Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I have some crazy memories of my mom canning a lot when I was young. It involved HUGE amounts of vegetables, an entire weekend, much back breaking work, and completely trashing your kitchen. Not my idea of fun.

Then I saw some yummy canning goodness happening over at OSOH. Canning, in a New York apartment? (Not that I've ever been in one - but I imagine the kitchens to be tiny.) I was intrigued and just had to try my hand at home canning so I ran out and bought this book.
I decided to try tomatillos and strawberries for my first try. It was an .... interesting experience. I have never handled a raw tomatillio... they smell kinda gross so I couldn't imagine them tasting yummy at all. They look pretty though.
I'm not really the kinda cook that measures things... usually I use recipes as a guide rather than a rule. That didn't really work out so well. I added too much lemon juice & it threw off the balance of the flavors. (Luckily it's still edible - even almost good)
I also didn't add enough stuff to the jars. Mom bugged out about there not being enough stuff to hold the seal properly. I was just stoked that I got a good seal to start with. That little pop was extremely exciting! (my life... so exhilarating!)

Next up were the strawberries. Sigh - I totally screwed those up. Again measuring bit me in the ass - I measured the sugar but not the strawberries - recipe said 8 cups of berries at about a pound and a half. I had 2 pounds I don't need to measure, except there's WAY to much sugar. It's suppose to be a strawberry balsamic jam - but I forgot the balsamic. It's way to loose. Not really a jam - more like a syrup. I tried it over ice cream last night - it's like candied strawberries. It's too sweet to eat. I was suppose to get 6 jars full - I only got 4 just think about how much extra sugar is in there.... yuck. So now I've got 4 jars of strawberry syrup - that I have no clue what to do with.

I must say though - I had fun... can't wait to try it again.

I'm glad you had fun, even if it didn't all turn out as expected. How long did you cook the strawberries? It took 40 minutes at a boil for us to reach jam consistency. Here's how to check if it's done: Put a glass saucer in the freezer about 30 minutes before you start. When you think the jam might be done, spoon a few drops onto the frozen saucer. Then run your finger through the puddle of jam. If the sizes ooze together, keep cooking! If they part, you're ready to go.

I'm not a big measurer either, but it seems to be pretty necessary for canning. *sigh* I think we're doing sweet pickles and currents this weekend, if the harvest comes in like it should at the farmers' market!
If nothing else, it was a learning experience.
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