“When I open my can of salsa, it smells like summer. It is an oumph of smells and flavors. It has nothing to do with a grocery store salsa. For Véronique Lecours, canning is a passion. And her “pandemic project” was to create Localicieux, a site where she gives advice – and online courses – on how to tame canning techniques.
In 2006, while pregnant with her daughter, Véronique Lecours started canning to keep busy. “But I took Grandma’s advice,” she said, thinking it was superfluous to boil her pot. Result: After a week, she had lost her pickles and beets.
But she wasn’t done learning yet. “I was trying a lot of recipes. I was like, this looks good, canned ratatouille. But if it’s something we didn’t eat before on a daily basis, we won’t eat canned anymore. »
His recommendation? Start with something familiar and, most importantly, don’t overdo it. “I always recommend making applesauce first. It’s easy to do, the jar can be sterilized in boiling water, and the apples are not expensive and can be done in small quantities. »
The important thing is to replace one food that you eat at a time, she insists.
Véronique Lecours likes canned food because it allows her and her family to eat locally all year round. It is also an excellent anti-waste solution for leftovers from the garden or market, which can be declined in a host of ways. Her asparagus from Quebec, she keeps them both marinated and in soup. In her salsa, she cheerfully mixes peppers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, jalapeños, garlic, celery…
Running out of time? “There was a year when we were moving and I didn’t have time to do my raspberries during the summer. I froze them and at the end of January I made my raspberry preserves,” she says.
“There are people who have tomatoes in their garden, but maybe don’t have enough at a time to make a sauce. We wash them, freeze them whole and make cans of tomato sauce later. »
Once you get used to the process, the benefits are undeniable, in his opinion.
If an autoclave (a pot with a lid used to sterilize under pressure) is necessary to make acid-free preserves, you can easily do without it when you start canning, according to Véronique Lecours.
“Me, it took me years to buy one. Start by seeing if you like canning and keep it to a minimum for one season,” she advises.
All acid preserves – especially with tomatoes, marinades, apple and pear compotes – can be made in boiling water without problem, specifies the founder of Localicieux, whose many videos can be seen on her Facebook page or on TikTok.
In her canning 101 course, Véronique Lecours explains the basic techniques and gives little exercises to do with jars of colored water, “just to get the hang of it”. Because sometimes all it takes is a small handling error to lose cans.
“I usually leave them on the counter and watch them. It happens that the cover comes off in the next two or three days because at the base it was badly glued. Usually you see it right away and you can put the jar in the fridge or eat the contents quickly. Always check jars before storing. »
In short, if you follow the steps while using the right tools, canning is not rocket science, says Véronique Lecours.