I'm happy to report that the canning is happening! Remember my big hairy audacious plans? My evil plans are slowly unfolding and the jars are accumulating. True to my nature, the plan has, um, evolved a little. I'm making some of the stuff originally on the list, but... each time I leaf through my favorite canning books or, say, spy some awesome peaches or fresh-dug garlic... my greedy canning brain (what, you don't have one?) kicks into overdrive. Waitaminute, I could CAN that.
Let me reassert my total love for my favorite canning book: Canning for a New Generation, Bold Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry, by Liana Krissof. If you're into canning and want to make some recipes that are totally unique and updated in terms of flavor combos, pick this one up. The sheer number of recipes is staggering, and they're all so interesting. There's the old-school jam and jelly stuff, but then there's also recipes for stuff like fermented yard-long beans, Persian tarragon pickles, Japanese nuka fermentation.
So, what have I made so far?
Pickled Asparagus | from Eugenia Bone's Well Preserved -- another awesome book I mentioned earlier.
Meyer Lemon & Rose Petal marmalade | from Canning for a New Generation (CNG). My first marmalade, and it's a a great recipe, if a little labor intensive (worth it). The rose petal taste is super subtle.
Pickled Tuscan Kale with Habanero | from CNG. The flavors are still melding or whatever they do in those jars, so I haven't tasted yet. But, the kale was from my garden, and it should be quite spicy, so I'm giving it a premature thumbs up. Oh, and: the recipe in CNG that got the garden shears in my hand was this: drain a jar of spicy kale and then dip little tangles (along with sweet potato slices) in tempura batter. Fry up until puffy and devour over rice with a sweet drizzling sauce made with the pickling liquid. Am I crazy or does that sound awesome.
Strawberry & Lemon preserves | Just awesome, also from CNG. With the rind-on slices of lemon in there, it's an interesting riff on classic low-sugar preserves. Next time, I would add a vanilla bean.
Strawberry & Lavender jam | from CNG. The lavender is from my garden and it's pretty subtle... just makes the jam a bit more interesting. Me like.
Next up for this weekend (probably):
Peach, Mango & Habanero hot sauce | from CNG. People, I like the spice.
Pickled Garlic, a few different ways | from CNG. I had a little garlic mishap in the garden: the tops got shaded out by the fava forest, and the papery outer wrappers just disappeared both above the ground and below. Woops. So I dug up a basket full of perfectly "peeled" garlic that needs to be used pronto. Paging, doctor canning pot. Some half-pint jars will be spicy, some less so... I have a feeling a certain toddler might want to try. He loves him some pickles.
And then later...
Spicy Carrots, and then perhaps I'll be able to knock off some of the Summer items on the Can Plan list. One season at a time.
Are you doing any canning this year? I keep thinking of having a canning party, but so far this stuff is happening randomly during naps and after successful early bedtimes. Someday!