Apparently yesterday, October 23, was National Canning Day. I knew nothing of this holiday, until it started to pop up on my Facebook feed. I feel this holiday is a bit late, as with my last batch of fig spread a few weeks ago, I deemed Canning Season officially closed. I’m sure I could find more things to put in jars, there are still apples, figs and probably late tomatoes. But I’ve run out of shelving, I’ve put my pot back up on the top shelf, and frankly- I’m exhausted, so I’m calling it done for the year.
I did not come from a family that has a history of preserving. My mom might have done a few jars of apricot jam growing up, but I never remember seeing a stockpile of mason jars in our house. The only preserving I can clearly remember was she dumped raspberries in a jar of booze and set it on the top shelf, telling me she was making cordial. I would sneak sips when she wasn’t home, and all I remember was tasting sugar. I certainly didn’t learn how to can from my grandmother- I don’t think I’ve ever seen her over a stove for more than a few minutes.
I taught myself how to can- about 6 years ago when I was living in an itty bitty A-frame granny-unit with only a sink and 2 burner hot plate for a kitchen. I rather impulsively bought a flat of peaches from the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market, and suddenly had to learn how to blanch, peel, and safely can. After that, I moved on to peach jam, foraged blackberry jam (which turned into blackberry brick- determining the jellying point is HARD!!!), and then when I learned about the BPA issue in canned goods, started processing tomatoes as well.
I took an afternoon class to make sure what I was doing was correct and I wasn’t going to kill myself or Matt with Botulism. As canning started to be come much more accessible and trendy, the canning section of my home library expanded beyond my original Ball Blue Book. I started trolling website focusing solely on preserving and making up my own jam concoctions. When I moved to a larger apartment, I had a better kitchen but still no storage, so jars lived in the coat closet, on bookshelves, behind the couch and under the bed.
Since then, I’ve seriously upgraded my from that 2-burner hot plate. This year, with working on my new 6-burner Blue Star range and a giant-ass sink that could be a bathtub, canning season was significantly easier. I also have a walk-in pantry where I can actually find, and SEE, what I’ve put up.
I’m always working to determine exactly how much of something I actually need. I need to get better at tracking what I make and what I use. But I have improved this year, and actually LABLED my jars (novel concept, I know!). I know I should have put up more cans of tomatoes, and last year, I made enough apple butter to keep a small country stocked with spread.
So without further ado, here is my:
canning inventory for 2014.
Jams & Sweet Preserves:
- 5 4-oz jars Spiced Apple Butter, leftover from 2013, from Canning for a New Generation
- 8 4-oz jars of Fig, Orange & Cinnamon Preserves, adapted by from http://cookcanread.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/fig-orange-jam/
- 7 half-pint jars of Blackberry Jam with Lemon Zest, made without pectin, from Canning for a New Generation
- 21 half-pint jars of Vanilla Pear Jam, from my own adaptation
- 6 half-pint jars of Caramel Cardamon Pear Jam, from http://heartbeetkitchen.com/2014/recipes/caramel-cardamom-pear-jam/
- 3 half-pint jars, leftover from 2013 of Peach Jam, source forgotten
- 8 4-oz jars of Chocolate Pear Spread, from http://foodinjars.com/2013/01/pear-and-chocolate-jam/
- 4 half-pint jars of Mystery Pink Jam, which I’m 99% sure is White Peach & Plum with a 50% chance of some spice, possibly with cinnamon (obviously I missed the labeling on this one….)
Chutneys & Savory Preserves:
- 4 half-pints of Green Tomato Chutney, from Food in Jars
- 6 half-pints of Slow-Roasted Fig Preserves with Lemon, from Canning for a New Generation
- 8 half-pint jars of Pear, Port & Thyme Conserve, plus 2 half-pint jars leftover from 2013, from Well-Preserved
- 5 4-oz jars & 3 half-pint jars of Spicy Tomato Jam, from http://foodinjars.com/2010/09/tomato-jam/
- 5 half-pint jars, leftover from 2013 of Apple Pear Chutney, source forgotten
- 2 half-pint jars, leftover from 2012, recently found in a box while finally unpacking it, of Green Tomato Relish
- 4 pint jars of Classic Dill Pickles, from Food in Jars
- 3 pint jars of Bread & Butter Zucchini Pickles, from a Martha Stewart magazine cutout from years ago
- 7 pint jars of Tomato Salsa, which turned to vinegary and didn’t really like, from Food in Jars
- 9 half-pint jars & 1 pint jar of Roasted Tomato-Garlic Salsa, from The Art of Preserving
- 12 pint jars of Seasoned Tomato Sauce, from the Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving
- 2 pint jars & 10 quart jars of Crushed Tomatoes, packed in own juice, from Ball Blue Book
- 2 pint jars & 6 pint jars left from 2013 of Tomato Juice, from Ball Blue Book
- 4 pint-jars leftover from 2013 of Cinnamon Applesauce, from Ball Blue Book
- 6 quart jars leftover from 2013 of Apple Pie Filling, source unknown and my apples were to soft so they’ve turned into Spiced Crushed Apples, that I don’t know what to do with (hence still being here….)
As always, I love to hear from you! Leave me a comment! Are you still preserving or have you called it done for the year? What was your favorite thing you put up? What the hell do you do with so much apple butter!?