08 September 2010

Go ahead, take the plunge

It's that time of year again.....time to can! Last year was my first foray into the canning world. I made my Grandma Sweetie's pineapple pear jam. This year we had to prune the pear tree back pretty good, so not so many pears this fall. However, I made the same recipe only with apricots. It's actually my favorite jam--I love it more than the pear.

A year ago I was terrified by the idea of canning--hot stove, sticky fruit, glass jars. Yikes! Now I know that it's so much easier than it looks. Really! Here are a few things I learned from research and experience:

If you have a glass top stove, like I do, you can't use the classic water bath canner. It's not flat on the bottom. Instead, I bought a pressure canner which can double as a water bath canner (that also means it takes up less cabinet space).

You really need the right tools--a funnel, a magnetic wand, a jar grabber. Save yourself the burns.

A pressure canner isn't so scary. I once sat through a mini-class on canning and they kept talking about things exploding and destroying kitchens. Yikes! If you read the instructions for your canner you'll be fine. I canned two bags of dried beans and had no problems. I figured it was better to can them for later use than to have them expire.

Inspiration helps. I love my grandma's recipes, but I am excited to try new ones too. I love looking through my Ball canning book (the cover's so pretty I could frame it). I'm thinking of trying pickles next year. And I want to plant a salsa garden next year so we can put up our own salsa. Yum!

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