But the fact is, I’m definitely concerned about poisoning myself and others. That’s why I follow safe practices. Improper canning procedure can result in ruined food, sickness, and in some extreme cases, death. (We all remember those green beans from East of Eden, right?)
So how do we know if a recipe is safe? It’s not hard, but you do need a little know-how.
This year, I’ve had the great fun of participating in the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge. Each month, I undertake a themed food preservation project with the goal of learning something new. We’re already halfway through! Here’s what I’ve made so far:
January: Citrus–Cara Cara Orange and Meyer Lemon Marmalade
February: Fermentation–Failed Fermented Carrots (oh, so bad!) and Amish Friendship Bread (oh, so good!)
March: Herbs–Compound butters (sage and smoked salt, rosemary and shallot)
April: Use Up Preserves–Barbeque sauce, raspberry jam bars, various tomato dishes (I also took a canned goods inventory, and discovered that we need to be more diligent about eating tomatoes, because at that point I wasn’t through the 2017 ones).
May: Berries–Strawberry Balsamic Jam
June: Jam–Strawberry Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (I then went into July with Rhubarb Rosemary, Strawberry Peach, Brown Sugar Peach, and Strawberry Maple Butter)
July: Stonefruit–Aforementioned peachy jams, canned cherries, cherries in bourbon
Other than learning new things, the most enjoyable part of the challenge is seeing what people all over the world do with it. The themes are pretty broad, so people are creative. I never would have thought to do compound butters without other people doing it, for instance, and now I’m in love.
Favorite recipes so far include: Strawberry Balsamic Jam (I made this twice. One small batch was not enough). Sour Cherry Preserves with Bourbon Rosemary Shallot Compound Butter (There is no recipe. Mince about a tablespoon of shallot. Crush about the same amount of dried rosemary. Beat it into maybe a quarter cup of softened butter. Store in the freezer. Use to saute sugar snap peas, lose your composure.)
In the coming months, I’ll tackle: Tomatoes, Pickles, Relishes, Chow Chows, or Piccalili, an October Wild Card, Apples, Pears, Quince or Persimmons, and Holiday Giving. Some of these will be easier to do something new (what have I ever done with quince?) than others (what else can I do with a tomato, at this point?).
I started spring cleaning, and almost immediately got the flu.
I very much enjoyed my sparkling bathroom as I moved from bathtub to bed on repeat while battling the good old influenza. One could draw the conclusion that deep cleaning is a health hazard, but my cousin got it at the same time, and as far as I know, he didn’t have any major cleaning projects going on.
However, the flu took me out of action for two Fridays, and then I left town, so spring cleaning is officially extending into May.
Oh well. It seems like spring itself is also going back and forth, so May definitely still has that, “Spring is here!” feel.
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