This past weekend was my first introduction to home canning. My mother-in-law and her neighbour were planning a day of antipasto making and I was invited to Vancouver Island to join the fun. Things went beautifully for about 20 minutes until my poor mother-in-law sliced off the edge of her pinky finger slicing cucumbers on the mandolin. Off she went to the walk-in clinic, arriving back about two hours later with four stitches and a tetanus shot. Needless to say she was moved off chopping duty to a more supervisory role. Ouch.
Over the course of the day we diced four heads of cauliflower, several pounds each of green beans, bell pepper and cucumber, about a dozen jars of olives and countless pearl onions into little tiny bits. We stirred and simmered great vats of antipasto and then funneled it into pretty jars. Twist on the tops, drop them into a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes, pluck them out and then marvel. At the end of the day the three of us ended up with just over a dozen jars each of this tasty treat. It’s a joy to look at the jars packed neat and snug with preserves, and to imagine how you might use them through the late fall and winter months: a gift to pass along to friends and family, a quick and easy snack to start out an evening of entertaining, a simple item in the cupboard to reminds you of a lovely weekend of laughter and conversation.
I’m already looking forward to the next canning weekend. It is time consuming, but the company of friends and family makes it a really nice way to spend a day.