Other than making refrigerator pickles, my only other experience canning was putting up a few jars of tomatoes this past summer. I have checked out a number of books from my local library on preserving, but I’ll admit that I was intimated and a little overwhelmed by the whole process. But reading blog after blog and seeing picture after picture of canned goodness, I was hopeful I could get the hang of it.
Luckily for me, my sister-in-law gave me a great book, Canning for A New Generation by Liana Krissoff, this holiday. It contains a lot of information about the process of canning and many recipes for canning fruits and veggies, as well as recipes for using your canned goods in meals. Even better, it is organized by season, so recipes for all of the veggies that are available to me now are in one place.
In terms of processing, the author states that she often does smallish batches and uses a tall 9-quart stockpot instead of the typical large enameled canner. Brilliant! Since there is less water, it takes less time and energy to heat up the pot, and is certainly less intimidating, sitting there on the stove top.
The first recipe that I tried was for Spicy Carrot Pickles. The author says she was inspired by descriptions of spicy carrots served at Tartine. They sounded perfect to me, and I had just placed my order for a bunch of fresh carrots from my local farm. I halved the recipe and made 4 half-pints, processed in my largest pasta pot. Flavored with garlic, dried cayenne peppers, and fresh thyme from my garden, they are deliciously tart and a little spicy. This recipe is a keeper!