Wednesday, November 7, 2012
I made my first ever batch of preserves today! I made Ginger Pear Preserves from the Ball Canning recipe collection. It was much simpler than I expected!
I've been wanting to do some canning for a while now, but I hesitated because it seems a little intimidating. You need to sterilize things, have equipment you get from a hardware store, and deal with some light chemistry (pectin? fruit fresh? pH levels?). So, I took a one-hour canning class from Seattle Can Can to learn the basic techniques. Vic, the teacher, has over 35 years of experience preserving foods using the water bath process, and she could not have simplified it more. A few supplies, basically explained, one recipe demoed, and voila. I went home and made this. Well, to be fair I did stop at City Hardware, a local hardware store that has a big canning section, to get some supplies. And I went to the farmers' market to get pears - because why not use the local ones if I'm going to all the trouble to make jam myself? This led me into a great conversation with the woman at the booth, who is the only one of her five siblings to carry on the canning tradition of their family, about preserves, some tips she had, some pear type recommendations - all kinds of stuff which was both useful and a good reminder to talk to the people at the farmers market.
I won't presume to write anything about canning, lest I send someone on the path to mistakes, but I would say to give it a go and talk to someone who does know what they're doing if you have questions. It makes me happy to think about how this one thing got me to meeting a local teacher, local farmer, and local hardware store.