Monday, August 4, 2008

Canning 101

Last weekend I spent the day canning pickled beets with my mom.

As far back as I can remember my family has canned and frozen produce from the garden every summer. Everything from tomatoes, green beans, peas, lima beans, corn, beets, relish, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries - I could go on an on. No wonder I have to wipe away the drool whenever I get near a homegrown fruit or veggie.

While we always used to help my mom with the canning and freezing, I've never actually had a "lesson" into the finer details. My mom and I both agreed that it's been long overdue, and what better time to learn than with a freshly pulled batch of Detroit Reds?

We used the "hot pack" canning method. The pickle was simple, taken directly from the Ball Blue Book - cider vinegar, water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and allspice berries. What is it that's so satisfying about sliding the skins off of warm beets? It's a little unsettling, though, when you have a bowl full of skinned beets - they glisten like some sort of organ - a kidney or heart. Not very appetizing, I know, the end product is deLISH. My beet hoard in the pantry has just grown by 10 more jars. I'm stocked for the next year!

Next up on the canning list is tomatoes in three weeks. The tomato plants in my Grandma's garden are just starting to turn like crazy, so we'll be stocked with fresh 'maters for the rest of the summer. I think we're going to do up a batch of her great pizza sauce...I can smell some of my husband's homemade pizzas, are you reading this? (hint hint)

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