This weekend, I decided to spend some of my spare time trying my hand at canning. It's a great way to preserve summer's bounty and there is something so cool about seeing a row of colorful jars. If anything, it's at least a fun food project. I'm not a total novice when it comes to this topic. My grandmother had a cellar with shelves lined with home-canned goods and I've even played assistant to my parents as a kid. The one time that sticks out in my mind is when we spent all day canning tomatoes and, once we were done, our dog came home covered in skunk spray. Result: lots of freshly canned tomatoes in the bath tub. Despite this history, this was my first time as canner-in-charge and I pretty much had no idea what I was doing.
I decided to do a small batch of pickled banana peppers for my first try. We got them free from Jasen's parents and even if they didn't seal right, they would still last in the fridge for a while due to the pickling. They were a low risk endeavor.
I sliced the peppers and put them in clean, hot jars along with some spices, according to this recipe.
Then I filled the jars with hot pickling liquid, got rid of extra air, and put the lids on. These babies were ready for a hot bath!
To transfer the jars in and out of the pot, I got a little creative. Yes, those are rubber bands wrapped around my tongs. I know there are people out there cringing at this picture right now and I'm one of them. I'm not recommending this method, as it is obviously all kinds of dangerous, but it happened.
Here the jars are boiling away. My pot was just big enough to cover them so there was a little bit of boiling over.
And here are the finished jars! They look so beautiful and I'm pretty proud of myself for success on the first try. Maybe now I'll invest in the appropriate equipment. : )
What is your experience with canning? Expert or novice, let me know in the comments!