September 25, 2011

Canning season is upon us!

Have you ever stopped what you were doing long enough to wonder why you do some of the things you do? Are you one of those people who cuts the ends off a roast just because its the way you mother did it, never pausing long enough to wonder why? I think canning can be a little bit that way. Some of us do it simply because our mother always did it. I took the time to think about canning a few years ago. I came to the conclusion that although I may have started doing it because its what I grew up with, its not the reason I still do it. I can and bottle things for several reasons;

1. its healthier for my family
2. most homemade food tastes better than what you get at the grocery store. (applesauce for instance)
3. (aside from the initial investment) Preserving my own food is much cheaper. For instance, if a bu. of apples costs me $20, then a quart of applesauce costs $1. (ok $1.50 with sugar and spice) If the apples cost $30 then the applesauce is $1.50 ($2.00 with sugar/spice)
4. It makes me feel good to be able to be productive. I read in the Hobbit once, where bilbo was talking about having full larders and how he felt satisfied. That is how I feel at the end of the work.

But the WORK is the biggest drawback! I do everything as easily as possible. For instance; I don't peel my tomatoes. I wash them, but out the core and cut them into the size I want. Then they go into the jars. For salsa, its the same. I don't peel them, just wash, core and cut! I like the extra texture that adds and it doesn't change the flavor at all.  For applesause I use a victorio strainer, then wash, cut in quarters and put in a pan with water and cook until soft. Soooo much easier than the old method of putting them thru a strainer after coring and peeling. Why bother when there are machines that can do it for us?

Last year I was extremely busy with school, and the canning was neglected. Not totally overlooked, but definately neglected. This year I was busy with an extership and the garden suffered by not getting planted until mid July. The result of this is very little of my own produce to bottle. The other result is that I ran out of a couple things in the basement that would normally be there. My son came upstairs the other day, totally aghast, telling me that we were out of salsa. That is a thing that has never happened at my house before (gasp).

As for the garden, We have had all the cherry tomatoes that we wanted to eat (and Kerry has kept up with that), lettuce and spinach (although, not enough for all we eat), squash, beans and grapes. This year, my own grapevines gave me lots of grapes. I just sent 3 1/2 bushels of green grapes to the local fruit stand. I kept the purple ones for myself. I got about 3/4 bu. of the concords! I was tickled with that. I didn't know it when I planted them, but concords grow much slower than other grapes. I would like to plant another vine, but don't know where I would put it.

The next thing I am going to do is applesauce. I may even mess around with applecider, if I can figure out how to do it as I don't have a press. So far this year I have bottled green beans, squash, salsa, raspberry jam and today, grapejuice. I still need to do tomatoes and more salsa.

1 comment:

mindola said...

i love canning for lots of the same reasons. not to mention the nostalgia... keep up the good work.