That is the sound of success. Success, preparedness, and tasty pickles.

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I dabble in home canning. I would secretly (not so secretly) love to grow, put up, and eat my own produce all year long. This would not be an easy feat in Minnesota, but it would be possible. It would just take planning. And spreadsheets. Oh, the spreadsheets it would take! Alas, I have a day job and many interests, and I really like bananas and coconut, so a 100 mile or similar locavore diet is probably not in my future.

I started out in home canning making jam. Jam is tough to mess up. Even if it doesn’t jell right, you still have ice cream topping or a yogurt stir in. I also pickle beets every year from the garden I keep up at my parents’ house. We usually put up 17 pints of beets. (I have extras and it’s almost time to pickle beets again, so…place your orders.) I tried canning tomatoes once – wayyyyyy too much work. You know you have to peel each one of those suckers? I’m going to have to get real ambitious before I go down that path again.

Today, I branched out my pickling skills. Every now and then, particularly when we grill or have pulled pork in the crock pot, I have taken to just pulling whatever pickles we have and eating them with it. Usually it’s dill pickles, sauerkraut, pickled beets, or marinated carrots (really, a refrigerator pickle). I don’t really have to work hard when we grill or have a crock pot dinner, which might be why I can’t bring myself to make a vegetable. Why would I mess up such a great lazy opportunity?! Today I made Dilly Beans and Jardinière. Both will be great to just bust out and eat with whatever. Or to bring to a cookout (people love that trick). The Jardinière does have sugar in it – I did my research and it looks like eliminating the sugar would lead to mushy veggies. I’m not really sure how crisp they’re expected to stay in a jar of liquid that they were boiled in for 15 minutes…but hey. I’m not a food scientist. Speaking of which, I’m not posting recipes because you really should get yourself the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I’m not going to inauthentically pass off other recipes as my own, and it’s only considered safe to use tested, published recipes. While home canning is extremely safe while done as instructed, if you tinker with the recipe and affect something like the acidity of it…you might have a bout of botulism. So, yes, go forth and can! but do so responsibly, won’t you?

Bil kinda hates vinegar, so these might not be things he eats. We are planning to get a big ol’ kraut crock, so lactofermented veggies are in our future. Beets, carrots, cabbage…oh my! (Now, THOSE recipes I can post…)

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