• Tina Witherspoon

Slow living: home canning

Although preserving food is as old as time, canning, according to The Spruce Eats is a relatively recent development. I found their Brief History of Canning Food very informative. It's my favorite new read with beautiful photographs and tons of "how to's" and I can't get enough as I prepare to jar — or can — my own fruits and vegetables following what I can only hope will be a bountiful garden haul this year! (That's actually sarcasm as my tomato plants are nearly as tall as me and have produced exactly one puny green fruit to show for it as of today.)

Let me back up and say right out of the gate that I did not do the canning of these scrumptious and photogenic fruits and spreads. My very good friend did and she gifted them to me. Sandy is an architect by day and as it turns out, an actual 21st century renaissance woman in her spare time. I am totally inspired by her and hope to learn everything there is to know about canning. In the meantime, I couldn't consume the product until I had staged a dark and moody photoshoot to show them off.

Carefully popping the lids, I tasted the trio of homemade goodness in the form of pickled pears, strawberry jam and pear-pepper jelly, which quickly became my favorite. While I was thinking about how to incorporate these canned goods into every day dinners, I had the thought that they actually could all go together nicely, so I took to Pinterest. I started by searching for charcuterie and moved on to cheeseboards, and was finally inspired by a recipe where you mix nuts and jams together and just drizzle the sticky goodness over a wheel of brie, and then bake it until melted. Couldn't be easier and it would look really yummy in photographs.

At the grocery I found a baby wheel of brie made from goat cheese which would be the perfect fit for the tiny cast iron skillet we had just acquired. I decided to grab some water crackers and pistachios to round out the menu, and plucked some flowers from the yard. I love to incorporate things from my home in staged photos. The napkin in the photo is a piece of linen that I dyed with natural dried flower petals. It gives the photos a country cottage feel.

Every bite had a distinctly different flavor but all of it together was mind blowing. The warm gooey brie cheese slathered on a thin water cracker, a bit of pickled pear plopped on top and a drizzle of pear-pepper jelly... and then a little crunch of jammy sticky pistachio right at the end. I've found my calling — I love eating and I love photographing delicious food. What should I make next?


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