CANNING IS COUTURE
Canning is many things; it’s slow, mysterious, a locavores wet dream and perfectly in tune with the new frugality. I promise, if you learn how to make jam people will fall in love with you thinking that you possess alchemistic powers.
Every piece of fruit longs to be immortalized in glass, so make friends with anyone who has a fruit tree, even the cranky lady up the street. If you can’t find a cranky lady or lack friends with fruit, check out these sites, http://www.fallenfruit.org/maps.html which is artists mapping public fruit trees (so cool!) and http://www.pickyourown.org/ which links you to local farms.
Your preserves are only as good as the fruit you use, which usually means organic. If you must buy fruit, your local farmers market is an incredible resource, although it can get pricey. Shop wisely, ask your farmers for second quality, which tastes just as good, but might not look perfect (fine for preserving). Develop a relationship with your growers, and they will take good care of you. I also have befriended my local greengrocer who sometimes orders cases for me at a reduced price. Bribe every one with jam.
One of the things I love about canning is that it is always different; no two batches are ever the same. You can use the same recipe every year and it will always surprise you. The time of harvest, amount of rain fall, ripeness of the fruit, all of these things affect the outcome, making each jar a little different, couture if you will.
So go get some fruit and join me in my canning adventures and watch the love come your way.