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First Kick at the Can

August 30, 2011

Part of my risk avoidance contingency plan for food poisoning is to never can food. I’m a germaphobe and curse the childhood trauma that lead me to be this way. I took up vegetable gardening about five years ago and up till now, have only employed the use of the freezer for food preservation. However, too many times the freezer storage has burnt my wares so I’m keen to try an alternative storage technique.

When my friend Mike suggested he wanted to give canning a shot, I told him the thought of botulism potentially lurking inside every jar seriously stressed me out. I can barely watch my family cook regular meals in front of me. Usually when I do I’m promptly kicked out of the kitchen. It’s better for all involved that way, otherwise I’ll mentally log every uncontrollable cross contamination action, imagine the worst, and ruin the enjoyment of the meal in the process. In the end I always eat what I have been served, to be grateful and polite, but with hesitation, and then I wait for death. Mike laughed at me over this and suggested we try canning together to ease the learning curve. So we set a date this summer for a homemade jam canning fest.

Berry season has come and gone but thanks (again) to the freezer, we were able to flash freeze our freshly picked in preparation for our canning date. Of course making plain ol’ strawberry jam didn’t satisfy my appetite. I decided to complicate things further by adding three different recipes to the mix: strawberry/rhubarb, strawberry/lavender, and strawberry/vanilla. Mike wanted to bonk me over the head over this decision because there were only so many burners to boil our cauldrons on. Sorry Mike.

After five straight hours of boiling, cooking, and canning our jam on one of the hottest days of the year, we toasted our adventure with a delicious lunch from the aptly named Merryberry Café (extremely delicious and highly recommended). I’ve since opened & devoured a jar or two of our jam and duh, I managed to live to tell the tale. Many thanks to Mike for holding my hand as I crossed yet another fear off my life list of psychological ball and chains.

Homemade strawberry, lavender and rhubarb jam with chalk drawn labels.
Close up of homemade strawberry-vanilla and strawberry-lavender jam in bowl
Homemade strawberry, lavender and rhubarb jam with chalk drawn labels.

© 2011, Dana Aubrey

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy permalink
    September 4, 2011 8:19 pm

    I still have some canned deer meat in my fridge from Haida Gwaii that I need some ideas for

  2. September 5, 2011 10:45 am

    Mmmm yummy. Deer stew?

  3. Mike permalink
    October 1, 2011 9:49 am

    I had so much fun Dana. Anytime you want to do it again, let me know.

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