First things first, I had to acquire the right equipment. It actually took me about a week to find a stock pot that was the right size and also worked on our crazy induction stovetop. Target to the rescue (as usual) and I was ready to go (and also shaking in my boots). At first I didn't realize why I was so scared of canning but I developed a list:
- It is cooking. I love to bake but I am terrified of cooking
- It seemed fast paced
- There is so much to go wrong
- I won't know if something is wrong until I open the jar
- I may poison my friends
- I may poison myself
- I may burn myself
- The name doesn't make sense to me (you use jars, not cans)
- There is a lot of prep work involved
I decided to dive in and face my fears. Turns out it is a combination of fast paced moments but also a lot of waiting. There is a lot of prep work but with the right music on it is sort of fun. I have burned myself but that probably would have happened regardless. There is endless potential for disaster but that is life. The poisoning is still a concern but that is a risk we will all have to take. I promise to taste everything first. The name still bothers me though.
First I made some simple salsa with tomatoes from a friend's garden and jalapeños from my own. Not too difficult and not too scary. Next I made mango chili butter because mangoes were on sale at the grocery store. Other than peeling pounds and pound of mangoes, it wasn't too difficult either! Success!
Then came the pickles. I recently made refrigerator bread and butter pickles with cucumbers from my garden and they turned out great. I assumed that meant that I could use any old cucumbers for any old pickle recipe. Wrong. So wrong. I made spicy dill pickles and everything went along fine, until I took one out of the jar to taste it. It was floppy. It was soft. There are a million jokes to be had here but I wouldn't touch them with a foot-long floppy pickle. Yuck. Out they went.
It seems I have caught the canning bug. And it is labor day weekend so what a better way to celebrate than laboring over a hot stove full of jars?