Take Canning to a New Level
Canning is a great skill to have and, for me at least, a necessary part of my food storage plan. I have been water bath canning for years. I put up enough fruit, jam and pickles to last my family from season to season. If I can get a really good deal on fruit I will even make two years of jam because it stores so well. Pressure canning is still new to me and I have much to learn.
Thankfully, I learned a few new things about both kinds of canning from Daisy Luther’s new book, The Organic Canner.
When you are big batch canning, pectin can get expensive. I’ve been making jam for years and never knew the old fashioned way to make it without pectin. I like to make small batches of jam using chia seed as the thickener, but that gets expensive for big batches too.
Daisy taught me how to process fruit, add sugar and place it in a crock overnight. The next day you drain the fruit for an hour and then you have fruit for jam and juice for making syrup. What a deal and one I will definitely try.
Did you know you can process nuts in canning jars? I had no idea!
Now that I’m living in Texas, I have access to pecans. They were everywhere last fall and I froze my extras. I learned that with just a little prep I can process them in a water bath canner and free up freezer space.
The Organic Canner has step by step instructions for beginning water bath and pressure canners, but no pictures of the process. While the instructions are spot on, I’m a visual learner. If you are too, go find a grandma, enlist a friend, or take a class to teach you the ropes. Then use the recipes to practice and explore.
A Wonderful Recipe Collection
There are twelve sections with detailed recipes covering everything from jam (Blueberry-Lemon looks yummy) to how to make and can soups and stews.
Ready-made meals in jars are such a great idea and there are several recipes sure to become family favorites. We’ll be making Honey Vidalia BBQ Sauce and trying Chicken Cacciatore soon.
I like the big print – there’s no squinting for recipe details.
Who Is This Book for?
Old and new canners alike will appreciate the wonderful recipes. New canners may want to review general procedures before digging in. Most recipes do not have yields, so it may be hard to tell how many jars to prepare before you begin processing. Luckily each recipe has plenty of room for notes, so once you’re finished cooking be sure and jot it down for next time.
I completely agree with Daisy’s quest for organic food. We want our food to be food and not processed food-like substances. In my house, that is not always possible due to budget restrictions. I appreciate that the book is not “snobbish” about organic. Sometimes we can afford it and sometimes we can’t.
The trick Daisy offers in the appendix for removing pesticide from produce is a revelation for me. It opens up more canning (and dehydrating) possibilities so I can scoop up produce when it’s on sale at the grocer. I will definitely use this technique to clean my fruit and produce from now on.
The Organic Canner is a keeper. My recipe collection and pantry are better for it!