Yes, I can!

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A while ago, I came across a Groupon for a beginners canning class at a place called Seattle Can Can. Ever since my wine jelly experiment, I’ve been wanting to learn more about canning, so this was a perfect opportunity. (Besides, I can never resist a good pun… ) I’d heard good things about the class from Jen & Bryan, so I was pretty excited to get my class scheduled. Even more motivating was the fact that last Friday T brought home this:

Yep, that’s a case of cherries. (Organic cherries at $1.99/lb, minus his discount. Um, yes please!)  Luckily, he’d given me a heads up about it, so I could order a more efficient cherry pitter:

I decided to freeze some of the cherries beforehand and took my new pitter for a test drive:

It’s unsettlingly like a slaughterhouse line (from what I’ve read). The poor cherries wait in the tray on the top before going into the chute and having a bolt punch the pit out. Combined with the cherry juice, it was looking very violent in my kitchen:

But it did pit a lot of cherries quite quickly and I was able to get a lot of them into the freezer, while still saving some fresh ones for a post-class canning project.

The class itself was really interesting. She had a lot of interesting history about canning. This is a mason jar from 1910, the lid is the same size as our modern day ones. How’s that for standardized?

She had some fun historical posters on the wall as well. This one was my favorite:

Naturally, I was super-hyped to try out the stuff I’d learned. So, when I got home, I talked T into going out to get some supplies with me by bribing him with lunch at a fancy hot dog place. (While I’d been learning about canning, T was running 13 miles in the heat. He wasn’t quite as energetic as I was. And listening to me jabber at him about canning probably wasn’t helping… Have I mentioned how happy I am with my decision to not train for a marathon this summer?)

(Dear lord, is she STILL talking about canning?)

I had to go out and do my run after we got home from the store and then it was time to get to work! I made some simple syrup and pitted some more cherries. (Love that new pitter!) Then I stuffed the cherries into some jars with the syrup and put them into the water to boil for 20 minutes. Then they had five minutes of cooling in the water:

I was very nervous that they weren’t going to seal correctly, since when I pulled them out the lids were still making the popping noise. I pushed on them and set then on a towel to cool. And crossed my fingers while watching TV on the couch…

Luckily, when I checked them a few hours later, all of the lids had sealed correctly. The next morning, I did a few more tests that I’d learned in the class to make sure they were really and truly sealed and they passed! I had four jars of canned cherries! Woo hoo! I’m excited about the possibilities for tomatoes and other summer fruit. It will be nice to be able to enjoy some variety in the winter. Not to mention having a plan of attack for the apple tree in our backyard that is about to explode with apples.

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