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?).
Mmm… fall, my favorite time of the year. The air is getting crisp, the leaves are starting to change, and I’m getting ready to snuggle in. Every fall, I start feeling crafty and kitchen-y, and ready to try something ambitious.
This fall, I’m going to…
Try knitting socks. I have successfully knit in the round on a few occasions, and then lost patience. I think I have more patience now. This may be a ridiculous lack of self-awareness.
Make this soup. I do a mean chickpea-noodle, but this marinated tofu recipe is intriguing.
Go to this event. I received a membership at the Chicago Botanic Gardens for my birthday, and I love to take advantage of it. Just because we’re renting doesn’t mean I can’t stick some spring bulbs in the yard, or in my flower pots on the windowsill.
Make my own laundry soap. My boyfriend is going to think this is stupid, and as the person who does most of the laundry, he really should get more of a vote. But I want to try it.
Make this jam. Pear doesn’t get enough play in America, I feel. You can get pear ice cream in France, I would like to point out.
Can some applesauce–which I’ve done before. Look for a tutorial coming your way soon.
What are you trying this fall?
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