This past summer was the first time I have ever canned. Yep, every year we eat as much as we can fresh and give away as much as possible. No one locks their cars around here until summer harvest begins. Then you can't find an open car to "donate" veggies to if you try. Something about un-found veggies in the Idaho heat, I don't know. Anyway, I have a friend who is the master home preserver for our county and she steered me in the right direction as far as up-to-date info goes. She recommended the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and the Ball Blue Book of Home Preserving. But because I am simply neurotic about not killing my family, I also purchased Canning and Preserving for Dummies. When you are trying to learn something as important as proper food handling and preserving, you don't want to screw up. I had a disastrous encounter with canning tomatoes many years ago and I must say after much reading, I now know what they really mean by "core" a tomato. I read everything in my local library and all three of the books I already mentioned. By the time it was time to can I felt pretty good about it. One bit of advice I will pass on is that Great, Great Aunt Millies old Fashioned Green Bean recipe may be out of date by today's standards and maybe should be reevaluated for safety. Food is simply different now days and some things aren't as naturally acidic as they once were. Modern recipes are the safer way to go. I am really looking forward to this years harvest. I will expand my canning adventure to encompass pressure canning too. This way I can can more vegetables and salsas and... you get the picture.
The above picture is of some of the things I canned this year. I used a steamer/juicer to juice elderberries, wild plums and blackberries. I then canned the juice so I could make jelly with them later. I made bread-n-butter pickles, dill pickles, applesauce, salsa verde, stewed tomatoes and a few other misc. things. I am really excited to see what I can put up this year. It tends to redirect your garden plans. Why plant 6 tomato plants when you can have 30? See what a problem this may create?