Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can Do, Part Two!

Some of my more loyal readers may know that this year marks both my two-year friendiversary and my two-year canniversary with my friend, Anne. She's one of my heroes when it comes to  sustainable living, and our first friend date two summers ago was a marathon canning session that yielded inedible blackberry jam, very edible frozen blackberries, and somewhat edible canned tomatoes.

Early attempts to pickle using magic were unsuccessful
However, not ones to be easily deterred, we decided to embark on another canning adventure this year. After all, preserving food is one of the best ways to supply yourself with a diverse, local diet year-round. This time, we decided to learn from our mistakes and tried not to tackle more than we could handle. We headed to a local farm a few days before the canning date to pick green beans, cucumbers, and dill for our dilly beans and fridge pickles. In a clutch division of labor (and if successful, bounty) decision, we also invited a few friends over to help.

This time we were extra dill-igent in our measurements
Anne had gathered a few books since our last canning adventure, and she'd found recipes for "Fresh Pack Refrigerator Dill Pickles" in The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Constenbader and one for "Dilly Beans" in Putting Food ByPutting Food By: Fifth Edition by Ruth Hertzberg, Janet Greene, and Beatrice Vaughan.

Beanpole cuts string bean... I love you Nick!
Armed with recipes and reinforcements, we chose a Sunday afternoon for our adventure. We sterilized jars, followed directions, and just a few short hours later, had several jars of dilly beans and pickles to take home. We had to wait a few weeks to eat our pickles (best breaded, fried, and dipped in buttermilk dressing) and our dilly beans (best straight from the jar or as garnish in a Bloody Mary), but both were totally edible! However, a word of warning...the pickles were only supposed to last a few weeks, and we all learned the hard way that this was true. Enjoy them when ready to eat!

This summer has also brought a bounty of FoodSavers to our lives (thanks mom-in-law!), making it easy to preserve fruit. My freezer is currently filled with raspberries, blueberries, cherries, rhubarbs, and peaches, all of which I'll be grateful for during the dark months of winter! I'm excited to break out my first batch batch of frozen fruit at Thanksgiving.

Who knows what follies next year's canning endeavors will hold, but I promise to keep you posted. Please post your favorite canning tips, disasters, and recipes for all of the Weekly Way readers to enjoy!

New assistants! New products! Modestly new results!

1 comment:

Farmer said...

Canning has been a tradition at my house all my life. Nothing tastes better to me in the winter than canned peaches or frozen strawberries.