For several years I’ve been a novice canner, participating at friends’ houses and, once, helping to throw a huge canning party for the community garden I managed in Seattle. I’ve done my own canning projects using the limited equipment I had on hand, breaking all sorts of rules such as putting jars through a water bath without a rack.
I decided this was the year to become legitimate. It’s been a slow but steady process. For Christmas I got some equipment from my parents, and a few weeks ago a book called Food in Jars caught my eye at the Solar Living Institute in Hopland. Then, last week I finally bought the huge speckled enamel canning pot I’ve had my eye on at Friedman’s, on sale for $18. The only thing missing was inspiration.
It came today. I’ve been slowly working my way through Food in Jars and came upon a recipe for pickled cherries. Eureka! On Monday I bought about two pounds of cherries to start off a Rumpot (inspired by Amber, who has generously given me a jar from her stash the last two years running and which I maniacally hoard). I haven’t gotten around to buying any rum and the cherries were going soft, and the recipe promised me that pickled cherries taste like cherry pie. The decision made itself, really.
Out came the canning supplies, my first opportunity to use them since they became my new toys in December. I did a little happy dance when I discovered just how much good stuff I’d gotten.
Unfortunately, once I had the brine going and the jars in a sterilizing water bath, I discovered I didn’t have any new lids with which to make my seals. To the store! Canning supplies were all on sale so I bought tons of lids and a 12 pack of 1/2 pint jars, plus a gallon of apple cider vinegar.
It wasn’t long before I had the cherries packed in and the brine poured over them, but I only had enough to fill three pint jars. I looked for more things to pickle and settled on the garlic scapes Susan gave me this afternoon after I spent a few hours working in her community garden plot.
Unfortunately THOSE only filled one jar, and I still had a sterilized jar and enough brine for one more. I had pulled up a bunch of radishes today so what the heck, I pickled those, too.
The good news is all the seals took. The bad news is, they’re all kind of ugly! Hopefully they taste better than they look. No matter what, I’m delighted to have broken the seal on the canning season.