Inspired by Jennifer's great new site Putting By and by Liz's amazing pantry photos, I've been trying to can more of summer's bounty this year. My mom and I made bread and butter pickles last month and planned to do more, but life has gotten in the way. We use a mandoline to cut the cukes as thin as possible, as my mom's Mimi did. Mom winged the recipe from memory (and of course taste and smell) and they turned out just great. We've already eaten through the refrigerator jar. (The last jar filled, not quite full, which isn't processed and is instead eaten as close to immediately as possible-- the next day if you can wait that long for the flavors to meld. Does everyone do a refrigerator jar?) It was great fun to can with my mom.My Granna makes damson preserves each year that she can get good damsons. This year my grandfather picked up a couple of quarts for me, and Granna told me her recipe. I only tinkered with the ingredients a little (reduced the sugar), and followed her procedure (which involves standing over the pot and fishing all of the pits out one by one) exactly. These preserves are great, too. I love the way the skins taste. I also loved getting a word-of-mouth recipe from my grandmother.
The last thing I made for the larder is those little jars of pizza sauce you see in the middle. We've recently started a Friday night homemade pizza tradition, so those should come in handy. I got the recipe for this sauce from the Ball book.
The stash is building and I love seeing those bright clean jars stack up. I'm itching to pressure can some Brunswick Stew next, but we'll see if I get any time over the next couple of weeks. I think some multi-colored quart jars would look just dandy next to my current jar soldiers, protecting my family from winter hunger. I'd be interested to hear what other folks have canned or preserved recently.