Monday was our relaxation day this weekend. I decided it was a good day to take a deep breath and do some canning. I’ve canned things before (once I made strawberry rhubarb jam with a friend and last year for my birthday my sister signed us up for a quick canning course at Sur La Table in California), but I’ve never done it by myself. This year I decided I was really going to try to preserve as much as I could from our garden and that means home canning. I have been nervous about doing it on my own, but my first harvest-able crop was at risk of spoiling because I have been putting it off due to nerves. So I took a deep breath and just did it. I am happy to report it seems to have been a success. All seven jars of the radish relish that I made popped and I was ridiculously thrilled. The relish contains: 2 pounds or grated radishes, 2 inches of fresh grated ginger, 1 cup of onions, 2 cups of white distilled vinegar 5% acidity, 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 tblsp kosher salt, 1 tblsp yellow mustard seed, 1tblsp cumin seed, and 1 tblsp coriander seed. It was really such a thrill to hear and see those pretty little jars filled with pinkish goodness “pop” and I can’t wait to taste this on a grilled hot dog or sausage. The recipe, and instructions for canning, came from the book “Put ‘Em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling,” by Sherri Brooks Vinton.
Weighing radishes on my new scale – 2 pounds exactly!
The relish boiling on the stove.
The set up on the stove – the relish boiling next to the canning pot.
Ladling the relish into jars using the canning funnel.
Putting the lids on the jars – the final steps before putting the jars in the boiling water to process (thanks Mike, for taking this one!).
All seven popped and cooling on the counter.
I’ve been too nervous to can. I want to buy up all the ramps I can and make ramp kimchi and pickles but I’m sooo nervous I’ll mess it up!
I was too. The book I referenced in this post is great (it has all kinds of methods for preserving food), but this book… http://www.powells.com/biblio/18-9781584798644-0 “Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry” by Liana Krissoff is actually better in terms of making you less scared. Krissoff talks about how she was afraid she was going to kill people with her canned goods when she first wanted to start canning (which resonates, right?), and then goes on to tell you why you shouldn’t worry about it if you follow some simple rules. She does this briefly and succinctly at the beginning of the book. It’s an expensive book though, so if you don’t want to invest in it you could get it from the library and at least read the beginning of the book. I promise it will make you feel like you can do this!