Can you can it?

As much as 90% of the food canned at home in Alaska is salmon. I totally made that number up, but it is an educated fabrication, given my years of observation on the subject. Canning has a fascinating history dating back to the early 1800s in France. In fact, they discovered the process before they even understood why it worked to preserve food. Universities and government agencies continue to study, research, and test the process for safety with various foods. Please be sure to use up to date information from reliable resources on proper methods, processing times, and altitude adjustments. Reliable resources included the National Center for Home Food Preservation, ball (as in ball canning jars), and county and university extension services. 
My mom has spent a lot of time and effort keeping herself up to date on current guidelines, and I am excited to have her input on the matter. She is available to answer any questions you have in this section, and I will share things I have learned from her about the process of home preservation. 
Let’s talk about a few things that are fresh in the garden right now.
Zucchini and yellow squash- These act similarly when it comes to preservation, so we can talk about them together here, even if you only want to work with one of them. During the canning process, the texture and density changes too much which prevents heat penetration to the core of the jar. It is not recommended to can either of these veggies. However, you can use them with a relish recipe. 
Radishes- Unlike most root vegetables, it is not recommended to can radishes like you would beets or carrots. Sometimes these recommendations are based more on quality than safety. This could be the explanation as to why you can can other root vegetables and not radishes. You can, however, use them with a pickling recipe. 
Rhubarb- It is technically a vegetable, and there are several options for canning. It is commonly used in conjunction with fruits in jam, as a sauce, and it can also be pickled. It seems like most recipes are calling for copious sugar, which isn’t surprising considering how tart it is. 
Greens- beet, chard, kale, mustard, spinach, etc. can all be canned mixed together or on their own. In some cases like beets, the greens are considered waste and aren’t used. Others come on and you end up with way more than you could eat. Preserving greens is a great way to extend the time you can enjoy the harvest. 


Pickled radishes

Traditionally, pickling is a process of fermentation. We will talk more in depth about this at a later date. Quick pickling is a process to impart these flavors in a short period of time for garnishes, sides, accompaniments, and snacking. Quick pickling can also be used to squeeze a few extra days out of those veggies that are starting to go bad. 
Whether you put your veggies straight from the plant to the brine, or are trying to salvage the red onions you never used, quick pickling adds depth, variety, and brightness to all kinds of cuisines. 
Our first veggie up for pickling is the mighty radish. The fresh radish is often found garnishing salads, used in slaws, and served on its own. It’s peppery, crisp, and pungent flavor can be used anywhere you want to utilize its earthy tones. 

When pickled, the radish maintains it’s crisp freshness while adding an acidic layer to help brighten its otherwise earthy profile. Pickling also gives opportunity to infuse other flavors, and it looks great, too. The root picks up some of the red from the skin, giving an almost florescent pink tint to the white flesh. 
Pickled radishes 

4 medium sized radishes halved and sliced razor thin (mandolin)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar 

1/4 cup water

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp honey
Bring liquids to a boil and pour over radishes in a small jar. Cool to room temperature. Use immediately after cool or store in refrigerator covered for up to two weeks.