The Canning Season

I dabbled a bit in canning last year after reading a delicious-sounding recipe for peach salsa. It was quite an adventure, given that I ‘made do” with whatever equipment I had in my kitchen¬† (i.e. nothing!) at the time. The salsa, nonetheless, turned out well and I was pretty enamoured with canning. Enter Christmas, and a wonderfully thoughtful beginners’ canning kit gift from my in-laws, and I was simply counting down the days to the late summer harvest.

In August, I began reading foodie blogs in earnest to prep for the season. It was on several of them that I was invited to enter a contest to win a copy of a new (and highly-touted) book by Canadian blogger, Amy Bronee, aptly named The Canning Kitchen. And whaddaya know? I won!

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So began my season of canning! Over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing my experiences with canning five different recipes this year. And today, I’ll start with the one that was the easiest – crunchy dill pickles.

As with all my canning adventures, I began at St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, where I picked up my straight-from-the-farm ingredients – a huge bunch of dill, 1/2 bushel of pickling cucumbers, and seriously fresh, locally-grown garlic. I had the rest of my ingredients on-hand at home, including pickling vinegar (it’s just white vinegar with 7% acetic acid) and pickling salt (available wherever canning supplies are sold).

Can I just say that this recipe couldn’t be simpler? I scrubbed my cukes in water, cut them into spears, tossed them into my jars with dill and garlic, and covered them in the boiled brine (vinegar, water and salt). For you sticklers, here’s some visual inspiration…

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Of course, I followed the processing recommendations in the recipe – which was a snap with my new-fangled canning supplies. I could fit 10-500 ml jars at a time in my pot and rack combo, and removing them from their 20-minute hot water bath was so much easier with a jar lifter.

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In terms of difficulty, this recipe and process was easily beginner-proof. I’d recommend it to newbie canners just starting out for sure! And the results? 15-500 ml jars of crunchy dills that are ridiculously sought-after by family and friends (really!). Just the confidence booster I needed to set the stage for the rest of my canning adventures!

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So don’t let fear of the unfamiliar hold you back –¬† if I can do it, anyone can (get it?)! Happy canning :).

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