This has been a week of canning.
I really do love this time of year when the peaches, tomatoes, apples, and everything else are finally ripe and ready to be picked. I always get a little giddy when it's time to preserve the local produce to enjoy all year long.
Peaches, salsa and applesauce have been the staples for a few years now. I always want to try other things, but haven't ventured into canning green beans, making pickles or chutney quite yet.
So, if you love to can, here are my three favorite tools:
1. The Ideal Fruit Canner
My grandma gave me this before I moved to Oregon. She used it for many years before she decided she was ready to retire from canning. I can't believe how much easier this makes the whole process, because you don't have to boil a whole huge pot of water. Instead, you use 2 quarts of water which steams the bottles and preserves them. I've been searching the internet for the company that used to make these, but they no longer exist. I did find one here, and trust me, it would be worth paying the shipping from Hong Kong. These things are amazing.
2. The serrated peeler
I discovered this tool after reading Cook's Illustrated last year. If you've ever canned peaches or tomatoes and had to immerse each piece of fruit into boiling water for 2 minutes in order to make them easier to peel, you know what a HASSLE that really is. It's also such a mess. So this tool allows you to skip that step entirely and peel those fragile fruits without bruising them. I have the OXO brand, and if time is really money, it has proven to be worth way more the 7 bucks I paid for it.
3. Magnetic lid lifterThis one might be a no-brainer, but this tool really is helpful. When the lids are hot in the simmering water, you really just want to be able to grab one with this tool and lift it out. Again, an easy solution that makes the process much easier.
This time of year wouldn't be the same without my canning buddy, Tara (if you move far, far away you will still have to come back for canning week). Oh, and Mindi, my former canning buddy who really taught me the whole process--I miss you more at this time of year than ever!