Canning Crazy

Plum jam, spicy mint jelly, and FF onion marmalade

What an exhausting and hot day we had. But the fruits of our labor were worth it. I held a canning party yesterday and the kitchen was in use for over six hours.

It started because Poor Girl Kimberly and I had been pestering our friend, Ryan (Voyage Home Loans), for months. He lived in New Orleans and had learned how to make red beans and rice the right way - with pickled pork. Kimberly wanted to blog about it from a Poor Girl cost savings point of view and I just wanted to try it and blog it as well.

My other friend, Karen, had said she wanted to have a canning day. I figured, why not put the two ideas together? We would do a variety of canning, Ryan would make his dish, I'd do my Daring Bakers' Challenge for June, and we would all feast at the end of the day. Then everyone would go home with a variety of jars in trade. Ryan's girlfriend, Lisa, joined us as well as our most ambitious contributor, Epicurean Paul.

The lemon curd station was in the dining room since we were using the microwave.

By the end of the day we had lemon curd, plum jam, FF onion marmalade, and spicy mint jelly. For dinner, red beans and rice, beer can chicken, and green salad. We ended the night with pavlovas with mascarpone mousse, fruit, mascarpone creme anglaise, and homemade vanilla ice cream.

There's so much that I'm going to do a couple of blog posts. This will be on canning, one will be Ryan's recipes, and one will be the Daring Bakers post for June.

The first shift was Karen making plum jam and Kimberly worked on my microwave lemon curd. Both of these were done in about an hour.

Poor Paul. He chose the FF onion marmalade. He nicknamed it with F'n Forever because it took forever to cook and then you have to let it set for two weeks. Each batch took over two hours to do. What was amazing was that almost 20 pounds of onions only created six pint jars. And boy did those onions torture us! I have a small bungalow. While Paul was busy slicing all those onions, the onion fumes drifted through the house so that we all suffered. Lisa was practically in tears and sitting the farthest possible distance, on my living room sofa. Even my cats were dying. They came out of the bedroom with squinty, blinking eyes going, "what are you doing!?"

After four hours of onions, there was still the spicy mint jelly to make.

Kimberly and I chopped up about four cups worth of mint leaves since we were making a double batch. Paul got a variety of peppers and not just jalapeno. Luckily this one only took an hour to do.

The day was definitely fun, but long. And there was a lot of waiting between phases, except for Paul's forever onions. We all agreed on a few things. First, it would be nice to have a pool to sit and chill by for all this waiting on a hot day. Next, canning is not the easiest thing to do on a hot summer day. But mostly we learned that canning can be fun and if you do a canning party, you can get a great variety to match the variety of your friends.