This week’s I Eat Local Because I Can comes from Michelle MacKenzie of Green Bean Chronicles. Michelle lives in the Silicon Valley with her husband, two boys, two cats and five chickens. She’d love to be a true farm girl, but for now, satisfies herself with urban farming and preserving the harvest.
1) How long have you been canning and how did you learn?
I’ve been canning for 5 or 6 years. My mother canned jam when I was a child but she couldn’t remember how so I resorted to Internet videos and the Ball Canning Book.
2) Tell us about your canning philosophy. What inspires and motivates you to practice this art?
Initially, I wanted to try everything – pepper infused this and lavender flavored that. Now, I just make what we’ll eat. It can be the most exotic, gourmet thing in the world but if it sits on my shelf for years, it was a waste of resources.
3) What’s the best piece of advice you would give to new or novice canners? How about advice for the seasoned canner facing burnout?
Make what you will actually use. If you have a glut of something, by all means can it but only if you’ll use it once it is canned and only if canning is your preferred way of preserving that particular item. For instance, I find canning tomatoes to be a pain. Freezing them is much easier, quicker and they taste just as good. As for burnout, I’ve started trading canned goods with friends to add some diversity to the pantry without the effort.
4) Care to share a favorite canning recipe?
I go straight-forward and usually just follow recipes on the pectin box or Ball Canning Book. Also, the Pick Your Own site.