I think the best thing about my not working this summer was the fact that it led me to start canning. It was about the middle of August that I finally got myself a canning pot and decided to give it a go, and I've made at least a couple things a week since.
The older I get the more I love doing things that my own parents did - it gives me just an awesome feeling of nostalgia and makes me feel even closer to them somehow.
Growing up, most summers my parents canned tomatoes and some type of jam - usually strawberry to use up all of the spoils from the pick-your-own farm we'd visit.
A couple months back, a post on the awesome blog Crackers led me to buy Canning and Preserving by Ashley English which contains a wealth of canning info and recipes. It's a perfect book for someone getting into canning, as it goes over pretty much every possible thing that could go wrong and how to avoid it.
Most of the stuff I've made so far has been from the book too though, as with any of my new interests, I've thoroughly researched online and found a few really amazing canning blogs as well, chock full of recipes I can't wait to try.
L-R: Dill pickles, tomato basil sauce and pickled okra - all recipes from Canning & Preserving. The last two jars are canned peaches in a vanilla syrup and a strawberry jam with balsamic and pepper.
L-R: Cherry marmalade, peach lavender butter (again, from Canning and Preserving) and blueberry maple jam.
So far, everything I've made has been pretty easy with no real problems. And the few mishaps I've had, really aren't so bad (floating peaches!) and are easy to fix (pack more tightly!)
I've also made fairly small batches of everything, mostly to do with cupboard space, but also to cut down on cost.
This afternoon I'm actually planning on turning these wonderfully sweet cherry tomatoes & basil from my garden...
..into a few small jars of tomato basil jam.
I know it's said in pretty much every mention of canning, but I really cannot wait to eat some of that sunny tomato basil jam on a rainy, grey January day.
And speaking of sunny! I have to admit, I was way too quick to judge the seasons out here. The last week has been beautifully hot and sunny. Just yesterday in fact we got back from a blissful three days of camping near Squamish with a wonderful group of friends. I took loads of pictures with my A-1 and can't wait to get them developed.
We were on a small lake we had all to ourselves, complete with a raft tethered across the lake. I swam tons and pretty much had the best time ever.