Ethical Eating

When Canning Goes Wrong

Before I tell you this story, I should say this much: I love canning, and now is the time of year you'll find me in the kitchen, enveloped in clouds of steam. 

I know this makes me the nerdiest guy in the history of the world. And I

know it's probably the least manly pseudo-hobby I can think of. But what

can I say? I'm a proud member of the back-to-the-earth, locavore

movement. And it's not even because I think the corporate food industry

is evil or trying to poison me (although it very well might be). It's more like my own food tastes


Except when it doesn't.

Last year, I got the bright idea to make my own coleslaw. How hard can that be, right? Shred some cabbage, add a few spices and some vinegar, bottle it up to ferment, and you're good to go.

This last weekend, I was cleaning out our kitchen cabinets when I ran across the bottles of coleslaw and noticed they looked a little fuzzy. That's not good. And now comes the public service annoucement: never, ever, under any circumstances open a bottle of moldy, year-old, rotted cabbage inside your house. The stink was like a snake that uncoiled from the first bottle and whapped me right in the face. It took DAYS to air out the kitchen.

So I goofed. It happens. But I still enthusiastically recommend growing and canning your own food. It's not that hard--except when you screw it up--and if you ever had the chance to try some of my homemade salsa, you'd understand.

Click here or here for a few primers to help you get started.


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Jon Van Zile