Wednesday, August 31, 2011

learning to preserve

When I was a kid I remember my grandmother, Nennie, used to make pickles.  I thought it was pretty bizarre...and even more so that she gave them to us as Christmas gifts.  As I got a little older I began to appreciate that she made them and that they actually tasted good.  Eventually I asked her for the recipe, and proceeded to do absolutely nothing with it.  Last year at about this time I decided to give it a go.  I figured since now I'm a stay-at-home mom this is a pretty fantastic thing to be able to do.  Epic. Fail.  
Since Nennie has now gone home to be with the Lord, I was not able to ask her why my pickles were so mushy or why the brine turned out so cloudy...
I am someone who doesn't like to do anything that I can't do well.  Not a great quality, I know.  After the squishy pickle situation I decided to try my hand at something else.  This something else was preserves.  Thankfully, I have been much more successful in that area!  My loving husband brought home a pound or two of figs, which I promptly told him would wind up in the trash can unless he could whip up a batch of fig newtons with said figs.  He suggested preserves, and so the delicious adventures began.
After feeling like I could do that with some positive results, I moved on and tried my hand at peach, pear, and plum canning as well.  
Who knew I would enjoy it so much?!
Last year I gave away most of what I made (at least what we didn't eat).  As the season started this year and I decided to pick it back up I have had quite a few people ask me if they could buy them.  Really?  You like them enough to buy them from me?  Awesome!  With my brother-in-law's suggestion I even had a name.  As such, Kelli's Jellies is up and running.  Pretty exciting feeling!  I've been reading tons of canning & preserving blogs and recipes.  I'm learning something new all the time.  Since I was a teacher before I had kids, I am a firm believer that people should be lifelong learners.  I'm having a great time learning and making pretty scrumptious jams and preserves.  My favorite are the plum vanilla! 
I've recently gotten some labels, which was pretty cool.  It's the little things. :)
The recipe I used as a jumping off point is from Food Network and can be found here .  As with many recipes, you have to figure out how to make it work for you.  Totally worth the time and effort it takes to make them...not to mention that people will think you are so crafty!
To go back to the beginning, I have now decided (since I have a little more experience) to have another go at those pickles.  Only time will tell.

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