May 1, 2011

Back To Basics :: Canning

Not my picture.

When I was a little girl (she says like it was a terribly long time ago), I remember canning fruits and "vegebles" - as my kiddos call them - with my mom and grandmother. It was just a part of my younger life.

We would buy boxes and boxes and boxes of corn from a distribution center (I think) somewhere out of town. We would get green beans either from the garden or somewhere else, and we would spend hours snapping them. We would get boxes of apples as well and I loved making the little piles of apple skin "spaghetti" - even though it took forever to get them all peeled. We had peaches, and would go to a "Pick Your Own" cherry orchard to get the wonderfully red fruit. Then we would spend all day cooking and canning.

I think the biggest memory I have is of my baby brother sitting in the open door of the dishwasher eating a cob of fresh corn. We have a picture of him there, grinning back at the camera with corn milk dribbling down his chin.

I wish now that I had paid better attention back then. We stopped canning sometime in my early teens. I'm not sure why. Maybe it just wasn't worth it when you could just go down to the store for "fresh" (I question the validity of that sometimes) anything now. Or maybe it was because our house was always under construction in some fashion or another, and the work took up too much time. Or something else took up too much time. I don't know. I'll have to ask my Mimi.

Anyways, I think because it was instilled in me in such a young age, this is why I can now and I have no fear of it, really. I read people talking about being scared of canning, and that's just something I grew up with! Granted, I haven't done nearly as much as I've wanted to in the last years. And I haven't wanted to in the last years as much as I do now. The extent of my canning as a young adult and homemaker so far has mostly been jams and jellies, with a batch of my paternal great grandmother's chili sauce thrown in.

For my birthday a few years ago Mimi gave me the best present she has ever given me. And probably the best one she ever will. A gift that was not just a thing, but a memory, and an addition that would be most helpful in the way I want to live my life taking care of my family and being self-sufficient.

She gifted me with a pressure canner and The Ball Book of Home Preserving.

Now, the year she gave it to me I was so busy having little babies, and we were in a small apartment that didn't really allow for a garden. Thus no immense amount of produce to preserve. So I put the book away, and only pulled out the canner a few times to make the aforementioned jams and jellies - and that wonderful sweet chili sauce.

However, this year we've planted our garden and I'm very, very excited to can things this year. I have plans for not only jams and chili sauce, but tomato sauce, relish, hot sauce, maybe some pie filings - whatever I can get my little paws on. I'd like to supplement with the Farmer's market and stock our pantry with so much canned food I have to give it away just so it gets eaten.

I'll be posting a few recipes here and there as I preserve my way through this year's harvest (my own and other's). And I want to encourage everyone reading this to either give canning a shot if you never have before, or pick it back up if it's been forgotten.

Try a new recipe. Can something you've never canned before. Set a goal of preserving one month's worth of food - or more! Or just try a small batch of jelly.

Believe me, it's so worth it. And there's nothing better than running out of something and all you have to do is walk to the pantry and get another jar.

Happy Preserving,


William said...

I believe in your garden, Meg! You "can" do it!


Meg said...

LOL! Thank ye, Will. :)

Thistle Cove Farm said...

What a fabulous gift your Mimi gave you; be sure and pass it along to others once you're confident in your skills. I've been canning for more than 40 years and have never lost my love of putting by food.

Farm Girl said...

I am glad that Ben married you. Nothing makes me happier in knowing that you know how to can food. I think that one of the nicest feelings in the whole world is to open the door of the pantry and see all of the food therein canned by you. It always makes me feel so rich.
You will have so much fun and I am so thankful for Mimi too. :)

Allison said...

Pretty picture of your canning! I love stocked shelves. :)

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I am looking forward to canning this year. Last summer was the first year I tried it and I fell in love with it. I'm sure we will be trading recipes this summer.

no spring chicken said...

Very encouraging! I hadn't done much canning until a few years ago. 5 years ago when my stove died we bought a very nice used glass top stove. Guess what? You can't can on it! So now we set up our Coleman stove on the back patio and that is where I do my canning. There are a few inconveniences but for the most part it works great!

Blessings, Debbie

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for stopping by! I enjoy reading every comment and I will try to get back to you if I'm able.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...