I am an organizer, can’t help it, so canning season is yet another reason to get my organization on. Being prepared for canning is a crucial component of creating a safe, delicious, quality product; it’s not just for the type A personality!
I have a rolling cart that all my canning supplies go on so I can roll it into my (small) kitchen when I need them and into the pantry when I don’t. It makes things easier to keep track of and restock when supplies are low. Getting into the middle of a canning project and not having enough pectin, lids, or vinegar is incredibly frustrating.
* Keep your kitchen clean
* Dedicate a set of towels, dishrags, and cutting boards for canning only
* Get your wooden spoons, bubble freers, kettles, measuring cups, and the like out and ready.
* Check your jars for cracks or chips, recycle or use battered ones for freezing
* Check rings. If they’re rusty, out they go.
* Replace your pectin; it stays good for about a year. I love Pamona’s pectin (when not using the apple pectin I made the year before) which uses calcium instead of sugar as the gelling agent allowing the use of honey, agave, stevia, fruit juice and the like as sweetener in ANY amount desired. It can be found in small boxes at Fred Meyer or in small AND bulk quantities to share with friends at the Vancouver Food Cooperative online store (www.vancouverfood.coop).
* Stock up on vinegar for quick pickling: white, balsamic, wine as long as it has a minimum of 5% acidity!
* Invest in that new pickling crock or canner; you know you want to.
* Have your pressure canner dial, rings, and condition checked with the WSU Master Food Preservers BEFORE canning this year. It literally could save your life.
This is just the beginning of canning season with pints and quarts of pickled jalepenos, green beans, blueberry pie filling, spaghetti sauce, salsa, peaches, mushrooms, applesauce, raspberry jam, and crabapple jelly to come! I hope to see you at a waterbath, pressure canning, or pickling class this summer!