Canning is a great way to preserve fruits and vegetables for later use. When I was growing up my mom made delicious plum jam, but she did not can or pickle any vegetables. No canning mentor for me. Thank goodness for the internet!
Several years back, my husband and I decided to rent a community garden space to grow vegetables (check out one of my early posts on our farm plot). We paid ‘rent’ for a 30’X30′ plot and got to work. We started planting in late April-early May and by the time late July rolled around we had a bumper crop of vegetables and the bounty continued through early October. We shared much of the harvest with friends and family, but we still had tons of veggies left-over.
In an effort to save our harvest for later use (think dark, cold winter days; I knew we would want to mentally escape), I scoured the internet and book stores for good canning references, magazines, and guidelines. I had heard about the dangers of canning (exploding jars and food poisoning) and was honestly quite intimidated. After reading the basics, it seemed manageable and I decided to give it a try. I loved the process and the reward. I hope you will follow the steps I have outlined below to get started on your own canning journey.
Step 1: Collect recipes and tips
I recommend purchasing a good canning/preserving reference book. Food safety is extremely important when canning and good quality resources outline critical procedures for produce preparation, processing, and storage. Books, magazines, and Pinterest are great places for inspiration. If you are interested in a particular fuit/vegetable, search the internet for recipes. I highly recommend that you read the reviews. Many recipes do not follow proper, safe canning procedures (for example, my beloved Blue Ribbon Pickle recipe) and usually this comes up in the comment thread. If you are not sure, follow recipes in a canning reference book. The book I got started with is the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I do not recommend modifying or tweaking recipes. They are designed to ensure appropriate conditions for canning and the quality and safety of your final product.