If it’s summer, I must be canning. I like making pickles and jams, although I haven’t done as much canning in the last couple of years as usual. Things have just been too busy, but this year, I realized that I miss doing it. This year, I was determined to get canning again.

For inspiration, I bought a couple of new books to add to my list of recipes. It’s time to try some new things as well as the old reliable pickles and jams. Of those new books, this one is my favourite: Liana Krissoff’s Canning for a New Generation. (The link will take you to her blog.) Happy new adventures (so far) for me from this book include Pickled Garlic Scapes, Pickled Asparagus, Romano Beans with Indian Spices and Slow Roasted Fig Preserves with Lemon. I haven’t tried the Dilly Beans yet although they’re made. I also like her mixture for pickling spice and have been using that this year – it’s more interesting than the old reliable. I tried the fermented dills, but think I prefer my quicker dill pickle recipe.

If it’s August, I must be canning peaches. This past weekend, the freestone peaches were everywhere at good prices – with freestone peaches, the fruit slips off the pit more easily, so they’re the best choice for canning – so I dug into those. My kitchen floor is still sticky but we have quarts of quartered peaches, peach jam and Peach and Cilantro Salsa. (That recipe is in the book, too, but I changed it out a bit, adding mustard seed, cumin seed and peppercorns, and leaving out the red pepper flakes and mint.)

As is so often the case – which I’d forgotten until it happened – a story idea worked out all of its kinks while I was peeling and pickling. I’m excited about the new story and about getting back to writing again. The peach break has refreshed me!

What’s left to do? Well, there will be tomatoes to can in quantity. Last year, I didn’t make regular salsa and Mr. Math was disappointed ’round about November when we ran out of it. If the bartlett pears are nice this year, I may can some as Mr. Math is a fan of pears. I’d like to try some tomato jam and some onion marmalade, just out of curiosity, and I need to make green tomato mincemeat for my mom. (She makes tarts and gives some of them back to me.) That’ll probably be it, unless I get seduced by quinces as I do most years. I love the smell of them and the fact that they turn pink when cooked just seems like magic.

Do you do any canning? Do you have any favourite homemade preserves?