Sometimes the process of trying to do something totally new and out of the box (like canning for this city girl), is the fun part of the adventure. When I am invested in something, I enjoy the process, even if there are some mis-steps along the way, possibly especially if the process isn’t perfect, I enjoy knowing that we will figure it out.
When mom or grandma isn’t there to show you how, the next place to turn is others who are around and might teach us the process. Unfortunately, the expert American caners we know in Kyrgyzstan, don’t actually can veggies, so their guesses were as good as ours and they weren’t available to come and coach us through the process anyway. No matter, these babes-in-the-woods are going to forge ahead.
Second step: learn from youtube and wikihow. It is amazing how much information is on the web, and how much variation there is, as well, to deal with the “but, what if…..” or “how do I do that….”. Armed with this information, Magevney got a canning kit ordered online that came with the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving”. That book was a gold mine of information, explaining the physics of canning so that as we could tackle the intricacies of Russian canning and American canning and try to create a hybrid.
So, why the need to create a hybrid? American canning methods provide for the unique ability to submerge your canned goods in a water bath for the safest end product. The secret is in the lids, that you can tighten down enough to be water tight, but not so tight to allow the air to escape and to pressurize the inside for a bacteria free environment. The Russian type lids, on the other hand, do not allow for this extra step.
We struggled with this for quite a while. Do we try to “steam” seal the cans? Do we use the oven to heat our canning jars? The decision seemed significant, because if we did it wrong, we may at best have lost all of the precious work we had done and the worst would be making our families sick.
Well, we went ahead and bought the huge pots, gathered all of our canning jars – almost 60 jars that hold a Liter each, bought the lids, the lid-tightener and in the last minute we had a new friend come through and say, ‘come on over and watch me can my jam, and I will show you the ropes.’ That clinched all the information we had so far and we were confident enough to breach out on our own.
We are ready to go!