and a mess - mess not shown due to the "I don't quite know what I'm doing, I'm learning this out of a book" panic of this first batch. Word to the wise, when buying can supplies with in the intent of jam making, buy an old fashion potato smasher.
The haul here - I went a little over board with the strawberries I think. But the smaller boxes were sub-par and I only managed to get about half a box of usable strawberries out of each. One of the larger boxes went to strawberry pie and the other is waiting for today (Wednesday) to see what becomes of it. The cucumbers are for pickling, more on that to come!
For my teacher I used the classic Ball Blue Book and found it an amazing resources. Really, it's full of great information and easy to follow diagrams.
If you think canning looks complicated, it's really not so bad. It's about timing and planning that's for certain, but I managed to make and cleanup after this batch in about an hour and half (not counting the half hour-ish I spent cutting up the strawberries earlier that day).
The true test of this first batch is yet to come, the remains that were cooling on the stove were delicious, but I've decided to wait a little bit to make sure I sealed them right and nothing rots/spoils.
The most important thing I've learned in this years strawberry adventures (with the store-bought and my few precious berries from my backyard) is that the store-bought have been fooling me for almost 30 years! Yep, I'm kind of naïve for a native Iowan, but I never realized before this year that strawberries are not meant to be hallow and white on the inside. Real berries are ALL berry and you'll never want to go back to the imposters after you've realized that. So now I have very high expectations of next years backyard strawberry crop.
Dill Pickles were attempted yet, and still on the list is perhaps one more batch of jam, apple butter and bread and butter pickles. Honestly, this will probably be the extent of my canning this year (start small), but I still have plans for some freezing in the future.