A recent boom in canning, especially among younger people, has led to innovations in recipes, bringing new life to an old practice. Many bloggers and websites offer recipes, tips, and techniques for the canning hobbyist.
I started canning when I got a book of small-batch canning recipes. Canning in small batches (3-4 half-pint jars at a time) allows you to experiment without fear of ruining quarts and quarts of jam. It also takes less time, space, and effort – perfect for those of us in small apartments!
I think canning appeals to people today for many reasons:
- Its emphasis on using local seasonal foods. It’s an extra challenge, but heading to the local farmer’s market to see what’s available for canning fosters a connection with your local community in addition to the environmental benefits of eating seasonally and locally.
- Its retro appeal. Canning taps into the current fascination with mid-century American culture. I also feel a personal connection to my past – recreating some of my great-grandmother’s recipes has been really fun!
- Increased interest in knowing what goes into our food. When you make it yourself, you know exactly what the ingredients are and where they’re sourced.
- The growing fascination with homemade, artisanal products. Canning is hipster!
My favorite things to can include jams and pickles. Sweet jams are great stirred into plain yogurt, and pickles and more savory jams liven up a cheese plate.
Try it yourself! My favorite resources:
- Foodinjars.com by blogger Marisa McClellan; also her books Food in Jars, Preserving by the Pint (small batch recipes), and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars
- Davidlebovitz.com; lots of other great recipes too!
- Freshpreserving.com; site for Ball and Kerr canning equipment; has lots of tips and techniques to get you started
- National Center for Home Food Preservation; nchfp.uga.edu
A note on food safety: Make sure to use trusted recipes and follow all instructions carefully! Improperly processed food can be dangerous.