on how to do all this safely.

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