Quite A Pickle!
Yesterday morning I was lounging in bed thinking about all of the productive things that I was going to do this weekend. This usually involves surfing internet news, playing on facebook, checking my email, looking through recipe books, occasionally writing MMD blogs and having intellectual conversations with my dogs who assume their positions on the bed for the duration until we are ready to start our day. All the while I am listening and occasionally even watching Food Network and/or The Cooking Channel while the rest of this all transpires.
So, there I am surfing the internet for information that might help me through my first attempt at canning this weekend when I suddenly hear Pioneer Woman speaking to me from the television. The show begins with a tutorial on the biology behind canning fruits and vegetables and she’s basically walking me through the entire process with a step by step guide. I’m not kidding, this stuff happens to me all the time. I took it as a sign from God that this was my moment to learn to can.
And so I got busy. I went through mom’s cookbooks and the internet for bread and butter pickle recipes. I read lots of articles on canning, both old and new. I went shopping for a surprisingly short list of supplies. I made a quick trip to my local farmer’s market for a few extra cucumbers and the grocery store for a couple of spices that I didn’t have in my cabinet. I learned that, like most things (other than brain surgery and rocket science), canning is not hard at all. And like everything else, things have changed, you’ll find a plethora of information out there on the internet these days to make the process easier.
Look around your kitchen cabinets before you buy yet another appliance that you may not need. I didn’t need a canning pot. I have a terrific All Clad pasta pot from William Sonoma that worked great because all you really need is something that will keep your filled jars off the bottom of the pot when you boil them for 15 minutes at the very end of the canning process. My pot is extremely large and the pasta insert worked perfectly.
And although it’s still important to sterilize your lids and jars, you can sterilize these days by placing everything on a baking sheet and putting it in the oven at 175 for 25 minutes. It’s much easier than boiling and helps keep your kitchen cooler too! The lids can be sterilized this way too but everything I read said that keeping them in hot water helps you get a better seal and I liked having boiling water accessible to sterilize my utensils. Cleanliness is essential when you’re canning. I would have made a Rabbi proud, I didn’t even use a wooden cutting board – plastic all the way and my boards were sterilized with bleach and boiling water first.
I’ll be posting my recipe with some step by step photos as soon as my husband edits the pictures so stay tuned. I took the photos myself today but I’ve yet to master the editing process. Give me time, I’ll get this thing down eventually!
I’ll also have my mom’s chocolate sheet cake coming up this afternoon. Yum!
I hope you’re staying cool where ever you are on this Sunday afternoon. It’s hot as blazes here in Texas!