Birthday gifts for canning fun

I had a birthday earlier this month as well, and wanted to show off my birthday gifts.

Isn't it beautiful? (Thanks, Mom and Dad. They don't even know what they got me as they sent a check.) It's 7.8 quarts and made by Lodge. It also weighs possible more than K. I have a smaller dutch oven that I found at a rummage sale several years ago, but it always feels just a bit too small for the amount of food that I am preparing. This should take care of that problem. It should also make some wonderful jam, which is another reason I bought it. Now, I just have to figure out where to store it. It's a tiny bit huge and the weight would not be good for my pull-out cabinets.

The dutch oven purchase was inspired by these two books which I had checked out from the library. I fell in love with both of them and now own them. They are Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry by Cathy Barrow and Saving the Season by Kevin West. (Due to my recent computer disasters, I haven't yet found my link for my Amazon Associate's links. If you have them, use them, and maybe when I have a free moment, I'll see if I can find them myself.) I was already feeling the lack of home canned goods in my pantry due to virtually no canning last summer, but these books have inspired my to get back on that horse, plus to try new things.

Yesterday I finished pickling some juniper-pickled cocktail onions and some home-made pectin. (Both from the Mrs. Wheelbarrow book.) That pectin... it's still a work in progress. I was using windfall apples from the apple tree on my brother's (mother's... difficult to explain) farm. The yield was not quite what I had expected, but I have started an email exchange with the author (who replied to my question right away), and I may spend the rest of the summer experimenting and figuring it out. I love, love, love the idea of making my own pectin from apples that would just be thrown out.

Don't rows of little jars on the counter make you so happy?


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