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January 22, 2014

Crafting with Food - Canning!

Hi readers!  I hope this message finds you all doing well!  Here in Pennsylvania, the winter continues to plug on.  The weather has been warmer this week than usual, but still quite cold!  During the winter, cooking is still one of my favorite hobbies and using quality ingredients is still important to me.  In the past year I spent LOTS of time canning again -- and now have some super incredible foods to eat all winter long!

Let me start here by telling you how absolutely simple it is to be good at canning.  All you need is some self confidence, fresh produce and EXCELLENT RESOURCES.  Those are the most important.  I'll share some of my favorites with you at the end of my blog post!  Canning has allowed me to utilize all of my extra cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes from my garden as well as fresh produce from local farmers markets that I didn't grow myself.  Here's a picture of some of my homemade goodness from this year:
Things I canned this year included:
Strawberry Vanilla Jam * Chopped Tomatoes * Blueberry Lemon Syrup * Pickled Cucumbers * Pickled Hot Peppers * Pickled Garlic * Sweet Chili Sauce * Tomato Jam * Apple Butter * Green Tomato Chutney * Spicy Pepper Relish * Bread and Butter Pickles

Of course, food preservation is not just limited to jars in the cupboard!  I have also made homemade extracts, frozen pesto and cranberry sauce, and dried herbs and spice mixes! 

Again, having REALLY good canning/preserving books is key to being successful with canning and I recommend that you do a LOT of reading before you buy any supplies or attempt water bath canning for the first time.  Here are my favorite resources:

1.  Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan 
This book has excellent guides for the first time canner as well as some seriously tasty recipes!  This was my first canning book and she also has an EXCELLENT blog to go with the book:

2. Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

The tried and true best canning guide for EVERYONE.  This comprehensive guide has great tutorials and LOTS of recipes as well as great guides on both water bath canning AND pressure canning.  I haven't ventured into pressure canning yet but if I ever do this will definitely be the book for it!

3. The Little Book of Home Preserving, by Rebecca Gagnon
This little book packs a lot of punch with great and unique recipes and is an incredible steal at a price of about $9.  It's not the first book  you want to buy but once you get your canning "sea legs" so to speak this is a fabulous addition to your cookbook shelf!

Sorry for the long post but this is one of the ways I've been getting my creative juices flowing lately!  I'm looking forward to sharing some of my recent sewing and knitting projects, other pinterest projects and *hopefully* getting inky too very soon!  Until next time readers -- thanks for sticking with me through another long post!  =) 

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