In a pickle

by Amber Hildebrandt, CBCNews.ca

I may have scoffed at my fellow 20-something friends who took up the knitting needle when the grandmotherly activity gained popularity a few years ago, but now I can scoff no more.

This summer, I jumped onto the bandwagon of another old-fashioned craft enjoying a mini revival: canning.

I first waded into the world of preserves by making a few small jars of strawberry jam earlier this summer. Even that took hours and left me and my kitchen stained red for days.

Then came the bigger test: dill pickles.

I'd prepared for it by planting several cucumber bushes in my backyard. But with none of them producing enough for a jarful at any given time, I was forced to buy my pickling cucumbers at the St. Lawrence Market. After hours of sterilizing the jars, cleaning the cucumbers and figuring out the recipe, I'd made five 1-litre jars.

And then I waited and waited. Four weeks of waiting.

Finally, I cracked open a jar and sampled one yesterday. I was immediately transported back to my grandmother's kitchen. It tasted almost exactly the same.

In a New York Times article last month, it cites food costs, concerns about food safety, green sensibilities and a new appreciation of all things natural as reasons for the "small renaissance" of canning.

My reason for canning doesn't fall into any of those categories. It's simply because my grandmother can't make her pickles and jams anymore and I miss them.

And so my question to you: Have you taken up canning this summer? If so, what made you join the club?