Hot Corn Relish, Yet Again

The October CanJam focused on peppers. Though I thought about doing jars and jars of pickled peppers (and in fact put up one basic jar Monday night, following Marisa’s instructions over at Food in Jars), I wanted something more interesting. More creative. More original.

That plan backfired. Instead, I grabbed a jar of hot corn relish from the basement (canned a couple of weeks ago), gussied it up for its close-up, and called it a day. The recipe is the same one I made last year, which is basically a marginally modified version of the Ball Blue Book’s recipe.

I’ve been struggling with the CanJam for a couple of months, but haven’t really been able to put my finger on what was bothering me until now. This was about more than a lack of ideas for peppers. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fairly utilitarian cannerโ€”I put up what we’ll eat and what I’d like to give away. While there’s some room in my cupboard for goodies like lavender lemon fig jam, what I really want is a wall full of canned tomatoes, a shelf of dried peaches, and a freezer full of kale. Food preservation takes a certain amount of time and effort, and I want the things that I preserve to be reliable, predictable, and flexible in their use. Canning carrots for the sake of learning how to carrots (I know, I know, I was the one who announced that train wreck) doesn’t really hold my interest.

Hence my recent somewhat uninspired entries in the CanJam. I like and trust my salsa verde and hot corn relish; therefore, I make them again and again, year after year. I love reading about all the creative and novel things that other people are doing for their entries for the CanJam, but by this time of year all I want to do is to get my canning done. Next year, I’ll go through the various round-ups and pick a few new things to experiment with, and hopefully I’ll find some new favorites.

Don’t mistake meโ€”I’m thrilled that the CanJam has brought together such a fantastic community of online canners, and I’m absolutely loving all the new blogs that the Tigress’s monthly wrap-ups have turned me on to. But I’m very glad there are only two months left. And I don’t want to end up with green ketchup.

So what about you? Still making up new stuff, or back to the tried-and-true?

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11 comments to Hot Corn Relish, Yet Again

  • meg

    I think the corn relish sounds awesome! I have certainly learned A LOT about canning this year and met some cool people and for me that was a main goal. However, I am also fairly practical and yet was finding myself making things like “pinot poached pears” and “rhubarb rosemary jam’…things I KNOW my family and I will never eat. Ever. So, I started canning things I know we would eat and would be staples. Mostly things that are straight forward and basic.
    And, I love the roundups for giving me inspiration and finding new recipes for things I know my family will love.

    The carrot challenge, btw, did yield my favorite canned item this year however (even though I initially balked at it!)

    I wish we ate more jam…the jam recipes always sound so great and I always want to make it. But, in real life, we only go through about 3 jars a year. Sigh!

    And now, I need to find some corn to make corn relish! =) Relishes and salsas we eat!

  • There have been quite a number of us taking part in the canjam so there are bound to be variations in our experience and ambitions and everyone’s approach is as valid as the next. Actually I was very drawn to the hot corn relish and now it has your endorsement I will definitely give it a go. I came to this canning lark as a complete novice, so it has all been bloody brilliant to me. It has changed my life. Everyone who knows me is fed up of hearing the ‘C’ word. Sounds like the you’ve learnt something fundamental from the experience.

  • I seem to have the opposite problem. I look at all the different, innovative things other people have made and gone, wow, why didn’t I make that? I love pickled carrots and I never would have discovered the awesomeness of onion jam if it wasn’t for the can jam, but I keep putting unnecessary pressure on myself to be the specialest canning snowflake and I don’t like doing that to myself.

    For me, the hard part of being caught up in the can jam is taking the time to remember that apple sauce and quarts of tomatoes are worth it and why I got in canning in the first place.

  • So, do you think that she won’t do another Can Jam in 2011? I will be so sad if that’s the case. ๐Ÿ™

    I love to tinker, so for me the Can Jam has been brilliant, green ketchup not withstanding. ๐Ÿ™‚ And we *are* the type of folk who will eat some pretty wacky stuff, so it’s easier because it’s more unlikely that it’ll go to waste. I think I’ve learned, however, to tinker in tiny batches (the green ketchup was a perfect example; I think I only got three 4-oz jars of that awfulness, thank goodness). So if there is a recipe that I’m unsure of (tomato jam, anyone?) I try to make it in a tiny batch, to test it out. If it’s a winner, I’ll make it again next year. If not.. a lesson learned is never a waste, no?

  • And, wait – I think posts are not supposed to go up until next week, right? (I should know this). Just double-checked Tigress’ September post and posting starts this Sunday, the 17th. (I thought it was today as well – good thing I checked!)

  • amy

    I feel your pain. As you can see, my peppers submission was for pickled carrots. I love the idea of the can jam, but so many of the items have been off-season for me that it has been challenging. Also, there have been some items I have absolutely no interest in.

  • I share your ambivalent feelings. After being an adventurous canner for a few years, I finally realized that my husband and young child don’t like to eat these things. They cost money to make, and it would behoove me to make things they’ll eat instead of jars of pretty things that sit on a shelf.

    Like you, I want the wall of plain, home-canned tomatoes. But here in the Pacific NW, tomatoes don’t grow that well, and it costs money to buy them so… you know…

    I was pleased by the snow pea pickles I made all spring. They have been enjoyed. I didn’t even make lemon-rosemary pickled green beans this year.

  • There is no shame in that game! One of the rules of the can jam was that it’s okay to repost an old recipe, especially if it is a great one, and I know in months where I was strapped for time or inspiration, I definitely did that.

    I concur with kaela-when it comes to the crazier can jam topics, I make them in smaller batches, so if I love them, I know to make them again next year, and if I hate them, I have very few that I will need to give away to friends. I love the book Small Batch Preserving by Topp and Howard bc it comes with tons of small-scaled recipes.

    That being said, some of the topics I was least excited about (carrot was one) yielded some of my biggest crowd pleasers (like the carrot caramelized shallot chutney). So you never know!

    But don’t apologize. You’ve inspired plenty of us, and probably when you weren’t even trying to!

  • It’s true, the pressure for pizzaz is out there, but does it matter? Some of my favorite entries are whole fruit or juice, and the like, for reminding me of the basics. My recipes have been super simple lately, too, just because the season is in high gear and I’ve got way too much to do. In February I’m sure I’ll be experimenting again!

    Corn relish looks good, btw!

  • My preference is the tried and true BUT the Can Jam has brought me so many new tried and true recipes I would never have tried otherwise. I feel your pain – you can usually tell when I am not excited about what I canned though – I make Woodman do the post!

  • I’m all over your version of Hot Corn Relish! I’ve been wanting to make some this season. Now that corn is expensive and almost gone, I’d better hurry up.

    Funny reading about those who don’t eat much jam. I on the other hand go through a jar every few weeks. Glad I make low sugar ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m inspired reading about CanJam- what a great way to get ideas, feedback, meet others who love to can. Perhaps I’ll join in too!