Happy Can It Forward Day! Although, I actually celebrated on Thursday. It's OK. I'm celebrating with all of you here today by sharing some canning resources (and talking about teaching people to can). I've also got a delicious looking bag of goodies from my CSA.
For our Fourth of July party, I brought out my last jar of bread and butter pickles from this past summer (so delicious--sweet, sour, and spicy). When our friend John saw them sitting on the table he immediately said, "Tell Madelaine you have homemade pickles. Madelaine love pickles." So I did, and she had a lot of questions about the process of canning pickles. I said that I was planning on making a couple batches this summer and that I'd let her know when I did.
Then I got so many cucumbers in this past CSA distribution. So I invited her over and this past Thursday I taught her how to prep equipment, make brine, pack jars, and how to process jars. Teaching someone a skill like that is a lot of fun. Not only is it fun to share your knowledge, it's also great to see someone catch on to something and start to enjoy it as much as you do. Mentoring a friend through how to fill a hot jar with brine and how to determine 1/2" of head space isn't the most difficult thing in the world (but if she's Canadian and neither of you are good at conversions, it will be a challenge), but sharing a craft with someone so they can do it over and over again is a very meaningful experience.
We made Soy-Garlic Cucumbers from Tart and Sweet by Jessie Knadler and Kelley Geary (who actually taught me how to make jams and pickles and Brooklyn Kitchen and is a ridiculously nice person). We halved the recipe to make 6 pints rather than 6 quarts. Mostly because my stove cannot accommodate a canning pot large enough to cover quart jars with one inch of water. It probably wasn't the best introductory pickling recipe because it doesn't use salt, it uses soy sauce. I mentioned the importance of using salt without additives, but I'm not sure the lesson will stick. They do, however, look like they're going to be some super-spicy pickles--garlic, ginger, peppercorns, shallots, and crushed red peppers all went into the jar.
As I've said before I absolutely adore this book and highly recommend that you pick it up. The only issue I have with it is that they call for brown rice vinegar in so many recipes, and it's not easy to find brown rice vinegar that's diluted to 5% acidity (the appropriate level for canning). I suppose if I searched the Asian markets in Chinatown for long enough I'd probably find it...I tend to substitute either white wine or apple cider vinegar and a little bit of sugar. It works out fine.
If you're interested in learning more, check out the Can-It-Forward day website (which is sponsored by the manufacturer of Ball and Kerr canning jars). Other great resources to check out are:
- Ashley English's blog Small Measure--also her book Canning and Preserving
- Marissa McClelan's blog Food in Jars--also her book of the same name
- The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking has a lot of great canning tips
- The USDA's National Center for Home Food Preservation
- Punk Domestics, which has tons of recipes submitted by bloggers, and some great tips about safe canning.
- The Hungry Tigress also has amazing recipes (even if her writing style gets on my nerves a bit)
- I have yet to purchase it, but I've been eyeing Put 'Em Up for a while. The Garden of Eating has used/reviewed a number of the recipes there, and Eve has a lot of great canning recipes and tips as well.
This week's haul:
- 1 eggplant (!)
- 1 bunch of arugula
- 1 bunch of basil (!)
- 1/3 lb green beans
- 1 lb cucumbers
- 1 small head of green cabbage
- 1 bunch kohlrabi
- 1 head of extremely leafy celery (it might be time to do this again)
- 3 half-pints of raspberries
- a half dozen eggs
I also picked up some blackberries for D at the Greenmarket because they're his favorites. I'm resisting the urge to wake him up to tell him. He'll be much happier about the blackberries if he's actually had enough sleep.
Have you ever taught someone else a skill?
Do you can? What are you going to make this summer?
Any thoughts on what to make with all of that delicious produce?
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