Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Can Can

I've been fascinated by the idea of canning for awhile now.  I love love love freezer cooking, but let's face it - a person only has so much freezer space!  Last year I bought all the typical canning equipment, only to come home and realize there was a warning on the enamel pot that it shouldn't be used on a smooth top stove.  My dreams of having shelves stocked full of delicious foods faded away, and I sadly returned all my goodies.

After talking to many people and doing more research over the course of the year, I came to the conclusion that I would re-try the Great Canning Experiment.  This time, I started with a different pot.  I heard from several sources that a stainless steel pot would work better on the smooth top stove, because it doesn't have the ridges on the bottom like an enamel pot, and it holds the heat better.  So I bought a stainless steel canner, thinking if the worst happened and I hated canning, at least I could use it for when I make huge batches of spaghetti sauce.  At the time I bought it, it was not only available at a great sale price, but came with all the extra tools I needed - funnel, jar gripper, etc.  Winning!

I also purchased two highly recommended books - the Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation and You Can Can! - yes, the latter was mostly because I love a good pun.  These books have proven to be very valuable sources of information.  If you are a canning beginner, or just looking for more recipes, they are great ones to add to your cookbook library - although there are many recipes you can find online (free!)

This post is not going to include any step-by-steps or how-tos, but look for those in the near future!  Instead, for now I am going to share some pictures, recipes, and links I have found helpful.

Here's what my canning shelves are currently looking like:

Yay for shelves in the dark cool basement - perfect for my jars!
And the list of what I've made so far (with links if I have been able to find the recipes online)...
  • Peach Butter (Ball book)
  • Peach Jam (Ball Book)
  • Peach Fondue (Ball Book)
  • Peach Salsa (You Can Can)
  • Peach Pie Filling
  • Honey-Packed Peaches
  • Peaches in light honey syrup
  • GG's Pickles (3-day Lime Pickles)
  • Pizza Sauce (Mrs. Wages packet)
  • Sweet Pickle Relish (You Can Can)
  • Lemon Ginger Marmalade (Ball book but also found in a step-by-step format with pictures at Wendolonia)
I love seeing those flecks of lemon peel as the light shines through!

Yep, I've been having some FUN with canning!  And it wasn't even a difficult learning process - as long as you can follow instructions, you will be fine!

It's apple & pear season now....can't wait to get the canning started!!

If you are interested in canning, you can follow my I Can Can Pinboard here!

What have YOU been canning????

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What We've Been Up To

...and suddenly it's been almost 2 months since an update!  We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of our summer...had the annual trip to the beach, lots of day trips to Baltimore, relaxed & played together, I had a blast and an awesome several months with my Thirty-one Gifts business, and I even taught myself to can ---- those posts will be coming shortly ;)

Now that school has started (can't believe I have a 1st grader!!), I'm once again hoping to be a little more regular on the blog.  Even if no one reads it anymore, I'd like to keep it up for our own family records.  (If you are reading!  Hi!!)

Here's a few pics of our summer fun....

 I'll be back soon! 

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