The canning gene skipped a generation in my family.
I grew up in a family where every summer fruit became jam or jelly and the whiff of vinegar and pickling spices cleaned my sinuses most days when I walked in the kitchen door after school through September and October.
Our cold room shelves sagged under the weight of all those jars by the time Halloween arrived. There’s nothing like a bite of strawberry jam on toast in February to make you appreciate the effort that goes into homemade preserves.
My husband’s family was much like mine and we still arrive home from family visits with jars of sweet plums, spiced red currants and syrupy black currant jam.
I have always lacked the skill, patience and confidence with canning to replicate my mother’s kitchen. I have made a few batches of strawberry jam (one exploded in the basement) and zucchini relish. My one attempt at dill pickles yielded okay pickles but strangely blue garlic in the jars.
All of my “preserving” goes into bottles, yes, and then straight into the freezer, including an annual 36-litre batch of roasted tomato sauce. (The freezer is a crutch for the canning scaredy-cats).
But then along came the cookbook The Canning Kitchen, 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes, by Amy Bronee, an easy-to-follow, confidence-building gem of a recipe book.
The recipes are terrific, traditional, innovative and downright fascinating. But it’s the canning/processing checklist on page 17 that has me smitten with the book. Think of it as “canning 101” with a private tutor.
I decided to start simple, with a straightforward recipe for apple butter. (Since I pay $7 a jar for it in my local market I decided it was time to try my own.) This is what I learned:
Canning is so much easier than I thought.
I’m all about easy steps and at-a-glance instructions, which basically sums up this book. It’s an intro to canning that you’ll never outgrow and a super handy resource.
As for the apple butter, it is a hit. Lightly spiced and just the right thickness it’s a great change from jam for our morning toast.
Win a copy of The Canning Kitchen, just in time for pickling/preserving season:
I’m participating in the FBC Canning Kitchen Blog Tour which means I also have a copy of The Canning Kitchen to give away to a lucky winner (courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada). All of us on the blog tour have giveaways, so visit all of the links below to up your chances of winning.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Visit the others on the blog hop for more chances to win a copy of the cookbook:
Megan at www.foodwhine.com (Strawberry Jam)
Tiffany at Eating Niagra (Blueberry Lime Jam)
Kelly at www.kellyneil.com (Hot Dog Relish)
A recap of all of our posts at www.foodbloggersofcanada.com