Hamilton, let’s learn to CAN together!

June 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

So while Katharine is busy planting and weeding and getting her hands dirty, I’ve been spending my days spanning Manhattan, from the airy BUST office on West 27th to the cheerful Slow Food USA headquarters in Brooklyn. So while Katharine’s fruits and vegetables are growing, growing, growing, I’m readying myself for the harvest. Of all places to learn to can, New York City probably isn’t what comes to mind. But my summer goal is to become familiar with putting all kinds of things in jars. And guess what? A few canning-savvy people from NYC have agreed to teach me how! Laena from Anarchy in a Jar, Shamus from Brooklyn Brine, Sherri Brooks Vinton who wrote Put ‘Em Up and Kate Payne from The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking.

So in a perfect blend of interests, I’ll be blogging about my canning adventures for BUST, borrowing canning books from Slow Food USA and sharing what I learn with you, Hamilton. And in August Katharine and I will can some Hamilton-grown produce, I can’t wait! I mean, doesn’t that lady in the Canadian WWI “Waste Not Want Not” poster look wise? I anticipate that I will look that wise by the end of the summer due to my new-found canning knowledge.

I’ve always found canning and preserving kind of intimidating, which is why I haven’t done it already. Here are the reasons that I haven’t canned:
– I’m afraid of botulism.
– I’ve heard of women getting together for Canapalooza weekends where they spend all weekend in a hot summer kitchen canning massive quantities of things. While this still sounds somewhat appealing to me, it makes the process seems like a huge production. Which is intimidating, right?
– I never think of learning to do it at the right time of year.
– I don’t know anyone who does it. OH WAIT, my mom knows how. My mom has this weird habit of telling me once I’m really excited about something, “Oh yeah I used to do that all the time before you were born. Yeah I’ve made pickles. And lots of jam. Oh, and chutney, your dad used to like chutney, I’ve made that.” But she kept that a secret until last week, so that wasn’t at all helpful for my previous canning aspirations.
– I’ve never had a garden to can stuff from. Now I have Katharine’s. Thanks, K.
– Again, I’m just really afraid of botulism. I don’t even really understand what it is. But I’ll find out!

Now, the reasons I want to learn how to can:
– It’s a great way to incorporate local food into your year-round eating.
– I like learning new things, especially food-oriented things.
Fine Cooking’s Lemon Curd recipe, my mom loves lemony things.
– I feel like it’d be a very nice gift to give people at the holidays.
Saving the Season’s Fresh Pumpkin Butter recipe. YUM.
– I really like jam in my yogurt, and homemade jam would have less sugar because I will put less in it.
Simple Bite’s Blueberry Syrup recipe, just imagine this on good vanilla ice cream, wow!

Simple Bites

– Katharine’s garden goodies will need to go somewhere. I hope her family doesn’t eat all of them? Sorry Snider-McNairs!
– I like cooking and making things with people, and canning is something that Katharine wants to do too, and apparently my mom secretly can can too. Lady bonding time!
Diggin’ the Dirt’s Vanilla Pear Butter recipe, I need this in my life.
– Actually any pear preserving recipes. I love pears so much, and the more I can eat them all year round the better. Store-bought canned pears just aren’t the same. Fellow Hamilton-food enthusiast Sarah Kam came to a brunch at my house about a year ago and brought pears she canned from the Hamilton Fruit Tree Project and we ate them on waffles. It was amazing.
– Picking out fruit from local farms is just another way to experience Hamilton’s wonderful farms and markets!

So maybe you should learn to can too this summer? Okay great, let’s get started. 

Stay tuned for some basic beginning facts for canning, and my very first canning lesson recap. I can’t blog it here until I blog it for BUST, but I’ll give you a hint how it ends: Blueberry lavender jam. Yes!

Here is a slightly tweaked version of this same post on BUST

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