The right tools for the job


   To can or not to can that is the questions. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous pains of stomach and wallet due to spoilage in only days or weeks, or to take arms and learn this black art in order to savor your wares months from now or give them as gifts.  As you can see I have a lot to consider. Last week I launched upon a crusade of sanity in an effort to keep my mind occupied while not driving around and wasting gas. In doing so I made a great chili/hot sauce and some lemon curd. Both were very well received but really how many times can you throw down the hot sauce before you need a break from it. Here’s where the canning comes in. Had I known how to can I could have separated the concoction into smaller jars and processed it to be saved at a later date.

     I, like a lot of people, find canning to be something of a mystery and therefore assume it must be difficult. Well after giving it some thought I am going to give it a try for two reasons. Firstly I can’t keep making things and taking up the room in the fridge with jars of what are basically glorified condiments. Second when push comes to shove how hard could it be to do something that was incredibly common a hundred years ago. Today saying you canned your own peaches in syrup gets you exclamations of disbelief and the begging of a sample. In 1911 saying you canned your own peaches would have left people snickering and asking you if you wanted President Taft to come over and pin a damn medal on your chest and make today “Holy shit Steve canned peaches” day in your honor… they were very sarcastic in 1911 so just trust me that would have been the reaction. I am taking the first step today and ordering a basic canning setup from Amazon.com that includes the basics like funnels, jar and lid lifters, racks for cooling etc… I’ve posted a link to the setup in my Twitter feed or you can just click this link Norpro 7-Piece Home Canning Set  so feel free to hit that up and get one for yourself so you can play along at home. When the package comes in I will post up some pictures and start going over the process of prepping and sterilizing in preparation of the big show. The big show being me stumbling my way through the creation of some poor yet to be chosen veggie. Also I will be going over cookbooks to guide me on what I need to know as I start my canning quest. I’m going to highly recommend that you grab a book like this as you start out. If for no other reason having a recipe to tell you exactly how long to boil and process your jars is going to keep you staying in the happy area between Botulism and crap I boiled the jar too long and three months later I found out my spicy green beans are tangy mush.

      So in the coming week I will be making a beeline to the local farmers market and posting up pictures of what I find there and some tips from the vendors on what to look for. That’s right people I am braving a sea of the elderly and the bored just to do some reporting from the front lines. Then we will be picking up a peck of not so pickled peppers to again make some hot sauce and post up a recipe for something you will hopefully enjoy, make at home, tweak and call your own. Don’t worry we will be throwing up a mild version for the more timid in our audience.