We are entering the throes of canning season. The kitchen counters are piling up with zucchini, apples, berries and beans. Before long it will be cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and peppers. So I thought I would share a little of what is happening in our kitchen and some resources online. First and foremost it is jam, jam and more jam. Blueberry is my favorite so we pick weekly at a local blueberry farm and it is blueberry everything for a month. This year I am trying my own homemade pectin in my jam. I found my recipe in A Householder’s Guide to the Universe, by Harriet Fasenfest. (You can find it on the bookshelf to the right.) But you can find the recipe lots of places online as well, here a clear explanation on the blog Fig jam and Lime Cordial. I was very excited to find some beautiful lime green early apples at the market.
I allow myself one or two new canning recipes a season. I have found and have heard from others that experimental canning often leads to unopened jars in the dark deep corners of our cupboards. So I stick to what we love best and the staples, with just a little something new each year, in case there is another family favorite waiting discovery.
My favorite canning jars are these Atlas jars my grandmother gave me. There is a little color in the glass and heft to their weight. I also love the blocky shape. When I am not using them for homemade yogurt I use them for special roasted tomato sauce or dilly beans with a sprig of tarragon and a jalapeno that look so pretty. For every activity there is the appropriate gear and canning is no exception. We surround ourselves with objects that make us feel good either through function or looks whether or not there is necessity. I like to wear a vintage style smock apron when canning. It just seems right. Then there are Weck jars, currently on my wish list. You Grow Girl pretty much covers it for me here and gives some good advice on canning with these jars.
Next on the counter line up awaiting processing is Zucchini for Hannah’s Zucchini Relish. I would love to give you the recipe, because it is my all time favorite relish. I use it on eggs, sandwiches, beans, hot dogs, salads, you name it. It is particularly pretty with yellow and red sweet peppers in it. But I was given the recipe on the condition that I not pass it around. I will just say that there are quite a few similar recipes out there.
And if you are inclined, check out some of these canning sites for recipes and tips. Or download these Dilly Canning Labels for free and print them on sticker paper or circle label paper with a diameter of a 2 1/2″-
A Sonoma Garden (for canning labels)
Domestifluff (more canning labels)
Smitten Kitchen (tips on pickling salt, very interesting)
Some favorites from our kitchen: