I would like to learn to can.

I’ve been Facebooking about this all summer. Apparently, I have an uncle who is an excellent canner and has directed me to a few online resources, such as PickYourOwn.org. I’ve been stalking and bookmarking every post on preserving from one of my favorite blogs, Simple Bites. My father has offered to set me up with a beginner’s canning set, like this one. I’ve been keeping an eye out at used book stores for one of the books in the Ball canning series.  I admire the cans in local housewares stores– the jars remind me of the glass jelly jars I used to drink juice out of when I was little. Some have the familiar diamond pattern, and others are simpler, smooth with one raised floral design. Some are large, some are short and squat, and some look so standard. But I haven’t actually canned anything.

I have a million excuses. My boyfriend and I recently moved, and who wants to move a dozen or more jars, in addition to the fourteen (!!) boxes of books? Now that we are settled in, we are still waiting for the apartment complex to finish installing our pantry. In the meantime, where would I put the cans? Not to mention, who wants to stand over a hot stove for more than an hour when it’s over 100 degrees outside? Also, I can’t afford a pressure cooker, and don’t you need one of those? But these are all just excuses, a way for me to get out of trying something new.

So I’m putting it out there. Sometime in the next few weeks, I’m going to do some sort of small-batch canning. (I mean, who needs a zillion jars of tomato sauce? Not me. Small steps, people.) A friend of mine is also excited about canning, so she and I are going to have an afternoon canning party, and I will finally get over my irrational fear of food-borne illnesses and boiling water baths. What I need from you, dear readers, are ideas.

What should I can as my first project?