Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adventures of a first time canner

About 10 years ago, I decided to cut back on the amout of eat I was eating after I became educated on how much energy went into bring that chicken or that pork to my table.  I started buying meat  from local farmers, but if you live in NYC then you know how expense shopping at the Union Square Farmers Market can be.  When I moved from NYC to Louisville, I had joined Americorps and was completely broke, so buying organic meat from local farmers was out of the question, so I stopped eating meat. 

In recent years, I have started embracing the local movement: buying from local stores, artists, eating at local restaurants, and of course farmer's markets (I never stopped buying my veggies from  them).   I have the secret dream to homestead: raise chickens, have sheep, spend my days making pie, running through fields of wildflowers, and sewing; in Maine, I want all this to happen in Maine.

This past winter as the last of the farmers sold their squashes and I went to the grocery store, I was depressed at the state of my choices in "fresh" produce.  I don't know why the sad state of the lettuce and tomatoes didn't affect me as much in previous years, but this year I was in horror  of the produce they were selling. 

I decided several weeks ago I wanted to start canning and preserving my delish veggies this summer and wanted to practice before the first harvest.  I'd been researching books and decided to purchase "Canning & Preserving" by Ashley English.  I love how pretty the pages are to look at, I am a stickler for pictures in any sort of book that has to do with food.  If there are not pictures, I am not interested in   to cook from it.  This book is not only loaded with pictures, but it's easy to follow.  Ashley makes canning sound so easy that even I could do it.  I told a friend today I had decided to start canning, and he asked what had I made so far.  Despite my enthusiam for wanting to can, I haven't actually done it yet; I am trying to take the sensible approach and read everything before I dive in, elimiating a huge screw up. I've heard a lot of tales about how if you can something the wrong way you can get poisoned, which just confuses me because our grandmothers canned all the time.  So, I would like to find out, how exactly could I get poisoned, do you know?

Do you can? I'd love to hear your feedback, do you find it enjoyable?

Stay tuned for more adventures in canning!

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