I made a couple of quarts of dill pickles the other night and was commenting to my sister about what hot work canning is. I do most of my canning in August when everything seems to come in at the same time in the garden. This weekend I will probably can some new potatoes. I’d like to do some salsa but that never seems to make it into a jar once the prep is done, it’s too good fresh.
Peaches are just starting to come in so I may do up some of them as well. Diced this year, yes a lot of work but worth it in January. Most of the time I just halve them and pack a jar in light syrup but I’m the only one who ends up eating them and a pint of peach halves is too much for me. Diced ones I can just throw into my cottage cheese – nothing yummier.
Pesto, tomatoes of every kind, beans, pickles, relishes, these are all the things that I expect to have to eat each winter so the pressure is on now to get it done.
At the end of last winter I cooked a smoked turkey that I had bought from Pekarskis. There were not a lot of people who were there to eat it and there is a lot of meat on an 18 pound turkey (it was a lovely free range bird as well). I cut all of the meat off of it, made a stock of the bones and canned it in pints. There were about 15 I recall. This canned turkey has been one of the best experiments in canning ever. I use it in jambalaya or black beans and rice and it is spectacular. Not only does it taste wonderful with a great texture it is the ultimate convenience food. This was my first foray into canning meat but will not be my last.
I think anyone who is considering canning should make that leap into a pressure canner. Yes they are expensive but canning with a hot water bath limits you to high acid or sugared fruits. I know once I got over the initial fear of the thing my canning options were exponentially expanded, it seems like there is nothing I can’t can now. Pressure canning is faster and safer and helps you diversify your larder. There is nothing better that wondering what’s for dinner, opening your canning closet and seeing choices.