I can can, can you?

illustration by mark stivers

I’m in full-on canning mode right now. Every June, I break out the Ball jars and canning equipment and start processing bags and bags of apricots. The apricots are tossed in a heavy pot with some lemon juice, sugar, a small tab of butter and a few glugs of Riesling. A few minutes of patient, gentle stirring and it’s ready to jar. The result is plenty of apricot jam for the year, plus a few extra to gift to friends.

Soon, I should have enough green tomatoes to can into pickles, and a month later when the rest turn ripe, I’ll start churning out a few flats of tomato sauce and salsa. This year’s new goal is going to be jarring a batch or two of chili-garlic sauce, which will be perfect for stir-frying scallions and eggplant.

For many, canning seems like a daunting affair that requires so much skill that the slightest mistake will result in death by botulism. Dear readers, all it requires is that you follow the recipe and keep things clean. If you haven’t joined the canvolution yet, then make this the year you start. It’s a wonderful way to preserve all the fresh food you can find so cheaply at the farmers’ market right now.