first-time canning

various jars

As my Twitter friends know, I tried my hand at canning for the first time recently. Fortunately Jen is canning all the time, so she already had all the tools I’d need. Then I stocked up on jars. We’d signed up for a Brooklyn Swappers event, which was also new to me. So of course I went totally overboard because I wasn’t sure if anything would turn out right.

hot spiced pickled okra

I made two kinds of okra, both from Canning for a New Generation, which I can strongly recommend. This is the hot pepper okra. I tried these the day before the event and wow, they’re amazing. Looking at this photo, I guess I could have packed a few more into each jar, but they didn’t float up until later on, after the okra had softened a bit.

Creole-spiced pickled okra

This is the Creole-spiced okra, which was also fantastic. It’s a tough call which recipe I liked best. I’d urge you to try both.

pickled figs

These are pickled figs, a recipe from A Love Affair with Southern Cooking by Jean Anderson. This recipe called for letting the figs sit in the jar for about a month before tasting them, so I honestly can’t vouch for them yet. Needless to say I’m curious because I’d never heard of pickling figs before. Well, they look pretty, right? I sure hope they taste good because I swapped someone for a jar of them at the event.

Vermouth-rosemary olives

I tried a couple of recipes which weren’t really “canned,” meaning that they’re meant to be refrigerated, with a shorter lifespan, and I didn’t go through the whole jar-sealing process. Both recipes came from a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living — this one was for vermouth-rosemary olives. I’m not a martini guy, but I have to imagine these are a treat if you are a fan of the classic cocktail. From the same issue of the magazine, I also made a batch of the bourbon-soaked cherries, which are perfect for serving in Manhattans. They pack a lot of punch if you eat them just for snacking. The jars “sealed” themselves because the liquid was so hot when I poured it in, but they didn’t have the acidity needed to make them safe at room temperature for a long period of time.

spiced pecans

As if those 5 different jars weren’t enough, I made some spiced nuts too — the chipotle pecans from Lisa Fain’s The Homesick Texan Cookbook. These were great too.

spiced pecans

I packed them in little 3-ounce baggies. Cute, right? Of course I saved myself half the batch to eat at home because these were so tasty.

16 thoughts on “first-time canning

  1. The pickled figs are definitely intriguing…I recently made pickled grapes and was surprised by how awesome they are. Everything else looks great…I am obsessed with spicy candied nuts 🙂

  2. Great work, guys! That’s a lot of cans!

    We must be on the same spiced nuts plane because that’s exactly what I’ve been noshing on all week – just posted the recipe I used yesterday, most excellent. Hope you guys had a nice Thanksgiving! 😀

  3. my great grandmother used can the best bread & butter pickles. they had a touch of heat to them–i miss her and those pickles. i’ve been so scared to try canning, but geez everyone is doing and i haven’t heard one bad thing, so i must get this fear out of my head and do it already

  4. I’m GLAD that you finally mustered up your CAN-abilities!!! You know how much I LOVE IT! So much fun!
    Anyone can do it and I love how you’re inspiring others to do it. I also love How the word “CAN” is inspiring on it’s own!!!!
    Great Post! I want to try the figs. Stick one in your pocket for me. 🙂
    I want to rewrite the word to “I Know I Can Dance” to “I Know I Can Can”
    It goes a little like this:
    I know I can can, I know I can can….
    yes, I can can, you know I can can,
    I can CAN!
    I can really hit the stoves…. [silly diva]….

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