I love the surprising sound of lids popping after I finish canning a batch of some kind fruit or veggie concoction. Sealing in a labor of love until I, or some unsurprised friend or relative who gives me a humoring “oh-great-another-homemade-gift” smile twists open the Ball Jar to reveal pure sugar and fruit. I’m planning on salsa again this year however, AND trying out a soup. Soup is easier and cheaper to freeze, in my opinion, but I’m going to try a SouthWest Veggie Soup canning style to give as gifts. Freezing gallon bags of soup might be good for us to pull out of our freezer, thaw and chow down on on a crisp fall day, but lacks a kind of luster when I tie a ribbon around it and hand it (wearing winter gloves) to an unsuspecting recipient mentioning to them it might be a good idea to find another freezer quick to place it in, or you’ll have to eat it tonight.
I never learned to can growing up, but I knew that my Great Grandma Bowers had done it for years and years. I’m sure my Grandma Boreman had done it too. It’s nice to feel a connection with them, and with the past in something very simple and functional. Knowing that they were doing this process (a hundred times more efficiently and more practically than I, I’m sure) for decades is kind of cool! If I had more time and more hands and more room to grow veggies and fruit, I would be way more into canning to prepare for winter so we could eat from the garden all year round! But, alas, I can as a hobby, and as a way to give a thoughtful and homemade gift here and there, maybe only keeping one half-pint of jam and one quart of salsa for myself. There are lots of people who still do it, and it’s nice to know it’s not that much of a dying art like some things are these days. I don’t have a nice pressure canner, but I did get a water-bath canner last year for Christmas from my mother-in-law that I finally got to put to use last week. Beats trying to boil jars in my skinny stock pot or keeping them in the sink while I continuously heat and pour boiled water over the filled jars. I have a feeling it’s a lot safer, too:) (For me and the consumers of the contents!) Plus, I can do a lot more of them at one time.
The first time I canned was 7? years ago with Anne and we made some darn good salsa. It was trial and error, but we found a good method. Over the years we have done a few batches if not every, at least every other summer. Now that I have my water-bath canner, I feel like we’ll seem a little more confident in the process this year! I’ve also done it with my sister, Sam, as well as by myself.
We just got back from Virginia and Maryland visiting family and my in-laws had a few apple and pear trees that had some fruit that needed picked, so I was able to take home 3 huge bags full. I’ve always done berry jams and salsa, so this was my first go at an apple or pear recipe. I tried Spiced Apple-Pear Jam first, and next will be Maple Apple Jam, using real maple syrup! Yum. Which reminds me. My son has started to smell like your average kid. Like maple and bologna. That’s what I’ve figured out. He doesn’t even eat anything maple, and bologna is a rare occasion. What happened to the Baby Magic shampoo smell he was able to hold on to for a week?
Anyway, last thing on my mind is why we call canning “canning”. I don’t know of anyone that puts preserves in aluminum cans. Except for the titans of industry. Ya know? We put them in glass jars. Glass jars that, if you give all of them away, become expensive each year to get again and again! We should call it jarring. I think everyone would look at me weird though if I said “I was jarring all Saturday.” Sigh. I guess I will just conform.