Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Can You Can (and preserve)?


Canning and preserving: never done it, and probably never will. But I quite enjoy it when other people give me canned/preserved food. 

A couple of weeks ago, two friends of mine while on a camping trip on the Olympic Peninsula bought about a bushel of rhubarb. (For those of you on the metric system, a bushel is about 36 liters.) They apparently encountered a kindly farmer who was selling the stuff cheap, so they bought a lot. They decided to stop at a Wal-Mart to buy Ball jars and other canning supplies with the end goal of making some scrumptious rhubarb jelly. 

Cut to last week and me in their kitchen accepting a big jar of spicy rhubarb jelly. See? They did all the canning and preserving work, and I benefit! But I was doing them a favor, because they had about two dozen cans of the stuff.

I stupidly did not ask where they got the jelly recipe, because this stuff is really good. Here’s a recipe I found, but my friends’ version seemed to simply be mashed rhubarb mixed with red chili paste. It tasted like spicy strawberries. Absolutely excellent.

And though I’m too slothful to get my hands dirty and can stuff, I definitely endorse the process. It’s a romantic labor, with a low risk, high reward end result. It involves a lot things I enjoy, too, like boiling water, fresh fruit (or vegetables) and vacuums. It’s also deeply American, like distilling moonshine (though more legal), or making venison jerky. At any rate, if you haven’t canned, do it. If you already can, keep it up. Chef Tools has put together a great canning supplies kit. We also have a pretty wide selection of individual canning equipment if you need to beef up your canning/preserving arsenal. 

Happy canning. And be sure to send me a sample!
Post a Comment