Sunday, September 13, 2009

Canning Without Fear

Last year, I feared botulism. Then, a delicious pot of dill pickles cast down that fear. Canning is easy. Sterilise, make sure the rim is clear, the contents are hot and deposit into boiling water. If it doesn't seal, then you've got a problem.

So far I've made three things to can. The first were dill pickles. I bought a huge bush of dill, a few dozen small pickling cucumbers (small tastes better than big, the latter seeming to have all its flavour disolved), and fresh organic garlic. The garlic was really the highlight. It was so fresh that the paper around the individual cloves hadn't yet dried. I crushed them and they smelled totally different from the stuff at the supermarket. Almost like a medium strong cheese.

I then made a tomatillo and chipotle pepper salsa, trying to emulate the one from Frontera which is apparently inspired by Varacruz, Mexico. The ingredients read as follows: tomatillos, tomatoes, onions, water, garlic, salt thyme, chipotle chiles, sugar. I did exactly that, with proportions depending on the order in which they're written on the bottle. My error was in not roasting the garlic and tomatillos which is how the Frontera salsa was made. Instead, I pureed everything and then cooked it in a pot. Delicious but not true to what I was trying to emulate. For now, I've got 1500 milliliters of salsa canned and waiting to be eaten. Next time the tomatillos, those beautiful green apple tasting tomato-like individually wrapped delicacies will get a good roasting before they make their way into the canning pot.

Finally, I made apple butter. Those details can be read in the blog entry below (Wild Apple Butter).

One day, I'll have a crawlspace full of of canned goodies, mostly containing things from my own gardens, that will feed me and my family throughout the cold winters of Canada. Plus there might be a cask or two or six of beer and cider and fruit wines. It wouldn't be unreasonable to say that there will also be a root cellar heaping with vegetables, a few racks of ripening cheeses, and poles with curing charcuteries. And a passive solar greenhouse keeping the season going despite the snow. One day. In a hopefully not-too-distant future.

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