Tag Archives: canning

Canning FAQ 2 or How do I get myself into these situations?

It’s time again for a FAQ.  So prepare yourself for the awesomeness that is a new FAQ and a little bit of my real life.

This weeks question is a fairly simple one but a very important one.  What equipment do I need?  This is a question that a lot of new canners have.

You CAN go out and spend a lot of money on fancy pots and jar lifters and other such stuff.  However all you really need is a pot deep enough to cover your jars with at least an inch of water, something to keep them off the bottom of the pot, and of course your jars, lids, and rings.

That’s it.  Really it’s that simple.  I personally have other things that make it easier.  A jar lifter, a canning pot (that I got at the local army navy store for $15),   and ways to organize my stuff.

You don’t need all that stuff to get started canning however.  You just need the three items listed above.  Oh and stuff to put in the jars.

I’ve also taken up a new hobby.  Not that I don’t already have a ton of other ones, canning, knitting, crochet, cross stitch, kumihimo just to name a few.  I have just started locker hooking.

For those of you not familiar with what that is, it’s quite simple really.  It’s making rugs.  Okay it’s a little more complicated than that but it’s still simple.  You pull strips of fabric, or yarn through a mesh and lock them in place with a locking material.  I’m using some really old really cheap yarn that I got a few years ago on e-bay.

However I made the mistake of sending a picture of my partially completed project to my roommate who is out of town right now and will be back in less than a week.  I also told him that I would have it done by the time he gets back so he can see the finished project.

However, I start a new job this Sunday and have to get myself back onto a sleeping at night awake in the day schedule in those 5 days.  I also have some canning projects that I want to do, I have to clean my carpets before my mom comes to get her carpet cleaner back tomorrow, and I’m getting my cracked windshield replaced in a few hours.  Ugh.  What did I sign myself up for?


Canning FAQ 1 Or You’re in some pretty hot water.

So I have asked my roommates, who don’t can, to pretend they were interested in canning and give me some questions that a new/novice canner might have.  There will be a series of posts covering these questions.  If you can think of one that I don’t cover please feel free to post it in the comments of any of my FAQ posts.  These posts will also be linked from my FAQ page.

The first question they came up with, and I think it’s a good one, is “How hot does the water need to be?”  This question actually requires a non-answer.

That non-answer is well that depends.  Are you doing a water bath canning process or a pressure canning process?  Also it doesn’t really matter how hot the water is.

You see you don’t get the water to a certain temperature and then drop in your jars.  If you’re doing a water bath canning process you start your process time when the water comes to a full rolling boil.  You might ask what a rolling boil is.

A rolling boil is so aggressive that it cannot be disturbed or disrupted by stirring, or by dropping ingredients into the water. What that means is that you can stick a spoon in the water and stir till your arm falls off but the water will still be boiling.

If you’re doing pressure canning then you never actually get to see the water boil.  However because increasing the pressure causes the water to boil at a much higher temperature than normal, normal being 100°C (212°F), you get a hotter boil than you would in a regular water bath canner.

Either way you need a boil.  How hot the water is just depends on the pressure it’s under.  For example I live at about 5,000 ft above sea level.  That means that water boils at a lower temperature here than it does down there.  So when I process in my water bath canner I have to process for longer times.  If I had a pressure canner I would have to put a heavier weight on the canner or let the dial get to a higher pressure before I started my timer.

Just make sure you always get your water to a boil, or your pressure to the right weight, before you start your timer and you’ll be golden.  Your food will be safely processed for shelf stability.

Day Three! Or it’s my blog and I’ll call my posts whatever I damn well please!

Day three has come and gone.  It is now day seven of my starter.  Like an idiot I forgot to take a picture of my starter before shaking it up to pour some out on day three.  However, it was all bubbly and smelled bad.  And by bad I mean good.  Just like sourdough is supposed to smell.

Glancing at it right now I think I may need to start over.  I have neglected it for the last few days.  In fact the last day I fed it was last Friday the 27th when I started this post.  It’s been 5 days with no food.  I’m going to give it a good whiff before I dump the whole thing.  If that’s the case and I have to start over I promise to take better pictures for y’all.

In the mean time I HAVE been doing things in the kitchen.  I made and canned a batch of giardinieria by cobbling together two separate recipes and making some of it up on my own.  The full recipe will be included below.

Completed and processed Giardiniera

Completed and processed Giardiniera

Right now I have some gingered pear preserves on the stove to simmer and make the pears all yummy and squishy.  I made my own candied ginger for the recipe.  I figured about $2.00 for the ginger and some time was better than $9.00 for a bottle of it in the spice isle.  All of these recipes will be included, or linked, below.

Pears cooking down

Pears cooking down before packing and processing

I will of course include finished pics after canning and processing. On a side note there are a lot of people out there that say that you need a melon baller to core the pears.  If your pears are ripe then you can just use a regular spoon to get the core out.  Just start at one end of the pear and slide it through to the opposite side and beautiful cored pears. Now for the recipes

HFV’s Giardiniera


  • 1 lb mushrooms
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 2 yellow squash


  • 2 tsps. black or brown mustard seeds (or substitute yellow)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 10 medium cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
  • 6 1/4-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 2 tsps. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Cut up the vege’s into about equal size pieces. For the mushrooms I cut them either in half or quarters after trimming the stem as close to the head as possible. The cauliflower got cut into smaller pieces of just florets with the stem discarded. The red bell peppers got cut into quarters and then those pieces cut into thirds. Everything else got run through my mandolin on the 1/4 in setting.
  2. Put all the vege’s into salted water to sit for 24 hours. I would suggest putting the mushrooms into their own water as they have a tendency to turn brown and turn anything else in that water brown.
  3. After 24 hours drain the vege’s and refill the bowl(s) with clean water to sit for about an hour then drain again.
  4. Clean and sterilize 6 pint jars and lids.
  5. Put the mustard, and cumin seeds in a medium non-reactive saucepan. Toast the spices over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, garlic, ginger, onion, sugar, salt, peppercorns, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and 2 cups water to the toasted spices. Bring to a boil.
  6. Pack the vegetables into clean, hot pint jars. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles by slowly raising and lowering a chopstick or a plastic blade around the inside of the jars (a trapped air bubble may shatter a jar as it heats). If you have extra brine, strain it and distribute the solids among the jars. Wipe the jars’ lids with a damp cloth before putting on the lids. Secure the lids with screw bands tightened by hand. Process for 10 minutes (Don’t forget to adjust for altitude. I had to process for 15 minutes). Store the pickles for at least 2 but preferably 7 days (or longer) before opening. Refrigerate after opening.

For the Gingered Pear Preserves you can go here.  For the Candied Ginger go here.

Day Two!

So today is technically day two after my starter was started even though day one was posted less than 24 hours ago.  What can I say I didn’t post as soon as I created.  So sue me!  Good luck getting any money you might win though.  Remember, I’m poor and unemployed.

Yesterday I got an order from my Bishop’s Storehouse and when I choose my 5lbs of fresh fruit I choose all pears.  So now I have 5lbs of slightly under ripe pears.  I looked at a lot of recipes online for what to do with these and I’m thinking I don’t want to do the regular light syrup bland boring canned pears we all had to eat as children.  I just don’t wanna, and you can’t make me.

So I’m going to make these Gingered Pear Preserves.  I like ginger and the orange color is just so pretty.  I’m stuck away from home right now as the roommates didn’t pay the cable bill so no internet.  I’ll be making them later tonight and posting pics probably tomorrow.  And most likely editing this tomorrow to remove all this I’ll post later crap.  Maybe.

I will also have in process pics and notes on whether or not all the work is worth it.  I will be testing this recipe for you.  Just for you.  Doesn’t that make you feel special?  It should.  I don’t do these things for just anybody.  Love me internets.  LOOOVVVEEE MEEEE!