Home canning is getting its close-up, a revival that was bound to happen eventually. It’s funny how trends sneak up. I began to think about canning as I gravitated more and more toward a local diet. I would eye the mountains of August heirloom tomatoes on my counter and wonder how possibly will I ever live without tomatoes in the winter? “Put some up” I’d hear myself saying, although I know nothing about canning. Slowly friends would start telling me about their adventures in canning, and soon I realized, yes, this is becoming a trend.
And I’d venture to say that the trend became official a few weeks ago with the publication of the article, “Fresh Vegetables, by the Jarful,” in the New York Times. According to the story, home food preservation is enjoying a renaissance due to “increasing food costs, concerns about food safety, green sensibilities and a new appreciation of all things natural. Numbers are hard to come by, but Elizabeth L. Andress, project director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation in Athens, Ga., has noticed a definite surge in interest. She estimated that calls to the center had risen 25 percent in recent months.” So there you go, canning’s hot.
Now I have to admit, I am deeply attracted to the idea of canning. But with no farm mom to have shown me the ropes, terms like Clostridium botulinum leave me a little wary. That said, I have a friend who is a canning expert of sorts, and she assures me it is easy as pie. Essentially, you just sterilize the jars, fill them up, wipe them down, and boil them for a certain amount of time. Sounds good to me. Poking around a bit, I ended up at Ball (jar producer) Web site–where I stumbled upon this step-by-step tutorial on home canning. So with that in hand, wish me luck. I am going to buy as many heirloom tomatoes as my totes will tote this weekend and the greenmarket, and hop on this trend before it’s too late (meaning when tomato season is over and I’m crying in my kale and potatoes).
Do any of you have experience in preserving food? I’d love to hear about you adventures in canning–leave your comments below.
For detailed information on canning, including methods and recipes, visit National Center for Food Preservation. The site also has comprehensive information about how to preserve food by freezing, drying, curing and smoking, fermenting, and pickling.