I think just about everyone who learns to can foods starts with water bathed strawberry jam and tomato salsas. Some then progress to vegetables and fruits, and if they are really brave, step up their game and start pressure canning meats. When I first tried canning a savory fig jam, I thought I was being pretty “wild.” But then, I really went outside my canning comfort zone and started “Canning Weird” according to my family.
There’s nothing at all unusual about canning jelly… unless you use flowers! I’m not typically a fan of “flowery” flavors, or even scents. But this jelly, made from dried lavender, is both delicious and beautiful! There are so many medical and therapeutic benefits to lavender, why not add a culinary use as well? (Don’t have lavender in your yard? You can buy food grade lavender online.)
My next out of the ordinary canning project was “Cherry Stomp” (AKA: Cherry Bounce or Drunken Cherries). The first batch I tried used bourbon and was WAY too boozy for me… and for the friends that received jars as gifts!… but I discovered a better recipe that uses vodka instead. It might have been a personal preference, so if you like bourbon, whiskey, or brandy then look up recipes using those as the main ingredient. Someday I’d like to try it with rum. But whichever alcohol you use… be warned! These are potent!
This last one… you’re going to have to trust me on this… Canned Pickled Watermelon Rinds.
Let me be more specific… you only can the white part of the rind… the fleshy part between the red fruit and the green rind. After cutting up the delicious red watermelon flesh save those rinds! Slice the white portion out, set it aside and get to canning! I admit, this one worried me a bit. But the final result was quite yummy! If you’re the kind of person who wants to use every edible scrap, canning this part of the melon that is usually trash is a great idea.
I have an old Ball Canning Guide from 1943 with a few more unusual canning recipes… including canned Frog Legs, Mushroom Ketchup, and Lye Hominy. I’m not sure if I will go quite that “crazy” just yet! But I am sure to step out-of-the-box and try something new every now and then.
What’s the most unusual thing you have ever canned?
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