September is actually my favorite time of year to can and preserve tomatoes, and my mom and I have a caning date set for next week: a whole day devoted to making jam and canning tomato sauce. But inevitably, no matter how often you preserve at home, questions arise and it's nice to know a few great resources you can always rely on. Below are five of my favorite canning websites--all devoted to seasonal, inspiring recipes and how-to canning basics. So, what are you waiting for?
1) National Center for Home Food Preservation is a wonderful first resource as it's exhaustive in its coverage of so many elements of preservation (freezing, fermenting, drying, pickling, and storing). They offer a list of publications and fact sheets on canning along with an informative FAQ and Links page. If you're looking for sensuous photos, you won't find that here. But rock-solid canning information and inspiration to get started? Yes, indeed.
2) Food in Jars is one of the first canning blogs I started reading because they don't just focus on recipes. You'll find everything from book reviews to profiles of great canners to "Canning 101" posts that deal with a lot of preservation basics. And when you are just seeking out a wonderful recipe, Food in Jars delves far beyond the expected with recipes including Honey-Sweetend Skillet Stonefruit Jam and Yellow Tomato and Basil Jam.
3) Punk Domestics is unique in that you can contribute content and recipes! Once you register with the site, you can submit recipes that you've come to love. They also have a searchable "Topics" list so you can learn more about specific elements of canning you're curious about (pickling, home brewing, cheese making). Since September is National Honey Month, Punk Domestics is featuring a great line-up of recipes for honey and using honey.
4) Canning Across America (CAA) is put together by a group of chefs, gardeners, and food lovers who enjoy canning and putting up food the old-fashioned way. In their words, "our goal is to promote safe food preservation and the joys of community building through food." They feature events on the site that are region specific or open to anyone nation-wide and a wide range of recipes split into the categories "Fruit" and "Vegetable." I think the true strength of this website is its resources page, with information on books, blogs, and videos that deal with canning. Oh, and songs to can to!
5) Well Preserved is a website devoted to food, cooking, and design with a definite focus on preserving. The element that I admire about this site is they don't just deal with making jam or simple canning; this duo sets out to tackle dehydrating watermelons and making infused vodkas. Informative, well-designed, and approachable.
(Image: Megan Gordon)