I really like your pawpaw, can I shake your tree?

Last month I finally received a new supply of mason jars. The dozen that I carefully carried back from Australia last year quickly got filled in the last round of preserving I did. My enthusiasm for canning was bolstered by my success so another yachtie and I decided to combine our order and split the shipping costs to Fiji. We tagged along on a pallet shipment that was coming from the USA, figuring it would be more economical than shipping it by regular parcel post.

As it turned out it wasn’t. I am now the proud own of some of the most expensive mason jars on the planet.

No joke.

I have no doubt that the jars will pay for themselves in the long (long) run. Pickles, chutneys and the like are often very expensive, so much so that we usually fore go buying them. I love a good pickle as much as the next guy, but am not willing to spend $10-15 for a very small bottle of mediocre ones.

The most expensive jars in the world

Some of the most expensive jars in the world

A little while ago I made a batch of my Grampy’s Sweet Mustard Pickles. We ate them on everything; cheese and crackers, ham sandwiches, a spoon straight from the jar. Out of the 9 or so mismatched bottles the recipe yielded we were down to one. Continue reading

We be Jammin’

Well, pickling really.

Everyone once in a while I need some serious galley time; Steve calls it my therapy. Something about the methodical actions of slicing and dicing, of stirring and waiting somehow calms me, brings me back to centre. I have to admit, a small boat in the tropics is really not the smartest place to choose an activity that involves standing next to a stove for hours on end. But I can’t resist.

Over the years when fruit is in season and crazy cheap I’ll make a batch of jam or chutney, squirreling it away for a day when we are at a deserted anchorage and we haven’t seen a real store in weeks.  Nothing boosts morale like a dollop of homemade Mango Chutney on leftover curry or spruces up breakfast like Passion fruit Pineapple Jam.

Having broken almost a whole tray of mason jars way back in Costa Rica one night (a sad lesson in the thermodynamic differences between solids and liquids let me tell you) I was running low on proper canning jars. So last visit to Aus I ordered a case, carefully packed them in my checked luggage and hoped they would survive the plane ride. Amazingly all 12 jars made it to the boat intact and they sat on the table taunting me until recently.

I started off by making a batch of Tomato Relish when tomatoes went down to $2/kg. Even if it failed miserably I would only be a couple bucks out of pocket- less than if I bought a jar of relish in the supermarket here. I headed straight for the book shelf and pulled two dog-eared and much loved volumes off the shelf for guidance.

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