I posted a photo of my canyon of canned goods the other day and some comments surprised me. I grew up canning. My mother canned – a lot. We had a large garden and what she didn’t can she froze. Everything was done with a hot water bath so there were hours spent in front of that stove or in a hot kitchen, it takes a long time to process things with a hot water bath. She used the WWII volume of the Ball Blue Book. I still have it but these days almost everything I do is with a pressure canner. It saves me time, water, energy and sweat. I am also able to can pretty much anything safely.
This time of year the concentration is on fruit with tomatoes included. Last week I canned tomatoes, peaches and made apricot butter as well as a few jars of dill pickles. This week will be a repeat. I really need about 50 pints of tomatoes to last me until next summer, I’d prefer to have more but tomatoes aren’t as easy to come by this summer due to a blight that seems to have effected everyone everywhere.
The peaches are beautiful this year and I had a really great canning experience this past weekend. I love it when everything goes smoothly. I don’t want to fight to peel those peaches. I read somewhere to make sure the water was at a rolling boil and to dunk only a few peaches at a time for 30 seconds then into the ice bath. Worked like a charm. I also made sure my fruit was at room temperature before I started. Canning fruit at home also allows you to control the amount of sugar that is used in processing. That’s important to me, I don’t like things really sweet, I want to taste the fruit.
Our pear tree is loaded with fruit this year – I fear for its branches. The apple trees are the same. I will probably make a few pints of pie filling from the apples just to see if I can make it work to my satisfaction. The pears won’t even ripen until after Thanksgiving and I will can those in chunks like I did the peaches.
There is nothing like the taste of home canned food, especially in winter. I know exactly what is in every jar, there are no preservatives, no additives, no GMO’s. It’s real food. There is also the feeling of food security which is certainly what food preservation is all about. Having enough to eat until the next harvest comes in. Plant enough to eat now and put by enough to get you to next summer. We live in a world where everything is immediate. It takes very little time to empty out a grocery store, they are restocked every day. I don’t ever want to worry about where my next meal is coming from or not having food to feed my family. I’m sure that comes from growing up when food security may have been a concern. I just remember this time of year the shelves were stocked and you had choices.