Tuesday, September 13, 2011

the surprise canning tool (and a winner!)

Okay, before we get too deep into this here, we have a winner of my favorite cookbook!
I've got to say, if you haven't read through the comments, do it. The assortment of cookbook favorites is pretty amazing- new, old, quirky, classic- they're all there. But the winner is....
#23, Amanda! She talked about Melissa Clark's new book (on of my favorites too), and Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes which I am officially now looking for. I do need to learn how to skin a badger, Amanda, I really do.  Send me an email via the contact link- and I'll have Rustic Fruit Desserts off to you!

And now, to the day's business.
Although some people can their hearts out all summer, fall canning is my favorite. I make a little jam here and there through the various berry seasons, but the deep contentment of clutching my jar grabber and holding my face over the voluminous canning pot hits me in September. Then it is applesauce and canned pears, and the really good peaches, and then... (dare I name it?) my beloved quince.

So I've been going for it, and on many late nights you'll find me hunched over the food mill (a tool, which incidentally I hate, but I have yet to buy one of these).  There are jars on the counter every day waiting to be taken down to the dusty shelves in the basement, and yes- I'll admit it! I keep the jars on the kitchen counter for a while because every time I look at them, I feel contented, and happy, and just a little bit smug.  That's the magic of the home-filled jar.

Today, I don't want to talk about what goes into the jar, I want to talk about what goes on it. How we label jars is one of those individual choices, and every canner has their own method. Me? For the most part, I'm a top labeler.

I don't use those sweet little labels that comes with the jars because I hate peeling them off when it's time to reuse the jar. Because lids can't be reused anyway, I label the top. And here's the secret part... (ready for it?) I use my favorite surprise canning tool- THE SHARPIE PEN.

Have you seen these? They have a little spring loaded mechanism so that they work like a ball point pen. They have a really thin tip, so you can fit a lot of words on the lid if you're prone to complicated canning recipes (this week- pear-apple star anise butter). I know it's not rocket science, but this pen is amazing. I can label the world!

By the way, Sharpie has no idea that I'm promoting them. They didn't send me any free pens or anything (although Sharpie executive, if you're reading, go ahead! I love these pens so much- I have no shame).

That's all for today, friends. Congrats to Amanda, and happy Tuesday! I'll be back in a day or two with an actual canning recipe, I promise.


  1. I am a top-labeler too (with a Sharpie)! And the canning bug hits me the hardest in late August/all of September too. Last night I canned 9 quarts of stone fruit cocktail. I'm hoping that those (along with the applesauce that I'll do next) will satisfy my fruit obsessed 3 year old for the winter!

  2. You can count me among the Sharpie-using top labelers! I love my clicky Sharpies best of all too.

  3. Alana, thank you! As a serious canning addict, I have been mulling over the label issue a lot this summer . . .

    You see, my jar company has changed their labels and made not near as pretty as they used to be. This, of course, really bothers me. Then there's the problem that while I can wash labels off used jars, my dear husband is definitely label-washing impaired.

    But I just opened your blog and before I read anything, I thought, "Genius! Writing on the top! With a Sharpie!" Thank you. I will do it. Crabapple jelly, corn relish, salsa, peach chutney and pear-ginger jam are up next!

  4. Congratulations to Amanda. And, while I was sorry not to win your book, I'm putting almost all of the cookbooks the entrants mentioned on my BookMooch Wishlist.

    BookMooch - Give books away. Get books you want.