Monday, May 4, 2009

Canning Excitement

Last year at Christmas I got several jars of preserves from my brother and sister-in-law as gifts. My son likes the spiced pear one, but my favorite - long-gone now - was the homemade strawberry jam. Turns out she'd gotten a little over-enthusiastic when she went berry picking that summer and needed something to do with the danged things. Even someone who loves strawberries as much as she does can't eat the ninety pounds she'd brought home.

Trying to find a way around the canned tomato issue as a locavore led me to call her. Well, that and Lucy's crabapple jelly entry over at her gorgeous blog, Nourish Me. (She's down in Australia, so unfortunately her blog is always taunting me with gorgeous pictures of things that are out of season here. *pout*) Anyway, the long and the short of it is this: later this summer, my sister-in-law agreed to teach me how to can!

So before that day, I've got to figure out what recipe I want to use for sauce. Barbara Kingsolver offers hers in AVM, but I need to try it out before canning. I have one that I use, but its tomato components are all canned. I can easily substitute fresh diced tomatoes for canned, but stewed? I'm not entirely sure.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to putting away my own store for the winter, when there will be no fresh tomatoes around. The farm I grew up involved with produced mainly tomatoes, and every late summer or early fall all the Italian ladies would come down from Ravena to get my grampa's canners. Learning to do the same myself really appeals.

Maybe I'll put up some jellies and preserves, too; I'm hoping I'll have some blueberries to spare, and I add flavorings to my homemade yogurt via jams. If I can find a source for crabapples, I'll have it made in the shade.

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