This weekend I canned apples. Before I moved to Nebraska, canning anything would have never crossed my mind. Going to an orchard to pick my own apples never crossed my mind, either. Unfortunately, vacation and being sick kept us from prime picking season, but when we went to this pumpkin patch, they had local, harvested apples we could buy. Cool!
I was really nervous about doing this. The word “botulism” comes up quite frequently in the canning books. Yikes! It was really easy, though. To prepare, I bought a stock pot, jar lifter and wide mouth funnel. (The funnel comes in handy on a daily basis around here, since we store lots of things in mason jars.) I got the pint jars from the grocery store and used the Ball Blue Book as my guide. One peck of apples filled six pints almost perfectly.
What I’d really like to do is can soups. I dream of opening up the pantry on a cold, snowy day and pulling out a hearty, homemade soup instead of a can of Campbell’s. Most of the things I’d really like to can need a pressure canner. I’m definitely not ready to make that commitment. I figure I’ll try jam and pickles next and see how things go. Maybe in the Spring I’ll be ready to join a CSA and take the next step.
What about you? Do you grow and can your own produce? Buy from local farms? Love the idea or think it’s crazy? I’m curious!