Skip to main content

Because I Can Can Can

Apologies to all Moulin Rouge fans for the post title - I never really took to that movie but I am a HUGE Ewan McGregor fan (oh, the Scottish accent and his fearless roles, especially in the cult classic Velvet Goldmine), but I digress...

I'm up on here today to tell you all about canning/preserving and how satisfying it is - yes, that thing that your grandmomma/grandma/gran/MeeMaw does or used to do. Canning, or "putting up/laying up" as it is colloquially known, is a great way to make use of particular produce you love and want to enjoy year-round.

My lovely friend C. taught me how to do it last summer and I have really, really, really enjoyed all the things I have canned thus far. I'm not really into pickling or preserving a lot of veggies, except for tomatoes, but I love making fruit spreads like jams, preserves, chutneys, butters, etc.

Yesterday I took to the stove in my wee hot-as-hell-kitchen and made seven pints of strawberry jam. It went a little something like this...

First, I rinsed and hulled very many berries - nine cups, to be exact.

Then, I crushed the berries in pot and boiled that mixture for 10 minutes

Meanwhile, my stock pot boiled water to process the jars ...

and my lids simmered, whilst I tried to keep cool with many glasses of ice water.

After the berries were cooked, I added mucho sugar and some lemon juice and this cooked for about 20 minutes...

After I tested the mix for jelling, I ladled the berry goodness into jars.

(Hot kitchen equals not a hot photo. Good grief.)

After they were all securely capped, I processed the jars in the stock pot for 15 min. and then took them out to cool.

I can't wait to taste this and to hopefully share with friends and family!

Thanks to Scott for picking up the berries at the Takoma Park Farmers Market! Thanks to my friend C. for showing me how it's done, and thanks to the spring season and the farmers who grew these lusciously sweet strawberries for me to use and enjoy. I love fresh food!!!!


  1. First of all, you look GREAT!! I can totally tell that your hard work is paying off :-)

    Secondly, I am mad jealous of your canning skills. Teach me Sensei Erin!! The jam looks delicious and strawberries are my fav.

    Way to rock it Mee Maw!

  2. I heart you, Beth! Thanks so much for the nice words. I is tryin'.

    C. and I almost canned at the time, maybe, if we can pull ourselves away from the sun and fun to work hard in the kitchen.

    I will see to it that you get yourself a little jam!

  3. Had a great time biking with you after you finished canning!!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Best Way to Keep Cannoli Fresh and Other Baltimore Stories

My mom and step-dad were up visiting for Thanksgiving and after gorging ourselves on turkey and the sites of D.C., I took them on a day-trip to Baltimore.

After a visit to my mom's favorite museum (she's a mosaic artist), we aimed for lunch at Rocket to Venus in Hampden. It was closed for lunch, but our trip up Charles St. wasn't for naught - we stumbled onto residents of 34th St. setting up their Christmas displays! This street is Christmas at its best, or worst, depending on your tolerance/interest in all things Christmas. Erin teases me for being a scrooge, but I have to admit, lights and what-not are nice at this cold and dark time of year.

After a brief walk through Hampden, we aimed for lunch at Kooper's Tavern in Fells Point. The tavern was most certainly open, with rowdy sports fans packing the bar and even spilling onto the sidewalk for fresh-shucked oysters. (My friend Gideon would have camped out right there for their Chincoteagues!) After some deliberati…

Adventures in Gardening

We're back with another edition of "Hey, we used to be bloggers." I am not so sure who reads blogs much anymore (hi Moms!) but hell, if e-newsletters are in again and the '90s "flatform" shoe is making a comeback, maybe we have a shot.

As I nurse a gin and tonic made of nothing but the finest (here's to you, cheap Chek tonic cans from the Mount Pleasant, SC Bi-Lo - sometimes you just buy things to get the job done, especially when you're en route to Vacation Weekend after a slight detour to fix a flat tire on I-26...), I'm mulling over what's happening so far in our garden plots. 
We went Tomato Crazy this year, planting 6+ mixed varieties in our raised beds that kinda-sorta get sufficient sunlight in our backyard, and 8 seedlings in one of our two Winterfield Community Garden plots. Hopefully we'll soon pick beautiful Red Delicious, San Marzano, Black Krim, Blue Gold Cherry, Brandywine, and a few "mystery" tomatoes, and I can …

Tea Time

Fall finally decided to show up here in Charlotte, NC this week.

Hoodies and sweaters were pulled out of closets, socks and slippers donned for the first time in months, and denim could be worn comfortably.

Oh denim. I've never understood people who wear jeans in Southern humidity. They're like sweaty straightjackets for your legs and torso. Skin was meant to breathe, y'all.

So with a chill in the air, one must make certain adjustments in all areas of life, from the closet to the kitchen. Gin & tonics are replaced with red wine. We buy apples and dried fruit for cereal instead of berries. And I trade daily cold drinks of seltzer for my favorite comfort of the cooler seasons - tea.

Scott & I share an affinity for tea, and we have our rituals. "Tea and Books and Bed" is a totally innocent affair that involves piling up with reading material and decaffeinated brews. You do have to watch Scott with tea - one drowsy moment can result in a messy spill, turning …