Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Is not for the faint of heart. Thanks to Cindy's garden, we were inundated with all sorts of fabulous fruits and vegetables. So I decided to preserve some of them for later. Nothing's better than coming in from a cold January day and opening a can of fresh summer 'maters.

And as I type this, I just now realized, as a full-grown adult, that in home canning, you don't use cans. You use jars. So why the hell do we call it canning? Because that's just what it's always been called.

In case you haven't seen your grandmother do it, basically, you sterilize in boiling water (NOT the dishwasher, even if you have an antibacterial cycle. I do both just in case.) everything that will come into contact with the food: jars, rims, lids, thermometer, a funnel, tongs, jar holders, measuring cups, everything. Fill the jars with acidic fruit or cucumbers with vinegar to pickle, put on the lids and rims, and process them in a vat of boiling water to create a vacuum seal against stuff like botulism. Mom's 1934 edition of the Joy of Cooking even says that the canning process has been largely abandoned, but if my grandmother could do it, then by golly, so can I. (No pun intended.)

And anyway, just like something you buy at the grocery store, if the button on the lid pops up after sealing and before you open it, DO NOT EAT IT. Simple.

Here are some sweet bread & butter pickles just after I put them in. Just incorporating the room temperature jars will briefly bring down the water temperature, but it comes back up pretty quickly. It's an interesting study in thermodynamics.

Did I mention it's super-hot work? It was 90.3 degrees IN THE KITCHEN! I opened all the windows and found myself really enjoying the cool 84.9 degree breeze from outside.



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