Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's that time of year again....

...and I don't mean Christmas. Every year, when we get to mid-August, I get a little giddy, thinking of all the canning I'm going to do, all the lovely jars lined up in my shelf, waiting for a visit sometime in the deepest part of winter. Why do my husband and I do it? (for he's just as much of a harvest addict as I am) Part of it is practical: it's cheaper to can produce that has been given to us (or picked by us - gotta love Freecycle for that!) or even bought, rather than buy the finished product. But part is sentimental: I love to think of the many generations of women who came before me, doing (almost) exactly the same thing. For them, it was a matter of survival, whereas we have the luxury of canning by choice. But in this day and age, where talk of "food security" and "victory gardens" is cropping up everywhere, I'm glad I have my many glass jars, each to be filled with something exciting. There's the applesauce made from my parents' Yellow Transparent apples, the dilly beans and pickled beets fresh out of the garden, the 80 lbs of peaches (and the several pounds that ended up in our stomachs!), and the pears yet to come.
This year, I tried something new: pressure canning.
OK, that didn't sound risky enough. How about this? I tried pressure canning with my in-laws' pressure canner from the 70's that hasn't been used in 10 years. I flirted with death and dismemberment, certain that the hissing pot could explode any moment.
But it didn't. And I have the delicious tomatoes to prove it.


Kristin said...

I'll never forget going to pick tons of plums with my family and spending a few afternoons cooking them all and canning them. What a wonderful memory! Your post inspires me to do this with my kids, I'd love for them to have the wonderful memories of canning. Bobbi, you are awesome!

rachel said...

i would like to do this as well. we've had some unsuccessful attempts before. what a pretty picture!

Mom said...

One of the family traditions when I was growing up was strawberry jam. The extended family would pile into the cars, split up, and go strawberry picking at different farms. Then we'd go back to my Mom and Dad's, and make strawberry jam. I miss doing that, now that we're grown and scattered around.

But at the same time, I made my first batch of baby food last weekend. While my daughter is too young to eat it, I wanted to take advantage of the lovely in season produce, and so I got peaches and plums and nectarines for her, and cooked and pureed and froze things. When she's a bit bigger and perhaps less demanding on my time maybe I'll start canning some of my own things.