In a pickle
Saturday, September 20, 2008 | 12:35 PM ET
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.
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?
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About the blog
From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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