Monday, November 8, 2010

My First Canning Experiment

I'll admit, I've been a little reluctant to get my feet wet in the canning waters. Not sure why, other than it just seemed like a big amount of prep and possibly a bigger amount of mess and I was just never ready to put in the time. I was always missing some key ingredient and I couldn't can whatever fresh fruit I had at the time because by the next trip to the market it was less than fresh. Then the next time I'd have something new and fresh to can, I would be missing a different key ingredient for that recipe. Getting tired of this crazy cycle, I just decided to make something pretty simple for the first go-round: pizza sauce. Not all of the tomatoes were fresh off the vine, but they were fresh enough.  Besides, you can't tell me that the store bought canned tomatoes are all cooked the day they are picked. I am sure those tomatoes sit around for days before they are processed.

The canning process was a little hard to figure out at first. The instructions on the canning box seem to be written backward to me, then I realized that I was reading it backward. I was almost afraid to touch the jars after I washed them, afraid of contaminating them. I didn't realize that everything was going to have the hell boiled out of it anyway, so it really didn't matter. After I got the jars filled with sauce, it seemed like a relatively easy task. I wasn't sure what I had been so afraid of. Then after the jars were processed and I set them on a rack to cool, I began to fret once again. I noticed that some of the jar lids looked wonky. After they cooled for a couple hours, I noticed right away that some of the lids looked suspicious, and with a slight touch they popped right off. I poured those contents into freezer bags and tossed them in the freezer. Out of ten half pints, I ended up with six well sealed jars of pizza sauce. I didn't think it was as bad I had originally feared though. I didn't think any of them would take.

Next, I am going to see about learning to make pomegranate jelly with Lee's mom so that I can see how it's all supposed to be done. There are some things that you just feel better about learning in person rather then going step by step from the pages of a book.

Yesterday I felt like my kitchen had been turned into a pizzeria, as I also made several gluten free crusts to freeze for the wheat- intolerant child of the house, Rowan. Unfortunately his mum is a convenience-food sort of gal and doesn't do a whole lot of made-from-scratch at her house, which means that they never get pizza since gluten free pre-made pizzas are hard to find.  He's always super excited when we make it. I think he asked a dozen times last night if it were ready yet. In fact, he and his brother were so excited about it that they ate more than they normally would have and overstuffed themselves, by the end of dinner they were half asleep from chewing exhaustion. There is absolutely no pizza left today.

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