Friday, June 22, 2012

I Can

My sister Jenny is a canner extraordinaire- turning out massive quantities of beautifully prepared applesauce, apple butter and other various jams. My last visit home got me thinking I’d like to give some canning a try.

Both Jenny and my friend Katie have mentioned the Food In Jars blog as a wonderful resource for canning inspiration, especially small batch canning inspiration.I also checked out the Ball Jar website and found this handy chart. And with berries on sale last week I gathered my supplies- jars, lids, bands, lifter, funnel, an assortment of kitchen towels and a ginormous pot. Then I got to work.

Some things I didn’t really know…
Massive quantities of sugar are involved. The Ball Chart does gives alternative “low sugar” quantities, which I used. Jenny tells me using less sugar makes it more difficult to get the stuff to jell.  But she reassured me -how much jam do you really eat in a sitting?- like a spoon full – not the whole jar….

Another thing I really didn’t know about was the foam that appears. Recipes will mention to skim it off.

Do you know MFK Fisher? 

In the “The Gastronomical Me” she wrote-

“The first thing I remember tasting and then wanting to taste again is the greyish-pink fuzz my grandmother skimmed from a spitting kettle of strawberry jam.”

I'll pass along this bit from the forward to recommend her writing to you-

People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating, and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do?

The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.

Jenny says you can add a tad of butter – that will cut down on the foam- if it bothers you.  Or do what I did and enjoy tasting it.

Blueberry-Lime, raspberry, strawberry and all three berries together-

We’ve spent the week tasting them on oatmeal- over yogurt and ice cream and most fun of all … mixed with yogurt and frozen.

I’ll need to make more if there is to be any saved for next winter

            Happy first weekend of Summer!

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