After my recent fudge fiasco I thought it might be time for me to branch out and try a new hobby (or, a sort of old hobby revisited). I have always had an unrequited love affair with crochet but have never successfully made anything except a straight, single stitched scarf. How hard can it be to make a beanie, really? Don't they teach this in Hom-Ec class to pimple faced teenagers across the country who can't even scramble an egg?
Yeah...um...well apparently, Home-Ec class doesn't even exist anymore. And apparently I cannot crochet a beanie to save my life. I tried three times, with three different yarns. What I got was a lumpy, misshapen, monstrosity that I wouldn't use as a pot holder.
Oh well, I made oatmeal cookies and they were excellent so, all fudge making aside, I will stick with what I know.
I taught myself how to can things this week....well, at least I think I taught myself. According to The Man if something is canned improperly you can get very sick or even die. When asked how to tell if something has been canned properly his suggestion was to give one of the cans to someone I do not like first and see if they live. So I put one of my newly canned jars of apple butter in his lunchbox. Smart ass.
In all seriousness, his comment about the lethal potential of home canned goods turned me into a pillar of paranoia....I never knew that those country chic little jars of home made jellies and jams sold at all the local shops and festivals were quite possibly cute, cloth topped, hand labeled hand grenades of poison.
After this seed was planted in my brain I was bringing The Man lunch at his job site one afternoon and he actually handed me a jar of home made (and canned) marmalade that one of the workers had given him to pass on to me. I dropped that thing onto my passenger seat like a hot rock. The whole way home I drove very slowly taking moments here and there to steal glances at the cheerful looking jar. It just sat there with all the charm and allure of a petrie dish full of Ebola virus. As soon as we reached my driveway I slowly and carefully removed my children from their safety restraints.
"Mama, what's that?!" L asks pointing to the delicious looking jar of potential hazardous waste.
"It's nothing L, it's yucky, don't touch it!!" I bark out before being able to stop myself.
After parking the kids inside with a couple peanut butter sandwiches, I went back outside to address the issue of what to do with this jar.
I examined it. It looked alright. The seal on top was airtight...the ingredients inside looked okay...but I kept hearing The Man's words in my head...."bad" "could kill you" "could make you very sick"
I was torn.
So I relegated the jar to the bottom of my fridge drawer where I store other things I'm not sure what to do with like brussels sprouts and an extra container of marscapone cheese.
I then set out to teach myself to can things in order to rid myself of some of the fear of the unknown.
Yesterday I made a giant vat of homemade pasta sauce...having read, reread, and cross referenced what I read on canning everywhere from online, to books, to the instruction manual that came with the canning kit I bought I felt confident I could handle it.
I cooked, I sterilized jars, I filled jars, I boiled jars for X amount of time, I removed jars, I waited for jars to cool, and I checked the seal on those jars which was intact and did not "pop".
I successfully canned.
I then put all the jars of pasta sauce in the no man's land drawer next to the dreaded orange marmalade. I then repeated the whole process with my favorite slow cooker recipe for apple butter.
Because how do I know I did it right...really?
So, my plan is to wait a week or so and then open some pasta sauce and serve it with noodles....then wait and see if anyone turns into an undead, mindless, brain eating ghoul.
I'm pretty sure I did it right.
Time will tell.