Experiments in Canning

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This year, when my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I immediately said “canning supplies”.  My mom didn’t bat an eye.  She’s no stranger to her daughter wanting kitchen equipment.  We’ve had this conversation before.  A few Christmases ago, just before I got married, she asked if I wanted a piece of jewelry to wear in our wedding or a Kitchen Aid mixer.  Kitchen Aid mixer.  Hands down, I wanted the Kitchen Aid mixer.

Just before Thanksgiving, I had my first entry into canning. I wanted to make apple butter for my neighbors, and my sweet friend graciously taught me everything she knows about canning.  Which is a lot!

I came home with the cutest and tastiest jars of apple butter and was hooked.  There’s something empowering about making and preserving food.

This year, my parents gifted me with the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  Complete is an understatement.  This is part science text book, part cookbook, and I’m really enjoying reading through it!

Ball Book

They also gave me all the tools I’ll need! This is the Presto 7 piece canning set.  I didn’t need all of the pieces, but I love having the magnetized lid lifter and the wide mouth jar lifter.

presto canning set

And finally, this gem of a book!  It has great detail about the canning process, but what I love about it is the recipes!  They all look beautiful and unique! I love that they’re divided by the season so you can quickly find something to make right now.

Canning for a new generation

This weekend, we had nothing but rain and cold weather.  It was gloomy and cold and pretty unpleasant.  I quickly grabbed Canning for a New Generation and flipped to the Winter portion of the book.  And there it was.  Right in front of me.  A sunny jar of orange marmalade.

I gathered all of the citrus needed to make the marmalade, and immediately felt better!  It was so sunny on such a dreary day.

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I scrubbed the jars, and read and re-read the recipe!

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It was so fun to try something new, and the process was much less complicated than I had made it in my mind.  I’ll be honest though, I burned the orange marmalade.  The tricky thing for me was getting the marmalade ready at the same time as the jars.  I turned my back for just a second, and the marmalade became more of a candy than a spread.  It smelled delicious though, and I am convinced it will be delicious in orange rolls (when I don’t burn it)!

I canned just a few jars to see how the process would go.  I was pretty skeptical, and did not feel confident in my canning at all.  But, then I heard it.  The pop.  The sweet sound signifying that the jars were sealed and properly preserved. I felt a small victory!

And, again I’m hooked! I’ll follow a friend’s advice- I’ll clean out my jars and try again.

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