Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Run to the Hardware Store

mason jars
Yesterday, inspired by all of the wonderful and informative comments to my last post, I walked over to the Ace Hardware Store located in Boston's North End district during my lunch break to pick up some 1/2 pint mason jars. For those of you who are not familiar with the city of Boston, the North End is historically and to this day home to a rather large population of Italian Americans. Countless Italian restaurants, bakeries, espresso shops, delis and pizza parlors line the crowded streets of this quaint neighborhood. As you walk from shop to shop, you witness first hand the many culinary traditions that make the North End a truly remarkable place for food lovers. Which is why in addition to the jars, I couldn't resist purchasing a ravioli cutter and ghocchi board as well, both of which I intend to put to good use in the kitchen very soon.

I also placed an order online for Ball's home canning kit. Unfortunately, it won't be arriving for another 7 to 10 days. I think I'll harvest a few lemons this weekend anyway and can my marmalade using a large stockpot. Since our grandmothers wouldn't have waited for a fancy kit to arrive in the mail before they canned their harvest, why should I?

I will be listing several of the canning resources that were shared by those of you who commented on my last post on my sidebar soon. Again, much thanks!


  1. Don't forget to put something on the bottom of that stockpot (Towel, jar rings etc) to keep them off of the bottom of that pot.

  2. Mmm the North End. Mikes or Modern pastry?

  3. Boston sounds like a fascinating place to be :)

    I've never done canning, just lots of bottling, so it's been really interesting to read about it - you learn something new every day!

  4. Gnocchi board?? Are you kidding? There is a board for this? Ah, yet another kitchen gadget that I may need to acquire. My Auntie used to make Ricotta Gnocchi for our family. She is gone now, but has passed down her recipe to us. I always have warm thoughts of her when I make them. She would roll the gnocchi down the tines of a fork to form the little ridges that hold a little bit of the tomato sauce just perfectly.

    I’m looking forward to reading about your first canning experience.

  5. It is always interesting to see old methods that we used 50 years ago become 'new' again.

    We make a low sugar version of fig preserves and pear preserves when they are in season, but because of the decreased sugar, we put the cooked fruit in little freezer containers and keep them in the freezer.

  6. Jams and/or jellies are a great place to begin your learning experience, as there are no failures. Depending on the consistency, you will end up with (a: properly jelled) jam/jelly, (b: too runny) pancake syrup or ice cream topping (c: too firm) heated as a glaze for meats or desserts. You can't miss with fruit and sugar ;-)

  7. Everyone was right on the canning information... wonderful folks!

    I might add that one thing we have done this year is freeze more. Once I blanch our tomatoes, remove the skins, they packed nicely in quart size freezer bags... a couple fewer steps. Once I pop one out as I did yesterday for a pot roast, I wash the bag, dry, and put it away for later.

  8. Have fun canning, this is the time of year to do it- much better than July and August!

  9. Looks like fun! Just found your blog, it's great. Some of your experiences would make great entries in the "Mastering the Art of Sustainable Cooking" contest, judged by Alice Waters and others:


  10. Ribbit - Thanks for the reminder! I sure will!

    The Mom - Modern!

    Nutty Gnome - Yes. Boston is a very interesting place. We get tons of British visitors every year. You should come!

    GrafixMuse - YES a gnocchi board! When I saw it, I instantly felt like I had to have it.

    Nell Jean - I'm looking forward to making lower sugar refrigerator/freezer preserves as well! Hopefully I have a ton of strawberries next year to do so.

    Gran - I'm glad you say that! I would hate to be the first to screw it up!

    Di - I think I will opt to freeze most of my tomato harvest next year. One item on my list of things to do is to run out and get a mini freezer for the basement.

    Kelly - you are so right! It's probably up there with baking bread in August. Even the thought of it makes me want to sweat.

    Matthew - thanks for the heads up. I will definitely have to check it out!