Still Canning in the Cold!

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Canning and preserving is not just a celebration of summer produce.  There is an abundance of cold weather items to be canned, too.  Even though my local Farmer’s Market ended a few weeks ago, I can still find fresh organic produce at Whole Foods and other stores in my area.  I have a water bath canner and a pressure canner, so I can preserve items year round.  Soups, stews, and sauces are perfect for winter canning using items such as carrots, pears, parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas.
When my daughter Kristina and I went to visit my mom for her 90th birthday a few months ago, we made it a point to visit the San Rafael Civic Center Farmer’s Market not far from San Francisco, or my mom’s house.  The first stand we walked up to had these fun canning labels seen above.    I picked up the cookbook right away and found great recipes using fresh and local produce, and thought it would be fun to also buy the labels.  When I checked out, I asked the vendor the price of the labels.  She said – “Take them – they’re yours!”  My favorite is probably the one that says, “Homemade Tastes Better.”  I love finding different labels because the ones that come with canning jars are fine, but I like larger and more colorful ones.  The labels will also be good to decorate boxes filled with homemade items.
At the market, Kristina and I made it a point to find our “jam lady” who we see each  time we visit.  She calls her preserves, “Just Like Grandma’s,” my favorite item being a delectable orange and carrot marmalade.  I bought six jars to take home with me, and I am determined to test out recipes this winter to try and duplicate “Grandma’s.”  The marmalade is delicious spread on toasted English muffins, and is even good with chicken.
 The cookbook has wonderful recipes for year-round using fresh and local ingredients, but I found some to use now in the cooler weather for soups, stews, desserts, breads, and more.  I’ll be doing some more canning soon to use the labels, especially the one that says, “Vine-Ripened Flavor….For January.”  Perfect for my Chicago winters!

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