7.29.2014

And so it begins (alternate title: Canning like a sister wife)




Seven years ago I posited these questions after a Relief Society lesson that was possibly titled "Jesus Wants us to Can Peaches."

Also? What's up with canning and all that? Why should we do it? If I already have a year's supply of peaches from Costco then shouldn't I be good? Why on this sweet earth should I spend a Saturday up to my elbows in sticky nastiness just to give myself botulism? I mean, if you like to do those things and you like knowing where your food comes from and it gives you a feeling of satisfaction, then that's wonderful and I say more power to you. But what if you just don't care?

And now I am totally that person turning my kitchen into a sauna and giving myself botulism. Not because I thinks Jesus wants me to, but because I actually do get a kick out of it. What can I say? Maybe it's living in a pioneer house that makes me want to do pioneer things (except not polygamy). And somehow stacking up my bottles of food up in the shelves makes me think cozy Lara Ingalls Wilder-y thoughts about how our winter shall be plentiful and safe and there will be no twisting of hay to create fuel. (And then yesterday I find a stash of 20 bottles of canned peaches from 2012 that I'd forgotten about and think, "Aw, crap." I may just give up on peaches. Clearly I am not getting through them.)

This year I actually grew real beets instead of shriveled acorns. So this was my first attempt at pickled beets. Am very hopeful that this will be good. These won't have high fructose corn syrup in them like the ones I usually get at the grocery store, so that will at least be an improvement, right?



The beets also did me the favor of making me think I was dying when I went to the bathroom and everything was pink. Thanks for that, beets. Nothing like a colon cancer scare as a reward for eating superfoods.

I've also done a big jar of 10 Minute Refrigerator Dill Pickles, which are delicious even if everyone else in my family prefers Western Family pickles like losers. Once I turned my kitchen into a steam-room with the beets I figured I might as well embrace being a sweaty stinky sticky mess and do some pickles too. I did the Hamburger Dill Pickles recipe from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving--this lovely blogger has included it here if anyone is interested.

Possible future projects include:

Dill pickle relish
Zucchini relish (also from the Ball Blue Book)
Plum jam if my trees produce
Canned pears if the 8 million baby pears on my tree turn out to be worth dealing with

That's where we are, expect updates whether you want them or not. But while we are talking updates, check out this progress on the Operation Best Friends (Because Maybe if I Say It Enough Times It Will Be True) front.

Behold: The Dark Lord consented to sit in a cart with Loki. Cannot overstate the big deal that this is.



Usually TDL does his best to stay well out of arm's reach of little Loki, and he may have a point. 




Progress, friends. Progress. 
 






5 comments:

MBC said... [reply]

When we started canning a lot, Steve printed and bound the USDA's Complete Guide to Home Canning. It's free online. I thought it was a bad idea to actually print the whole thing out, because it's about 100 pages double-sided, but it's the best. I highly recommend it. It has lots and lots of canning recipes and all the ones we've tried (except for one of the 3 salsas we've done) has been great, unlike that one strawberry jam recipe we used from the Internet that calls for jello and, heaven bless the one million Internet people who love it, was gross because it made our sweet, delicious strawberries taste like chemically jello.

Also, we have the opposite problem with kids in carts. The Bairn wants to love Ellen so much that there is ALL The Screaming in the grocery store until I take her out.

Nemesis said... [reply]

MBC, I haven't checked out the USDA's guide yet, will have to go do that. Right now I use the Ball Blue Book, gifted to me by the lovely Desmama.

OH! And I made that chocolate pear cake and really liked it--even non-pear-loving GH thought it was good too. Yay for using up bottled pears before they turn gross!

Rachael said... [reply]

I love canning! I use the Ball Blue Book primarily but also love Food in Jars and will be getting myself Preserving by the Pint (by the same author, can't link from my phone) when my next freelancing check comes in. Pickled beets are a huge hit around here and are especially beloved as a side for burgers. So far this year I've canned pickled garlic scapes, three pints of dilly beans, and seven half-pints of cherry jam that is definitely not the recipe I used last year but is okay nonetheless. We have a CSA share so I make small batches of stuff throughout the summer, then spend an epic day with a family friend dealing with a bushel of tomatoes and a buttload of beets all at once.

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

I LOVE CANNING. But sometimes I feel like I need to wear a bonnet when I do it. I am mainly a canner of tomatoes and peaches (although a few jars of pickles have slipped in there, as well as a lot of grape juice).

Pears are freaking hard - they don't give up their skin like other fruits. I tried and ended up turning them into pear sauce, which works just as well as applesauce in terms of baking and/or feeding it to small children. Delicious! And full of fiber!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Rachael, I am beyond impressed by the pickled garlic scapes. Will have to try the pickled beets as a side for burgers--the only way I've ever had them is as a salad topping!

Liz, I never do tomatoes because GH won't eat them. But the pear sauce, now THAT is a good idea. We use applesauce in cooking and oatmeal--I could use pear the same way!

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