When talking to folks new to canning, one of the things that is most difficult for them to wrap their heads around is that canning does not have to be an all day/all night affair. Many of us have memories of our grandmothers standing in the kitchen for days putting up food from the garden. Piles of produce, towers of jars, lots of steam, and a fair amount of swearing. As more and more of us live in cities, in spaces without room for a garden or jar storage, that kind of production is not useful.
Instead, think about how your family really eats. Do you go through a jar of jam in a month? Then all you need to get you through the year are twelve little jars of jam, in an assortment of the flavors you love most. That means that you will probably only be putting up two or three jars of jam at a time. An hours work. No need to bring home a flat of berries when a pint or two will do the trick. Easy Peasy.
There was a time when I did do production canning. The house contained four kids and an army of friends. I could not keep enough jars of pickles, applesauce, or raspberry jam in the house. Now, there is just one left at home and he is not here much, so when I think about jars, it is often one or two of something. A treat for the middle of winter, or a way to make cocktails a little more special.
As I walked through the yard this morning (a small city lot) I noticed that the radishes had really taken off over the past week. So I picked a couple of handfuls and headed to the kitchen.
The first thing to do is to get a pot of water on to boil. A pot big enough to hold as many jars as you think you will need. This morning I had enough radishes for one jar and used my favorite Fourth Burner Pot.
While the water is heating, I prep my produce. Once that is done I turn my attention to heating the liquid that will be used, or I cook the food I have just prepped, depending on what I am making. There is a good chance that the pot of boiling water, and what is going to go into the jars will be done about the same time. If not, make the bed, empty the dishwasher, check Instagram…the goal is to fit canning around your life, not have it take it over.
Ta Da. A little jar that is going to make an ordinary martini, a thing of greatness.
You can find my original post about pickled radishes and the recipe here. Are you ready to try extreme small batch canning?