This summer I decided that I would learn how to can. I love the idea of being able to preserve fruits and vegetables at their peak and open them up on rainy days. Canning is something that I have always been intrigued by and this year seemed as good as any year to learn how. Armed with the Joy of Canning and a binder full of research and recipes, I began a process of processing.
The idea of canning first came when my friend Elana invited me to go strawberry picking with a group of friends. We ended up picking so many strawberries, the obvious thing to do, was to make jam. The very next day, Elana and I decided to make a variety of strawberry jams. We made straight-up strawberry, strawberry-lavender, strawberry-mint & black pepper and strawberry-rhubarb-ginger. Our first attempt at making the jam was not the success either of us had anticipated, the jam was a little too sweet and did not set properly. Our second attempt resulted in a much more palatable array of jams.
My second canning experience came after a weekend camping trip with my good friend Mie. During our camping trip Mie and I came across a bunch of salmonberry bushes. We picked the berries, having in my mind that I might be able to make salmonberry jelly. On our way back to the city, we also picked up a large basket of gooseberries from a roadside fruit stand. Not knowing what to do with the gooseberries, I decided to make jelly out of that too.
My third experience with canning came when I came across some fresh rhubarb and ginger at the Trout Lake Farmers Market in Vancouver. Rhubarb and ginger are actually two of my favourite flavours so it made perfect sense that I make preserves and marmalade out of these as well. I think by my third experience with canning, I definitely feel more comfortable with the process. I am definitely still a beginner with this, but I look forward to more seasonal fruits and vegetables to can and preserve this summer. I also want to thank, all the individuals who have sampled my jams, gave me their feedback and for taking some of it off my hands. As you can imagine, one person can’t eat that amount of jam that I produced in a two-week span, no matter how good it is!