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I'd suggest picking up a few canning cookbooks. There are so many different things you can do out there, it's hard to know where to begin. Be adventurous, but follow a recipe! You can always start with the basics this time of year strawberry jam is always great to start stashing away until the winter. You can pickle just about anything you want as well. My faves are always the classic dill pickle, dilly beans and non sweet pickled beets!
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I am a canning maniac! :) Here are some of my faves:
This is a recipe Amanda wrote about in the NYTimes several years ago: http://em-i-lis.com/wordpress...
I made the cherry cardamom jam- it was amazing!! Thanks for the recipes!!
Oh, that is so fantastic, HomeRemedy! Thanks for letting me know!!
Okay, I'm going to throw in a word of caution, just cause someone has to. I love your enthusiasm and want to encourage it -- within the bounds of safe canning. No one wants to make themselves or others sick, let alone the dread botulism, so it is very important to know what you are doing and even more important to use and follow tested recipes TO THE LETTER. It all has to do with the Ph of the food you are canning. Botulism grows and thrives in a low acid, low air environment -- so, it LOVES to do its thing in home preserved foods with low Ph that have not been properly processed (water bath processing at a minimum; pressure processing in many cases). I encourage you to go to the National Center on Home Preservation website http://nchfp.uga.edu and learn what you need to know and use their recipes. DO NOT IMPROVISE. Jam, jellies and most pickles are relatively safe and straightforward. Everything else -- even tomatoes (commercially available tomatoes have been bred to be sweeter and to last longer, with the result that they are frequently lower acid than the ones Grandma canned with aplomb -- requiring special treatment, like adding some acid in the canning, to make them safe) -- requires proper attention and care.
I'm really not trying to throw anything close to a wet towel on your enthusiasm, but do feel that it is an important area where innocents can -- with nothing but the best intentions -- get themselves and those they love in trouble. This Food 52 site saved me when I thought "Why not??" to canning my own recipe caramelized onion jam (the answer: beyond "Yikes!" -- more along the lines of "how many friends and family are you planning on have meet their maker?") so I'm a passing on what little wisdom about canning and food safety that I've learned. And the caramelized onion jam? I still make it, but rather than giving it out in cute little jars, I share in frozen packages. Sometimes it is simply knowing the best and safest way to preserve a particular food.
Thank you- wise words indeed!! I have been reading up a bit, but definitely will look for more resources and will follow the recipes to a T.
Your caramelized onion jam sounds amazing though - do you have a recipe posted anywhere? Frozen packages is a fantastic solution!
Have you ever thought of getting a pressure canner? (i love mine!) You could do the jar thing with that? Oh! You have inspired me...I adore onions and will be putting this on my to-do list! Thanks!
One of my favorite jams this season comes from MrsWheelbarrow! She has a recipe for Mai Tai preserve that is just out of this world. Am thinking about making another batch while mangoes are still plentiful.
Another great book for canning is Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures. It does not give detailed instructions on the actual canning process. But when used alongside Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, you will be able to take advantage of the seasonal fruits found at the farmers market .
I love this website, and she's very, very safety conscious: http://www.foodinjars.com...
She has a book just out, too!
I've heard great things about Food in Jars (the cookbook) so will explore the website -- should be good! Darlene - be careful with the mangoes. My understanding is that they are one of the few fruits that is low acid, so again make sure you are using a tested recipe. I'd be cautious with a recipe that does not, itself, have the directions for processing (water bath or pressure -- length of time is very, very important. Again, the jams/jellies typically not so much -- although the tropical fruits can be exceptions). If it is a recipe in the Ball cookbook (not "kinda like" but an actual recipe of theirs) I'd feel 100% good. As an easy example, there are recipes in Ball for salsa that are good to go. As most salsa includes a high number of low acid foods (like onions and peppers) as well as "on the edge" tomatoes, it is really easy to find that your own, tried and true, absolutely totally fantastic best in town fresh salsa recipe, is literally a killer if canned. So, be very, very careful improvising and always follow recipes to the letter.
Geez, I really don't mean to be such a downer. I LOVE canning and really want to encourage all to try it because it is so very much worth it -- just also want to make sure we all have the information we need to do it safely and successfully. [FWIW: I've done all sorts of "dangerous" things in my life -- like flying airplanes, shooting guns, jumping out of planes... and am probably one of the most safety conscious people you'll ever meet. I believe if you know the boundaries, there is lots of room to explore and have fun within those boundaries. In flying there is a saying that "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old, bold, pilots" -- I'll bet there is an equivalent for canning? ;) ]
It's definitely good to be cautious!!!!
I saw Marisa of Food in Jars do a canning demo at our local farmers market recently. She's great, I bought the cookbook and love it!! Highly recommend it and her website!
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