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Monday, July 25, 2011

I can CAN CAN

Canning is something that has intrigued me for awhile, but I can honestly say I wasn't planning on making jam or preserves or other canned fruit to make it through the long winter.  Simply for the fact that I have issues with consuming too much sugar. If you didn't know it already canned items are typically PACKED with sugar or corn syrup for preservation means. I know I could use a sugar alternative, but what am I gonna spread it on? Bread? Gluten-free bread isn't all that and I want to make something that I am going to love and be able to use in a pinch. Yes, I know that canning isn't all about jams and jellies or salsa, but it is an easy way out when deciding to make an investment of time and money.

I've made large quantities of applesauce and green soups before, but instead of canning I've frozen these lovely items and stored them in a large freezer. The problem with this method is that the power could go out. So there is a real possibility that you could lose all that food and hard work if that happens, however unlikely. I never grew up canning or even knowing people who canned, until recently. My family is from the east coast so there was no family farm to inspire me. However, in the last few years I have been thinking more about canning.  As a health coach you'd think that this would be right up my alley. Yet, I am a city girl at heart and I want to make things as easy and simple as possible (like making homemade bread in the bread machine). I love good healthy food, but convenience still trumps most things in my life as well as my clients' lives

The main obstacles for me were 1. figuring out what to can (soup, meats, veggies) and 2. whose gonna join me? Canning is a social activity and I am always looking for ways to spend more time with my family and friends. 




Last year I was sent a lovely book called "The Fresh Girl's Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving" by Ana Micka. This quick read came with a little DVD and I watched it with interest after about 8 months of procrastination of course. The DVD was somewhat helpful, but I think that watching videos online for specific steps in the process would be just as useful. In fact, I only care about the nuts and bolts of things and so I would say the DVD could have done a better job with just showing the process versus all the little chit chat. However, I did learn from it and I was happy to review it. It is an adorable book and I have found it useful as a total canning novice. Plus, I'd even watched my housemate can this past year and she makes it look simple and easy, but she has been doing this for years.

I gathered a few of my friends together for this first adventure into canning. We had a pre-planning date and reviewed books and purchased jars.


And in the end we decided to keep it simple and just can applesauce. We purchased 36 lbs of apples.


We luckily had access to this Vitorio Strainer which removes the peels for you after you cook up the apples. Great gadget!


 Then we went to town making applesauce and rocking out to 80/90's music while we worked (this is probably my favorite thing about canning though not required).


In the end there was 21 jars of sauce. Which was great because it was an even split between the 3 of us. You can see from the picture its pink. The mixture of 5 different apples gave us this pretty color.


We have another date set on the calendar and we have already decided to can chutney and pickles. So as you can imagine it was fun.  As a bonus our menfolk grilled up dinner and so on the whole it was an awesome day!

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