A few weeks ago I read a wonderful post by Claire of The Garden Diaries about canning strawberry jam with her friends. Her photos and descriptions make you wish you were there, especially for the strawberry daiquiris! But I gleaned the most brilliant canning tip from her: do the processing outside over a propane burner.
We happen to have a propane burner and a huge pot–part of my husband’s beer brewing set-up. He hitched the propane tank from the grill to the burner in the middle of the driveway, checked the connections by brushing them with soapy water (no bubbles mean no gas leaks), and fired her up.
We filled the jars inside (all 29 of them) and then carried them outside in the canning jar boxes. We ended up needing more jars than we thought (we had about 39 lbs of cucumbers), so in between processing sessions, we sterilized a few more jars and lids outside too.
I bought this pot a few years ago at a restaurant supply store–it’s huge and can hold 9 quart jars at a time.
Once the jars were in their boiling hot water bath for the prescribed time, we lifted them out and set them on an old tablecloth in the driveway to cool.
We think we will do our summer canning this way from now on. We, the kitchen, and the rest of the house stayed much cooler. We definitely now appreciate the benefits of an old-fashioned summer kitchen.