Best Pressure Canners

I’ve been testing the best pressure canners for The Spruce Eats. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Gardening season is here, and I have exciting news to share, so I’m interrupting this month of cheese posts to put canning on your radar. The news is this: One of my goals for this year has been to start writing about food for places other than this blog, and I’m excited to share that I’ve been come a regular contributor to The Spruce Eats. If you’re not familiar with the website, I suggest you check it out: It’s loaded with everything from recipes to videos to cooking tips to buying guides. I’m working with a great editor there and having a lot of fun writing for the site.

My first project was a roundup of the year’s best pressure canners, and I spent last month testing 3 of my favorites. The first reviews went live this week. Since my writing for The Spruce Eats focuses on the products, I wanted to share a little more about what I canned and cooked here.
Read more about what I’ve been pressure canning

Prepare to Can

You know you’re serious about preserving homegrown food when you start canning in your kitchen. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
You know you’re serious about preserving homegrown food when you start canning in your kitchen. As summer temperatures peak and the garden explodes, canning supplies take up semipermanent residence on the kitchen counter, and many evenings feature the “ping” of sealing jars.

As I mentioned while describing the pros and cons of canning, it’s a time-consuming process with must-follow rules and specialized tools. That’s part of why I’m such a fan of canning large batches and even multiple batches: If I’m going to spend the time, I want to fill a row of jars. Otherwise, I choose a quick preservation method like refrigerating or freezing. I even stash produce in the fridge or freezer to can later when I have a decent stockpile and more time. Doing so breaks up the canning process, making it seem less of a project.

Even though they take effort, canning projects are worth it, and some of my most delicious preservation recipes are stored stably and safely at room temperature in jars.
Read more about water-bath canning

Classic Zucchini

My mom tried every way she could think of to feed us zucchini. I still rely on her classic and newer recipes. Get zucchini recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
As I was growing up, my mom tried every way she could think of to feed us zucchini. My dad always planted several hills, plus a couple extra in case one failed, and Mom found endless ways to sneak it into dishes once the crop started coming in. Chocolate zucchini cake was her favorite way to disguise the squash: the texture gave it away, but that didn’t stop us from reaching for a slice. She also processed it as pickles, relish, and even salsa.

My favorite way to save zucchini today is grated and frozen for pancakes and quick bread. But if you’re short on freezer space, pickled zucchini becomes far more attractive. The year before I was born, my great-aunt Verle gave my mom a classic zucchini relish recipe that Mom made for decades. She claims we liked it even better than Cucumber Relish. Zuke relish doesn’t stand out in my memories, but I loved relish as a kid, so I must have been eating a lot of these jars. It’s stood the test of time; my great-aunt’s original recipe required only minor tweaks to match today’s safe-canning standards.
Learn to make Zucchini Relish and Bread-and-Butter Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles

Classic Pickles

I’ve learned many tricks for keeping classic cucumber pickles crisp—and to set aside extra cukes for relish. Get pickling recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Dill pickles fit the “classic” category on so many levels. They have a long history among home canners, and in my home in particular. While my mom boiled vinegar brine and tended the canning kettle, my sister and I were given the job of packing whole cucumbers into quart jars because we had small hands. Weeks later, I’d start pulling jars from the packed shelves to munch on the crisp, sour vegetables.

Since I first learned to can pickles, I’ve found many tricks for keeping cucumbers crisp throughout the heated processing that lets you store them on shelves at room temperature. My mom always added grape leaves from our homegrown vines, harnessing their tannins to help keep the cukes crisp; I found horseradish leaves have the same effect. I’ve also started pasteurizing the jars instead of dropping them into a boiling water bath. Pasteurizing takes a little more time at my altitude, but the lower temperature still gives a crunchier pickle. Set aside any cucumbers that are blemished or won’t squeeze into the jars for relish.
Learn to make Processed Cucumber Dill Pickles and Cucumber Relish