Things I've Learned

uaskigyrl(7)July 21, 2012

As I round out my 1st year of canning, I've realized that I've learned so much. I've learned:

1. I go through Marmalade like it's water! It's funny though, I don't eat it as marmalade. I end up turning it into sauces & marinades for pork & chicken.

2. I was never into preserves before but now that I've made my own, I like putting a TBSP or two in my morning oatmeal. This has curbed my gnarly sweet tooth exponentially. Probably because I have a little something sweet everyday instead of pigging out on a cake at the end of the week.

3. I prefer fridge pickles over canned pickles.

4. Even though I like preserves, I've learned that I'm not a fan of cherry preserves even though cherries are my favorite fruit. I do, however, love whole canned cherries for cocktails.

5. Homemade sauerkraut is the bomb diggity!

6. Having lemonade concentrate on hand is a God send.

7. I think my favorite thing ever is preserved lemons!

8. Marinated Red Bell Peppers have made a consistent presence in my winter lineup.

9. Having canned fruit makes for a quick snack on top of yogurt!

-And last but not least-

  1. HOLY COW do I go through a lot of tomato products! I've never realized how much tomatoes are in my general cooking until I started processing my own! And, not just regular canned tomatoes but sauces, salsas, ketchup, etc. I had no idea!

My first year was kind of a hodge podge of random preserves because I didn't know what I would actually use. When I canned the ungodly amount of tomatoes that I did last year, I thought surely I wouldn't go through all of them! It's nice having my 1st year under my belt so I can now know how to plan out my canning smartly! There are new things that I'm going to try but I'm going to try to do more vegetables this year.

Thank you everyone for all your help!

uaskigyrl

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malna

After 15+ years of canning, here's what I've learned.

1. Keep my canning supplies organized. I found some stackable plastic boxes in an office supply store. One box holds 36 wide mouth rings and 3 boxes of lids. Another contains my regular mouth lids and rings. A third has tools like my jar lifter, boxes of pectin, citric acid, Pickle Crisp, etc.

After splooching raspberry juice all over one of my favorite canning cookbooks, I wrote a few recipes/procedures on index cards (like my shorthand for Beets, add 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon salt. Vent 10 min, weight on, 30 min pints, 35 min quarts, cool, weight off wait 10 min, open lid) and those go in the toolbox as well. Notes for the next time are written on the back. I use a pencil - pencil remains legible when (not if) the card gets wet.

2. Buy supplies before or after canning season. Inevitably the stores will be totally out of vinegar and canning lids when I just picked 100 pounds of tomatoes to make salsa.

3. Don't waste the produce or time to can something we won't use. I made a ton of relish one year and realized we, um, don't eat relish. It did make nice gifts though.

4. Keep a list on the fridge of what you have made, so you don't forget about that case of delicious lime-chipotle sauce that you could have used a zillion times since you made it.

5. Be more creative how we cook with canned goods. The runny strawberry-rhubarb jam is fabulous over ice cream, pound cake, or yogurt. A jar of salsa mixed into cooked rice makes a quick, yummy Spanish rice. Piccalilli is great on hot dogs and sausages instead of sauerkraut.

6. You will always need more canning jars. Somehow shelf space does not miraculously grow at the same rate.

7. The day after canning beets, when you take the dog out to do his morning business, he is not internally hemorrhaging to death. He has simply gotten into the compost and eaten about a gallon of assorted beet greens, trimmings and peels. This too shall pass and does not necessitate a trip to the emergency vet. Ask me how I know.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 1:20PM
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cannond

The day after canning beets, when you take the dog out to do his morning business, he is not internally hemorrhaging to death.

Oh, now you tell me. And it isn't just dogs.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 1:36PM
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uaskigyrl(7)

OMG! I'm laughing so hard at the dog story! I can just imagine how scared you were and your dog being all, "Why is this crazy lady taking me to the evil vet?!"

I have to agree with you on the creative part! I have gotten much more creative in my cooking!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 8:27PM
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