Students who take my canning class tell me that one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to canning is … surprise!… time. (the other is the commendable desire not to sicken one’s family)
I will not prattle about how time used now is time saved later … and other opinions/musings/ramblings etc. I have expressed myself about food preserving in general and canning specifically before here.
I will not give an on-line canning lesson either – that’s much better done in this nifty, detailed and clearly written USDA guide. And here, also are the answer to a bunch of commonly asked canning questions from the same source.
All laid out for water-bath canning tomato sauce
But I am here to tell you that canning tomato sauce does not have to be a day-long process. Tasks can be broken down is steps that be performed over several days, with the last day being a couple of hours. Total time is somewhat longer than if done at once. But, for for me, 4 times 2 hours is more manageable than 7 hours at once. Read more
Or maybe it’ll be “A Year In Rhubarb”, given the voracity with which I am acquiring stalks for the kitchen. I can’t help it: there are so many plump juicy stems for sale… I have to make up for years of deprivation, you know: there was no rhubarb growing on the tropical island where I spent my childhood.
I am hearing from growers that this year’s wet cool spring has done wonder for rhubarb. Unfortunately, the cool spring is ending this week as we not-so-gently steam and wilt with the thermometer reaching 90 degrees ( 32 C). The wet part is still on though with copious rain showers every day – rather tropical, really. What that will do for rhubarb is anybody’s guess, but I am furiously buying rhubarb. Close to 30 pounds to date, and few weeks to go still…
It’s been fun. I’ve made ice-cream (several batches and settled on proportions I like), sorbet, syrup, cordial, compote, tartelettes, fresh strawberry & ginger rhubarb tart, jam (some with elder blossom cordial, some with vanilla bean and some with fresh ginger root), rhubarb strudel (or was that baklava?) as well as fresh rhubarb chutney (delicious with a rack of lamb). And frozen a bunch, should I suddenly have a craving for rhubarb. It could happen.
It’s about time I share some recipes… so… on today’s episode we’ll learn to cook rhubarb once and make no less than 4 dishes! We’ll delve into the secret lives of rhubarb (oh… wait… we did that already!). Oh, well, then we’ll … learn how to coax the juice from those stalks without turning them into mush and we’ll make first a happy rosy syrup, and then a sweet and even happier little cordial. Read more
I have been offering small hands-on classes on canning starting about one month ago: we’ve had 3 on peaches, 2 on pickles, and the first class on canning tomatoes is in 10 days, on August 17. There will be more workshops throughout August & September, and some on canning apple & apple sauce, as well as pears, in the fall.
Many people are intimidating by canning, but there is no reason to be. I teach canning classes using the Boiling Water Bath method, which, when done properly and meticulously, is not only easy but safe for naturally acid food like fruit, most tomatoes and pickles. My students certainly seem to leave appreciative of the tutorial.
Canning is indeed not difficult. Benefits add up:
- produce processed when they are at peak of flavor are a treat in the winter that no flown-in or trucked-in fruit can beat;
- you are in control of the ingredients. For me, too many commercially store-bought canned fruit have may too much added sugar. I can adjust that; You like vanilla? in, it goes. You prefer ginger? add it in!
- you are in control of the process and the safety of your food – not relying on some unknown machine or factory workers who knows where;
- it’s sooo convenient later in winter to have a pantry full of almost ready meals;
- and while cost is only one of the reasons I do this, it is not a negligeable one. Canning can add up to significant savings. Read more