There was a time when I first started canning that if it grew in abundance in my garden (green bell peppers), I tried to can it. To this day, I still have seven jars of uneaten, nasty green bell pepper relish in my “larder” — an old freestanding cupboard I picked up for $2 at a yard sale — that I can’t bear to throw out because of all the time invested in making it.
Make no mistake: Canning is time consuming and requires crazy prep. As coauthor of the canning cookbook, Tart & Sweet: 101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern Kitchen, I speak from experience. (My sofa still harbors a faint pickle smell.) So I’ve whittled my seasonal hits down to the stuff I know I will actually eat and, more importantly, enjoy throughout the year since there are few things more dismal than eating canned food out of duty. Following is my hit list of the savory, spicy and sour canning essentials I’ll be making this hot season. Enjoy!
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