Okay, so it took me almost three years after my canning class to start canning on my own, but better late than never, right? What helped nudge me was a hardware store opening up nearby that stocks canning supplies, and Marisa’s recently published book, Food in Jars.
From the hardware store, I bought the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit, pint-size jars, and a magnetic lid wand. From my CSA, I got cucumbers. A few more ingredients, and I was ready for my first canning experiment: bread and butter pickles.
Some things I’ve discovered in the process:
1. The kit’s basket is good for the canning process, but not so useful in the sanitizing process. It was awkward and dangerous to try to dump out boiling water from the jars. I will need to buy a jar lifter for next time.
2. I know I should have used pickling cucumbers instead of regular slicing cucumbers, and now I understand why: the slicing cucumbers turned out soft and not as crunchy, and the skin is a little too thick. I don’t regret using them for this recipe, though– they’re still tasty.
3. The boiling water heated up the kitchen something awful on a hot day. But it was worth it.
The cans sealed fine, and I cracked one open to taste the pickles this evening. Wow– savory, sweet, a little salty, a little sour, and then a little heat at the end. And you know, it goes well on top of a buttered cracker.
Now that I think I’ve conquered my fear of canning, I’m going to try other recipes in Marisa’s book. Hooray!