Monday, June 15, 2009
I will confess, I love canning. I long for September all year, for the end of the farmer's markets when bushels of tomatoes are ripe and ready for canning, when you can get loads of red peppers to roast over a bonfire and then can fire roasted peppers. But recently I canned my own beans, with the help of our friend Jill, who is my canning mentor! We got together on a cool spring day, early in May and canned garbanzo, pinto and black beans. I can't even begin to describe the difference in dried beans that have been soaked over night, cooked and then canned versus the canned beans you buy at the grocery store. My primary motive was to have a stash of beans ready for Indian cooking at a moments notice. Of course this is a great deal of work! But I have been known to spend an entire day making my own tomato paste and consider time in the kitchen well spent. I am grateful to have the time and energy to spend hours upon hours grinding my own spices, making almost everything we eat from scratch and minimizing our consumption of prepackaged food. I love reaching into the pantry and grabbing a can of tomatoes, peaches, red peppers, chutney or beans that I have canned myself. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to support my local farming community, particularly our immigrant farmers all year long by supplying myself with local canned tomatoes and peppers. And, now when I want a quick Indian dish with beans, well I have plenty.