I am not going to do knitting for the K post because that is too predictable, especially from me. So, I cheated a bit and I am going to do canning for K since at least the first letter sounds like a K. It’s my blog and I reserve the right to do as I please ;-). Anyway, I have been canning all weekend…by that I mean 12 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday. This is my first real go at canning. I am starting this year because for a while Henry and I have really been interested in where our food is coming from and what goes in it. In early spring we decided that we were going to take down a few trees, build a retaining wall and have a really big garden. It is not finished as it was a bigger undertaking than I first thought, but it will be ready for next year. I decided to stick my feet in the canning pool this year using vegetables that someone else grew. We have a really good farmers market in Nashville, so I made a trip last Friday and stocked up on some in season favorites and supplemented with some items that were regional like peaches, as well as some things that are a little further afield…lemons. My mom let me borrow my grandmother’s water bath canner and a bunch of canning books. I also bought a pressure canner because I knew some things we would want were not acidic enough to be safe in the water bath canner.
I made lemon curd, peach salsa, peach and almond jam with thyme, red pepper jelly, tomatoes and preserved lemons (salt preservation, no canning for it). I have to say that while it was not the easiest thing I have ever done, it was not the hardest either. I do think it is going to prove enjoyable and very, very satisfying and will get easier as I develop a system. The only real issue I had was something called “siphoning.” This happens when the contents of a canned item migrates from the jar into the pressure canner. This happens when the pressure changes too rapidly….the pressure changed too rapidly in my case because I failed to read the part that suggests leaving the items in the canner for five minutes after the pressure returns to zero and after you have removed the vent weight. Live and learn…I had to reprocess the lemon curd. now, the taste did not change, but the color changed significantly. The lemon curd was a beautiful sunny yellow until the second run through the pressure canner…now it is a muddy brown. I have photographic proof of all of this activity below….even the mud brown lemon curd. We have already been into everything and found it to be well worth the effort. I know it will be doubly worth it this winter when we can relive the glory days of summer through food.