I don’t know what I was thinking, I probably wasn’t thinking at all, but on Sunday I decided to make my debut in canning by making pickled beets and lemon curd in one afternoon! I owe this inspiration to my recent meeting with Marisa McClellan author of the blog and cookbook Food in Jars . I saw Marisa speak at my local library branch a few weeks ago, and though I wasn’t planning on it, I was so inspired I bought her book, and the supplies I need to start canning.
I have never, ever canned anything, and a wiser person in the same situation might have advised that I start with just one item, but I had all these lemons, and beets, a new cookbook, and no restraint. The book is extremely well written. The directions are clear, she indicates what you should expect, and look for and in general guides you through the process with confidence and a comfortable amount of hand holding.
I started with the beets, and prepared a nice one quart jar for canning. I made my ginger brine, prepped my beets, sliced up some red onions (sorry Marisa) and it was all going just fine until I realized that I didn’t have a pot tall enough to submerge my jar once its lid was on. DRAT! At that point I was halfway through prepping my lemon curd, the kitchen was a wreck, and I found myself needing to sterilize three smaller jars, transfer the beet mixture to new containers, and then process those jars in boiling water.
Finally I was ready to move ahead with my lemon curd. The recipe called for Meyer lemons, but I had regular old lemons. I had grated the peel while waiting to complete one of the steps in the beet preparation, and left the peel in the bowl of my digital scale. I’m not sure, but I believe the acid in the peel did some damage to the plastic of the bowl of the scale. I tried to soak it with baking soda, thinking that it’s base nature might neutralize the acid, but I think the damage is permanent. Oh well, no children were harmed, so on we go.
The lemon curd process was simple and easy. The timing suggested was perfect, and all went smoothly. I think I may have over-filled the jars a little because after I removed the rings there was some goop on them. I cleaned it all up, the lids were tight, and the curd delicious (I bet it will be even better when I make it with Meyer lemons which I love).
If you are a friend of mine, and you are reading this, guess what you’re getting this year as a holiday gift! Next week before school starts my daughter is having a friend spend the day with us, and I’m thinking tomato jam. The recipes aren’t mine and I haven’t even really adapted them, so I won’t copy them here. If you want to make these things, and a whole lot more (while summer’s bounty is still around) I suggest you buy this great book! And let me know how it goes, please.