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canning wrist

June 21, 2010

I made strawberry-rhubarb jam last weekend and after I heard the seals pop, tasted some, and realized I wasn’t going to die and the jars weren’t going to explode, I felt a kind of exhilaration, a rush, a total fruity high.

I could can.
I could can things.
I could can things with enough acidity in them to not give me botulism.

Whoa. Life as I knew it changed right then and there, as those seals made their merry little pops. This past weekend, I spent hours in my kitchen, canning 10 jars of balsamic strawberry jam and 6 jars of spicy pickled carrots. My kitchen was about 95 degrees and I was sweating rivers in a bandana and drinking cold beer; it was glorious. (P.S. The balsamic strawberry is amazing — you just might see a Nosh Friday post on it someday in the near future!)

After about eight hours spent cooking in bare feet (all that canning plus making a lemon meringue pie, the batter for a cornmeal cake and the starters for cornbread), I finally realized why my mother always insists on wearing tennis shoes while cooking a lot. My feet were KILLING me.

So I took a shower, flopped into bed completely exhausted, and popped a movie in. Then about a half-hour into my relaxation, I remembered I had two pounds of red currants that I had picked off the stems and rinsed. Worried they might spoil before the next day (because, you know, they were in the fridge and all…), I decided to get up. At 10:30 pm. And make three more jars of jam.

As I stood over the stove, pressing cooked currant pulp through a strainer with a wooden spoon, I said out loud:

“There is something seriously wrong with me.”

Who gets up after hours and hours of canning jam in 80 degree weather in a house with no air conditioning to make more jam? Sigh. Me, that’s who. (My inner self is officially a 90 year old granny who wears lacy aprons and says things like, “Oh, dear me!”)

Any other canning crazies out there? Anyone? Anyone?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 9:54 pm

    I have some red currants in my freezer. They only last in the freezer about two weeks- but it could buy some extra time (you know, for next time you freak out about spoiling the currants).

    I’m not huge on canning- I wish I were though, because most store bought jam & pickles suck. Maybe I’ll learn soon. Did you use a canning machine or your stove top?

  2. Caroline permalink*
    June 22, 2010 8:21 am

    @ Hilary!

    I just used the stovepot. I have this huge blue pot I bought for $1 at a rummage sale and it’s the perfect canning pot. I just washed and sterilized the jars, filled ’em with jam, and then processed them in boiling water for about 10 minutes, then set them out to cool. I don’t know what it is about canning that just makes me feel…powerful. 🙂

  3. Caroline permalink*
    June 22, 2010 8:22 am

    (And by stovepot, I meant stovetop.)

  4. June 22, 2010 9:45 pm

    I am obsessed with canning – I think I like canned peaches even more than fresh ones.

    Lemon meringue pie is my all-time favorite! Your post has made my mouth water.

    Your blog is wonderful! I’m excited to keep reading!

  5. Caroline permalink*
    June 23, 2010 8:57 pm

    @ Denalee!

    I’m not sure I could love anything like I love fresh peaches. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading, it is a blessing!

  6. Grandma permalink
    June 24, 2010 9:41 am

    ……and I am the recipient of a jar of the lovely balsamic strawbery jam made by lovely Caroline. How lucky!! Thank you, darlin! Grandma

  7. Grandma permalink
    June 24, 2010 9:42 am

    ……and I am the recipient of a jar of the lovely balsamic strawberry jam made by lovely Caroline. How lucky!! Thank you, darlin! Grandma

  8. Mom permalink
    June 24, 2010 4:28 pm

    Your Great-Grandma Neiss would be proud of you! She and the Ball Canning Jar Book taught me everything I know. By the way, I plan to open the jar tomorrow at breakfast.

  9. Caroline permalink*
    June 24, 2010 6:06 pm

    @ Grandma and Mom!

    I have such good genes — no wonder canning comes naturally to me. 🙂 Hope you like the jam! I might put a little on the waffles I’m making for dinner. YUM!

  10. Cassie permalink
    June 30, 2010 1:06 pm

    After meeting you yesterday, (and Jessica’s shameless plug for your blog) I just had to check out carolineclunk.com and, oh my, you are hilarious. I loved this post and the comment about your inner self being a 90 year old granny. Reminds me of who I’d like to be if I had the time and the untensils to do all this lovely stuff. (canning is on my list of things to learn in 2010).

    It was truly great meeting you! I look forward to getting to know you (and the other Mars Hill-ians) better.

  11. Caroline permalink*
    June 30, 2010 3:20 pm

    @ Cassie!

    Haha, I’m so glad you find my wacky sense of humor entertaining. I am really excited you’re part of our group and think this summer will be lots of fun. 🙂 If you ever want a canning partner, let me know! I am no expert, but I think it’s a lot of fun.

    Thanks for reading!

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