Canning season is here, and I will explain exactly how to get ready to preserve your farmers-market loot. There are several things you can do to prepare. Ready, set, can!
Are you wondering why you need to prepare in the first place? Once you start canning, you may find yourself in what I call an enthusiasm-driven pickle, which is when I buy entirely too much fruit or vegetable with little time or plan to can it. Produce should be canned when it is at its peak, and you don't typically have time to waste. Here's what you do to be ready:
Check out your pantry and consider what you cooked the last 12 months. What did you not can enough of? What are your go-to meals, home-canned or not? I doubt I will ever be able to can enough tomato sauce. Pasta is a family-pleaser, and the tomato sauce I make is much healthier than the store-bought kind, which is full of added sugar, and it is super versatile. I can over a hundred pounds of tomatoes every year and run out by early summer. 100 pounds isn't that much — several flats. Don't be too impressed. Tomatoes are heavy.
Think about the recipes you would like to try and the foods you wished you had canned, but didn't get to. Flip through a canning book or your favorite canning blog for inspiration.
You may have to use a canning book for this part, but think about what time of year you are reading this and what produce will be ripening and available in stores near you. Many canning cookbooks are arranged by season so you can plan with the immediate future in mind. Very generally speaking, you can expect these few example items to be ripe in the following seasons:
You might need to get some wide-mouth, pint-sized jars if you plan on making tomato sauce or some small jam jars if you want to make a batch of jewel-colored jam for gifting. You need brand new lids (maybe in cute, giftable colors), jars in sizes that suit you and a set of canning utensils.
You need to have the following items on hand:
If you want to learn more about canning, head to www.startcanning.com. Happy canning season!
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