Monday, October 3, 2011


I'd like to learn how to can. I like the idea of having a food storage that is partly made up of food I've canned myself. It would be even better if I knew how to grow said food and then I canned it.

Since we live in a place where everyone cans in the fall, I thought I would take this opportunity to learn how to do. I think, though, that it is one of those things you can't really learn until you do it yourself. Last year, I went over to a friend's mom's house to can a box of peaches. I'd like to say I learned how, but really, she and her mom did most of the work. It was fun talking while canning, much more fun than canning by myself would have been. But this year, I don't have much to can. I wasn't planning on canning at all, actually (since my friend moved away) but my dad left me a whole bunch of peaches, apples, tomatoes and pears when he came up last week and bought some to take home for my mom to can.

So here I am with all this food and no intention of canning. I called my friend and got her mom's number and asked to borrow her canning equipment. Now I have the equipment. I have the bottles (emptied from last year's canning exploits) and I have a box of lids in my pantry that I never used.

Tomorrow I will embark into the land of home canning on my own. I've printed up some Internet instructions as well as having obtained a copy of the instructions written by my friend's mom. I plan on canning the peaches. The pears, well, we've mostly eaten and will probably eat the rest (we LOVE fresh, ripe pears!). I am going to try to make fresh spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes and freeze some of it. And the apples. I can't decide whether or not to make them into applesauce or to just use them throughout this week making apple pie and apple strudel.

Wish me luck.

*image courtesy Google images


swedemom said...

I want to learn how to can as well. My in-laws always grow a lot of green beans and then can them. My father-in-laws makes dilly carrots (using a pickling recipe for pickles-but uses carrots instead of cucumbers). They are so delicious!

My mother knows how to can and preserve all her own food. But she hates doing it and refuses to. She grew up so poor and worked her tail end off as a kid helping the family preserve food.

When she was pregnant with my younger sister, she put up several boxes of peaches into cans. It was in the dead heat of the summer and she declared that her time as a canner was over--and never canned again. So I never learned how to do it from the people who actually have years and years of practical experience.

This year, is obviously out for me. But when we come back from Saudi Arabia, I intend to have a garden, shop at farmers' markets and can produce.

Another motivation driving me is the unethical practices of mass farming productions. I recently learned from NPR that in the state of Florida, the Attorney General prosecuted 7 BIG cases of slavery. Evidently, many tomato companies contract out to firms who provide the labor to pick the tomatoes. The ugly secret is that these firms actually abduct illegal immigrants and the impoverished and enslave them. These men and women are shackled and bound at night to prevent escape. The Attorney General in Florida believes that they've only prosecuted a tiny fraction of cases. The slavery problem is big.

I had already stopped buying fresh tomatoes at the grocery store because they taste so bad. Now I'm having a hard time buying canned tomatoes, pasta sauce, and ketchup because I can't be sure of the source. I'm not a huge organic person (because I think the industry is a bit shady) but I really cannot condone slavery.

So I want to learn how to can my own salsa, pasta sauce and chopped tomatoes. For now, I can buy them at farmers' markets and feel comfortable with the source.

Anyhow, I applaud your efforts!

Royalbird said...

I got four jars of peaches is all and I think all of them sealed, but I'm not sure. I did it all by myself though, so I'm proud of that. Now I do really know how to do it and canning peaches is not all that hard. Now I have to learn how to can other things, like spaghetti sauce. I think I need to buy some of the equipment myself and read the instruction book that comes with it. My mom has a canning resource that tells how to can just about everything. She doesn't can much anymore and I never really learned growing up b/c she only canned when we lived in Utah.


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