I attended a great demo on canning a couple of weeks ago at my local farmer's market. It was put on by Bernardin and it was extremely informative. I've been leery of canning, because I've heard horror stories of people getting sick if it isn't done right. In fact, our instructor touched on a few of those, as he explained why it is so important to learn the correct procedures....one in particular about a woman who canned a bunch of corn and killed everyone in her family scared me half to death. Many people get the basics from their parents, passed down from generation to generation. But sometimes something gets lost in the translation. Apparently, getting the acidity correct is very important. I am sure my grandmothers did can in their younger years, but well before my time. And my mother can barely boil water. So I really appreciated the demo and the information! I went right out and bought a dozen new Bernardin jars, to go along with the goodies we were given in class. And I purchased the Bernardin Guide To Home Preserving, to be sure I did it right.
So this past weekend, I picked up $6 worth of pickling tomatoes at the market. My mom acquired a second hand canning set for me. Yesterday, after a long and stressful day at work, I got busy scrubbing and slicing the cucumbers. My kids have a thing for those sandwich-style pickles, so I sliced them by hand lengthwise. I used a store-bought jar of Bernardin dill pickle spice, and followed the recipe on the label. Then I brought 7% pickling vinegar & water to a boil in a small pot, and added the spice. I heated the lids in another pot of water. I filled the canner with water and put my brand new jars in to sterilize. For some reason, this old canner is designed to JUST have enough room for four 500ml jars and maybe a half inch of water on top before it starts boiling over. Ugh. When the jars were ready I took them out and packed them with as many cucumbers as they could hold. Then I poured the pickling liquid in and realized I didn't make enough. Wow, what a great start...not! I was beginning to wonder what I'd got myself into.
I managed to fill 3 jars and get them back in the canner to process for 15 minutes. In the meantime, I made another batch of pickling solution and started all over again. In the end, I made seven jars of dill pickles....and reused the boiling water to blanch a pound of beet greens that had been kicking around my fridge for a few days. The kitchen was already a bit of a disaster, so I figured why not?
Aren't they pretty? I am so proud of them. Once I got the hang of it, it wasn't really so hard. Of course, I have yet to clean up the kitchen. Ha ha. I wonder what I can fill my other five jars with?
This post has been shared on the Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop at Gastronomical Sovereignty and the Carnival Of Home Preserving at Laura Williams' Musings!
P.S. Next week marks my 3rd blogging anniversary. How time flies when you`re having fun! I'll have to decide on something to cook to celebrate.