The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John from Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

I know most Daring Cooks participants got super pumped and excited when they saw this month we were going to learn how to preserve…but I was not. I have nothing against canning, I think it is cool to do, but to me it equals waste becomes in my kitchen it becomes a jar that is left to accumulate dust. Nowadays we have access to everything year round…even if it is not a it’s peak time of year. So give me a choice between a fresh tomato or a canned one, I go with fresh. Now I hear you all say: well make a jam! I am not a big jam eater either. Sorry!

What I did like when I read this challenge was the easy peasy task this would be. I was not equiped for canning and I had no desire to buy several jars for this purpose or buy prolific amounts of a fruits or veggies. I wanted only 1 jar. I decided to throw caution to the wind and be a really rebellious cowboy with this challenge, hence my title. Don’t do what I did – even if it did work – if you want to learn the real way. Check out the proper canning and preserving .pdf instructions here.

After my Fruit Dropping Party I had a large amount of cut up citrus fruit leftovers. Perfect I did not have to go buy any ingredient! I wanted to preserve these acidic wedges whole. So a light cooking session in a sugar syrup would do. My citrus sugar syrup was made from oranges, grapefruit, lemon, lime, strawberries, sugar, red wine, anise star, ginger and lemon fizz water.

I just simmered it down a little after a good boil. I did not want the fruits to fall apart. This is were I got really rebellious. I grabbed an empty store bought spaghetti sauce jar. When you buy then they are vacuumed and there is a bit of rubber inside. I filled my jar up and closed the lid. I had some syrup left over so I made some Citrus Mezcal Sherbet with it.

It was a very tall jar so I had no choice but to lay the jar SIDEWAYS in the pan. How DARING am I? I followed the instructions for time, about 15 min. I was expecting the canning police to come crashing threw my door at any moment. All kidding aside I knew there would be only one way to find out if my crazy ideas had work: the POP. You will know if your canning is successful only as the jar cools on the counter top. As the inside cools the vacuum will be created and the lid will sink in making a popping noise. Well guess what? It popped, I was so freaking excited.

It’s not the best picture to really tell, but yes the lid concaved inwards. My used spaghetti jar worked. I celebrated my mixing up a spontanious Sangria with the little bit of red wine left and the lemon fizz water. I toasted the glass against the jar to our successful bad cowboy adventure!