Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Beginning canning

So I've NEVER canned before. This will be an adventure for me. Not one single jar of anything. No jam, no pickles, no relish. Nothing that even WOULD be canned. We froze quite a bit of stuff last fall, and I dried a few things also.

I lucked upon a copy of "Putting Food By" by Ruth Hertzberg at our library book sale last summer for $1. I went to a one hour workshop that covered the bare basics of preserving from all angles (canning, drying, freezing)

I have to admit, I find canning intimidating. If it's done incorrectly you can get all sorts of nasty illnesses. If you operate the pressure canner wrong it can blow up. Hot jars can explode. It's unbelievable intimidating.

The start up costs are scary - $50-80 for a pressure canner, $50 for water bath canners and kettles, $7-10 for a case of jars. That's not counting, lids, rings, salt, jar lifters, scales, thermometers, canning racks or basket-thingys that sit in the kettles, sieves, and any other manner of accoutrements.

I'm fortunate to have family, friends and neighbors who know a bit about canning. You can never overemphasize the value of experience. Better than any book.

The rewards of learning will be worth all the effort though. There's nothing that compares to home canned goods. I've had enough of them to know that much. Like every naieve beginner I envision dozens of shelf feet of beautifully canned goods of all kinds. LOL - I'll be lucky to get up a handful of each, but any will be a step above where I'm at now.

Yes, I'm excited... like the idiots that wander into the creepy houses in horror movies. Adrenaline *sigh*.

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