A month or so ago I purchased a lovely canning kit that comes complete with everything one needs to can ones own produce. Great I thought, this should be foolproof!
And so I got started, chop, chop, chopping tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and jalapeno peppers for my first ever canned salsa.
The first mistake I made was chopping well over a pound of jalapeno's with bare hands. Apparently one should wear gloves for the obvious reasons I discovered as I was nearing the end of the chopping process, and my hands started to feel like they were on fire. It seems this English person is clueless about the handling of fiery peppers from the southwest. I continued however to make the salsa, with my burning hands, and watery eyes.
I did everything exactly as the recipe required, with visions of botulism poisoning playing in my head, and I imagined that once I was finished, the ENORMOUS canner full of water would have reached boiling point. No, of course not, not even close. It took A LOT of water to fill that thing, and so obviously it took A LOT of time to heat it.
And so after about an hour or so of waiting around, the water was finally bubbling away and ready for my pint jars of salsa, and I was pretty excited to get those jars in there.
I soon discovered however that something wasn't quite right when my jars didn't seem to fit in the rack, and kept floating on their sides. I persevered for a minute or two before getting a little frustrated, and deciding to look more closely at the booklet that came with the canning pot. Apparently my HUGE canning pot is meant for quart jars, not the pint jars that were included with the kit.
As I stood there with my hands of fire, looking at the jars of salsa I had ever so carefully made from scratch, I pretty much decided there and then that canning wasn't for me.
I have since had time to reflect on my rather hasty decision after freezing most of the salsa, and eating the rest, (its pretty good), and I have decided that I might give it another go. This time though I plan to have the right sized canning pot which would be one that holds around 11 gallons of water, not 30.
In the meantime, I have a new appreciation for my chest freezer, and all that it can do for a rookie canner in a tight spot.