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General Discussion

Canning, Drying, Freezing, Preserving tips?

Staneley Stephan | May 4, 200202:47 PM     3

The first cherries of the season arrived at my farmer’s market last week and it is time for me to start thinking about squirreling away the best of the summer’s produce.

Any good canning books you’ve used outside of Bell Blue Book, Atlas or "Putting Food By"? I've included Olympia Jane's excellent thread on how to can at the end of this from January.

Any websites devoted to canning?

Any good EASY canning ideas to share. The operational word being easy. I’m not a cook and it’s unlikely that I’ll be standing over a hot stove producing green beans that will kill me in a few months.

I’ve been experimenting for a few years with alcoholic cherries. I have those little ½ cup jars, add cherries, liquor and sweetener and stash them in the refrigerator until those chilly rainy January days when I need a reminder of the warm summer sun. I’ve tried brandy, vodka, Irish whiskey, and kirsch. For sugar I’ve experimented with white, brown, none and region/flower specific honey (lavender honey, pumpkin blossom honey and Napa Valley wildflower). For cherries I’ve tried sour, Bing, Queen Ann, Ranier, Brook and Tartan (or something with a T). After all that, my own taste is to go classic, Brandy, white sugar and sour, Bing or Ranier cherries.

I’ve brandied peaches, apricots and assorted berries. The berries shrivel up, but you get a nice fruit brandy (strawberries being the exception).

There’s this stuff called Tutti Frutti where you get a crock and keep adding different fruits during the summer with brandy and sugar. Sort of an alcoholic fruit cocktail. Every year in October I do the annual tossing of the rotted out fruit. Not sure what’s going on there. Never have been successful with this.

I freeze blueberries, nothing added for those little sherbet like berries. But those only last a month after blueberry season.

Last year was my year to experiment with lavender and six varieties dried from my condo’s kitchen cabinets. More trouble than it was worth.

I hope this gives you an idea of what I can handle, preserving-wise.

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