When I was growing up my dad used to make and can pickles. When we lived in Oklahoma I enjoyed home canned pickled okra. So I have enjoyed home canned food before. But, for some reason, I’ve always been too scared to try it myself. I’m really not sure why; It’s just one of those things that grows and grows until you can’t remember why it started but you are convinced it is part of your reality.
I happened to mention this at a Japanese Hot Pot Party we attended some months ago. I had seen the hostess’ pantry of home canned jams and jellies and remarked on them. When she said how easy it was I said something like “Oh. I could never do that. I’m afraid of canning.”
Fast forward to a week ago. The hostess is a friend of a friend and she emailed and volunteered to teach us how to can. Which is why I was listening to a bad country song at 7 am this morning (the alarm was set to the radio) thinking “I DO NOT want to get up early on my day off!” I showered and dressed in cool clothes and drove to the other side of town with 2 flats of strawberries bought at a local farm stand and some jars. We had intended to pick our own but it was too late in the season for that.
Our hostess had several different recipes for us to try and I was shocked by really how simple it was. We made a strawberry-kiwi freezer jam, a sugar free jam with splenda, a low pectin jam with applesauce instead of regular pectin, and some basic strawberry jam.
It was hot and sweaty work but actually quite fun! The freezer jam came home with us but the rest of it needs to sit in place for 24 hours before it can be moved.
I came home with a list of the supplies I need. I already have jars but I need lids. I have a pot but need a canning funnel and a jar lifter. I’m buying the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and getting some other books through the library. So now I’m excited to see what I can make with my summer produce!